Entertainment

3D printed props and costumes at Comic Con 2018

The 2018 Comic Con International in San Diego, concluded two days ago. In recent years, 3D printing has added a new flair to the Comic Con events. The adoption of 3D printed props mirrors the increasingly widespread use of the technology in the film and television world.

In this article, we take a look at some examples of how Comic Con attendees used 3D printing to make cosplay gear, and how the film, television and entertainment industry has employs this technology – with one surprisingly recent overlap.

3D printed film props

One corner at the San Diego Convention Center was occupied by a wall of 3D printed faces featuring Neil Gaiman inspired movie Coraline, the eponymous character from Kubo and the Two Strings, and Archibald Snatcher – from stop-motion film The Boxtrolls.

The faces were designed and 3D printed in resin, as LAIKA animation studio CEO Travis Knight explained, “In the old days, you’d make something out of clay or carve it out of wood,” but now they are 3D printed in “hard, resin material.”

A cosplayer’s paradise

At Comic Con 2018 there was also an abundance of homemade 3D props. Stephen Herron of Invictus Cosplay has been a professional Cosplayer and prop builder since 2011. Herron, working with local 3D printer manufacturers Robo 3D, made a Deadpool mask.

As we can see, Comic Con has long since expanded beyond a focus only upon the world of comic books and graphic novels. The annual event attracts near 130,000 people, many of whom enjoy fandoms spanning both live action and animated movies, and also video games.

Robo 3D spotted this attendee, dressed as the Overwatch character Mccree.

3D printed costume of Mccree Overwatch via facebook @Robo3dPrinter
3D printed costume of Mccree Overwatch via facebook @Robo3dPrinter

U.S. anime series RWBY inspired SoCal cosplayer, Benedict Choy (AKA Spacemeat) to recreate a weapon from the show. The Myrtenaster was 3D printed and then painted.

Cosplayer Benedict Choy holding Myrtenaster. Photo via Instagram @spacemeat_cosplay
Cosplayer Benedict Choy holding Myrtenaster. Photo via Instagram @spacemeat_cosplay

Overworld Designs, an Atlanta, GA based prop and specialty costume studio, used 3D printing bring Cartoon Network’s Steven Universe SDCC booth to life. The gauntlets worn by animated character Garnet were 3D printed in PETG from Makershaper.

Colourful 3D printed Gauntlets. Photo via instagram @overworlddesigns
Colourful 3D printed Gauntlets. Photo via instagram @overworlddesigns

Getting started with 3D printing 

For Comic Con attendees inspired by these great examples of how 3D printing can be used in cosplay, but not quite sure where to start – help was at hand.

On Thursday evening panelists of 3D Printed Props Tips and Tricks discussed the “different ways you can use 3D printing to take your costume to the next level.” There was also a chance to win a 3D printed Stormbreaker.

A 3D printed Thor's Stormbreaker, also available as a printable file at MyMiniFactory. Photo via @MyMiniFactory
A 3D printed Thor’s Stormbreaker, also available as a printable file at MyMiniFactory. Photo via @MyMiniFactory

But the most heart-warming moment, at the event, was when seven kids in wheelchairs were presented with 3D printed wheelchair costumes by Magic Wheelchair, a not for profit organization, based in Oregon, which builds costumes for children in wheelchair, with no cost to their families.

The display even caught the eye of  Mark Hamill (aka Luke Skywalker) who retweet the tweet below.

A Star War's inspired Wheelchair, built by Magic Wheelchair. Photo via Twitter @bianchi_carole
A Star War’s inspired Wheelchair, built by Magic Wheelchair. Photo via Twitter @bianchi_carole

3D printing in the film industry

As frequently reported by 3D Printing Industry, the film and TV industry is applying 3D printing to bring characters and scenes to life.

Not only were the props and costumes worn in blockbuster movie Black Panther made using 3D printing, but the marketing tie-ins around one of the highest grossing movies also made liberal use of the technology.

Angela Bassett’s character wore a 3D printed crown made by Belgian AM bureau and software specialist MaterialiseA Black Panther advertising tie-in for PepsiCo was also brought to life by digital manufacturing enterprise, Protolabs.

Angela Bassett wears a 3D printed crown in Black Panther. Photo via Materialise.
Angela Bassett wears a 3D printed crown in Black Panther. Photo via Materialise.

The lines between screen entertainment, whether big or small, and interactive experiences is increasingly blurring – in part due to the possibilities offered by 3D printed.

As recently reported a real 3D printed Iron Man suit went on sale this week at Selfridges in the UK. More surprisingly, a recent party hosted by Fortnite – the most popular video game on the planet – encouraged fans to break into cars to find 3D printed Llamas.

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Featured image shows people participating in a Marvel Comics photo shoot on the second day of Comic Con International in San Diego, California, USA, 20 July 2018.  Comic Con International in San Diego, USA – 20 Jul 2018 Photo by DAVID MAUNG/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock (9766934c)

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