Baylor University Theatre Utilizes 3D Printing for Costume Design in Latest Production of “Into the Woods”

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intowoods3D printing seems to be making its mark in just about every area of life. Whether it is the 3D printing of medical devices, prosthetic limbs, cars, or even houses, the technology has become a popular choice for all walks of life and fields of study.

Now, at Baylor University, 3D printing has made its way into the theatrical arts department at the school, and it will be playing a role in the upcoming production of “Into The Woods“. The Tony Award-winning musical that “reimagines classic fairy tales and irreverently intertwines the stories with hilarious and moving results”, will incorporate this up and coming technology into the costume design of one of the main characters, The Witch.

“We are currently 3D printing mushrooms that organically grow out of a hump on her back, as well as bean shaped buttons for her dress,” explained Assistant Professor and costume designer at Baylor University, Joe Kucharski to 3DPrint.com. “This is Baylor’s University Theatre’s first use of 3D printing for a production. I joined the department this summer, and they have been very supportive (all the way back to my interviews) about my focus and passion for emerging digital technology- from digital renderings, to fabric printing and 3D printing.”

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The mushrooms and buttons have been 3D printed on a MakerBot Replicator Z18 3D printer, which the school purchased this summer for use by the department’s costume shop.

“The inspiration for the 3D printed elements came from the character and lyrics,” Kucharski tells us. “We wanted to create an organic Witch costume with vegetables, beans, and mushrooms sprouting up out of the garment. 3D printing proved the most effective way to achieve the shape I wanted for the mushrooms as well as the beans as buttons for the Witch’s dress. Because of the organic nature of all of the pieces, I digitally modeled them each from scratch using a combination of Sculptris and Meshmixer.”

Dress rehearsals for the production begin this weekend, and showings start on Wednesday, September 24. They will run from the 24th to the 27th of the month, and then from October 1-5. Showtimes will be at 7:30 pm, except on October 5, when the show commences at 2:00 pm.

3D Printed Mushrooms

3D Printed Mushrooms

Kucharski sees this as only being the beginning of 3D printing within the theatrical arts department.

“I believe 3D printing is set to make a huge impact on how costume, scenic, and prop designers approach the design and build process in theatre and film,” he tells us. “Problem solving of unusual pieces under tight timelines and with minimal budgets is often the norm in theatre, and the ability to meet those demands with ingenuity is critical to a designer’s success. 3D printing offers the ability to customize pieces in lightweight materials, in a short amount of time, fairly inexpensively.”

3D printed bean-shaped buttons.

3D printed bean-shaped buttons.

Kucharski and Baylor University are planning to work 3D printing into the curriculum for the University’s Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre Design and Technology. The goal is to equip students with the necessary skills to design and print original 3D objects for use in professional stage shows and film production. “We will also increasingly be using it on department productions, from the planning stages with 3D printed scenic model piece prototypes, to finished costume and prop elements,” explained Kucharski.

What do you think? Will we see a growth of 3D printing within theatrical arts? Discuss in the Into The Woods 3D Printed Costume forum thread on 3DPB.com.

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