Nov 20, 2015 | By Kira

On the radio, TV, billboards and in shopping malls, we’re already being bombarded with loud, obnoxious Christmas-themed ads dangling the latest deals or hottest gifts in our faces, constantly reminding us of the pressure to shop-shop-shop until we’ve found the perfect gift (and then some) for every person in our lives. Yet what is lost in so much of these Christmas campaigns is the liveliness and sparkle of the season—colorful lights, dazzling snow, and loved ones just having fun together. For a recent ident for television station TV3 Denmark, a group of designers at MTG created a cheerful 20-second clip, showing tiny gnomes lighting up a Winter Wonderland, that truly brings the spirit of the holiday to life through 3D printed stop-motion animation.

When TV3 Denmark initially told the MTG Creative team that they wanted something ‘different’ for this year’s Christmas ident, creative lead and motion graphics designer Maciej Gorski knew right away that 3D printing would play a role. He had convinced his manager to buy an Ultimaker 2 one year before and had been playing around with it on his own, but felt that this was at last his opportunity to do something on a bigger scale, and really show off just what 3D printing is capable of. In the final product, every single element apart from the snow and the trees ended up being 3D printed.

“We chose to use the 3D printer to create everything simply because after a year’s worth of using it, I felt that I had become quite the expert and wanted to test myself and prove to all the people doubting me that it could be done and would cost very little compared to commercial printing processes such as Shapeways or resin printing, which may be better quality in some instances, but exponentially more expensive,” explained Gorski to

In fact, he jumped at the chance even though he knew it would be a gamble: “It was my first time making my own stop motion figures and doing anything on this scale, but seeing as I had been testing the 3D printer thoroughly beforehand I felt comfortable as long as it would not break down on me.”

Luckily, the 3D print enthusiast was not alone. The MTG Creative Team included Ian Clarke (art direction and concept), Eugenia Barbazza (set build/story boards, art direction and concept), Robert Horvath (3d modelling, electrics and set build) and Konstantine Nikolov (3D modelling and animations), all of whom devoted their time and skills from pitch to air.

Each of the 3D models was designed in Maya, where everything from the gnomes’ walk cycles and poses to additional background objects, were meticulously crafted. “I was in charge of 3D printing everything so if I needed something made, then I would ask Robert or [Konstantine] to make it for me, and then analyze it to make sure it would print ok,” said Gorski. Once approved, he pulled out the Ultimaker 2, and 3D printed everything with Colourfabb PLA and UM PLA filament.

“Everything is 3D printed apart from the snow and the trees. Due to time restrictions I had to make casts out of the house prints and make resin versions of them as well as the chimneys roofs and bridges. The gnomes took about 18 hours per tray, but it varied due to the odd numbers of gnomes I would be printing as well as the settings I would print them at. Also for time reasons, I printed the backs of some gnomes in a lower quality as you would never see them anyways. The large ‘3 logo’ was printed in 5 parts and cast after for easy handling.”

Though short, the final clip is a pleasure to watch, particularly as the 3D printed gnomes’ actions—from skiing, to falling down chimneys, to cheerily laughing at each other—are all as smooth as if they were filmed in live action rather than stop motion.

“It was great fun making it, and a great learning experience,” said Gorski, although he added that it may be a while before more 3D designers and motion graphics artists decide to adopt 3D printing as a viable artistic choice. “I have used single objects in videos before feel that people don’t understand the potential to print anything to film specifically as the finished print requires treatment before its file-able, and that seems to put people off as they never know what they will see until its made.”

Perhaps with more 3D printed stop-motion films like this one, as well as other examples such as Laika’s The Boxtrolls or Gilles-Alexandre Deschaud’s Chase Me, more and more designers will see the cheerful, lively, and in this case, totally Christmas-y possibilities of 3D printed stop-motion art.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



Maybe you also like:


Johnathon wrote at 8/23/2016 2:56:41 PM:

What did you use for the snow?

Leave a comment:

Your Name:


Subscribe us to Feeds twitter facebook   

About provides the latest news about 3D printing technology and 3D printers. We are now seven years old and have around 1.5 million unique visitors per month.

News Archive