Thursday, September 13, 2012

ParaNorman: The First Animated Zombie Comedy Created through 3D Printing

If your town is attacked by zombies and ghosts, who do you call? Norman Babcock. He is a misunderstood boy from a small New England town who is the main protagonist of the 2012 American 3D stop-motion animated comedy horror film ParaNorman. This is his heroic story of saving his hometown from a century-old curse.

Sounds like an ordinary animated movie, right? Not really. ParaNorman is actually the first stop-motion movie to use a rapid prototyping machine, a 3-D color printer that creates objects instead of paper, to produce more expressive puppets. This allowed the animators to create large numbers of puppets rapidly and easily. The result is a movie that looks more like an animation than a stop-motion.

Produced by Laika Entertainment, the production team used hundreds of layers of fine white plaster-vinyl powder sprayed with ink to create the 1.5 million expressions of Norman and the rest of the 27 characters. Norman’s eye rig alone is composed of 40 3D printed parts, which allows the character to look up, down, right, and left.

The studio used Canon EOS 5D Mark II DSLR to film the movie instead of using the traditional 3D format cameras. Each frame is shot twice; the second shot is taken from a different viewpoint so when knitted together the result is a seamless animated film.

The production stage lasted three years, with the two years spent for the animation stage of production. Watch the official trailer of the movie here.      

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