Studio Ghibli’s most memorable characters come to life in the digital environments of Paris-based Dono’s short, Tribute to Miyazaki.

Dono produced photorealistic worlds for the memorable stars of Spirited Away, Kiki’s Delivery Service, My Neighbor Totoro, Princess Mononoke, and many more of Hayao Miyazaki’s masterpieces using a suite of open source tools, including Blender for 3D, Gimp for image editing, and Natron for compositing. The only non-open source software was the rendering engine, Octane.

The result is a sweeping homage to Japan’s greatest animator and studio, screening smoothly through its three-minute runtime. While the characters from the various films are impressively composited to appear as part of one universe, Dono’s photorealistic CGI backdrops do stand out from the samples of Miyazaki’s hand-drawn works. But the tribute is nevertheless a short and sweet bow to the influential back catalog of the recently retired auteur, who is (thankfully) returning to create his first all-digital short, which will appear on display at some point at the Ghibli Museum.

Until it does, you’ll have to scratch your Studio Ghibli itch with this warm tribute, or cosplay Miyazakis, or Switzerland’s Hayao Miyazaki film festival, which winds down in September.

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Scott Thill

Scott Thill is a freelance writer, his work has appeared in Wired, Salon, The Nation, and Rolling Stone. Visit his site