Jan 24, 2016 | By Kira

When Disney’s Frozen came out three years ago, millions of children and adults fell in love with Olaf, the goofy, buck-toothed snowman who happens to be obsessed with summer. Olaf is also a popular character in Disney Infinity, an action-adventure video game that synchronizes physical, collectible figurines of famous Disney characters with the game system to unlock special content. Now, a special ‘behind the scenes’ video from Disney’s Boxed series reveals the entire process of creating of a 3D printed Olaf Disney Infinity Figure, from 2D concept art, to 3D printing, to its final boxing.

The 2/12 minute long Making of an Infinity Figure video is a great insider’s look into just how much care and attention to detail goes into each 3D printed Disney Infinity figure—particularly at the level of 3D sculpting in ZBrush by Pixologic, and 3D printing using high-precision SLA 3D printing technology.

The first step in the creation of a Disney Infinity figure is creating the 2D sketch. At this stage, concept artists must carefully adapt the original design of the character to the Infinity game’s iconic computer-animated look.

Once the flat, 2D concept is complete, ZBrush 3D sculpting artist Shane Olson swoops in to transform it into a full, 3D rendering of the character that can walk, talk and move just like in the movie. For Olaf, that meant recreating his wide, toothy smile and wobbly, clown-like walk.  This 3D rendering will be used both to create the in-game character, and as a digital model to 3D print the actual Disney Infinity figurine.

The next stop on this behind the scenes video tour is the 3D Printing Room, where Olson’s 3D model of Olaf truly comes to life, emerging as a physical 3D object from a pool of murky grey goo. Of course, 3D printing enthusiasts will know that that ‘grey goo’ is actually the resin used in SLA (stereolithography) 3D printing. In this process, a UV laser draws a pre-programmed design into the surface of a vat of photopolymer resin, causing the resin to solidify one layer at a time.

SLA 3D printing is widely recognized as being more precise and accurate than FDM 3D printing, producing high-resolution objects with a much finer level of detail. This precision can clearly be seen on the 3D printed Olaf in Disney’s video, whose skinny twig-like arms have been recreated with amazing accuracy.

The next steps are to carefully remove the support structures, and sand down any rough edges, seams or blemishes before priming and assembling the various 3D printed parts. Now, our 3D printed Olaf is ready to be painted. The video shows talented artists carefully hand painting every precise detail, from his expressive eyebrows to a tiny purple flower that is attached to the base. The attention to detail is truly stunning, but we wouldn’t expect anything less from Disney at this point.

Finally, assembled, painted, and programmed, the video shows our 3D printed Olaf placed onto the game console and magically transported directly into the Disney Infinity game onscreen. It’s been quite the process, getting from 2D concept to 3D printed model, to 3D video game character—but that’s all in a regular day’s work for your average Disney Infinity figurine.

The Disney Boxed ‘making of’ video gives some great insight into how beloved Disney characters are brought to life via 3D modeling and 3D printing technology. Check it out in full below:

 

 

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