Centre for Fine Print Research University of the West of England Centre for Fine Print Research

Laura-Beth Cowley

PhD Student

Commenced: PhD October 2017

Research Topic: Printing Articulated Figures: Constructing flexible and extendible artificial figures using mixed filament 3D printing for use in stop frame animation

Supervisory Team: Director of studies Professor Stephen Hoskins, Dr Peter Walters

Laura-Beth is a PhD candidate within the 3D3 programme researching flexible and extendable puppet building processes using pliable and rigid filament 3D printing to create figures for stop-motion animation. She will investigate the potential for different filament materials and how they could be used within body and limb construction for the animation and physical special effects industry. The use of mixed filament printing is in essence the ability to take two or more types of printable material such as rigid and flexible rubberised materials and encase one inside the other. Stop frame animation is the technique of animation in which a physical figure is moved in small increments to give the appearance of life and movement.

She will use action research following iterative cycles to trial and test different filaments to seek out their variable qualities such as appearance, strength, flexibility, surface finish/texture and use against one another, to help establish knowledge for use within the development of elements of a puppet's construction. She will also examine the cultural and industrial implications of developing a 3D printing pipeline for the stop frame process. She will use a mix of empirical action research and case studies to look at practitioners who utilise traditional and digital model making techniques to both replicate and streamline with the use of rapid prototyping. A large proportion of the study will be based around practical work, with an emphasis placed on developing an idea, designing, modelling, printing, testing, refining and reviewing the potential for future development or action.