Elodie N
by Aaron KUBCZAK, Aurélien DOUAY, Elodie NANEIX, Loona VAN-POUCKE, Tiago AZEVEDO, Victorine L'ECU, and elosayo on 25 Mar 2020 for Rookie Awards 2020

Sayōnara is the journey of four CGI & 3D Animation students from ArtFX. Our graduation movie is a tribute to the famous Torii from Miyajima Island. Reaching people’s heart is our main goal. Synopsis : A young man finds his lost twin sister through a Torii gate, the frontier between the living and the sacred worlds.

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Our story is inspired by the floating Torii of Miyajima Island. A Torii is a shintō gate, symbolizing the frontier between the living and the sacred worlds.

We wanted to create a special mood for the film. That’s why we decided to work with two main tints : purple and orange. Those two colors aren’t used together that much, but when combined, they give a really soothing atmosphere.

The color purple is often associated with spirituality, mystery and fulfillment. Because it rarely occurs in nature, it is often given a sacred meaning. It has a variety of effects on the mind and body, including calming the mind and nerves, creating feelings of spirituality, and increasing sensitivity. Purple helps you connect with the whole universe. Light purple hues represent feminine energy and delicacy, as well as romantic and nostalgic feelings. Dark purple hues, on another hand, evoke feelings of gloom and sadness.

As for orange tones, they promote a sense of general wellness and emotional energy, like compassion and warmth. The color orange will help a person recover from a wounded heart.

How can you create a movie about traditional Japan without thinking of Japanese prints? In order to introduce our story delicately, we decided to tell it through stylized illustrations.

We looked at a lot of references of Japanese prints, and we carefully studied how they were made. What were the main features that made them so unique?

Naoki is a curious and sensible young man, so we wanted his design to be a mix of curves and sharp lines. He is rather thin and tall.

As he is the main character, we needed to make him an endearing protagonist. He carries a lot of weight on his shoulders, and our goal was to make the public empathic to his story. We went through many tests to define his final look. After many different attempts, we understood that we needed to give him more dimension. So, the bias was to give him strong sharp features, as a sharp-edged jaw, and a lot of straight and confident lines.

Our main clothing references were based on Edo / Hokusai periods. We wanted traditional clothes with our own interpretation of them. A lot of different shapes and colors were tried to find our final result. We used a wave pattern on his sleeves because this shape was often used on clothing at that time.

Suki is a tender young woman, with a sense of sacrifice. Her design is soft overall, yet she has distinctive traits, just like her brother. Since she is the center of the dramatic feeling in the movie, we wanted her to be a touching character. This way the viewer can be affected during the climax.

Her kimono is based on Edo period kimonos, on some more modern ones, as well as on spring yukatas. We decided to give her medium length sleeves, as we had limits for our cloth simulation. We chose a deep saturated blue for her kimono, with waves and sea patterns. Blue is a color that represent depth and stability. It symbolizes trust, loyalty, wisdom, faith, and heaven. We wanted the characters clothes to have a link with their favorite place : the seashore and the floating Torii.

Japan is known for its wonderful places, which are often a mix of tradition and mystery. Strong sceneries were essential to our storytelling. Our composition choices also helped us showcase important elements. We wanted a contemplative movie, where the public could travel along a poetic journey. 

The Torii is the main exterior element. It is the emblem of the movie, and we wanted to give it a mysterious and gigantic look.  

For the interior scenes, as we witness an intimate moment of the protagonist, we wanted a cosy mood, with a subdued lighting generated by candles.

We researched traditional mediums such as pastel and chalk on black paper, to develop the lighting.

The exterior is the reflection of Naoki’s poetic journey. Sunset was the best poetry representation for us, as we love to see the sun disappear behind the horizon.

If you're reading this, then congratulations, you made it through the entire project. This the end (hold your breath and count to ten) we hope you enjoyed the journey with us. We also hope you liked the movie (once it will be released, normally end of April), don't hesitate to share your thoughts about our projet and our movie ! Sayōnara ~

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