Sep 18, 2016 | By Nick

You might not have seen it, but a 3D printer had a major role in one of the biggest blockbusters of the summer. Without additive manufacturing, the producers simply could not have achieved the right look for the villain in X-Men: Apocalypse.

Oscar Isaac played the villain in the title role. He is the world’s first mutant and this God-like creature has returned to destroy the Earth. He was an Egyptian King named En Sabah Nur, who was entombed alive. He awoke in 1983 and was swiftly dismayed by the world. He made the decision to destroy humanity and start again, which turned out to be a bad move in the end.

As the X-Men franchise is known for its bold, beautiful costumes, a villain of this magnitude simply had to have serious visual impact.

 “We wanted him to feel larger than other people in the movie physically," producer and screenwriter Simon Kinberg told INSIDER. "We wanted him to have that sort of ancient, mythic God-like look to him."

The team started with the normal round of sketches to decide on the look and feel, before producing a series of custom fabrics that would form the basis of the costume.

But there were complex pieces that they simply could not produce any other way. So the costume designers turned to 3D printing for 13 moving components of the heavyweight outfit.

Costume designer Louise Mingenbach decided to go for a layered, complex look that combines elements of Ancient Egypt and Rome with high-tech metallic material finishes. 3D printing is tailor-made for this kind of job.

Although the costume has to have the look of metal, that would be incredibly heavy. Isaac may be a great actor and he is riding high after starring roles in Star Wars, Ex Machina and more, but he still doesn’t have real God-like strength and he simply couldn’t move if the costume was as heavy as it looks. It also had to be fast to put on and take off, as filming runs to a strict schedule and Isaac’s starring role meant he was on set multiple times during the day.

“I basically had my own pit crew,” explained Isaacs. “They would come in and take it off between takes and they got so fast with it.”

The chest plate, shoulder piece, gauntlets, gloves, boots, leg adornments and helmet attachments all combined to give Apocalypse a larger physical presence. This is the ninth instalment of the X-Men movies and each one has been bigger and better than the last.

The villain plays a pivotal role and the team went all out to create a character that we truly believe could put an end to the world and the hitherto unbeaten X-Men superhero team.

It also wanted to take elements of science fiction movies when it came to this particular costume and take the X-Men franchise in a new direction.

There’s no doubt that the costume was a success, but Isaac suffered for his art. Despite the lightweight construction of the 3D printed ‘armor’, and the fact that the team could remove some of it between takes, the costume was still relatively hot. Isaac suffered with the heat under the filming lights and couldn’t simply take off everything after each take.

So the producers borrowed a system from motor racing and gave Isaac a cooling vest. Essentially this works the same way as a car radiator, narrow and flexible pipes run through a piece of clothing and the team could hook Isaacs up to a pump and run cold water through the system to help him cool down after every wrap. In the end the team had an assistant and a mobile pump so as soon as filming finished, he was hooked up to the cooling system on the spot.

It was a titanic effort from the designers, the 3D printers and Isaacs himself. But the results meant it was more than worth it for everybody involved. Isaacs has cemented himself as one of the great movie bad guys and X-Men: Apocalypse took more than $155 million at the box office and was one of the biggest films of 2016.

From our point of view, it proved that 3D printing is an invaluable addition to the movie maker’s arsenal. Now the only limit when it comes to their costumes is their imagination. When we’re dealing with some of the best storytellers in the world, that means that we’re going to see some truly special 3D printed effects in the years ahead. We can't wait.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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Eddy-XCap Community wrote at 9/20/2016 12:37:33 AM:

Can't wait to see more 3D printing in fashion and set design.

mike wrote at 9/19/2016 11:06:38 PM:

so interested

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