With Coraline, LAIKA has become the first company to do a feature-length movie using replacement faces printed on a 3D printer. Instead of ink on paper, 3D printing uses a UV-sensitive resin and support material that is sprayed down in a layering process that builds objects in 3D space.
Completing the film involved more than 500 people over four years. Principal photography alone took 18 months.
A total of 35 animators worked on the film. On average, each animator completed anywhere from 2.22 to 6.52 seconds of footage per week.
The film required more than 70 character fabricators, puppet wranglers, armaturists, mold makers, character painters, costume designers and fabricators, and hair and wig fabricators.
A total of 15,000 replacement faces were created for all the characters in the film, each one of which had to be hand-sanded and hand-painted. Coraline alone had over 6,300 face replacements.
Typically it took 10 people about 3-4 months to construct a single Coraline puppet. Coraline had 28 identical puppets, the main one of which stood 9-3/4 inches tall.
The Coraline puppet had 42 different wigs. Her hair was a special blend of three colors and was made of everyday hair products that included Got2Be Glued Hair Cement and Garnier Fructis Texture Paste.
The Jumping Mouse Circus sequence had as many as 51 carefully choreographed mice onscreen at once, each needing to be replaced with a slightly different mouse 12 times for every second of film. In the end, over 650 different mice—or 6,000 separate parts—were created ranging in scales from 100% to 222%.
Coraline's tiny gloves were knitted by hand by a miniature knitter, who made six pairs of gloves with silk. A single garment that small took anywhere from six weeks to six months from conceptual design to finished product. Some of the needles used were as small and fine as human hair.
The Fantastic Garden was the most complex set created for the film, featuring hundreds of handcrafted flowers, most of which had their own individual light sources. Many of the flowers had to be built so that they could move or grow for the shots of Coraline entering the garden.
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Stop-motion animation plus 3D printing results will be honored at the Academy’s Sci-Tech Awards, which will be hosted by Jason Segel and Olivia Munn.