When it comes to a tattoo, trying it out before you buy it hasn't been an option--until now. Thanks to Loic Zimmerman, now you can see a 3-D version of yourself with the tattoo you want without having to get it permanently inked. A CG artist, Zimmerman wanted a tattoo of his own design for years, but understood that a complex 2-D design doesn't easily translate on the body's 3-D canvas.

This prompted Zimmerman to set out to create his own CG doppleganger, based on his own body's exact proportions, to preview what his sleeve and chest piece would look like. One of the problems that arises, even in a 3-D rendering, is that computer models don't age or wrinkle: little design details all risk blurring into each other when the ink spreads as your body ages. So, even though that rose looks great on your girlfriend's breast right now, it can end up looking like a long-stem version of its former self once time and gravity start kicking in. A good tattooist will have to redraw the design with proper spacing and also minimize the minutiae to account for age.

Currently, it isn't known just when the technology will hit a local tattoo shop near you but, if you want to learn more about what Zimmerman is doing, you can visit his blog at www.e338.com to hear all about the steps he's taking to make the 3-D tattoo dream a reality.

Zimmerman with his 3-D tat:

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