Ponoko, a company operating in the "product individualization" segment has launched another world first service, called Photomake.
You can use it to turn digital photos of hand drawings into real products simply by uploading them to the Ponoko website.
Ponoko has established itself as a place where you can shop online for one-of-a-kind goods direct from popular and upcoming designers, or design and make them yourself. The company is on a mission to make it super simple for anyone to make anything that is on their mind, at low cost.
Previously at Techcrunch40, Ponoko launched Designmake for designers to make things on demand – over 10,000 have signed up.
Earlier this year, they also launched Ponoko ID for shoppers to request goods to be made just for them by these designers. Now with Photomake they're inviting creative people who don't know how to use design software to participate simply by sketching what they want on a piece of paper and uploading a photo of it to get it made.
Chief Strategy Officer, Derek Elley says Photomake is child's play. "It's great for crafters, makers and artists," he says. "One of the cool things about Photomake is the quality of the result – it's truly hand drawn. Because digital making is so very precise every tiny bump in the hand drawn creation is picked up and made for real. This gives a very natural and human feel to the things you make."
All you need to get started with Photomake is a felt tip pen and piece of paper. Just draw what you want to make, take a photograph of it, upload this digital photo to the Ponoko website (no login required), get an instant online price to turn your drawing into the real thing, then click to make. Your product will be delivered to your door in days.
CEO Dave ten Have says Photomake is made possible by some very clever file conversion technology that is more accurate than anything that has come before it. "It is designed so that what you draw is what is made, without any touching up required in a design software program," he says. "It is also 100% online, so you don't need to own a design software program to use it."
And for those who know how to use Microsoft Paint and popular photo editing software like Photoshop and GIMP, Photomake is the perfect tool to turn creations designed in these programs into real things too. This is because Photomake accepts common jpg, gif and png files.
Elley says that, as with Ponoko's original Designmake service, designers can use the new service to make cash as well as make things for themselves. "When you make something with Photomake, you can keep it for yourself, give it as a gift or sell it online from your own free Ponoko e-commerce storefront. You can also sell or give away for free your design file templates too."