Coraline 3D printing

3D Printing & Imaging Craft & Design
Coraline 3D printing

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.

One Step at a Time for the Puppet of a Thousand Faces

[Sent to us by MAKE subscriber Kurt Roedeger. Thanks, Kurt!]

6 thoughts on “Coraline 3D printing

  1. says:

    Wow, I had NO IDEA. I knew something was ‘different’ from the ads, but I’m going to have to go see this one for the CG. Thanks, Kurt!

  2. John Maushammer says:

    It’s a terrific movie – one of my favorites in a long time. Be sure to stay after the credits & they show a bit of animation before it’s cleaned up — with all the armatures and strings holding everything in place.

  3. KurtRoedeger says:

    I’m glad others enjoyed reading this. So YAY for a bout of insomnia that had me up at 3am on a Saturday morning reading Neil Gaiman’s blog. After reading it, first thing I did was Ctrl-T for a new tab and brought up Make because I figured other makers would like seeing this.


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Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. And he has a new best-of writing collection and “lazy man’s memoir,” called Borg Like Me.

View more articles by Gareth Branwyn