Russ Adams of Escape Design FX and his hand-crafted special effects. Source: Russ Adams/
Russ Adams of Escape Design FX and his hand-crafted special effects. Source: Russ Adams/

In recent years, 3D printing has taken a leading role in movie special effects. 3D printed spiders, for example, have appeared in one of the Harry Potter films. Andrew Clement, owner of Creative Character Engineering, who worked on the Harry Potter films states that 3D printing is "an extremely fast way of sculpting and doing concepts."

Local Utah Artist and 3D Printing in the Movie Business

We have interviewed Russ Adams to learn more. Adams is a special effects artist with 15 years of experience, operating in Northern Utah.

Can you tell us about the work you do as a special effects artist and a filmmaker?

As a special effects artist, I am asked to do everything from creature creation to makeup effects and set design to costuming. It really just depends on the project.

What are your thoughts on 3D printing used for special effects in the movie industry?

There are a lot of tools we use in the film industry to achieve that perfect look, 3D Printing is just one of those tools. I happen to be all for it. I liken it to a serger or sewing machine. Is the costume any less amazing because the designer used a sewing machine vs. hand-stitching?

How do you think 3D printing will help you in your own work? Do you think that 3D printing is helpful or a hindrance?

I think 3D printing will be a huge help to me and my studio. Right now everything is hand sculpted, molded, and cast. We make everything down to the smallest part in a mechanism. Rather than spend the time sculpting and molding those pieces by hand, the 3D Printer can be knocking them out while the artist focuses on larger pieces. It’s a time and labor saver.

Where do you see your own craft heading in the next five years? What are your goals and projects that you’d like to work on?

We have some huge projects on the horizon. We are forecasting a second studio on the East coast very soon. Our studio is expanding and gaining international recognition. Tools like these will keep us competitive and on the cutting edge.

Do you think that 3D printing will become more prevalent in the movie-making business? What do you project for the future of the special effects craft?

Filmmakers today are innovators. We don't wait on anything. If a part breaks on set, and we can replicate it right there, rather than wait on a vendor, we will do it. Some of these printers replicate their own parts. Imagine that...self-replication...amazing! So yeah, 3D printers seem to be made for our industry. We wait with open arms!

3D Printed Props in the Movies

As 3D printing becomes more popular, industries like the movies are taking up the technology to improve their own processes. Special effects craftsman like Russ are excited about the possibilities and are open to the time-saving convenience of having special effects printed. What will be 3D printed next?

About Russ Adams and Escape Design FX

Russ Adams, an award-winning special effect artist, creature creator, and founder of Escape Design FX. Self-taught, he has 15 years’ experience in the effects and filmmaking industry.

He has developed a wide skill set during his years of experience working within the independent film and theater communities.

From set design, to costume creation and creature FX, Russ is a well- rounded artist with mass appeal. He has been credited with over a dozen indie films in the United States and many more spanning 8 countries. Russ Adams has captured the attention of several Hollywood effects artists from Stan Winston Studios, Hearn Studios, Legacy FX, and more. 

To learn more about Escape Design FX, go to their website at