How “Guardians of the Galaxy” Uses 3D Printing (and Your Movie Can, Too)

3D printing makes movie-making easier. Costume, creature, and make-up designers are using 3D printing to create props and materials faster and easier to use.

For the two “Guardians of the Galaxy” movies, 3D printing was utilized extensively. Much of the costuming was made using 3D printing. Lead character Star Lord’s helmet features several 3D printed features, and the parts that didn’t have them were still made using a mold that had been specially 3D printed.

For a character like Drax the Destroyer, played by wrestling star and actor Dave Bautista, the make-up is extensive. Bautista wears make-up applications from the waist up to play Drax. By printing multiple exact copies of these make-up applications, the process of getting the actor camera-ready is cut down substantially. This means the cost – both for fabrication and work hours – is also cut down.

Many of the costumes (such as the armor for Korath, played by Djimon Honsou in the first film) were entirely 3D printed. The costume design company revealed that 3D printing allowed them to cut lead times by half. For a film, this allows for fewer missteps and better response when making adjustments to the director’s wishes.

The best part about this is that you don’t need to be making a $200 million movie like either “Guardians of the Galaxy” to take advantage of it. 3D printing is an accessible solution even to filmmakers and designers outside of Hollywood, like artists working on movies and TV shows near Houston, Austin, and New Orleans.

It’s a great opportunity for low-budget filmmakers to make their movies fit closer to their imaginations. Both the 3D design and 3D printing process allow you to see what something will look like before it’s made, and make adjustments right up until it’s printed. If you need multiple copies of a costume, prop, or make-up effect, 3D printing cuts down on cost and time substantially. Working as a designer or together with design artists on your team, we can get you a lot closer to visually telling the story you