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Thesis Blog

This page is intended to document the progress of my thesis, both the written component and the visual component.

Thesis Statement

The Phenomenological Implications of 3D Printing for Replacement Animation in Motion Media Design.

Thesis Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to explore the uses of 3D printing technology as it is applied to motion media design’s use of replacement animation techniques. One medium that uses replacement animation techniques extensively is stop-motion filmmaking. I intend to look at how 3D printing can enhance the Phenomenological implications and increase the speed and quality of a film’s production.

Stop-motion films are an inherently physical endeavor and this is recognized by the audience, either consciously or unconsciously. This physicality influences how the audience experiences the film, its story, its aesthetics, and its meaning. I will discuss the uses of 3D printing for replacement animation in modern stop-motion productions; how this contributes to the film’s look and feel; and how this influences the audience.

Finally I created a short film entitled, Quotable Cities, combining time-lapse photography, replacement animation, 3D printed elements, and motion typography. The film’s 3D printed elements are animated using stop-motion techniques and composited on top of the time-lapse photography. Quotes about both London and Paris express how people have experienced these cities personally.

Some questions I explore are: how does 3D printing improve replacement animation? How is it being used today? And how does it impact the audience’s experience of a film?


  1. Introduction
  2. Phenomenology and bhow it relates to stop-motion films
  3. Stop-Motion ANimation, Replacement Animation, and 3D Printing
  4. How do films that use 3D Printing differ from Traditional Stop-Motion films?
  5. Case Studies
    1. “Anomalisa”
    2. Laika Studios
    3. George Pal
  6. “Quatoable Cities”
    1. Film Premise
    2. Techniques Employed
    3. Use of Replacement Animation
    4. Phenomenological Implications
  7. Conclusion

Film Premise

How people talk about a place is indicative of their experiences in that place. Experiences created there mold our memories, feelings, and understanding about those locations and ourselves.

A series of vignettes of quotes about both London and Paris. Beginning and ending with quotes comparing the two cities to each other. The background of each quote is time lapse footage with the 3D printed, stop-motion elements composited on top.

Some Moodboards for the Film

These are some early moodbaords I created to show some ways 3D prints look as well as some ideas for using split screen and typography choices.

Updated Moodboard Updated Moodboard Updated Moodboard


Here are some styleframes I created early on. The typography evolved a lot since these were created. After each is the final frames from the film.

Styleframe 1 Frame from film - 1 Styleframe 2 Frame from film - 2 Styleframe 3 Frame from film - 3

3D Printed Elements

Here are some images of the 3D printed models that were used in the film. Each print was designed in Cinema4D and then printed on a MakerBot Replicator printer. While some are printed as a single piece, others were printed and assembled. Some examples show how multiple versions were printed an assembled only to be shot in sequence to be animated to change or morph.

Examples of 3D prints

Behind the Scenes

Here is an example shot of the set up I used to shoot the time-lapse footage as well as a few shots of the set I built to film the stop-motion sequences which were later composited over the footage.

Filming set-up in Paris.

Pictures of the set. Pictures of the set.