How 3D Printing Is Shaping The Movie Industry

The 21st century has so far been defined by disruptive technologies; from iPods to social media platforms, new innovations are rapidly simplifying the way we live. The next major disruption could have as massive an impact on life and work as the industrial revolution did nearly 400 years ago. 3D printing is fast changing the way businesses manufacture their products and it is fascinating to discover how it could improve the realm of movie production.

Major Hollywood blockbusters such as Iron Man 2 and Coraline have made use of 3D printing already and the producers have proclaimed the time and cost efficiency as well as the aesthetic benefits.

Credit: citykane
In a nutshell, 3D printing works like a standard printer. Also known as additive printing; instead of printing up one sheet at a time it prints out layers of certain materials, bit by bit, until a whole product is printed from a digital model.

Hollywood is slowly but surely picking up on this new technique for the manufacturing of costumes (Iron Man 2) and models in animated stop motion movies (Coraline) for various reasons.
Firstly, the production of sets and costumes can be improved piece by piece. Instead of having to see a graphic model then waiting for the whole thing to be manufactured at great expense, only to find they don’t like what they see, producers can test costumes bit by bit and make corrections as they go along. For example, if a producer liked everything about a costume with the exception of a tiny part of superhero’s cape, only that part of the cape would need to be reproduced, not the entire cape or costume.

Though cheaper, 3D printing does not require a compromise in the quality of the viewing experience. 3D printers use the same reference designs used in creating CGI scenes, so the costumes and sets can be used alongside this other production technology.

There are a variety of 3D printing machines on the market but the most popular and reliable is said to be manufactured by Objet Geometries. Costing tens of thousands, the machine is proving to be a worthy investment for movie producers.

With 3D printing change is definitely on the way for film production. Just as digital and mobile cameras and software such as Final Cut have allowed amateurs to make decent quality short films and documentaries for straight to Youtube release, could 3D printing allow high school pupils to make their own action packed superhero movies in the future?  Time will tell.

Article contribution by; online stockists of leading brand printer cartridges to customers up and down the UK.