Perhaps one of the most exciting developments in the field of visual communications is the adoption of large-format 3D printing. The power of this technology to wow audiences and draw them in is immense. I mean, what could be cooler than an 8-foot baseball player mannequin in a sporting goods store? Customers eyes are magnetically drawn toward it, pulling them in to interact with it.
(Video credit: Rugby League World Cup campaign 3D printed by Composite Images.)
This is just one example from the retail space, but there are many. Printing massive visual representations opens up enormous potential for creativity in a range of industries, often replacing the need for older technology that is both slower and has manufacturing limitations. The size of these mammoth creations printed in 3D is buzzworthy on its own, even before you add other interactive aspects that can heighten their appeal even further. The enthusiasm around large-format 3D printing is infectious, which is why we’re seeing so many new applications for it across the visual communications and entertainment arenas.
Invasion of the retail space
You might not have noticed the invasion of 3D printed elements in the retail space. How could you? Large retail displays or custom mannequins, such as the aforementioned baseball mannequin, aren’t entirely new. The revolution is in how fast they can now be made with a large-format 3D printer, not to mention the unlimited creative freedom. 3D printing such gigantic pieces dramatically reduces production hours, so retail stores can take an idea from concept to display in record time.
For instance, Cameron Advertising Displays printed oversized replicas of puffy coats for the Roots’ flagship Toronto store in only 12 hours. This shortened timeline means sales-driving visual advertising can be injected into retail stores in practically no time.
Not only can stores get these 3D displays in front of their audiences faster, they also have the creative freedom to print exactly what they come up with. Large-format 3D printers like the Massivit 1800 Pro will create an exact replica from a digital file, and having that file means duplicates can always be reproduced simply and efficiently. Better yet, slight variations of the original can be made to customize displays for different countries, regions, or even individual store branches. Large-format 3D printing has rewritten the playbook on how to create spectacular window displays.
3D naturally draws a crowd
If you’ve ever run a marketing event or set up a stand at an exhibition, you know that the primary goal is to grab attention. Standing out from the crowd is crucial, and that’s where the size element of large format 3D printing pays off. It’s why the travel agency SkiDeal decided to print gigantic props for their annual week-long festival. Coming face-to-face with a ski boot that is bigger than you (not to mention a helmet, snowboard and goggles) is quite an experience—one that stops you in your tracks. This is exactly the type of crowd-pleasing tool that can elevate visual marketing dramatically.
Even better, when printed with a Massivit 3D large format printer, these creations are hollow. Why is that a big benefit? Well, it gives the added impact of internal illumination, which makes a monumental difference for visual communications. Not only can you print enormous 3D display elements, but you can add lighting with almost no effort and take your impact up a notch. Every little edge you can get pays off when trying to draw a crowd at an event or exhibition.
Entertainment industry takes notice of 3D
With the growing chatter around large 3D printing, it’s only natural that the entertainment industry would stand up and take notice too. In addition to being an incredible visual marketing tool, 3D printing props and scenery has become very popular. For the same advantages as we’ve mentioned above, and more. According to Sir Richard Taylor, founder of prop maker Weta Workshop, it’s basically a godsend. “For 15 years, we have dreamed of a day when a printer would provide super-large scale, speed and build strength at low print costs, in equal measure. The Massivit 1800 has delivered this for us.”
Where it used to be a long process to create a human-sized character or giant prop, now it can be printed incredibly fast. Plus, due to the digital source, you can still easily customize and reproduce variations of the original if desired. Just a few clicks and a new version is ready to be printed. Moreover, 3D printing offers an answer to some of the limitations of CNC routing when it comes to intricate undercuts. It also eradicates the challenges of storage space, material waste and mess that are associated with CNC machining for 3D props and displays. Whether for a film, an amusement park, or even as part of a museum display, 3D printed models and props are popping up everywhere.
A new age of visual communications
Every once in a while, a new technology will come up and disrupt an entire industry. In the case of large format 3D printers, it seems to be disrupting multiple industries. The stunning results achievable with large format 3D printing across retail, exhibitions and entertainment spaces make it clear that we are entering a new age of visual communications. Using the incredible speed and size capabilities of technology such as Massivit’s 3D printing solutions, print shops, marketing agencies and retailers can now deliver the wow factor that is needed in today’s world of non-stop screens.
This article was published in collaboration with Massivit 3D.