Nov 13, 2017 | By Tess

I’m embarrassed to admit it, but I haven’t yet seen Thor: Ragnarok, despite my excitement for the latest instalment of the Marvel film franchise. Regardless of my slowness in getting to the movie theater, however, I was still incredibly excited to learn that one of my favorite actresses, Cate Blanchett, who plays Hela, the villain to Chris Hemsworth’s Thor, was donning a 3D printed headdress for the role.

The impressive headpiece is described in a recent video posted by Adam Savage’s webseries “Tested,” in which Jose Fernandez the lead creative artist at Ironhead Studio—which was responsible for the costume prop—explains the process of creating the both spider and antler-like design.

Firstly, before designing Hela’s signature headwear, the Ironhead team captured a 3D scan of actress Cate Blanchett’s head, so that the design could be custom-fitted to her cranial dimensions. (You can see a most uncanny model of Blanchett’s head in the video!)

With that out of the way, the team went about designing a dramatic headpiece which could be worn comfortably enough and which would not require extensive pieces to attach it to the wearer’s head.

Once the design was finalized, the antlers were 3D printed as individual pieces using an SLS 3D printer and a lightweight carbon fiber-filled material, and were assembled by hand. Both the design and assembly process required careful attention, as the Ironhead Studio team had to ensure the headpiece was light enough to wear and, importantly, that it was balanced.

According to Fernandez, the whole headpiece weighs around 4 lbs and can be attached to the wearer’s skull cap using hidden magnet closures, which makes for a more realistic effect.

Interestingly, the headpiece was designed to be modular, meaning that at any point Blanchett could remove some of the antlers, whether for better mobility or otherwise. As Fernandez explains in the video, she would often wear the piece without the largest antlers which could then be digitally added to the final image using CGI.

Of course, the post-processing of the elaborate crown was just about as important as the 3D printing itself, as a number of Ironhead Studio designers played their part in realizing the otherworldly green sheen of the antlers. The paint alone reportedly required up to ten coats to realize the deep, almost metallic finish.

Those who have seen Thor Ragnarok will probably already know that Hela is the coolest (and most badass) Marvel villain so far. Heck, I didn’t even have to watch the movie to know that. Still, there is now an added layer of appreciation for the franchise’s most intriguing villain knowing the work and tech that went into her iconic look.

(Images: Tested video)

With the latest Thor installment absolutely killing it in theaters, the Ironhead Studio team is now putting its design and 3D printing chops towards upcoming films and characters, including Aquaman villain Black Manta. We can’t wait to see what’s coming up next.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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