3D Printing has Revolutionized the Quality and Turnaround Times in the Movie Prop and Costume Shop
Stratasys customer FBFX Ltd. has revolutionized their approach to movie costume and prop creation with the use of Objet Connex Multi-material 3D Printing technology, using it to create various 3D printed pieces for the summer blockbuster “Guardians of the Galaxy.”
FBFX Ltd. was part of the team behind the off-beat science-fiction adventure movie. The team at the special effects workshop 3D printed pieces including the entire “armor” outfit for the character, Korath. According to Grant Pearmain, director of costume and props at FBFX, this was 3D printed almost entirely using Objet500 Connex Multi-material 3D Printers by Stratasys and represents the first time the company has produced a fully 3D printed costume worn in a movie.
The Objet500 Connex was also employed to produce the memorable Star-Lord helmet worn by Chris Pratt. Several prototype versions were 3D printed, as well as vacuum-cast versions created from a 3D printed mold. The actual helmet used in the movie features a 3D printed interior and exterior detailing using rigid opaque (VeroGray) material.
3D Printing Steals the Show
According to Pearmain, 3D printing has revolutionized the quality and turnaround times in the movie prop and costume shop. The company now favors 3D printing above traditional clay methods for 90% of the specialist props it develops – a leap from a mere 10% only a few years ago.
“Quite simply, PolyJet technology delivers a level of quality with precise detail that is better than anything else available,” Pearmain said. “We no longer have to contend with repeatability issues like variations in skill level from one craftsman to another – we know exactly what the 3D printed piece will look like, regardless of how many pieces we’re producing.”
Work Times Cut in Half
“All told, we’re saving at least 50% on lead times, a precious commodity when working on a film, as there’s never enough time,” Pearmain said. “This faith in the 3D printed piece and the speed at which we can have it in our hands also gives us the flexibility and confidence to experiment here and there and to try new things – not something we have dared to do before.”
These time savings have allowed Pearmain and his team to go from design to virtually completed, accurate prototypes in a few days, as opposed to a few weeks. FBFX can now show highly-detailed pieces to production companies much more quickly than using traditional methods, while also rapidly turning around pieces in response to sudden demands for camera tests.
Seamless Workflow Across Continents
For Pearmain, the capability of 3D printing to allow different teams in different countries to work on the same project further demonstrates its process-enhancing benefits.
“We will often receive digital files from concept designers in Los Angeles that we finalize and 3D print via our service bureau IPF, with whom we’ve collaborated on a number of major motion pictures,” he said. “Similarly, we might send concept files to the team there to tweak and return for outputting here, so it’s all about a fast, seamless operation that again helps us save time.”
This post is also available in: Portuguese (Brazil)