Brief, but interesting article about the rapid prototyping technology used in the new stop-motion feature film Coraline.
The Objet RP Polyjet technology uses photopolymer resin that is housed in cartridges and sprayed down in extremely thin 16 micron layers, four times thinner than the average human hair. As it’s sprayed down in liquid form, UV lights cure each layer, hardening instantaneously. Though the process is relatively fast, a heavy model would take up too much time on the printer so each model had to have the perfect amount of detail without relying on a heavy model, detail that changed depending on the shot. Laika had to print perhaps 70 tiny half faces at a time, building what they called “kits” for various expressions, kits that had to be produced with a rapid turnover. Throughout the production the artists were continually streamlining the models to give as much detail as needed while reducing the printing time to keep up with demand. Even though the Coraline puppet was designed at less than ten inches tall allowing the sets to be smaller and conserving space, the side effect was everything was smaller. Her hands were so small they were basically the same size as the armature inside.
[Sent to us by MAKE subscriber Kurt Roedeger. Thanks, Kurt!]