3D printing is increasingly making a name for itself in Hollywood as a prop developing tool, but it has now also reached the movie marketing department. As part of a marketing campaign for the huge stop motion hit Kubo and the Two Strings, which was released in August, Isobar and Astral bus stops in Toronto have been covered with 3D printed origami birds.
In case you totally missed Kubo and the Two Strings, this movie is probably one of the most original and entertaining in the cinemas right now. Produced by the critically acclaimed Laika Studios, it tells the story of a young Japanese boy named Kubo who can perform origami-based magical acts with his two-stringed shamisen instrument. It’s a very original and thrilling film for moviegoers of all ages, and has already taken the box office by storm. It is also being showered in positive reviews, with a 96 percent Rotten Tomatoes approval rating.
But it is also a movie that relies on 3D printing. Of course Laika Studios has a reputation for pioneering unique animation techniques that involve revolutionary manufacturing tools like 3D printing, and they even won a technical award from the Oscars for pioneering 3D printing in animation earlier this year. For Kubo and the Two Strings they have, among others, fully 3D printed lead character Kubo, and even used 3D printing for a 16-foot tall stop-motion skeleton puppet. For some characters, they even 3D printed up to 130 different faces to capture a single facial reaction.
That innovative use of 3D printing inspired the marketing teams from Isobar and Vizeum. As Isobar’s executive creative director Steve DiLorenzo explained, it only made sense for them to that same manufacturing technology for their origami-based marketing campaign. “Just like they had rethought the age-old medium of stop-motion animation, we wanted to rethink the age-old bus shelter design,” he said. “We wanted to use 3D printing and the idea of breaking through the traditional confines of the medium.”
To actually realize this fantastic origami display, Isobar turned to Toronto-based 3D printing firm 3DKhacktory. Together, they developed a bird display that features 15 origami-like birds that fly out of the movie poster, each with a wingspans in the range from 7 to 12 and 15 inches. All were 3D printed in a hard composite plastic and spray-painted by hand.
DiLorenzo further said that they are strong enough to withstand the natural elements. “They were made to look fragile in the design, but they’re very, very strong. They have to be, just in case there was a tornado or something and one of them flew off,” he said. Together with the team from Astral Media, the birds were fixed to the bus stops with 15 pieces of rebar that seem to be coming out from behind Kubo in the movie poster. “It was a very collaborative process to make sure we could execute this in the way we wanted with all its technical details,” DiLorenzo added.
The bus stops are also outfitted with 20-inch screens that allow users to play a game based on Kubo’s own quest. According to DiLorenzo, it is all part of a new trend in advertising that requires a greater eye for detail. “People are very into their screens,” he said. “As advertisers, we have to create unique experiences that take them away from their screens, even for a brief moment. And to do that right, it has to be content-based.” But for us, the 3D printed origami birds definitely take the cake. Almost as impressive as Kubo and the Two Strings itself.