AMS Spring 2023

3D Printed Stop Motion Lion Film Created by Recent Graduate of Northumbria University

Inkbit

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I just love all the creative things people are doing with 3D printing. Just like any new technology, as it emerges on the scene, innovative minds figure out new ways to use it, creating works of art as well as actual useful applications. 3D printing is film3no different in this respect. In the nine months since we have begun covering the industry, there have been countless projects from innovative minds, which have really impressed the community.

Back in April, a London-based design-led creative agency called DBLG sought to explore ways in which they could combine 3D printing and stop motion photography, which led to them producing an incredibly fluid stop-motion animation they called Bears on Stairs. Additionally, we have already seen that one major production studio, Laika, has been using 3D printing for several of their stop motion films, most recently The Boxtrolls.

Upon the release of DBLG’s Bears on Stairs animation, Fin Crowther, a recent graduate of Northumbria University in Newcastle, England, decided to create his own 3D printed animation.

Modelling the Lion

Modelling the Lion

“This is a project that I started after my graduation to keep me occupied whilst seeking permanent work in the industry,” explained Crowther to 3DPrint.com. “I had seen the viral video ‘Bears on Stairs’ by DBGL during my degree in Newcastle and since then it had always been playing in my mind that I’d like to make something similar should the opportunity arise.”

That opportunity came to him when he gained access to a Stratasys Fortus 360mc 3D Printer at a job he took working as a model making tech at the Design Development Centre at Huddersfield University.

Crowther decided that he wanted to model a lion for his stop motion animation and thus set out on creating the lion’s run cycle via Autodesk Maya, after studying several tutorials online. In all, he had to model 10 different running positions of the animal, which would be placed into a 10 frame loop at 24 frames per second.

“Taking each frame of the run cycle I edited them to have the support, fit on a base and then cleaned up the mesh to make it water tight and ready to print before exporting from Maya,” explained Crowther. “This was roughly 24 hours of work over about a week in my spare time.”

film1

10 models, one for each frame of film

Each of the 10 prints were fabricated on the Stratasys machine in approximately 10 hours. He then used a laser cutter to create a base for each print, and photographed them all from the exact same position. Using Adobe After Effects, he was then able to loop the photos he took, and export to a video format.  As you can see in the video, he showed the animation from a few different angles.

“It has been a valuable experience using 3D printing and I hope to experiment and work with it more on upcoming projects,” stated Crowther.

Let’s hear your thoughts on Crowthers work in the 3D printed stop-motion lion film forum thread on 3DPB.com.

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