The creators of Coraline and Paranorman are back with their new 3D stop motion and CGI animated hybrid film The Boxtrolls. Many of the character faces and sets were 3D printed, and the creators have released four 3D models of the quirky titular characters on Cubify.
Despite only having released two films, Laika Studios has already been called the Pixar of stop motion animation due to their focus on smart and well-rounded characters, great voice acting and the extreme level of detail put into each miniature set, animatronic doll and costume. This is, after all, the studio famous for having all of their clothing hand sewn and knitted to scale. While many of these details go completely unnoticed, they still lend an incredible level of texture to the film. This helps the miniature worlds feel lived in and real, and gives the background a tremendous amount of weight.
3D printing has aided Studio Laika, and several other stop motion animation film productions, by allowing them to easily create multiple faces and props. Creating a stop motion film is an extremely laborious process where hundreds of alternate characters and faces need to be created for each character. 3D printing drastically cuts down the time it takes to make each alternate character, and because the models are digitally designed the continuity is significantly easier to maintain and allows the filmmakers a degree of subtlety and seamlessness not usually possible.
Here is a trailer mixed with some behind the scenes footage about Studio Laika’s stop animation process:
Studio Laika used a 3D Systems ProJet 660Pro to create all of the alternate character faces. The ProJet 660Pro allows fully coloured models to be 3D printed, requiring little to no additional painting. Because it is a powder bed printer, no support material is required either, making model cleaning quicker.
Because 3D printing played such an important role in Boxtrolls production, Studio Laika has released four adorable 3D models to Cubify for free. Each of the four boxtroll models is a character from the new movie, and you can download and 3D print all of them, or just your favourite. You can see The Boxtrolls in the US on 9-26-2014.