The 3-D animated zombie movie, Paranorman, debuted in theaters this past weekend to critical and commercial success. Why am I writing about an animated film in a marketing blog you might ask? PRINT!
Yes, print technology made the depth of animation and the thousands of facial expressions possible for this film. Laika studios took full advantage of Rapid Prototype, or 3D printing techniques to create the seemingly endless array of textures and features required to transform this stop-motion animation feature. When using clay, the options are limited, and this emerging 3D print technology fixes many issues with clay. “Stop-motion has always had the advantage of beautiful sets, atmospheres and textures,” says Brian McLean, Laika’s director of rapid prototyping. “But the facial performances have always been a little limited. Now, with the advent of 3-D printing, there are no limitations.”
So, although not “printing” in the traditional sense, it made me think of how far print technology has come in the past twenty years. I printed out my school reports on a DOT MATRIX printer. That thing took forever! Fast forward to home color printers, and inkjet and laser technologies! Nowadays, commercial printers can print over 1000 letter-size impressions per minute with variable impressions on every page. Much faster than my dot matrix. Print technology continues to evolve daily.
Although you might not benefit from moldings to create your own stop-motion feature, you can certainly benefit from variable QR code printing, or personalization based on demographic data from your database. With print technology advancements, the applications also increase. Imagine the day where you marketing partner can produce 3D incarnations of objects personalized to each recipient (see video below)! Print technology is becoming more advanced and more affordable every day, and the applications of this technology can reach you as far as the imagination can go, even if the results are little “ParaNorman!”