3D printing for animation?

There has been a lot of talk about the possible applications for 3D printing, but Johnny Kelly’s new TV titles are the first time we’ve seen it used in animation

There’s been a lot of talk about possible applications for 3D printing, but Johnny Kelly’s new TV titles are the first time we’ve seen it used in animation

The title sequence is for Dutch TV programme Het Klokhuis (The Apple Core). Agency KesselsKramer commissioned Johnny Kelly and artist Jethro Haynes to collaborate and make this sequence which will air for the first time next week. “It was really interesting to collaborate with Jethro,” Kelly tells us, “and we made the apple shapes using 3D printing which was very exciting, as I’d never tried this out before.”

“Het Klokhuis” Opening titles from Johnny Kelly on Vimeo.

Here are some work in progress images – including some images of the 3D printed apples – one for each frame of a section of the animation that shows the apple’s centre disappearing as if melting…


Client: NPS
Agency: KesselsKramer
Creative Team: Christian Borstlap
Agency Producer: Pieter Leendertse 
Production Company: Nexus 
Director: Johnny Kelly 
Executive Producers: Christopher O’Reilly & Charlotte Bavasso 
Producer: Luke Youngman
Production Manager: Jo Bierton 
Creative Development: Beccy McCray 
Model-maker: Jethro Haynes
3D printed model design: Ben Cowell, Matt Clark
Animators: Matthew Cooper, Tine Kluth
Runner: Xaver Böhm
Compositing: Alasdair Brotherston 
Director of Photography: Matthew Day
Filmed at Clapham Road Studios
Music: Harry Bannink
Sound Design: FC Walvisch Amsterdam


  • WOW great video. It had been taken days…

  • Alise Munson


    Most of Coraline’s faces were made using 3D printing technology or Rapid Prototyping. Check out these movies about it:


  • James Cameron

    CG would have been cheaper and faster?

  • Renan de Araujo

    Awesome opening! But I’d have to disagree with you on the matter of first time used for animation.

    Henry Selick’s Coraline used 3D printing to get the facial expressions for the puppets.
    I believe it was a similar technique to that video in wich they used a 3D software to make the interpolation between keyframes for faces and printed a model for each frame so the transitions would be smooth (and indeed they are).

    Here’s a video of the process:

  • Michael

    Just render it using graphics! What a waste of time and materials to output intermediate 3D objects.

  • Jonas

    Couldn’t this be done in 3D studio max or something similar. Can barely tell, especially in this resolution…or did I miss something

  • Toben


    But would have thought it was CGI if you hadn’t told me.

    Could benefit from looking slightly crappier and obviously handmade.

    Great experiment though

  • skoupidiaris

    It’s all about the process guys… that’s where the beauty is.. I’m sure CGI would have been faster and cheaper, but a lot less fun than what these guys had…

  • Peter Langleton

    Love the comments. “CGI or not” guessing game.

  • gdfgfdgdf

    Does look great, but too polished it looks like faux light probe HDRI rendering which would have been much easier. Bit of a shame when they put so much effort in, the thing should scream hand made.

  • Ben

    Great work!, At 3di we can produce equally as detailed 3D printed colour models. Visit us at http://www.3di.co.uk/rapid-prototyping.php for your complete 3D printing solution.

  • Great experiment, I hope you guys enjoyed yourselves! My favourite part is when the apple is melting!

  • woooow, i like this. Great work, the apple is melting. great experiment love 3d

  • useless opinion

    its absolutely stunning of course. but yes, why 3d printing. purpose purpose purpose. could this not have been done a lot cheaper in 3d without a shoot? That it comes from nexus, an animation company more than capable, is equally confusing.

  • Devilgate

    Shoulda had more hands in it.

  • It’s so obviously neither 3D CGI nor completely hand made, which is part of why it’s so great. Why does hand made have to look “crappy” as someone commented above? Blurring distinctions between technical approaches will happen more and more, and that’s interesting. 3D CGI is arguably less work, but also usually less toothsome.

  • Fantastic, great work :). Can we expect a sequel??

  • this is awesome…!

  • Leo Krikhaar

    Yes nice and why not try something a bit different who knows where it will all end

  • Len Jacobson

    Nice in depth piece here on Art of the Title

  • Lovely piece of work! Great finish on the model. A shame the still of the clockwork interior didn’t make the final cut – ? Though much less profiled than Coraline, we also used the printers 18 months ago to shoot this test sequence of a minuscule white model coming to life. It was a test shoot for a feature in development:

  • Chris Frostt

    Improvements in technology for rapid prototyping systems has today allowed a significant range of companies (not just CAD designers) to use different materials (often low cost) instead of plastic or metals. Rapid Protoype useage is in the future getting higher quality and better value for money.

  • woooow, i like this. Great work, the apple is melting. great experiment love 3d

  • Rose

    I work for Techfortrade, a London-based charity who’s approach is to develop a sustainable social business model for technology enabled trading, supporting national and international market access for small producers in developing countries.

    We are currently launching a competition aimed at people who have ideas about how 3D printing can be used for social benefit in the developing world but who need extra funding and technical support to turn this idea into reality.

    Techfortrade, with Econolyst and Makerbot will provide $100,000 and technical support for the winner of the competition.

    If you are interested and wish to start planning your project, if you are a journalist wishing to cover the competition or if you would like to attend the event for the finalists which will be held at Loughborough University or judge the finalists then please refer to our website for more details: http://techfortrade.org/?page_id=66, find us on Twitter or Facebook (Techfortrade) or feel free to email me at research@trade4all.org.

    A competition website with application details will be launched shortly.

  • I like its melting center idea… It is great and I appreciate your work that is dazzling work…

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