Objet Geometries is an Israeli company with some nifty new 3D printers. They did a press release recently that got some play: 3D Printers Play Starring Role in New Animated Film Coraline. The story goes like this. Coraline is a stop-motion animated movie. That is, people are moving little puppets around a big model house and taking snapshots to make a movie one frame at a time. But making these little puppets is hard. So why not use 3D printing to create them? Here’s an example of how it works.
I love 3D printing, so my first thought was: how cool.
But there’s something very odd about this. They’re going from the computer model to a 3D printout to create a video frame that’s stored on a computer. That sounds to me like a very painful way to do computer-generated graphics. Something like carving your email on a tree trunk and flinging it at your friend. Or scratching a note on the back of your cell phone and gluing it to a postcard.
I know that photography of real scenery lit by honest-to-goodness light has a special richness that movie makers crave. And stop-motion animators are an obsessive bunch. But it’s so expensive and loopy compared to the computer graphics it resembles that I have to think this genre is a dying breed.