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Family Bonds

Family Bonds

Maria Schmidt
by Nina Schwarz, Alex Berweck, Chiara Haurand-Schlagkamp, Klara Finck, Jessica Drechsler, Sarah Schulz, Stella Raith, Tao Zhang, Lukas von Berg, Laura Staab, Emer Phillips, Wille, Maja Garmulewicz, Lucia Rau, Manuel Dragan, Julia Skala, Tobias Lischka and smittyanimates on 29 May 2019 for Rookie Awards 2019

Family Bonds tells the story of the little fox Hugo and his unconventional family to which love is more important than heritage. This was my graduation project at the Filmakademie Baden-Wuerttemberg.

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The little fox Hugo has a happy family, but it’s a bit unsual - his parents are geese. They live an harmonic life until one day Hugo discovers a grown fox attacking another goose. This results into the most challenging and difficult situation our little patchwork-family has to overcome before Hugo ultimately finds out who he really is and that family is a feeling and not a matter of heritage.

This 2D animated short is about family and unconditional love. With its illustrative and playful design it shows us the world from little Hugo's point of view and guides us through an emotional journey alongside him.


rough animation - cleanup - coloring - compositing

Concept Art

Character Design

Because the story we're telling in "Family Bonds" is  directed at children, I wanted the character designs to be very simple but still lovable. While designing our protagonists I also kept in mind that they had to be efficient for the animators to work with, not too many little details that had to be drawn every frame. They are all based on simple shapes, that give our heroes the personality they need but are easy to understand and translate into movement.

Environment Design

For the environment design and overall look I wanted something that would remind the viewer of a page out of a children's book. Especially the brushstroke texture was very important to me. I started out painting various elements on paper with gouache and colored pencils, scanning everything and assembling it in Photoshop. Although this was a very interesting look, it was too time consuming in production. So I tried to get a similar result digitally, using traditional media brushes to get a painted, slighty rough appeal. 

Visual development
Final Background Art

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