Making movie magic… and blowing it up with Artem SFX

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Artem’s 7-axis milling robot machines the Halo Master Chief from foam

Standing outside in Artem’s physical special effects trialling ground (staff carpark) you’d be excused for having the same enthusiasm as the 10 year-old kid stood next to you, gasping at the exploding car ablaze in front of you.

This was the company’s summer open day, a way of introducing an invited mix of potential customers, friends and their kids along to the kind of work they do there – and it’s amazing the breadth of projects it works on.

Some of it is ear-ringingly loud explosions, fake-blood spatters and bullet ricochets for gunfights, yet everything is carefully crafted – including instantly recognisable props and costumes.

Inside its workshop are benches familiar to anyone that’s stepped inside a model making studio, yet the 7-axis milling robot and a couple of useful Stratasys 3D printers set them apart from most by merging the lines between physical and digital.

Sculptors can work in 3D Systems Freeform, while SolidWorks is brought out for the surprising amount of structural and frame designs that make up many of the creations – whether moving characters, filming rigs (like the giant ‘hamster wheel’ that can realistically roll sets and the actors within), or designing their own equipment – like wind machines and smoke cannons.


A high-detail Stratasys Objet 3D printer lets in-house artists 3D print scale models first

For projects such as the latest Halo video game marketing campaign, sculptures were 3D printed to form maquettes, which could be scaled up and milled using the robot to create life-size models. These could be used as mannequins for costume work, or simply to form standalone props.

With a core staff of 30, Artem’s specialist team of sculptors, engineers, prop-makers, pyrotechnicians, and artists are always working hard to make what they do standout in a competitive world. Being able to bring together all aspects of the SFX cannon together with the added speed and accuracy its digital tools offer mean it continues to be an award winning outfit, pleasing both children and adults alike.

Ending on a bang – Artem’s pyrotechnics team rigged the finale

More movie magic?

The Octobus – before closing the Olympics ceremony with DJ Fatboy Slim

Last year we spent the day with Artem at its West London headquarters and took a more in-depth look at some of its projects – from the Churchill Insurance animatronic dog, to the Olympics closing ceremony.

To read more, click here.

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