3D printed Sainbury’s ad is the clear winner this Christmas

In the battle for the best supermarket Christmas ad, there is a clear winner for those at 3DPI. Sainsbury’s 2016 stop motion animation of a father who works at a toy factory uses 3D printing to create all the dynamic facial expressions needed to give you that fuzzy feeling inside.


Gif shows a clip of the Sainsbury’s OFFICIAL Christmas advert 2016 -The Greatest Gift. Via: Sainsbury’s  on Youtube.

As advert director Sam Fell explains in the Sainsbury’s Behind the Scenes video, the traditional way of giving facial expressions to a character model either involves molding new features in clay, or the use of miniature mechanisms inside the heads. He says ‘As charming as [the traditional techniques] are you can’t quite get the range of expressions that you want to get to bring the character, like Dave, to life.’ The obvious solution is to turn to rapid manufacturing, which is cutting edge for the animation industry. In total, the makers at Passion Animation Studios, digitally designed 800 different expressions for the starring role Dave, and then 3D printed them in full color.


Gif shows 3D printing of model faces from Behind the Scenes video. Via: Sainsbury’s  on Youtube.

About a month ago, 3DPI reported on the Magnetic music video by Aussie alt-rock artist Dan Sultan. The video centers around a 3D printed bust of Sultan, and relies on over 60 different 3D printed parts to bring the model to life like never seen before.

Dan Sultan bust
Dan Sultan 3D printed animated bust Image: Gizmodo

We’ve also recently seen 3D printing used as a promo tool for the release of Dishonored 2. To create a buzz around the new release, creators Arkane Studios and publisher Bethesda gave away tickets to an exclusive Dishonored themed dinner party. In order to obtain the tickets, fans were set on a scavenger hunt around some of London’s most famous tourist spots to find 3D printed models of the game’s Bone Runes.

The 3D printed Dishonored 2 Bone Rune and invite to the Karnaca Supper Club. Photo via MyMiniFactory.
The 3D printed Dishonored 2 Bone Rune and invite to the Karnaca Supper Club. Photo via MyMiniFactory.

As a cutting edge technology and highly creative medium, 3D printing is a natural partner for the advertising industry. And as more companies are starting to take note, it’s going to be exciting to see additive manufacturing pushed to new creative limits, and drip-feed into people’s general knowledge. We may even see a surge in the demand for a 3D printed mini-me this Christmas, to quote the Sainsbury’s ad song ‘The greatest gift that I can give is me’.

Featured image shows Dave’s 3D printed faces for the Sainsbury’s Christmas Ad 2016. Via Sainsbury’s  on Youtube.