Cool Tool of the Week: 3-D Printing and the Emotion of Animation

Still from ParaNorman/Photo © 2012 LAIKA/Focus Features
Still from ParaNorman/Photo © 2012 LAIKA/Focus Features

I've been hearing about 3-D printing for a while, but I'd never considered the practical advantage it would offer to filmmaking. The creators of the new stop-motion animation movie "ParaNorman" (by the crew who adapted Neil Gaiman's Coraline) have used 3-D printing to make all the tiny puppet heads required to give the characters a full range of facial expressions; in the olden days of "The Nightmare before Christmas," all the Jack Skellington heads had to be made by hand, which meant that the character wound up being far more limited in the range of emotions he could express.

Last week I thought I'd found the definitive new Divine Comedy illustrations, but I spoke too soon. Dante's Inferno has been given a LEGO makeover by a sculptor named Mihai Mihu. Each circle of Hell has been rendered lovingly in little plastic blocks. It would almost be worth going there just to admire the architecture.

You know that thing where key characters are conspicuously absent from a sequel, and their absence is marked with little or no explanation? The AVClub has taken note, and listed twenty-two of the most intelligence-insulting examples. Included are "Jaws" and "American Psycho," which are notable for also having no literary precedent for their cinematic sequels.

Apparently if you want a guaranteed big score in the world of publishing, you've got at least two solid options in front of you: Henry VIII and Adolf Hitler. I imagine that vampires are a not-too-distant third; anyone bold enough to combine all three in one book will wind up re-invigorating the entire industry!