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For animation fans and those of active and hungry imagination, mark your calendar for September 26th and the release of Boxtrolls by Laika Studios. This fanciful, fun and endearing stop-motion film opens up a magical world of curiosity, creativity, friendship and courage, and it does so with the help of 3D printing!

Although stop-motion is a rigorously manual animation process requiring many man hours of patient and detail-oriented work, artists at Laika have begun to take advantage of the precision and design fidelity of 3D printing to breathe that much more life into their characters. Using a full-color ProJet 660Pro 3D printer (formerly the ZPrinter 650), Laika takes advantage of incorporating their character’s paint jobs into the printing process itself to make faceplates of consistent artistry and increased variety. This means they can create a wider array of subtle expressions without jarring discrepancies, which allows for a more seamless and life-like result.

To get in on the fun, Laika has also made available a suite of 3D printable files for fans to print their own Boxtrolls at home, or through Cubify’s cloud printing service. The files are free to download and available in the soon-to-be favorite characters: Shoe, Oil Can, Fragile and Fish. Download yours today and dare to be square!

For more on Laika’s animation process, check out this trailer: