ParaNorman was the first stop-motion movie to utilize a 3D Color Printer to create replacement faces for its puppets in a process called “Rapid Prototyping." Over 31,000 individual face parts were printed for the production.
On average, each animator shot about 4.38 seconds of film per day, which means it took an entire week of production to complete 12.78 minutes of footage.
The Town Hall Archives sequence encompassed two full sets with over 20,000 miniature cast books, over 5,000 paper items (paperwork, maps, files, et al.), and over 400 hand-folded file boxes.
It took 18 carpenters, 18 model builders, 6 riggers, 12 scenic painters, 11 greens artists, and 10 set dressers to create some three dozen unique locations for ParaNorman.
Norman’s signature hairstyle had 275 spikes. His hair was primarily made out of goat hair held together with hot glue, hair gel, fabric, and super glue, as well as medical adhesive, Pros-Aide make-up adhesive, thread, and wire. Once built, it was hand-finished with paint and human hair dye.
Norman had about 8,000 replacement faces with a range of individual brow and mouth pieces, giving Norman a range of approximately 1.5 million possible facial expressions.
It took at least 3-4 months to craft a new puppet from start to finish, not including design or testing time. Sixty puppet makers created 61 characters made up of 178 individual puppets, including 28 individual full body puppets for Norman alone.
The biggest number of unique faces used in a single shot was 545, spread across seven different characters. The shot, near the end of the film, is 42.7 seconds (1,024 frames) long and took over a month to shoot.
Each replacement face was built from hundreds of layers of fine white powder in a 3D printer, a process that took about five or six hours to become ready to use on-set. Printing the faces took four 3D printers a combined total of 572 days of straight print time.
Replacement faces were used on puppets to allow a wider range of expressions for each character. Over 250 unique faces were utilized for one character to create a single shot that lasted only 27 seconds on screen.
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How 3D printing changed the face of ParaNorman
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Travis Knight Talks ParaNorman, Expanding The Studio and Pushing Boundaries
While they have only produced two films so far - Coraline and ParaNorman - both movies are so brilliantly designed and have such wonderfully told stories that it’s hard not to start expecting greatness from LAIKA.