Digital Frontier Animates “Wolf Children”

Tokyo, Japan — Japanese motion picture production company Digital Frontier worked on CG production and compositing for director Mamoru Hosoda’s latest animated film, Wolf Children.

The story follows the story of college student Hana, who falls in love with a wolf man. Their love is consummated, and Hana gives birth to two babies. The older child, a girl born on a snowy day, is named Yuki for “snow,” and the younger child, a boy born on a rainy day, is named Ame for “rain.” These two small children harbor a big secret — they are wolf children who are both human and wolf.

Digital Frontier previously worked with Hosoda on the 2009 animated film Summer Wars. For Wolf Children, Digital Frontier combined CG animation with celluloid animation from Studio Chizu. The two techniques, carefully combined through composite work, play important roles in enhancing each other, bringing Japanese animation to a new level.

What differentiates this film from other Japanese animated films is the animated background seen throughout. Plants, animals, water (VFX), and machinery moving in the background are created using CG. In the snow scene that appears in the teaser above, the children that are done in celluloid run through a CG forest. First, the forest is created in Maya, then hand-drawn textures are placed on CG models. Cameras and lighting are placed in the virtual scene and filmed just like in a live-action film. Celluloid characters and CG background are then blended through composite work to create an overall 2D feel.

The film has a lot of everyday scenes which meant it needs a number of crowd characters. In the film, all crowd  characters are created in CG, including this biker who is parking his bicycle.