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Feature film animation studio LAIKA, founded in 2005 and headquartered in Portland, Oregon, is no stranger to using 3D printing technology in its award-winning animated films, including stop motion features like ParaNorman and The Boxtrolls, Coraline, and Kubo and The Two Strings. All of these amazing films were nominated for Oscars, as well as other awards, and starting this weekend, the Portland Art Museum (PAM), together with the Northwest Film Center, is honoring the studio with a unique retrospective exhibit, titled “Animating Life: The Art, Science, and Magic of LAIKA” and sponsored by leading 3D printing solutions provider Stratasys.

Stratasys PolyJet 3D printing solutions empower LAIKA to develop realistic, full-color 3D models.

“For more than a decade, the visionaries at LAIKA have revolutionized the way animated films are made – tapping into the newest technology innovations and creating the most memorable theater experiences,” said Rich Garrity, President of Americas, at Stratasys. “The studio capitalizes on 3D printing for unprecedented design freedom, streamlined development processes, and creation of the most unique, custom characters. LAIKA’s advanced use of our 3D printing technology is not only breaking new barriers in film-making, but expanding what’s now possible across 3D printing in general to encourage use across a diverse range of businesses. We consider LAIKA a valued and collaborative partner, opening new doors for what our customers can achieve.”

LAIKA has been a collaborative partner with Stratasys for over ten years, and uses nine of its PolyJet-based 3D printers, including the full-color, multi-material Connex3 and J750, to bring its colorful ideas and characters to life. The studio leverages Stratasys’ 3D printing solutions to create, modify, and produce quality prototypes and stop-motion models with high detail and speed.

Animator Chris Tootell guides Coraline through an orchard of popcorn blossoms. [Image: LAIKA]

These versatile 3D printers are perfect for the studio animators’ requirements – the J750 3D printer offers 3D printing solutions in over 360,000 colors, gradients, textures, and transparencies. What’s even better is that the creations LAIKA makes with the J750 can be created in one single print, with very little post-processing and finishing steps like sanding or painting.

“Bringing inanimate objects to life is one of the oldest forms of movie magic. By harnessing the power of 3D printers, we are able to create emotions and subtle facial performances never before seen in stop-motion animation,” said Brian McLean, LAIKA’s Director of Rapid Prototyping and winner of a Scientific and Engineering Oscar last year for pioneering Rapid Prototyping in character animation. “It is this technology – combined with the amazing talents of so many different creative disciplines within LAIKA – that allow us to tell really complex and enduring stories.”

LAIKA’s Oscar-Nominated “Kubo and the Two Strings” pushes the boundaries of stop-motion animation with innovative 3D printed characters.

LAIKA is able to use Stratasys’ 3D printing solutions, which offer amazing design freedom, to quickly and cost-effectively develop multiple lifelike character models 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and you’ll be able to enjoy these characters at the PAM exhibit, which runs from October 14th, 2017 through May 20th, 2018.

[Image: LAIKA via Facebook]

You can already purchase tickets for the retrospective exhibit, which will showcase topics like the studio’s use of 3D printing to create colorful puppet faces for its stop motion films. Executives from Stratasys recently participated in a Press Preview for the exhibit, and today – Friday the 13th – at 9:00 AM Pacific Coast Time, there will be a Facebook Live tour of the exhibit ahead of opening day, hosted on LAIKA’s Facebook page.

As they explore the studio’s creative process, visitors will be able to check out behind-the-scenes artwork, photography, and video clips from LAIKA’s films, and explore its costumes, puppets, props, sets, and production design as well. The Northwest Film Center will also be presenting programming that displays the studio’s work, as well as the evolution of stop-motion animation; it will also offer multiple animation classes, workshops, and visiting artist programs.

[Image: PAM via Twitter]

“We believe storytelling is an important part of who we are. LAIKA embraces our great privilege to tell stories by creating films that bring people together, kindle imaginations and inspire people to dream,” said LAIKA’s President and CEO Travis Knight, who also directed Kubo and The Two Strings. “We are proud to be able to showcase our creative process through this partnership with the Portland Art Museum, one of the country’s greatest art institutions, and the Northwest Film Center. Art in its finest forms speaks to our shared humanity, opening us up to new ways of thinking and feeling and helping us to recognize the hidden connectivity of all things. With this exhibit, LAIKA, PAM, and the Northwest Film Center have created something that can be part of that communal process of change and connection.”

If you’re planning a trip to Portland, make time in your itinerary to check out the “Animating Life: The Art, Science, and Magic of LAIKA” exhibit at the Portland Art Museum.

Discuss this and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com, or share your thoughts below.

 

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