Licensing of the 3D printing driver „Cuttlefish“ (Version 2016) for printing faces used in replacement animation for the stop motion animation movie “Missing Link” (24 faces / second film and character). Each face consists of multiple overlapping textured parts (skin, eye brows, teeth, tongue, palatine). 106000 faces were printed in total. The movie will be released on April 12, 2019.
The greatest challenge is that a huge variety of colors are used to create lifelike models—but each shade must correspond exactly to the one used in the previous frame. This is where Cuttlefish is truly in its element. Academy Award® nominee Brian McLean serves as LAIKA’s Director of Rapid Prototype and has a long history of using 3D printers in stop motion. In fact, in 2016 he was awarded a Scientific and Engineering Oscar® plaque for pioneering the use of 3D printing in stop motion animation. “We have been using 3D printers for stop motion since LAIKA’s first film Coraline. For our recent film Missing Link, we leveraged Fraunhofer IGD technologies and it afforded us unrivaled color consistency and geometric accuracy. By combining the Cuttlefish software with Stratasys J750 hardware we were able to create the most sophisticated color 3D printed faces ever produced.”
Cuttlefish is a universal printer driver, meaning it can be employed for diverse 3D printing technologies. The driver makes it possible to simultaneously work with multiple printing materials. In addition, it enables the shapes, colors, and subtle color transitions of the original to be reproduced with high fidelity, and allows objects to be simulated onscreen prior to printing. In 2018, Fraunhofer IGD’s developers overcame their latest hurdle: with Cuttlefish, it is now possible to print translucent, i.e., partially to fully transparent, materials. Moreover, the dispersion of light through the object and changes in hues and surface textures in accordance with incidental light can be taken into account.