Maya 3D, Adobe After Effects, and a Stratasys Fortus 360mc printer were the tools to create the short film.
Recently graduated from Northumbria University (UK) with a degree in filmmaking, Fin Crowther found himself with time on his hands while looking for work. Crowther decided to take advantage of available technology and do a study on the running motion of a cougar (aka mountain lion). The intriguing result is now available online (video embedded at the end of this article).
Crowther took a temporary job as a model-making technician at the Design Development Centre at Huddersfield University, UK. Inspired by the recent viral video “Bears on Stairs” Crowther became intrigued by the idea of doing a study on rigging and animation of a quadruped, and settled on portraying a cougar.
Using a free student edition of Autodesk Maya, Crowther modeled, rigged, and animated the cougar’s run cycle, a 10 frame loop running at 24fps. Next he used the 10 frames as the basis for 10 poses to be created using 3D printing. “Taking each frame of the run cycle I edited them to have the support, fit on a base and then cleaned up the mesh to make it water tight and ready to print before exporting from Maya,” says Crowther. “This was roughly 24 hours of work over about a week in my spare time.”
The prints were printed using the Stratasys Fortus 360mc, a fused deposition modeling 3D printer. Each model is approximately 6 cm long and 3 cm high. A base for each print was cut out on a laser cutter, then each print had to be photographed in exactly the same position as the last. “I used Adobe After Effects to loop the photos taken of the prints before exporting as a video file,” says Crowther.
The printer took about 10 hours to print the 10 models; it then took Crowther “an hour or so” to photograph. “It has been a valuable experience using 3D printing and I hope to experiment and work with it more on upcoming projects.”
The final stop-frame video by Fin Crowther. (Source: Vimeo)