The best applications of 3D printing in the film industry
While special effects have become commonplace in cinema, it seems that additive manufacturing is also making its way into the bright lights. Hollywood is increasingly using 3D technologies to create costumes, props and all kinds of objects to make their movies even more realistic. Some even film 3D printers at work, showing the public the full capabilities of the technology. So we’ve put together some applications of 3D printing in the movie industry, from facilitating the development of animated films to designing the famous costumes of our favorite superheroes.
The missing link animated film
LAIKA Studios released an animated film called Missing Link in April 2020. They worked hand in hand with Stratasys to 3D print puppets that represent the different characters on the screen: thanks to PolyJet technology, they can even include colors and textures, faithfully reproducing individual expressions. Over 300,000 pieces have been 3D printed, whether for decorations or facial expressions. The result is incredible!
If you’re a Marvel fan then you know who Hela is – if not, let us enlighten you. She is Thor’s half-sister who appears on the screens of Thor Ragnarok, also known as the Goddess of Death. So of course she has the costume to go with it and what interests us today is her headdress. This was 3D printed after scanning the head of Cate Blanchett, the actress who played the role. SLS technology has been used with a carbon fiber reinforced composite powder, providing both lightness and good stability. According to its creator, the helmet weighs around 4 lbs (1.8 kg) and was printed in multiple parts so it could be put together as Marvel intended.
Thor: The Dark World
3D printing was also used in the Marvel blockbuster Thor: The Dark World, the second film in the Marvel series starring the famous Norse deity Thor. In the film, the god of thunder is equipped with a hammer, Mjölnir, of which only he can support the weight. In fact, that of the film was printed using selective laser sintering (SLS) and polymer powders on a printer from the manufacturer Voxeljet of Propshop. The process allowed for an incredible amount of detail on the final hammer, as you can see in the video below.
guardians of the galaxy
Another Marvel blockbuster using 3D printing is the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise. For example, in the movie “Guardians of the Galaxy”, props specialists FBFX Ltd used 3D printing to make Star-Lord’s mask as well as the Korath character’s armor costume, the first time it was used. The team produced a fully 3D printed costume that was worn in a movie. The team used an Objet500 Connex printer, which can combine multiple colors and materials into a single object through its use of Stratasys PolyJet technology. Additionally, another props team, UK-based Prop Shop, worked on Guardians of the Galaxy. Using 3D printing to craft some of the iconic weapons as well as parts of the ship
Black Panther and the use of 3D technologies in the MCU
It’s clear that Marvel is one of the production companies that is integrating print into cinema the most. Indeed, the technology makes it possible to manufacture tailor-made models within the short deadlines required by this industry. Another example of this we saw in the 2018 Black Panther movie, where additive manufacturing was used to create the Queen Ramonda of Wakanda costume. Behind the design are artists Julia Koerner and Ruth E. Carter, who took advantage of this technology to design this original outfit. In addition, we recently learned of a project that integrated Artec 3D’s 3D scanning solutions into the customization of a Lexus LC 500 for the film Black Panther 2, scheduled for 2022. The initiative was born thanks to the West Coast Customs team, which took 9 months to achieve a satisfactory result. Both examples show the potential of 3D in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
The Iron Man 3D printed costume
We continue with the 3D printed applications in the Marvel films with the famous Iron Man costume. Contrary to what one might think, the armor was not created in real life by Robert Downey Jr., the actor who plays Tony Stark, but by the American special effects studio Legacy Effects, specialized in creature design, prosthetic makeup, animatronics and special effects. suit. In order to save time and money, additive manufacturing and 3D technologies have been used. Last but not least, these are particularly useful for testing prototypes or producing spare parts. It’s also amazing how many self-made and 3D printed Iron Man costumes are created within the Maker community, some of which look a lot like the original.
The Demogorgon creature from Stranger Things
Since the release of the first episode in the summer of 2016, the American series Stranger Things has been a great success. Directed by the Duffer brothers, the series plunges viewers halfway between science fiction and horror, including several fantastic creatures. Among them is the Demogorgon, a predatory creature that seeks to eliminate humans. The reason we’re talking about the Demogorgon in this ranking is because California design studio Aaron Sims Creative used 3D printing to design it. To do this, the studio used its four Formlabs 3D printers to individually print the 20 pieces that make up the creature, which stands around 50cm tall.
A 3D printer in Ocean’s 8
Have you seen the movie Ocean’s 8? If the answer is yes, then maybe you haven’t noticed a detail. In this spin off of the Ocean’s saga, the spy team uses additive manufacturing to illegally reproduce jewelry and costume jewelry. In the scene in question, we can see in the background how a MakerBot Replicator Z18 3D printer perfectly creates a Cartier diamond necklace that even convinces Anne Hathaway that it is real. Now some viewers and tech enthusiasts doubt that this desktop machine is capable of achieving such a perfect final quality and a finish equal to that of real jewelry. Yet it is impressive to see the importance that 3D printing is taking in this industry. Besides, who are we to doubt the magic of cinema?
Even if you are not a huge movie fan, you are probably familiar with Agent 007, the infamous James Bond. The Bond film series has been around since the 1960s and now consists of 24 official films. While filming the sequel “Skyfall”, released in 2012, the series also decided to use 3D printing. For example, Propshop Modelmakers Ltd, a company specializing in the production of movie accessories, commissioned Voxeljet AG to produce a total of three Aston Martin DB 5 models. This is because the prohibitively priced car needed liners. of stunts, so to speak, that could ignite in the action scenes. So, the German 3D printing maker used its VX4000 large format industrial 3D printer in the binder jet to produce the vehicle models, which ended up looking confusingly like the original.
Chase Me is a short film by French director Gilles-Alexandre Deschaud that tells the story of a girl in a mystical forest. The film used time-lapse animation, which is why over 2,500 parts had to be printed. For the production of the pieces, the artist exclusively used the Form 1+ 3D printer which uses the SLA process. The 3D printed puppets have a resolution of 100 microns and it took about a week to create a sequence of four seconds. In total, the director spent two years on the project.
3D printing at Jurassic Park
Dinosaurs may have been extinct for thousands of years, but thanks to 3D technology, paleontologists and other dinosaur enthusiasts can replicate some of their characteristics. This was revealed by character Billy Brennan in Jurassic Park 3, when he 3D printed a replica of a dinosaur’s resonance chamber. A few years later, to make Jurassic Park World, the franchise used 3D printing again, but this time to make the skulls of the dinosaurs. Below is a making-of video that shows the scene where a velociraptor pops its head out of its cage. It turns out that before making the dinosaur on a computer, the team 3D printed its head.
3D printing in the world of Kubo
Kubo and the Two strings is a LAIKA studio production directed by Travis Knight, released as a family movie in theaters in 2016. The animated film uses a special technique in which 3D printing is used to create limbs and facial expressions. A total of 23,000 faces were made for the main character’s 22cm puppet, Kubo. With additional manual manipulation, around 48 million different facial movements could be created for Kubo.
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