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3D Printing Applications in Film and Entertainment Industry

On the occasion of the 4th SAMA International Forum&2019 “Belt and Road” 3D Printing and Intelligence Manufacturing Annual Meeting, Zhang Yong, the CEO of Mohou.com which is a 3D printing platform well-known in China, addressed a speech on 3D Printing Applications in Film and Entertainment Industry. In a business where everything is between imagination and reality, 3D printing opens up larger space for bring things into life.
People probably have seen 3D printed characters or props onscreen without even realizing it. Now, let’s make them expose into
air!
3D printing technologies used in Film industry:
When 3D printing starts to be used in
film and entertainment industry, it has made a great difference in character image design, props and even the whole scene. Among all types of 3D printing technologies, the FDM (Fused Deposition Modeling) and SLA (Stereolithography) are commonly used.
FDM is
good way to make props. For example, Jackie Chan uses a really fast FDM 3D printer to replicate a mask in almost real time thanks to a pair of 3D scanning gloves in the movie Chinese Zondiac (2012). In Iron-Man 2(2010), Tony Stark might use a FDM 3D printer to 3D print his father’s “City of the future”. As for SLA technology, in the opening scene of Small Soldiers (1998), Globotech Industries uses some kind of an SLA 3D printer to create the toy figurines. Besides, a SLA printer was spotted in the scene of Ant-Man(2015).

Practical Applications in Film and Entertainment
Films are becoming more and more expensive as both filmmakers and
audience are highly demanding on optimum outcomes on screen. However, the budget constraint is still a factor worth being taken into consideration. 3D printing technology has made it possible to meet the needs of realistic effects and cost-reduction.
2500 3D printed parts used in animation Chase me
Chase me is a short animation applying the 3D printing technology to create a custom made and strange universe. To make an entirely customer-made setting and create a good atmosphere, the filmmaker Gilles-Alexandre Deschaudspent 2 years 3D printing 2500 parts which greatly increase the artistic effects for the film.

3D Printed Iron Man Suit
Jason Lopes is working on designs for the studio Legacy Effects. He worked on Iron Man 2, Avengers and he wanted to create actual objects that the hero could wear on set. But he also wanted to avoid the mold-making process that is obviously wasting his time and money for the film. That is why he is starting to work more and more with technologies such as 3D printing to create specific objects for movies. Without wasting any time, he created a suit which is perfectly fitting the actor. 3D printing props are the best solution to get a real object on
screen, instead of CGI.

3D printed stormtroopers
A lot of props and costumes have been 3D printed for the movie Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The famous stormtroopers helmet and some part of C3PO have been manufactured using the additive manufacturing technology. The main advantage for them was that this manufacturing technique was allowing to get the movie props quite quickly and with
a great accuracy. It is obviously taking time to create all of these accessories. 3D printing them is a great way to save time, and it helps them to improve their props production. This method has also been used by the teams working on The Lords of The Rings and The Hobbits to manufacture some costumes.

Advantages of 3D Printing Applications
1. Time-saving and cost-reduction
The 3D printing technology shortens the manufacturing process with cost-reduction by nearly 50% and time saved by 70% in realizing design integration and complex manufacturing compared with traditional manufacturing modes. Besides, 3D printing is quite helpful in repairing and replacing damaged props on the occasion of an emergency. How convenient it will be!

2. Strong modeling ability
In the past, complex structural props used in film and television industry had to be carefully completed by hand since they highly demand
for delicacy and accuracy. As 3D printing technology gradually develops into maturity, filmmakers can easily present their creativity with 3D printed models in verisimilitude and exquisiteness. Take the 3D printed costumes in Black Panther as an example. 3D printing technology enables the designer to push the limits of design as a result of the elaborate costume on Queen Ramonda.

3. Realistic visual effects
Not only limited to props making and character design, but 3D printing also services to visual effects in film production.
Anyone still remembers the Terminator 2 scene in which the T-1000 rises from the ground? It is such a good example of 3D modeling technology used for film special effects that Joseph DeSimone, the CEO of Carbon3D, came up with more ideas on how to make 3D printing go 100 times faster.

Trends of 3D Printing Application in Film Industry
1. Rapider growth and popularization
Though with a late start, 3D printing catches up with a good era in which
film industry provides a huge application potential. Effect-heavy movie such as science fiction, fantasy, and animation, all require delicately designed props, images, and settings.
2. Specific division
More and more self-organized professional groups and studios will spring up for different production
process to make props in high quality and artistic design. 3D printing will support massive production by manufacturing factory which will reduce the on-site printing. It will be more flexible to suit for film making.
3. More practical application of 3D scanning and 3D printing
From
design process and actual production, the film making will be digitized standardized. Stepping into a new technology era, advanced technology like 3D printing, 3D scanning, VR, and AR will be integrated and applied into film production.