Sunday, October 18, 2015

Coincidence or rip-off? Modoll 3D printed doll copies Popovy Sisters creations

It has been little more than a month that Santiago and Mauricio Sierra, fashion photographers, announced their 3d printed doll, Modoll. Based on the 3d scanned face of model Lindsay Wixson, the doll is 3d printed then painted by make up artist  Ralph Siciliano, hair styled by the incredible Thanos Samaras and dressed by fashion stylist Charlotte Stockdale, who picks real fashion outfits and has them made in scale. I was preparing to dedicate a post to the project but then I repeatedly saw this photo comparison posted in Facebook and Instagram:

Comparison of Modoll and Popovy bodies from Elcatka flickr page

Head sculpt comparison between Modoll (top) and Popovy Sisters (bottom) - photo from Sofaika Instagram account

Face comparison between MoDoll (left) and Popovy Sisters (right) - photo from Sofaika Instagram account

Numerous doll artists and collectors have chimed in and re-posted these images all over social media, denouncing the rip off and accusing Santiago and Mauricio of theft. Linday Wixson commented below one of the posts in Instagram that she had no idea and is very sorry. Comments about the theft on Santiago and Maurizio Instagram posts of the doll got deleted repeatedly (there are some still left). And while one may argue that Lindsay's face bears a resemblance to the Popovy Sisters dolls so that it was inevitable that the dolls would look alike, the comparison of the doll bodies leaves no doubt. The Modoll body looks like a cheap imitation of the Popovy sisters creation, with much less detail and refinement, especially visible in the joints of elbows and knees and the less detailed hands of Modoll. The finished dolls look much less alike of course, as they represent completely different visions.

Modoll wearing Saint Laurent - photo by Santiago and Mauricio

Popovy Sisters WhoYouAre Hollywood showroom exclusive - photo by Popovy Sisters

If you want to see the comments and photos related to the issue, check the #modoll hashtag on Instagram here. What  do you think? Let me know in the comments.

UPDATE: It seems that Lindsay Wixson is apologising to Popovy Sisters and distancing herself from Modoll, she posted this on her instagram just before she turned it to private, (probably to avoid negative comments - thanks to Elatka for the repost).


  1. Think? They used Lindsay to cover up the thief it's what I think . the body is nothing alike Lindsays body but just to much like the Poppovy sisters doll. just not so pretty.

  2. Replies
    1. Рот закрой, недоделанная ТП прибалтийская.

  3. Thank you very much for your message!
    I just imagined myself in Popovy girls' shoes and couldn't stand how unjust it was what happened. Also with great resources and so much effort couldn't Modoll project create something really unique?

  4. The finished product is so different that I don't know what to think. Kingdom Doll was dragged over the coals when their first doll appeared. They were accused of copying another resin BJD. On the internet it's easy to get caught up in a frenzy of criticism about so many things we know little about. The body does look inspired by the Popovy but art is inspired by what came before.

    1. Exactly!I'm surprised everyone is seeing a copy here, those faces are sculpted pretty differently. The only similarity I see is that the mouth has a pout, but how many hundreds of dolls have pouty lips as well? I'm all too familiar with infringement, as well as various mediums of art including digital painting and sculpting, and this is not a recast at all. Does anyone see that the Modoll eyes are almond shaped and tilt up at the outer corners while the Popovy eyes are deeper set with a heavier lid? Or that the Popovy mouth is fuller and wider? The nose wider and rounder too? There are only so many ways to sculpt a face, especially if you are sculpting a trendy look. For example, I make wings and if another wing maker makes a similar set of butterfly wings but the veining is different I don't have an infringement claim because I do not own the butterfly's wing design, just as no one person can own a type of face. We are all copying from nature here, so in terms of faces and butterfly wings this would have to match to the precise measurements down to the millimeter to call it a copy, and that is not what MoDoll has done. Not at all, frankly. Sounds like maybe there is some sort of behind the scenes drama between the two companies for this to even be brought up as an infringement, as it's just not there. Did the Popovy sisters invent the whole idea of the BJD? Because if not, can't someone say they are ripping off whatever artists made BJD's before them?

    2. I worked on the clothes for this project with San and Mau, and yes, there are similarities, but despite what is being said, this doll is not a recast of the popovy mold, the creators made a 3D rendering from scratch and worked from a real scan of Lindsay's face to make the sculpt. Peewit was obviously inspired by Lindsay, and the proportions of the body are both fashion figure stylizations which we are seeing more of. Santiago and Mauricio have nothing but respect for the work of the Sisters Popovy, and it is obvious from the girls' new body sculpt which came out at the same time that they are quickly moving beyond any comparison. The project was a purely an editorial exploring the distillation of the model to the doll through 3D technology-- and if anything has spread more awareness of both ideas and brands to different crowds. I'm sure if the doll is sold commercially, there will be changes made to the body sculpt to further differentiate. Like someone mentioned earlier, if you peel back one or two layers, BJDs continue to overlap more and more in terms of aesthetics--- and the Sisters are true artists who are ahead of the curve in exploring a trend in BJD dolls toward the elongated figure--- and they will not be the last. No one can strip away another artist's integrity, and art can beget and inspire art, something that should be celebrated in this age of oversharing, and not mindlessly bullied and policed by people who aren't actually reading and investigating the content.

    3. Andrew Yang, c'mon man, it looks soo weird!
      If it was a scan of the real person (Lindsey), why in the end it looks like Popovy Dolls and nothing like Lindsey?? This is incredible coincidence out of million possible shapes and proportions it turned out to be the same proportions as Popovy!!

    4. Andrew Yang, it is true that art inspires art but if "Santiago and Mauricio have nothing but respect for the work of the Sisters Popovy" as you say, shouldn't they give them some credit where credit is due. They present this project as their own, as if it was something new, unique and original when in actually it is so heavily inspired by another artistic project. You talk about spreading awareness of ideas and brands to different crowds yet there is no mention of BJDs and less of Popovy Sister without whom those modoll dolls would have looked so much different...
      By the way, Modoll is a name of a bjd company from HongKong, I understand that you were trying to put the words model and doll together but it's kind of confusing, people keep on thinking you're this other doll company.

  5. I think IF it is an inspiration by Popovy dolls it should have been refenced as a source of inspiration. It's hard to believe in positve intention with this weak story about being inspired by Lindsay.... When I see this project doll next to Popovy I have the feeling that I see a cheap, fake replica of something that is really an artwork.

  6. It claims to look like Lindsay...but both the face and body reseamble Popovy's dolls so much that it cannot be just a coincidence.

  7. They don't look like recasts to me. Sculpting a doll in a similar style is nothing like a recast.

  8. The proportions are the only thing that can really be argued as being the same, but even then, these types of elongated figures with long necks have been popular in fashion illustration and art for a while now:
    Proportions alone aren't enough to claim infringement, and I just don't see enough similarity in the sculpt.