Colour 3D/4D Printing for Film
The value of materiality and tactility is vital to enriching our experience of the world. We understand these interactions implicitly, and can see when they are portrayed incorrectly in film. CGI (Computer Generated Imagery) can seem disconnected from the actor, yet practical special effects are constrained by reality. Recently, the 3D printing company Stratasys released a colour, multi-material printer called the J750, which has the capacity to create full colour, flexible articulating prints. This technology gives us the opportunity to find a balance between CGI and practical effects, harnessing the freedom of digital making together with the tactility of physical interaction. Building on the conclusions generated by Ross Stevens’ and Bernard Guy’s work “Lissom”, this study explores how CGO (Computer Generated Objects) can be used by physical prop-makers to enhance the perception of reality in the increasingly digital film industry.
Textual analysis of special effects films shows that CGI and practical effects influence films through Narrative, Audience Experience, Spectacle, Visual Branding and Believability. Through material testing and critical iterative creation, this research defines the skills and knowledge required to effectively design special effects using the J750. Liaising with overseas print bureaus, I also use my knowledge to facilitate other students’ use of the J750, allowing me to analyse the strengths and weaknesses of this technology from a thematic perspective. In addition to this, I also conduct my own prototyping tests to understand how to exploit the technology at a more advanced level. This range of technical and contextual knowledge ultimately result in the production of two final prototypes, which reflect different aspects of my research. These final prototypes will be presented in short films, which will be reflected upon to suggest conclusions on the future 3D printing may have in the film industry.