Rapid Prototype Presentation by Brian McLean LAIKA Animation Studio (Oregon)

Tuesday, March 18, 2014
Location & Time: 

Moss Arts Center - The Cube (6:15-7:45pm)

Presentation Description:

LAIKA, the Oregon-based animation studio behind the remarkable features "ParaNorman" (2012), "Coraline" (2009), and "The Boxtrolls" (in theaters September 26, 2014) has inspired audiences -- and industry professionals -- with an unprecedented visual artistry. Animators breathe life into meticulously hand-crafted puppets while visual effects artists seamlessly enhance the performance with cutting-edge technologies. This unparalleled fusion of stop-motion and computer graphics has garnered the studio two Oscar nominations and worldwide acclaim. In this session, Brian McLean will address the key interdependent and collaborative relationships between these uniquely different but critically important departments.

The presentation will address the following:

  • The use of Maya and Zbrush to enhance practical sculpts
  • 3D printed material and subsurface scattering to allow puppet builders to break free of previous design limitations
  • The advancements in color 3D printing and the enabling of puppet builders to evolve beyond prior design limitations
  • The use of in-house developed silicones which enable character performance previously unseen in stop-motion animation
  • The utilization of 3D printers to pre-vis puppet construction issues and control how practical materials perform
  • The use of laser cutting fabrics to enhance the design and functionality of the puppets' costumes


LAIKA'S Director of Rapid Prototype, BRIAN MCLEAN has been instrumental in the development of 3D printer technology for facial animation at the studio. Brian won an Annie Award for Special Achievement in Animation for his work on Coraline, and, following the release of ParaNorman, he was named by Variety as one of 2012's "Animation Elite."

Prior to LAIKA Brian worked as a traditionally trained sculptor creating large scale characters for Warner Bros. and Disney. He also hand-built toy prototypes and numerous scale models for TV and print ads while working at M5 Industries, best known for the TV show MythBusters.