I didn’t mind Prometheus, in fact I enjoyed every single Aliens movie, some more some less. Sure, James Cameron’s Aliens remains my favorite, however the latest teaser for the upcoming Alien: Covenant, the sixth in the franchise, makes me really hope for the best. Not just because it clearly does a “process-placement” operation that 3D printing benefits from, but also because it clearly depicts the direction that manufacturing – including biological manufacturing – is taking and how 3D printing is an absolutely integral part of that.
The generative lines that 3D printing enables in production are the lines of our nature and the curious part is that those lines – which are part of everything that surrounds us – seem alien to us. Those are the shapes of the future of manufacturing – or at least that part of future that we are able to envision now.
The video also shows how familiar special effects artists are now getting with 3D printing technologies (and even the design journalists at Core 77, that first reported on the use of 3D printing tech in the making of the video showed a pretty good understanding of it). There are elements of photopolymerization (albeit a support free, or at least water soluble type of photopolymerization), and thermal extrusion, as well as bioprinting references.
Physical special effects seem to really be replacing CG in high end productions. And Alien – together with Star Wars and a few other series – has been set a standard for evil aliens and androids. Alien: Covenant is the third Alien movie directed by Ridley Scott, after the original masterpiece from 1979 and 2012’s Prometheus prequel. In a couple of months we’ll know if 3D printing will help the movie set new standards again.