Watch over 500 3D printed nails 'Transform' in Japanese stop-motion film
‘Transformation’ is the theme behind Mizuki Kawano and Yuna Takayama’s short animated film, and it also applies perfectly to the world of 3D printing: it is constantly changing, evolving, and transforming before our eyes.
With this idea in mind, the team set about creating the two-minute movie, which features no less than 521 immaculately designed artificial nails, attached and re-attached frame-by-frame to an actual human hand. "The stop motion animation was created without using any computer graphics," Kawano told. In addition, the nails were 3D modeled and printed on a Projet 660 Pro full colour 3D printer, with the thinnest parts measuring only 0.56 mm.
The film begins with a pair of hands decorated with plain blue nail polish. Within seconds, however, the nail polish springs to life, taking on various colours, patterns, and shapes, including a flowers, buttons, and a crane-like bird. Perhaps most impressive is a playful fish, which swims around elegantly before jumping from nail to nail as though they were actually made out of water.
Manicurist Hatsuki Furutani designed each nail, while the film production team +Ring collaborated to put the entire film together within a few months. Along with the two-minute clip, a “Making Of” video was also released online, showing the impressive and painstaking process of 3D modeling, 3D printing, and then shooting the film by replacing each nail one-by-one, frame-by-frame. As you can imagine, in order to fit onto a fingernail, some of the pieces are as small as a pinhead, and must have required extreme care, delicacy, and patience to manipulate.
This isn’t the first time 3D printing and stop-motion animation have come together. Just last year, animation studio LAIKA shook up the age-old genre with their use of 3D printing in the critically acclaimed film The Boxtrolls. Since rapid-prototyping allows for hundreds of perfectly detailed models to be printed with only the slightest adjustments, 3D printing technology could actually replace the old-fashioned clay dolls and figurines used by most stop-motion animators.
“Life is truly beautiful because it never stops Transforming,” reads a caption at the end of the film. The line was taken from a medieval Japanese classic, Tsurezuregusa, or Essays in Idleness, which also inspired the film. It’s a beautiful philosophy, which can be applied to nearly everything, from our personal development in life, to filmmaking, to 3D printing.
Along with planner/director Kawano, producer, Takayama, and manicurist Furutani, the film came together thanks to cinematographer Ryo Uno, animator Ayako Hiroki, and the entire +Ring team, in collaboration with Taiyo Kikaku. The playful soundtrack was created by musicians Kana Yoshizawa and Hikaru Toho.