TV series and films can transport the viewer into stories and worlds both mundane and fantastic. But to do either, the filmmakers need to construct those worlds with props and costumes. From Hollywood to independent productions, 3D printers are ideal tools for TV series and film producers. 3D printing enables you to create stunningly lifelike props with intricate detail. It can cut lead times, speed up prop design and production, and slash costs significantly. Bring the movie magic to life with the right 3D printer choice.
3D Printing in the TV & Film Industries
Create complex and detailed probs
Speed up design and film production
Support animation and special effects
Ensure quality and part fit with 3D Scanners
Manually designing and sculpting props, sewing costumes, and building set pieces is time-consuming and expensive. Additive manufacturing can help you start filming faster and cheaper. At the same time, you can create props that conventional manufacturing methods never could.
Better Props at Lower Cost
3D printing can produce structures that are impossible for traditional manufacturing, such as latticed or hollow internals and interlocking parts. Prop designers and costume artists can create breathtaking, unique props and models. For historical productions, it’s possible to accurately recreate ancient objects.
Higher Design Freedom
Injection moulding or machining can be prohibitively expensive, particularly for small TV and film productions. 3D printing consumes only the amount of material necessary to build parts layer by layer, significantly reducing material costs. Print dozens of parts with reliably steady quality at a fraction of the price.
3D printers can produce intricately detailed parts in a matter of hours. When designing props, creatures, or costumes, you can go through multiple design iterations in a single day. Avoid delays in production and start shooting faster.
Faster Design and Production
Different 3D printing technologies support a vast range of materials, from flexible rubber-like resins to extremely sturdy and abrasion-resistant reinforced engineering thermoplastics. You can create parts and props that will last through the entire production process. Print with wood, ceramics, or other innovative materials for maximum authenticity and viewer immersion.
Innovative Material Options
Design sketches and verbal descriptions can only say so much. Accurate 3D models, prototypes, and concept proofs help you communicate your ideas accurately to actors, artists, and film studios. Illustrate your ideas and secure funding by showing how your vision looks in reality.
How 3D Printing Drives Creativity in the Movie Industry
Filmmakers are rapidly adopting 3D printers for a wide variety of purposes and applications. From detailed documentaries to intense drama, high-flying fantasy, and the deep space of science fiction, additive manufacturing can help any TV or movie production.
Detailed and life-like props are vital for drawing the viewer into the world depicted on the silver screen. But creating the props manually or through traditional manufacturing can be expensive and slow. 3D printers are prop artists’ best friends.
The wide variety of 3D printing technologies means there’s a machine for every design case. FDM or SLS printers can produce strong and tough parts to support costumes or for set building. SLA printers, on the other hand, create accurate details for models, jewellery, and other uses.
Additionally, 3D printers can produce extremely complex and intricate geometries. You can quickly design and produce futuristic or fantastic props. With the right material choices, you can keep the props light but durable for the actors’ comfort.
3D Printers Crown the Queen in Marvel’s Black Panther
Marvel’s 2018 superhero blockbuster Black Panther made use of 3D printing technology to create the complex crown and mantle of Queen Ramonda of Wakanda. The movie’s production partnered with Materialise and the artist and designer Julia Koerner to create the costume.
Materialise and Koerner used SLS 3D printing to produce the costume pieces out of durable and stiff nylon material. The large crown, inspired by traditional Zulu designs, was flexible enough to keep actress Angela Bassett comfortable as she portrayed the regal Queen Ramonda.
“Materialise’s reliability and ability to deliver complex geometries within tight schedules makes them a great partner. What makes these partnerships extra special is our ability to continuously learn from each other and ultimately push the boundaries of what’s possible,” said Koerner.
Design & Prototyping
No prop or costume is born in a vacuum. To produce everything visible on the screen, designers and artists create dozens of designs until they reach the final model. 3D printers can make this process faster and cheaper.
Before printing, 3D-printed parts exist only as digital CAD models. It’s fast and easy to modify and redesign them based on feedback from directors, actors, and investors. The new design iteration can then be printed in a matter of hours.
3D printers’ high accuracy and repeatability also mean that once the final design is approved, you can rapidly produce multiple props or models.
Aaron Sims Creative Brings the Demogorgon to Life
The 2016 hit science fiction drama Stranger Things features the Demogorgon, a faceless interdimensional monstrosity. The horrifying creature was created by veteran design studio Aaron Sims Creative (ASC).
As part of the Demogorgon’s design process, ASC used Formlabs SLA 3D printers to create a 20-inch tall model of the monster. This intricately detailed model, printed in 20 parts over only a few days, served as a basis for the creature model seen on screen.
“We have four Formlabs printers in-house which have been fabulous to work with … We believe [3D printing] is an essential part of the visualization process and we’ll continue to explore the boundaries of where this medium can help us in our creative process,” said Aaron Sims.
Animation & SFX
Practically every TV programme or movie features a range of special effects and animation. Although these effects are today mostly created digitally, additive manufacturing can help give them a level of realism pure CGI can’t produce.
3D printers enable you to create accurate, deceptively lifelike models. You can create stunt doubles of rare vehicles or entire city blocks for filming disaster scenes, for example. 3D printed objects and props can also add a special touch to physical sets.
It’s also possible to create entire animations through 3D printing. Additive manufacturing has helped revive the genre of stop-motion animation by making it faster and cheaper to produce the countless puppets needed for the films.
Chase Me — A 3D-Printed Animated Film
VFX and digital artist Gilles-Alexandre Deschaud created the short film Chase Me as a demonstration of 3D printing’s capabilities in animation. The film follows a ukulele-playing girl as she brings life and colour to a dark forest.
Deschaud printed more than 2,500 puppets using Formlabs 3D printers to produce the movements and actions of the girl and the monster stalking her. Without 3D printing, this small animated production most likely wouldn’t have been possible.
3D Scanning in Movie Industry
3D scanners are devices that use various technologies to accurately digitise objects or people into detailed 3D models. These tools can help filmmakers save time and money when designing props and costumes.
An accurate model of an actor helps designers avoid costly sizing mistakes and ensure comfort for the actor while still producing stunning costumes. You can also digitise rare items or vehicles and recreate them as 3D-printed copies for TV or film production.
Hollywood Saves Time and Money with 3D Scanners
Multiple large-scale Hollywood productions have used 3D scanners to save time and costs. For the upcoming Black Panther 2, West Coast Customs used a 3D scanner to digitise a Lexus LC 500 to produce perfectly-fitted custom parts for the car.
For 2017’s Thor: Ragnarok, actress Cate Blanchett’s head was scanned to make her character Hela’s enormous horned crown both durable and comfortable. For 2014’s Maleficent — recounting the life of the evil witch from Sleeping Beauty — the filmmakers scanned a horse to create an intricate suit of armour that fit the animal perfectly without harming it.
Why Solid Print?
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World Class Support
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