Obama first president with a 3-D portrait

World Today

The first-ever 3-D printed presidential bust went on display on Tuesday, Dec.2, in the Smithsonian Castle building in Washington, D.C.

President Obama gets first-ever 3D printed portrait

U.S.President Barack Obama has become the first president ever to have a 3D-printed portrait. Check out how it was made.

The White House released a YouTube video Tuesday of the President sitting for his historic portrait session when a Smithsonian-led team visited the White House in June.

According to the White House, the bust of President Obama was created by a Smithsonian-led team of 3-D digital-imaging specialists, Autodesk and 3D Systems, in collaboration with the University of Southern California’s Institute for Creative Technologies. It took two different technologically sophisticated 3-D documentation processes to generate the data needed to create this portrait. The president was flashed with 50 custom-built LED lights that flickered precisely to create ten different lighting conditions in just one second. Photos were taken by eight high-resolution cameras designed for sports and six wider-angle cameras. Technicians also scanned Obama with two handheld structured-light 3-D scanners.

The Smithsonian-led team scanned the President earlier this year. (Smithsonian Institution)

The Smithsonian-led team scanned the President earlier this year. (Smithsonian Institution)

The inspiration from the project came from the Lincoln life mask housed in the National Portrait Gallery.

The life mask of Lincoln was taken February 11, 1865, a day before Lincoln’s 56th birthday, by sculptor Clark Mills. The mask you see is a 1917 copy from the casting given to the Smithsonian in 1889 by the sculptor’s son.

Story compiled with the information from the White House and the Smithsonian.