New Animated Film About Leonardo Da Vinci Showcases 3D Printing Innovations


The legendary genius of Leonardo da Vinci never ceases to inspire in the sciences, architecture, engineering, and the arts, from the rereading of human nature to anatomy. Leonardo was a true, all-around ‘Renaissance man’ the likes of which the world has rarely ever seen, which is why we never tire of this unique historical figure. The latest piece of work inspired by Da Vinci’s story is the latest stop-motion animated film “The Inventor,” by Jim Capobianco in collaboration with French co-director Pierre-Luc Granjon and animation director Kim Keukeleire. Within this star-studded cast with Marion Cotillard, Daisy Ridley, Matt Berry, and Stephen Fry voicing the legendary inventor, we find history, art and technology, philosophy and astrology … and a surprising cast member: 3D printing!

Indeed, additive manufacturing was crucial in the production of the film, to make parts of Leonardo’s puppets and machines. Capobianco relied on French animation studio Foliascope and 3D technologies from Dassault Systemes throughout the production process. The 3D printing of the parts, on the other hand, was the work of the company, Initial. The film, first released in September 2023 in the United States, now lands in Europe. To learn more, 3Dnatives attended a private screening in Paris that anticipated the film’s release in French theaters on January 31st, 2024.

Although an animated film, “The Inventor” is a great flick for young and old alike. It recounts Leonardo’s life in Italy, his clashes with the Pope in Rome and finally his choice to continue his studies in France, not without making some compromises. The production of this film rich in artistic and historical details took about two years. The production of the puppets alone, entrusted to the Foliascope studio, took a year, while another year was needed to make the film in stop motion.

The fascinating mix of careful handiwork and new technology used in constructing the movie’s characters stands out. The figures’ bodies were manually made and put together, with their feet created via LPBF metal 3D printing technology. This method gives them the right shape, makes them more robust, and easier to manoeuvre.

Undoubtedly, significant effort has gone into the creation of this film. American scriptwriter Jim Capobianco, the writer and director of “The Inventor”, has worked on multiple notable animations such as “The Lion King,” “Coco,” “Finding Nemo,” with an Oscar nomination for “Ratatouille” among others. With “The Inventor”, he debuts his first feature as a writer and director, choosing to create the film in France to honour Leonardo’s places of life. “I wanted to delve into the life of Leonardo da Vinci as a human being, as well as a genius,” says Jim Capobianco, “bringing to light his experiences, his relocation from Italy to France, his struggles, and his companions.

An intriguing aspect of this film’s production was the Challenge initiated to develop Leonardo’s models featured in the movie. The 3DEXPERIENCE Lab of Dassault Systèmes started the “OpenCodex Challenge” to animate Leonardo’s drafts. The contest called on the best designers worldwide to join the OpenCodex community, using Dassault Systèmes’ 3D software to recreate the inventor’s models and machines, enabling a deeper understanding of their workings.

Some of the models of the 3D printed OpenCodex Challenge winners. There were five winners and their designs are now part of the film. (Credits: 3Dnatives)

“With this film, we have the ambition to inspire young people towards science and technology, we need these talents. The production of the future is digital and 3D,” emphasizes Frédéric Vacher. “Bringing together The Worlds of Science, Technology and the Arts will contribute to a more sustainable future”.

Following the Oscar win of Guillermo del Toro’s “Pinocchio,” where the world’s most famous puppet was made using 3D printing, “The Inventor” undoubtedly represents another step forward in bringing 3D printing technologies to the big screen. Prototyping, the creation of customized final parts, simplicity and speed of fabrication, the ability to visualize and imagine complex 3D parts and then print them, as in this case, are just some of the many possibilities of additive manufacturing in filmmaking.

What do you think of the movie “The Inventor” and the use of 3D printing in its filming? Let us know in a comment below or on our Linkedin, Facebook, and Twitter pages! Don’t forget to sign up for our free weekly Newsletter here, the latest 3D printing news straight to your inbox! You can also find all our videos on our YouTube channel.

Original source


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