Hyperflesh masks aren’t just a 3D printing project, they’re a viral sensation. Combining additive manufacturing with boundless creativity, Hyperflesh mix pop culture with art to create insanely realistic 3D printed masks.
Hyperflesh first burst onto the 3D printing scene back in 2016, becoming an instant viral hit with their political costumes, including Kim Jong-Un masks, Donald Trump masks and Vladimir Putin masks. Since then, Hyperflesh have released many more 3D printed mask models of various politicians and celebrities, amassing over 110,000 fans on Facebook.
Recently, Landon — creator of the Hyperflesh masks — has created masks such as of Heisenberg, played by Bryan Cranston in his infamous role in Breaking Bad, which was worn and signed by the man himself. Also, Hyperflesh debuted a 3D printed mask of the late comedian Chris Farley at Monsterpalooza 2018 to much acclaim.
Hyperflesh masks: an interview with Hyperflesh creator Landon Meier
Naturally, this piqued our interest so we had to find out more. We spoke with Hyperflesh founder and 3D printed mask artist Landon Meier about how he came up with the idea of Hyperflesh, how 3D printing is involved, his ideas for the future, and more.
3DS: How did you come up with the idea to create 3D printed masks of celebrities and politicians?
My original motivation (with Hyperflesh) was to create a mask so real as to confuse and terrify. Those looking at the wearer would have a moment of uncomfortable disorientation because it looks real – but there’s something wrong. Uncanny valley stuff. I started off my career with baby designs about 17 years ago with the idea (behind Hyperflesh) being the terrifying juxtaposition of a baby’s head on an adult body.
The celebrities came about more recently as another off putting connection the viewer would have with the subject matter. Like “Hey that’s Bryan Cranston… wait a minute, his head is too big… and it’s on a female body!” I try to keep up with pop culture to stay relevant, and obviously politics are all-consuming at the moment.
3DS: What is your production process for creating the 3D printed masks, and how long does it take?
The sculpture itself is the most time consuming part of the process. I’ve literally spent a year on a single sculpture before! The perfectionist in me is both a blessing and a curse. Computer sculpting with Zbrush has helped me quicken this process. I can make visual comparisons easier and sculpt quicker.
After the sculpture is completed, I convert the sculpture into a two part mold which I 3D print on my Lulzbot Taz 6 (featured on our best FDM 3D printer and best 3D printer rankings!). With the mold completed, it’s an approximately 40 hour process of silicone casting, painting and hair work. The mold can be reused indefinitely.
3DS: How does 3D printing help to create these masks?
3D printing helps in a few ways:
- Firstly, it does the work for me. Yes, there’s post-processing work but not as much as traditional methods.
- Material is less expensive – $20 of filament.
- I can reprint the mold. With traditional methods you usually get one shot.
- Lastly, the mold is much lighter, making it easier to use.
3DS: What are Hyperflesh’s plans for the future?
I would like to expand Hyperflesh significantly, as currently it’s just me. I would like to hire out some of the work. Also, I would like to develop a less expensive version of my masks that can be mass produced but with near the same level of realism.
3DS: What are you most excited for in the future of 3D printing and why?
3D printing technology as a whole is exciting. The fact that we can 3D print a hip joint blows me away. On a personal level, I’m hopeful to see a larger scale SLA 3D printer at an approachable cost hit the market. The technology of high-speed DLP 3D printing is also exciting. That could be very useful to me.