4D Printing | Videography | Master's thesis

Animation that you can touch - bringing objects to life with 4D printing.

Hydrophytes is a series of futuristic aquatic plants created with multi-material 3D printing. The project explores the design and choreography of organic movement through 4D printing. The film is true to life with no effects added in post-processing.

Design Tools

Rhino + Grasshopper Stratasys Connex 3 3D Printer, Premiere Pro, InDesign


Purmundus Challenge (2nd Prize), Best Awards (Silver)

Lily-like 3D prints sitting on water.3D printed plant-like forms with feathered tentacles open and close.3D printed barnacle-like form with barbed tendrils underwater.Plant-like 3D print with spiralled tendril and spikes sitting on pebbles underwater.

Pneumatically activated

The designs utilise Stratasys PolyJet technology that allows blends of rigid and flexible resins known as digital materials. Sealed chambers allow the 4D prints to activate independently through pneumatic inflation. The Hydrophytes illustrate a range of multifaceted, variable movements whose life-like qualities are unique to the behaviour of digital materials.

Cross-section of 3D model showing shore hardness of digital materials ranging from flexible to rigid.3D prints covered in support material.Cleaning support material off a delicate 3D print with a toothpick.Human hand feeling the soft tendrils of a 3D printed flower.Human hand pulling the tendril of a plant-like 3D print underwater.

Blending the best of physical and digital worlds

These Computer-Generated Objects (CGO) take advantage of both the digital world, with its versatility and efficiency in form-making, and the physical world, where objects can respond to the environment, humans and other printed objects. This balance between controlled design and uncontrolled natural interaction leads to the creation of compelling organic performances.

Human hand pulling the tendril of a plant-like 3D print underwater.Thesis book cover titled Tangible Animation.Diagram of design process illustrated inside book.Mind map of how climate change might affect the marine ecosystem and the impact of synthetic biology.Text in book explaining how design experimentation and testing is carried out.

Applications in the film and exhibition industry

With Tangible Animation, on-screen ‘magic’ can be transformed into immersive physical encounters, advantageous for museums, theme parks and films. The potential of designing organic movement through 4D printing is showcased in the thesis pictured above, written and designed by myself.