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No one is safe from being turned into 3D pixel art thanks to a new social app from France

by Nara Shin
on 17 February 2014
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"You've been BLOXED!" That's what you'll be hearing following the upcoming launch of the new social app LEBLOX, which lets users create a pixelized version of almost anything and then share and 3D print the designs. It's reminiscent of the cult childhood toy Perler beads, but without the analogue templates (or ironing). Instead, LEBLOX takes personalization to the next level—creating and printing a miniaturized digital version of yourself.

Paris-based technical director Mathieu Lecoupeur and creative director Soy Phompraseuth are the two masterminds behind the app, which they spent the past year and a half developing and are ready to release in March. Their inspiration was fellow Frenchman Patrick Jean's 2010 short film "Pixels," in which 8-bit video game characters take over New York after escaping from a discarded television set.

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Users of the app will have three options. First, you can create your own three-dimensional, pixelized avatar (similar to the popular Bitstrips comics). Second, you can take a photo or choose an existing one from your library and transform it into a flat, pixelized version. Third, you'll be able to order a 3D print of anything you create digitally—and also browse through and print published designs from around the world. "Our goal is to gather all 'pixel art,' everything from great designers to the casual user," explains Phompraseuth. "Because once a user publishes a Blox, everyone can 3D print it." This is where the social aspect kicks in—you'll be able to follow friends and they can, say, comment on that pixelized badge of your cat Snuffles or that tribute to "Super Mario Bros. 3."

The 3D prints will take about a week to ship to a French address. Since LEBLOX's printing partner is based in France, orders will take a little longer for international users. (Rest easy Americans: LEBLOX is already on the search for a US-based printing partner.) The final price will depend on the weight of the printed product, but the goal is €20 for one avatar, shipping included.

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In a test run last December, LEBLOX hosted a "Blox of Fame" event for a friend who owns the eyewear shop Milan Lunetier. They "bloxed" VIP customers, and the reactions were overwhelmingly positive. The allure of having a miniature version of yourself in 3D pixelized form is undeniable. Phompraseuth simply explains the allure: "Our society is totally and more deeply than ever into selfies."

LEBLOX will be available in the App Store this March. The look of the app itself still remains a secret, but the results are not. Stay informed by visiting their website and see what they've already "bloxed" by visiting their Facebook or Instagram.

Images courtesy of LEBLOX

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