In theaters across the world, fans watch in amazement as lifelike costumes and props take centre stage in blockbuster movies. We’ve all been spoiled by advanced CGI (computer generated imagery), sitting back as we admire an ultra-realistic ocean glistening below a hovering alien mother-ship on screen.
The list of computer generated images is endless, and some movies rely entirely on these graphical reproductions.
Luckily, 3D printing is stepping in to add some much needed realness to our favourite flicks. The Iron Man movie series serves as a prime example – with an untold number of suits having been 3D printed by Legacy Effects for all 3 Iron Man titles.
|One of Tony Stark’s Various Iron Man Suits
(Image taken from Wordofthenerdonline.com)
One can only imagine the amount of time and precision required to produce such works of art, and Lead Systems Engineer at Legacy Effects, Jason Lopes, can attest to this.
In this short interview with Bloomberg, Lopes gives a quick breakdown on why 3D printing is rapidly replacing older methods of costume creation.
Lopes states that, as a traditional special effects studio that once relied on high-quality animatronics and sculpting (to name a few), it was essential that they kept up to date with the latest technological trends.
Besides the impressive Iron Man suit on their resume, Legacy Effects have also produced models for other smash hits like Real Steel and Pacific Rim. The ‘Noisy Boy’ a fully-operational, hydraulic robot created for the Real Steel feature film, reportedly costed tens of thousands of dollars to complete.
The video below titled ‘3D Printing is Revolutionizing Special Effects’ sees the team behind Legacy Effects going in detail about how additive manufacturing is changing their work lives. Sculptors are now expanding their skill sets, substituting stone age sculpting for futuristic 3D printing.
While Legacy Effects remains an alpha male of the 3D printing prop and costume world, others are also making a name for themselves. According to 3DPrintingIndustry.com, Terry Gilliam – the world famous writer, director and actor – requested a cutting edge movie prop for his new movie, ‘The Zero Theorem.’
Of course – it had to be 3D printed – and Gilliam reportedly selected FATHOM and North Design Labs to craft this space-age device. North provided the creative mojo while FATHOM delivered in the technical department, a combination which resulted in this movie prop:
|Movie Prop for Sci-Fi Flick ‘The Zero Theorem’
(Image taken from Article.wn.com)
This convincing, alien gadget gets plenty of screen time, housing a Samsung Galaxy Tablet and acting as a interactive mini-computer. According to 3DPrinterWorld.com, the entire device was 3D printed and assembled within a couple of days.
It was printed by an Objet500 Connex, a high-range printer capable of printing numerous materials in a single session.
|The Awesome Objet500 Connex
(Image taken from Stratasys.com)
Not only are these exciting products being sold to mega-rich movie companies, but mega-rich customers too. According to techeblog.com, the cleverly named ‘Iron Man Factory’ situated in Shenzhen, China, is producing replicas that cost an arm and a leg.
At $35,000, the 3D printed, carbon-fiber Iron Man suit is hardly going to be selling like hotcakes, but is sure to tickle serious fans’ fancy.
Less wealthy Iron Man aficionados out there can also settle for the non-3D printed version for only $2,000 dollars.
These are only the beginnings of a very promising lunge into the movie industry. It’s no surprise Hollywood is taking notice of 3D printing – as time constraints become greater – faster, rapid prototyping methods of production will quickly gain precedence.
Albeit expensive, 3D printing has too many advantages not to be taken seriously.