In Brief

Similar to glitch art, 3D printing mistakes are celebrated as inspiration for special effects and design

In the October 18th “Flatline” episode of BBC science fiction program Doctor Who, Bristol, England is overrun by the Boneless—villains from another dimension who reduce 3D lifeforms into static two-dimensional figures. Unbeknownst to viewers, these newest television villains were inspired by the curious shapes and images that result from mistakes in 3D printing.

For visual Effect Specialists AxisVFX, who were briefed to design the Boneless, “slightly-off” 3D glitches were the perfect inspiration for villains who straddle the line between the second and third dimensions. The glitches—which result from incorrect print settings, an uncalibrated machine, or user error—can render objects partially-complete, full of holes and, in certain cases, an unidentifiable tangle of plastic filament. Like the archetypal villain, 3D glitches originate from good intentions, until a part of the creation process goes awry.

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