Digital Tools Create Fantasy Worlds

Merlin Entertainments, the largest entertainments company operating in Europe, is behing some of the world’s most popular attractions, including Legoland, Madame Tussauds and the London Eye. Its creative team at Merlin Magic Makers (MMM) is based in a studio at Alton Towers in Staffordshire and they have been servicing the theme park resort industry for 25 years.

Edwin Kikham, Theming Production Director at MMM, explains how these fictional worlds get to be recreated exactly as they should be thanks to the digital tools. As the teams of sculptors, prop workers and joiners are becoming increasingly smaller, this issue is compounded by the fact that every product, asset and prop that is created must adhere to the strict guidelines set by the IP holders for each brand.

If the props don’t look like the characters that children know and love, it is very difficult to bring the magic of theme parks to life! A lot of the people in our team are parents to children that love the brands that we’re working on, and we’re committed to making sure that this passion comes through in what we create. We have to immerse ourselves within the environment to make sure we’re producing realistic and compelling products every time, said Edwin.

The solution to these challenges was using digital tools, such as Autodesk’s PowerMill and ArtCAM products. PowerMill sends the digital design files for each asset from the IP holders that can then be programmed straight into MMM’s machines and cut to the exact specifications that were given.

If we hadn’t started using digital tools, we would have struggled to remain competitive by now because we couldn’t have kept up with the pace of change in the market. Looking to the future, we are starting to explore how we can bring implementations of 3D printing to our production line and are also making use of Autodesk’s cloud-based environment so that other teams within our business can collaborate on one project at the same time, concluded Edwin.

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