Fields of application 02. 08. 2017

3D printing in the spotlight

We've been hearing about the use of 3D printing in industries such as jewelry,automotive, music, healthcare andaerospace for some time now, and now the entertainment and art world is starting to benefit from this technology as well. In August, with the vacations, we have more time for entertainment and cultural activities, so where are we likely to see, often without knowing it, 3D printing applications?

At the circus

The Canadian company Cirque du Soleil is known for its magical shows with breathtaking acrobatics and original costumes. Cirque du Soleil has been using 3D printing for a few years now for very specific needs, but the company has just decided to go further. Indeed, for the past few months, it has been using 3D printing for its costumes in the show Kooza. The artists even have a 3D printer that follows them on tour. This allows the troupe to create or repair props, usually worked on by hand, much faster and more efficiently: the work time can be divided by four and the materials used allow the prop to be more resistant and break less easily. The example put forward by the Cirque du Soleil: the king's crown in this show required 60 hours of work by hand, today with the 3D printer 16 hours are enough to make it. Moreover, the prop is more solid because it is made of a flexible material and it is recyclable. A small revolution in the world of entertainment!

At the cinema

The first animated short film entirely made in 3D printing was created by Gilles-Alexandre Deschaud. " Chase Me " required more than 2,500 parts, from characters to sets, made using this technology. The film was rewarded by the community, notably at the Paris Short Film Festival. But this was not the first time that 3D printing was used for a film. Indeed, Gilles-Alexandre was inspired by Henry Selick who used 3D printing for the faces of the characters in his animated film " Coraline ".

Making of Chase Me from Gilles Deschaud on Vimeo.

You would be surprised to see the number of objects and accessories made by 3D printing in your favorite movies: Iron Man's costume perfectly adapted to the actor's morphology, Thor's hammer, the velociraptors' head in Jurrassic World, ... And so many others!

On television

Like every summer, the show Fort Boyard is back on the small screen. This year, new game elements have been added to the Council in the Tic-tac-toe duel: Time Master and snake figurines replace the traditional crosses and circles of the classic game. The same models are used for the two snake statuettes that guard the door of the Judgment Hall. It took 240 hours to print the 12 figures, each about 20 centimeters high. The show used 3D printing to print these complex shaped pieces in a few copies and in record time.

On stage

New Movement Collective, a British dance company, used the " Slow Life Scanning " technique to capture the movements of dancers by scanning them. The dancers had to perform their movements slowly in front of a laser. Thanks to 3D printing, these choreographies could be reproduced in sculpture. This final result, initially created to create a visual experience, also allowed to improve the artistic and scenic precision of the dancers.

At the museum

From March to June 2017, the Centre Pompidou honored 3D printing through its "Print the World" exhibition, which focused on this technology and the influence it has in different fields through works by some 30 artists. The exhibition focused on three areas in particular: music, architecture and design. The selection of works included design objects, architectural prototypes, innovative laboratory projects, all of which used technology as a critical tool for experimentation.

A few examples: Mathias Bengtsson has created a table in additive manufacturing of titanium whose complex shapes are inspired by nature, Raphaël Thibault and Hyun-Hwa Cho have designed an immersive installation, in the form of a double video projection with sculptures made in 3D printing...

In addition to pure creations, 3D printing is also used in art for :

  • the realization of reproductions. The most telling example is the Venus Art program, which reproduces the paintings of the greatest painters through a combination of 3D scanning and relief printing.
  • heritage preservation, such as Morehshin Allahyari who, in order to preserve the cultural heritage destroyed by theIslamic State, has undertaken to print millenary statuettes by making 3D files from photographs.
  • the transformation from 2D to 3D with the example of the Render3Art collective who modeled street-art to make sculptures.


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