Sainsbury’s Christmas Advert

The 3D Print Bureau collaborate with puppet makers to create the Sainsbury's christmas advert.

Each year British TV viewers wait eagerly for the next big Christmas TV advert. 2016 saw Mackinnon and Saunders produce the puppets for one of the larger musical numbers in “The Greatest Gift” advert for Sainsbury’s, with the help of 3D printing.

The 3D Print Bureau were working with puppet makers, Mackinnon and Saunders and Londonbased animation production company, Passion Pictures, to create the TV commercial.

Three months of hard work involved the team 3D Printing hundreds of face masks used to animate each of the 27 characters features in the advert. By switching each model’s different expressions, the motion shots were created by a replacement technique, rather than more traditional hand movement stat stop motion is well known for.

The 3D printer that was chosen for the models to be printed on was the Stratasys J750, because of its capabilities with a range of colours and materials. While, 3D printing has been used many times in the stop animation industry, this project taking inspiration from such successes as Coraline and Paranorman, the use of the Stratasys J750 makes the Sainsbury’s advert the first to be produced in this way. The detail of the full colour achieved in the characters setting it apart from previous instances of 3D printing in animation.

Dave Bennett – our manager here at the 3D Print Bureau commented:

It wouldn’t have been possible to create what is essentially a mini-film within the timescale allocated without the magic of a 3D printer. Traditional techniques would have taken 12 months or more to achieve and have a less detailed result.

This has been one of our most exciting projects to work on yet! The full three-and-a-half-minute advert was aired on the 14th November 2016 on ITV1.

2016’s Sainsbury’s Christmas advert, was well-received by the general public. It tells the story of Dave, a hard-working and devoted Dad, who realises that the greatest gift he can give people this Christmas is his time.

Watch the full advert here: