3D-Printing Being Used in Stop-Motion Film by LAIKA

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Using 3D printing technology, the intensive and incredible form of cinema the ‘stop-motion film’ has found the way to bring their animated ideas to life. We have witnessed one of the honoured directors Charlie Kaufmann, in the previous year, fashioning the faces of his characters in the film ‘Anomalisa’ via 3D printing, and before that, featuring the voice of the actor Christopher Lloyd, 3D-printed goblins honoured the screen in the stop-motion series ‘House of Monsters’.

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We can see that 3D printing technology is progressing in Hollywood and recently, 3D printing is the core of the latest stop-motion film produced by the American cinema studio ‘LAIKA’. In order to create a puppet for their most recent animation, ‘Kubo and The Two Strings’, LAIKA has relied on the widespread 3D printing knowledge of ‘Stratasys’ for assistance. LAIKA is famous because of their animated films like ‘Coraline’ and ‘ParaNorman’. Moonbeast, one of the feature characters of the film, will be a complete 3D-printed character made up of 850 individual exterior pieces besides an internal framework of 250 parts. Voiced by the actor Ralph Fiennes, this flying character called Moonbeast will be the first ever complete 3D-printed character of the studio.

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Apart from this fully 3D-printed puppet character, LAIKA also put their faith in rapid-prototype face replacement printing, which made them win an ‘Academy Sci-Tech award’. Exceeding their former capabilities of 1.5 million, Kubo‘s characters will be able to feature over 22 million distinct facial expressions due to their ‘RP’ printing. LAIKA consulted Stratasys and their R&D facility in Israel for bringing the several facial expressions to completion and hence being able to use 3D printing technology to its full potential. Aside from using 3D printing, the studio also made use of other special technologies in order to manufacture their puppet characters like origami and feathers.

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The director of RP printing, Brian McLean made a statement:

“We found a new way to print with plastic [for the non-human characters]. We reached out to Stratasys and collaborated with their R&D in Israel. With access to new software and hardware, we reached a [greater] level of color and sophistication in a plastic-printed 3D part.”

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Featuring voice acting from Charlize Theron, Matthew McConaughey, Rooney Mara, and others, the film is planned to be released in theatres on August 19, 2016. Kubo and The Two Strings will mark the directorial debut for LAIKA’s CEO and lead artist Travis Knight. As Knight told, this film is about a sensitive story of a boy called Kubo and all of the crazy creatures and friends that as you might expect turn out to be his surrogate family.

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This stop-motion film is basically adjoining Eastern and Western themes into a gratifying and vibrant animated journey and is set in a mythical version of Japan. Eventually, Kubo and The Two Strings also mends together the traditional form of stop-motion film and new advanced techniques that have been enabled in part thanks to 3D printing technology. Have a look at the trailer of LAIKA’s newest film: