When I discovered 3D printing, my mind was pretty much blown (which I think it is safe to say is the reaction that most people have when they discover the magic behind 3D printing).
An industry that has benefited from the use of 3D printers is the movie industry. I recently read an article that discussed the animation studio LAIKA that relies on using the software and 3D printing hardware to make its films. With recent improvements on the technology that the [really good] 3D printers use, LAIKA has the ability to print thousands of precise colors and subtle gradients in plastic, which achieves color accuracy that has not been accomplished with 3D printing before now.
The way in which LAIKA most utilizes the 3D printer for their films is pretty simple in concept: faces. LAIKA’s designers produce the puppets’ (they produce stop-motion animated films) faces, and they the 3D printer is used to print literally tens of thousands of slightly different facial expressions for each character that is utilized during filming.
LAIKA actually pioneered this specific technique on their first film Coraline and they have continued to continually change things up with each film that they have produced.
3D technology is amazing and is constantly changing, and it has produced incredible applications to so many industries including film. I cannot wait to see where this technology goes in just the next few years!