A New Leaf

A New Leaf

Abigail Makoto Wilson
by makotonomonogatari on 20 May 2022 for Rookie Awards 2022

A heart-warming short film of a Tanuki child building up his confidence in his identity and learning to embrace the difference between people. This 3D animated film is created by 3 core members who studied BA in 3D Computer Character Animation and Modeling: Abigail Makoto Wilson, Mong Hiu Yu and Young Chae Cho.

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Round of applause for our sponsors

A child Tanuki (a Japanese Racoon Dog spirit) loses his transformation leaf and panics, starting to transform back into their original form - they're seen by a human child who, though curious, accepts him for who he is, and invites him to come play.

(Abigail Makoto Wilson)

We began with our base story, set in post-war Japan, when the number of hafu (or mixed-race) kids increased in population. A core sentiment that we wanted to explore lay in the ways in which hafu children may have viewed themselves during this era, as monsters or half-something else.

We received lots of feedback on our narrative, and worked to both shorten and strengthen it.

(Young Chae Cho)

(Zoe Kench)

From there, we worked to refine our character designs, taking into account the clothing of the era, and the narrative difference between the two characters, Kouta and Aki. We also drafted concept art to get to grips with the mood and lighting we wanted for the film, as well as colour scripts.

(Keva Kursakov, Young Chae Cho, Zoe Kench, Abigail Makoto Wilson)

(Mong Hiu Yu)

(Abigail Makoto Wilson)

A core point of inspiration stylistically were the Ukiyo-e art of that time. We drew on them for inspiration for lighting, colour, and the overall style of the film.

We also worked on figuring out 3D projection in Blender, to figure out the best way for us to map 2D drawings onto our 3D scene.

Our models were refined, and then retopologised and textured.

(Young Chae Cho)

(Abigail Makoto Wilson, using Advanced Skeleton 5)

We then got to work animating, lighting and rendering the film. We also did comp work in Nuke, using the passes from Blender's Eevee engine to adjust colour and brightness.

(Mong Hiu Yu, Abigail Makoto Wilson)

And that led us to our final film!

We hope that it's enjoyable to watch. It was definitely a tumultuous and intensive journey, but we stuck to it, and we hope that you are able to see our efforts bare fruit.

Thank you to all our friends and family for the support, and to the University of Hertfordshire for overseeing its production. Be kind to one another!

[Core Team]

Abigail Makoto Wilson - Direction, Rigging, Animating, Lighting, Rendering

Young Chae Cho - Character Design, Character + Prop modelling, Prop Texturing

Mong Hiu Yu - Animation, DOP, Lighting, Rendering, Editing

[Freelance Help]

Keva Kursakov - Environment Modelling, 3D Projection Help, Lighting Help

Zoe Kench - Animator, Character Design, Logo Design

Katerina Koleva - Animator

Bhavya Sanjeev - Character Texture Artist

Saphron Tia Barley - Credits

Rachel Alvarez - 2D Projection Texturing

Tse King Lok - Music

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