This short animated experiment of a seemingly CG bear climbing stairs is garnering a lot of attention on the Internet because it’s actually a CG bear printed as 50 separate 3-D models and then animated in stop motion. The bear was produced as a collaboration between two London-based companies: design firm DBLG and animation studio Blue Zoo. It’s a clever piece, but not quite as revolutionary as some Internet commenters seem to think. Laika has been the the innovation leader on 3D printing in animation, and has pushed the process much further in their films Coraline, ParaNorman and the upcoming Boxtrolls.
While not a technological breakthrough, the experiment is interesting from a stylistic standpoint. Rather than using 3-D printing to create organic-looking models a la Laika, DBLG and Blue Zoo printed models that retain their low-poly CG appearance. The slight imperfections in the 3D printing and filming processes give the animation an indescribable warmth that can be felt by the viewer while still retaining the mathematical accuracy of CG animation.