Game Of Thrones Props Are Mostly 3D Printed

  • 31 August 2017
  • Shawn Farner

Are you a Game of Thrones fan? If so, there’s a good chance you’re still sitting in stunned silence after this past Sunday’s season finale. Or perhaps you’ve regained your motor functions and have gotten back into your normal routine of work, play, and sleep. Regardless of which audience you fit into, I want you to jump into your imagination and travel back into the Game of Thrones world for one one moment. More specifically, go to Meereen.

Are you there? Good. Now imagine you’re surrounded by Sons of the Harpy. Look at their costumes. Look at and study their masks. Try to ignore the fact that they’re all circling you with daggers. That’s not important.

Emiliano Cavolina/123RF

Woosh! Out of the corner of your eye, you see one dragon above you. Then two. Then three. Their wings rip through the air, blowing many Sons of the Harpy to the ground. And then, fire. Fire instantly consumes the Sons, setting them all ablaze. You’re safe. For the moment.

Game of Thrones is known for its extensive use of props. But did you know the vast majority of those props are 3D printed? The show is, in fact, one of the biggest employers of 3D printed props in the entire film and TV industry.

Fernando Cortes De Pablo/123RF

Every weapon you see, all the armor worn by characters — all of it is 3D printed. Those Sons of the Harpy masks you were looking at? They were, at one point, the most common 3D printed prop on the set, according to 3DPrint.com. And, at one point, the show 3D printed an entire full-scale replica of a dragon, not unlike the ones that saved your skin.

It’s no surprise TV and film production companies are moving toward 3D printing as a means to secure props for their shows and movies. The level of precision designers are able to achieve through 3D printing is one reason. The lower cost is another. And that lower cost is supplemented by the fact that studios that print 3D props can take advantage of state and federal tax credits. Using these credits, studios can offset up to $250,000 a year in payroll taxes — a pretty good chunk of change.

It’s possible that, in the future, we’ll see even more growth when it comes to 3D printing in film production. Computer-generated graphics are notoriously expensive, and there exists a certain charm in movies that use what are called ‘practical effects’: effects not placed into a movie in post-production, but are instead filmed just as the actors and actresses are. If we see the comeback of practical effects in film, 3D printing will undoubtedly play a large role.

Keep a sharp eye out the next time you watch Game of Thrones or another one of your favorite TV shows or movies. Pay close attention to the props you see on screen, and keep this in the back of your mind: there’s a very good chance they’re 3D printed. For a technology that still hasn’t quite broken into the mainstream, it’s certainly having an impact on the mainstream media we all enjoy.

Have you seen 3D printing utilized in any shows or movies you watch? Drop us a tip in the comments and let us know!

About Shawn Farner