3DP Applications

Animated characters come to life

A group of graphics experts at Harvard have come up with a add-on software tool that translates three dimensional animated characters into fully articulated action figures. This new development is an exiting follow up from our previous report of the use of 3D printers in the latest 3D animation movie by Aardman Animations and the static characters created for the stop-motion feature film.

Instead of creating static 3D printed characters, the team at Harvard came up with a tool that enables the designer to create fully articulated models that have moving joints and then it optimizes the size and location of those joints for the physical world. The software uses a series of optimization techniques to incorporate both hinges and ball-and-socket joints, as well as building some friction into these surfaces so that the printed figure will be able to hold its poses.

The animation industry has been quick to adopt the 3D printing technology into their productions, mainly due to the time saving from creating it on the designers screen into producting real life figures. Another blockbuster animation comedy “ParaNorman” from the Laika animation house, the creator of Coraline,  is constructing most of its 1.5 million character expressions with 3D printed figures. The film is set to be released on August 17th 2012.

(photo credit: photo courtesy of Moritz Bächer)

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