Case Study: Bringing Disney Elemental Movie Characters to Life

3 Mins read
  • Using fast printing XiP, the Gentle Giant team swiftly iterated designs and gained Disney’s approval within 48 hours.
Elemental Disney Characters
Elemental Disney Characters/Source: Gentle Giant Studio

Gentle Giant Studios, which has 30 years of experience in the entertainment and technology industries, recently completed a project of bringing Disney Elemental movie characters to life by using Nexa3D’s XiP Desktop 3D Printer.

Problem: Tight Deadlines and high quality Maquettes

Gentle Giant Studios was tasked with promoting Disney’s upcoming film, Elemental, in collaboration with the Walt Disney Studios marketing team. The idea of developing life-size versions of the Disney Elemental movie characters for photo opportunities at various locations worldwide was conceived with the primary goal of creating excitement among the viewing public. The main challenge here was meeting the Disney team’s tight deadlines while producing high-quality maquettes.

Maquettes are small-scale models or replicas made as the first step in designing or creating a larger structure, sculpture, or artwork. They are used as visual aids to help artists, architects, and designers plan and visualise their ideas before executing them on a larger scale.

Gentle Giant Studios decided to acquire a 3D printer that was both fast and accurate in order to complete the job in time for the film’s premiere. This was especially difficult because marketing budgets were not released until the film’s release date was approaching.

Gentle Giant Studios required a 3D printer capable of quickly producing high-quality prototypes in the form of maquettes for two reasons. They needed approval to manufacture the 1:1 life-size versions for the Pixar Studio team, as well as meet tight deadlines due to difficult painting and lighting effects. The maquettes had to be approved in a matter of days in order to meet the fabrication timeline for the life-size pieces, which would be displayed at key movie premiere events around the world.

About Gentle Giant Studios

Gentle Giant Studios has 30 years of experience in the entertainment and technology industries and has provided data acquisition, product development, and digital services to clients all over the world. They offer a full range of digital and traditional prototyping and fabrication services. Major motion picture studios, toy and collectible companies, fine artists, VFX departments, museums, industrial design and architectural firms are among its clients.


Nexa3D XiP Desktop 3D Printer
Nexa3D XiP Desktop 3D Printer/Source: Nexa3D

Because of its industry-leading print speed and high-performance capabilities, Gentle Giant Studios chose Nexa3D’s XiP Desktop 3D Printer. The team employed xMODEL17-Clear resin, a rigid and long-lasting modelling material with improved optical clarity. It is ideal for prototyping applications requiring fine feature details as well as a high-quality translucent or transparent finish. It has high optical clarity, fine feature detail, and a smooth surface finish.

Part clarity was critical on this project because the parts had to be painted to give the illusion of both fire and water, the two main characters in the film. Within days, the Gentle Giant Studios team collaborated with Disney to create more than five different design iterations. The teams were able to settle on the final design in record time thanks to XiP’s fast print speed and high quality parts.

“With the extremely tight deadline and challenging manufacturing process we could not have met our manufacturing dates with any other process as the iterations involved very challenging painting/lighting effects. The XiP enabled us to move revisions into physical form faster than printing in other slower technologies.”

– Jason Lopes, Director of Additive Manufacturing, Gentle Giant Studios

Result: Disney Elemental Movie Characters

Bringing Disney Elemental movie characters to life
Gentle Giant team delivered the final designs in just 2 days/Source: Nexa3D

The Gentle Giant team was able to quickly iterate on different designs with the help of fast printing XiP, and ultimately obtain Pixar’s approval on the final design in less than two days. The life-size pieces were used at various movie premiere events across the country, as well as in a promotional pop-up exhibit in Lower Manhattan’s Brookfield Place. Disney’s pop-up exhibit, dubbed The Elemental Experience, recreates the metropolis at the heart of the film, which depicts a world where the different elements – Fire, Water, Earth, and Air – learn whether they can co-exist.

Gentle Giant Studios expanded their expertise with the help of the ultrafast XiP desktop 3D printer. Gentle Giant was able to produce incredibly detailed Disney Elemental movie characters models for promotion on an extremely tight timeline thanks to its cutting-edge resin 3D printing technology.

About Manufactur3D Magazine: Manufactur3D is an online magazine on 3D Printing. Visit our Global News page for more updates on Global 3D Printing News. To stay up-to-date about the latest happenings in the 3D printing world, like us on Facebook or follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter. Follow us on Google News.

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Manufactur3D is an Indian Online 3D Printing Media Platform that reports on the latest news, insights and analysis from the Indian and the Global 3D Printing Industry.
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