Stop-Motion Film Composed of Rotating 3D Miniature Men

conveyor belt 3d printed animated film

Modern animation is pretty incredible. It’s getting close to being indistinguishable from actual film thanks to advanced computer graphics and futuristic techniques. French artist Julien Maire is taking animation back a few decades to a kind of nostalgic stop-motion era with the short film “Relief.”

3d printed relief man at work film

relief 3d printed conveyor belt film

Instead of drawings on pieces of film, Relief features tiny translucent resin figurines on a conveyor belt. The 3D figures roll around the belt with a light illuminating one at a time against a projector screen.

man at work relief film

man at work relief conveyor belt film

As they roll around the belt, the small figures act out a scene of a man digging a hole and then putting the dirt back into the hole. A total of 85 tiny men rotate around and around, eternally taking dirt out and putting it back in. Their never-ending labor is a unique combination of low-tech – stop animation – and high-tech – 3D printing.

julien maire conveyor belt animation

Relief isn’t just a movie to be watched on the projector screen; it’s an experience that encompasses the entire humming machine and each tiny, 3D-printed little character that casts its individual shadow. The stop-motion shadow show was built while Maire was doing a manufacturing residency at the iMAL Center for Digital Cultures and Technology in Brussels.

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See more in Art of Tech or under Technology. December, 2014.