3D print large props and molds with the Form 3L for the second season of “Raised by Wolves”

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3D printing promises to be a game-changer in the fast-paced, time-bound world of the film industry. Not only does it unlock all the benefits of a digital workflow, reliably and accurately replicating these assets in the physical world, but it also frees up the workforce to focus on more creative tasks. .

Dreamsmith’s Studio believes that the Form3L 3D printer from Formlabs will “revolutionize” props and makeup effects in the film and television industry after deploying the machine during the production of Raised by wolves season two.

For 3D printing to be of value to the studio, it had to match the details that could be achieved with traditional techniques, but also reproduce them at a scale large enough to be useful.

It also had to be reliable, accurate and easy to use. With tight deadlines and budgetary constraints, breakdowns and repairs had to be kept to a minimum. For Dreamsmith, it proved extremely difficult to find a printer that met all of these requirements and was not cost-prohibitive.

The Form 3L printer ticked all the boxes for the studio. It has a build volume of 33.5 x 20.0 x 30 cm with a resolution of 25 microns, all supported by PreForm software which makes the package more reliable and easier to use. The machine also uses a variety of resins that make it a powerful tool, which has revolutionized Dreamsmith’s workflow in two years.

Dreamsmith tried for several years to integrate 3D printing into their workflow, but after much trial and error, the team resigned themselves to the fact that for now 3D printing would only be a tool. more in the studio’s arsenal, and not the revolution he was hoping for.

Here are five examples of how the Form 3L machine has helped improve Dreamsmith Studio’s workflow. Beware, some of them may contain gruesome details about props made for the show.

Example 1: Replace Life-Casting

The designers were tasked with producing a hyper-realistic silicone replica of an actress’ body. One that must have hung around his neck, with half of his face missing.

Traditionally, a lengthy process would have been used here, involving a silicone cast where the actress’ face would be covered in silicone and plaster to create a disposable mould.

Then a clay cast would have been made from the mould, which would then have additional details needed for the hand-sculpted scene.

The clay sculpture would then be reshaped using epoxy resin and fiberglass. From there, the silicone replica head would be created, which would have taken three weeks. At least three experienced artists and technicians would have been needed to oversee the process.

Once the replica of the head was created, it would then have to be painted, and to achieve the required hyper-realism, the laborious task of punching out every hair on the head would be given to an unfortunate member of the team.

This process would have taken about a month in total from start to finish.

Jaco Snyman, prosthetic designer at Dreamsmith Studio, talked about the new method of creating the replica head using 3D printing. He said: “It allowed us to move to a digital pipeline, working from a very precise 3D scan of the actress. It eliminated the need for the invasive life casting process, making everything much more comfortable for the actress.

The ZBrush digital sculpting solution was used to digitally add the additional sculptural details required. By making the process digital, the whole process becomes non-invasive and repeatable, and is entirely fluid. Allow for big creative changes if needed after director’s feedback.

The mold is printed overnight and is then ready for processing the next day. The new workflow allows the team to spend more time on the most important step in terms of final production value, the finishing touch. The final stages of the product no longer have to be rushed, which was often the case with traditional methods.

Example 2: Create complex shapes

The Form 3L allowed the studio to produce in-house rather than outsourcing parts to a machine shop, which was often the case when using traditional manufacturing techniques.

The biggest hurdle for Dreamsmith now is the limits of creativity, which is an exciting place for the studio.

In the image above is a mask that would have been a very difficult prop to make without 3D printing.

The mask had to combine both organic and geometric details. It needed an immaculate outer layer of geometric shapes, all based on the organic, asymmetrical shape of the actress’s face.

There was also a material issue, the final mask had to be silicone, which necessitated the need for a mold as the studio could not print in silicone.

For the end result to be achieved, a 3D scan of the actress was needed and the team also needed the software to create the digital asset and design the digital mold, as well as a 3D printer large enough and accurate enough to print the mold.

The studio was able to fit the entire mold onto a single build plate, dramatically reducing print time. Using Formlabs Rigid 10K Resin, the final mold was extremely precise resulting in a near perfect final mask.

Example 3: Printing impossible shapes

Some designs are facilitated by 3D printing and others are entirely. The image above is of a life-size biomechanical skeleton, an intricately detailed prop with geometric flow that would have been an extremely difficult item to sculpt in clay and nearly impossible to mold with traditional techniques.

The studio decided to create this design, named “Grandmother Skeleton”, only because the team was able to 3D print it. Impossible 3D-printed shapes and interlocking gears have been possible for some time, but the studio needed the ability to be accurate to a useful scale.

A life-size skeleton was needed, which was made possible by the Form 3L. The build volume of the machine made it possible to print the entire prop in convenient high-resolution chunks. Dreamsmith says the prop would have been virtually and financially impossible to create without the use of the Form 3L.

Example 4: Printing large parts quickly

One of the studio’s prerequisites when choosing a printer was that it had to be able to print an entire human head.

The duplicate mummy head of the mother seen in the image above was printed in one go on the Form 3L. This left the team with a perfect resin replica of the actress’ face that could be carefully painted to match.

The prop wouldn’t have held up in close-up, however, and was purpose-built for the final shot as seen above. Being able to use the resin print directly from the printer, which was just detailed enough to hold at this distance, saved a huge amount of time, material and money.

Even though this model would have taken the same amount of time to create using traditional methods, the cheaper price made it the best option in the budget conscious world of the film industry.

Example 5: Hybrid Workflows

Although Dreamsmith has replaced some traditional methods entirely with 3D printing, they have combined it with some conventional techniques to create hybrid workflows in some cases.

The Paul Cocoon is an example of how the studio has combined traditional manufacturing techniques with 3D printing. The cocoon required malleable scaly skin that could move with the poseable dummy inside.

Normally to make something like this a very large and expensive mold would be needed, but the scales are organic and can be put together like a puzzle. This meant that it made sense to make the skin on the dummy by hand, eliminating the need for such a mould.

A large amount of scaled texture pieces would be needed though. 3D printing was the obvious solution for Dreamsmith Studio due to its ability to accurately and quickly reproduce intricate details.

A series of flat textured molds of different sizes that can be used to cast silicone tiles have been printed. The tiles were then used to make the cocoon.

The film industry is a very demanding industry and working in it poses many problems every day. Having a hybrid workflow enabled by the Form 3L has proven to be a powerful tool for the studio in the face of industry demands.

In the wings

Raised by wolves the second season was the first time that Dreamsmith Studio relied heavily on 3D printing workflows. Most of the methods used had only been considered in theory before being tried this time.

After having such success with the Form 3L printer in the show’s second season, the props studio said it will apply what was learned in larger, more demanding projects in the future. .

Four Form 3Ls are now in Dreamsmith’s fleet and there is now a level of productivity at the studio that would have been impossible before.

The fully digital workflow allows the team to work remotely. Full character prostheses can be scanned, designed, sculpted and cast, then shipped anywhere in the world without the team needing to physically travel or the client having to wait for the arrival of fragile packages.

A look into the future

After adopting the Form3L and experimenting with several materials from the Formlabs resin library, Snyman and his team began creating prosthetic makeup molds for what is currently a secret project, slated for release in 2023.

The design team switched to a fully digital process to achieve prosthetic makeup effects. It starts with a 3D scan of the actor, digitally sculpting the prosthetic makeup, and using a hybrid silicone molding technique with a thin layer of silicone sandwiched between a 3D printed mold shell and a 3D printed corrected base.

Dreamsmith emphasized that the method completely revolutionizes the way the studio operates. The team can now produce make-up prostheses in six times less time, at an affordable price.

Other benefits include the ability to scan actors’ faces from anywhere in the world, making it easier to work remotely before busy filming schedules.


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