‘Door Guardians’ Teaser Shows Off China’s CGI Capabilities

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If this newly released teaser for Door Guardians makes one thing clear, it’s that Western feature-quality computer animation has arrived in China. In fact, the Beijing-based studio responsible for the film, Light Chaser Animation, has made it its mission to create Western quality animation in China.

Founded by web entrepreneur Gary Wang, Light Chaser has worked closely with American artists like former Pixar and ILM animator Colin Brady to set up its production pipeline. As we reported last August, the tech-savvy studio used a telepresence robot to allow Brady to work with them from his Los Angeles home.

“Most Chinese animation companies are from either a 2D animation background or live-action feature films,” explained Light Chaser visual effects supervisor Han Lei, formerly of DreamWorks Animation, to China Animation & Game Network. “But we were formed by Gary [Wang] who is from a technology background. So we look at the early time of Pixar, a technology driven company, for inspiration…We spent a lot of time on the pipeline trying to recreate the Hollywood quality…Quality is our most important concern.”

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Rooted in Chinese traditions, Door Guardians is a folktale/fantasy-influenced film aimed primarily at young adult Chinese audiences. The film has a significant budget by Chinese standards; it will reportedly cost around $12 million with a similar budget for marketing. The teaser indicates a release date of January 2016.

Below is Light Chaser’s first public project, the short Little Yeyos, which has been viewed over 30 million times on Chinese social media:

(Thanks, Markham Carroll, via Cartoon Brew’s Facebook group)


  • William Bradford

    Oooh looks like there’s potential here

    • Kirielson

      Agreed.

  • http://www.johnnyluu.co.uk Johnny Luu

    Little Nezha Fights Great Dragon Kings. Not an original idea but, by the nine fingers of Frodo, a modern CGI remake done by a Chinese company at the above quality would be such an incredible thing on so many levels.

  • Mark Mayerson

    It sets off alarm bells when a cgi trailer shows off lots of pretty pictures but no acting.

    • AmidAmidi

      Another concerning sign: when studio owners come up with stories, as is the case with “Door Guardians.” Regardless of whether the film is any good, I think it’s a net positive for the development and training of the Chinese animation industry.

  • Céu D’Ellia

    12 million dollars budget?
    Now, let´s observe how that will impact the whole world CG3D animation industry… Any guess why the political situation and slav…, sorry, work conditions in China allow such budget or it doesn´t matter at all?

    • William Bradford

      WELL we’ll see if the whole film looks as good as the trailer: Possibly it will be very obvious how they managed to keep the budget so low.

      Looks good though, mind you

  • Kirielson

    Hmm, looks like it has more style than Dre…nah, too soon. But still lit looks nice.

  • Michel Van

    interesting work, let wait to 2016 to see real thing !

  • Paul M

    I can never get enough animated martial arts action to satisfy for long, so this is indeed good news.

  • RCooke

    I like the short OK, but the trailer/teaser/whatever leaves a lot to be desired. As in the case of most of these kinds of pieces, there are lots of wide vista shots—easier to do in general. But a sustained story with strong, relatable characters is far harder to do, and is by far in a majority of audiences minds (whether they realize it or not) a more significant sign of “quality” than any polished series of visuals. I hope there’s a compelling story and characters.

  • Matt

    I take it as one more nail in the coffin for American animation jobs. the end goal of DreamWorks and other studios is bottom dollar and not the art form no matter what they say. No one should be applauding this unless you dont care about your American job.

    • Tim Tran

      You’re acting like America has always been the only source of animation. Japan flourishes with animation and nothing happened to us. Calm down.

    • RickyButler89

      You’re trolling right?
      Chinese market is more likely to be propping up the “american” industry in the next 10 years. Big “western” vfx studios are already working on big Chinese projects.
      Chinese box office is growing whilst the US one is shrinking.
      Anyway, ask the Canadians, Antipodeans and Europeans that work in the US studios how they see your “american” jobs.

  • Anonymous

    There’s more camera animation than character animation.

  • HalSolo

    If these guys ever produced an animated feature directed by Stephen Chow we are all in serious trouble. That would be their THE INCREDIBLES.

    • Tim Tran

      OMYGOD yes please let the King of Asian Comedy direct it!

    • JoshActionReplay

      That would be awesome! I want my animated action-comedy fix now!

  • schwarzgrau

    Is it really some new information, that some CG animation is made in China? I expected at least 30% of the western CG animation was made in China.

  • StumbleReel

    action and character movement looks about as dull as it would in a disney or pixar film
    but the concept looks pretty cool