New Software Allows 3D Printing of Animated Characters with Articulated Joints
In a new research project, computer scientists funded partially by animation studio Pixar can turn animations into physical objects. The software solves any lingering physical-impossibility problems that can stem from the unrestricted imagination, and prints out a movable object. Lead author Moritz Bächer, a graduate student in computer science, tells Harvard’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences news site that his program can print anatomically unbalanced creatures, articulated joints and all.
It works by examining an animated character’s virtual behavior, and figuring out ideal locations for their actual joints. Then it builds a 3-D computer model of the joints’ best locations and physical attributes, which you can see at top right in the image above. The software even builds in some friction into the joints — which can be ball-and-socket joints or hinges — so they’ll hold a pose just right. The resulting model can be sintered together on any 3-D printer.
(via Turn Animated Characters From Games Into Movable 3-D Printed Beasts | Popular Science)