With Stranger Things season four now available for our viewing pleasure - we thought we'd refresh you all about how the Stranger Things' Demogorgon monster was brought to life with Formlabs technology.

One of the most popular articles on our blog is 3D Printers in Films. On the big screen, 3D printing has played a role in manufacturing some of the coolest recent film props, such as Kylo Ren's hilted red lightsaber in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and RoboCop's suit in the 2014 film RoboCop.

It has to be said, that the practical application of 3D printing is incredibly useful for visual and special effects studios. 3D printing is being used in almost all big budget sci-fi films now, to manufacture prototypes and props that will be used and abused by actors. The benefit of 3D printing to VFX and SFX studios is that it allows their artists and designers to communicate their ideas faster, and for new models to be created in less time than it takes to film a scene.

TV, of course, is not immune to the charms of 3D printing either, although its practical application is not widely written about compared to Hollywood. So, it makes a refreshing change to hear that Stranger Things' creators, The Duffer Brothers, partnered with VFX studio Aaron Sims Creative (ASC) to 3D print a terrifying, ghastly model of the Demogorgon Monster, a predatory humanoid creature that doesn't eat humans for food, but for sport.

Bringing Nightmares to Life

When The Duffer Brothers began production of the Stranger Things series for Netflix, they wanted to try something different - they wanted to create authentic 80s sci-fi nostalgia, with a practical effect for their monster. So, they approached Aaron Sims Creative (ASC) with their vision, in the hope that they could create what they were looking for.

ASC decided that the best course of action would be a hybrid approach, rather than a 100 per cent practical one, and that 3D printing would be used to create maquettes of the Stranger Things' Demogorgon Monster. For this, the team chose Formlabs 3D printers, because the stereolithography technology offered more detail than the FFF competition.

Aaron Sims, co-founder of ASC, explained in a blog post on the Formlabs website how and why his team got involved: “My background being practical, we always try to figure out the simplest method that’s going to make it the most effective, the most realistic, and not overbuilt. Because it’s a TV show, it has to be done really quickly.”

“The Stranger Things' Demogorgon was one of the first prints that we did using our Formlabs 3D printers, and we were amazed. Before that, we had always outsourced printing. So to be able to grow it in-house, and see a design that we helped create from the very beginning printed right in front of us, was kind of an amazing thing. It was like going back to the days of when we used to sculpt with clay,” said Sims.

Here's the initial sketch of the Demogorgon Monster which the directors worked from:

asc-flower-sketch

And here's the digital 3D version of that sketch:

asc-digital-asset

After the digital assets were created, the ASC team looked to 3D printing to bring their ideas to life and create model maquettes. Here's a photo of the Demogorgon Monster being printed:

demogorgon-in-printer

And here's the model being prepped for presentation to the directors:

asc-painting-model

This photo of the Demogorgon Monster maquette, after painting, shows just how much detail 3D printing can capture:

Demogorgon Monster

To find out more about how the Duffer Brothers and Aaron Sims Creative used 3D printing in the production of Stranger Things, read the original blog post on the Formlabs website here.