In recent years, a number of domestic animated films have appeared on the big screen, such as "Journey to the West: The Return of the Great Sage", "Nezha: The Demon Boy Descends to the World", "Thirty Thousand Miles of Chang'an" and other works, which have gained good audience reputation and box office performance with good stories and good production. At the same time, with the rapid development of China's animation industry and the continuous heating up of animation IP development, it is becoming a new driving force for activating traditional culture, shaping the image of the city, and building a cultural tourism brand.

A few days ago, under the guidance of the China Film Critics Society and others, the 2023FADC China Animation Art and Animation Industry High-quality Innovation and Development (Yuhang) Forum was held in Zhongtai Jumping Head Literary and Art Market Town, Yuhang District, Hangzhou, Zhejiang, jointly sponsored by the School of Arts and Humanities of Zhejiang University, the Film and Television and Animation Game Research Center of Zhejiang University, the Economic and Cultural Research Center of Zhejiang University, and the Propaganda Department of the Yuhang District Committee of the Communist Party of China (District Cultural and Creative Development Center). The forum focuses on the fields of animation art creation and industrial development, as well as cutting-edge topics such as art and technology, generative artificial intelligence (AIGC), and aims to promote the high-quality development of China's animation art and animation industry.

Seek a breakthrough in the theme style

Chinese animation has been developing for 100 years. In the last century, a number of classic works such as "Havoc in the Heavenly Palace", "Nezha in the Sea" and "Little Tadpole Looking for Mother" were integrated into the effects of Peking Opera and shadow puppetry in the form of ink animation and paper-cut animation, forming a unique "Chinese school" in the world.

"Nevertheless, I think the comprehensive development of Chinese animation is in the last 20 years. The 'all-round development' here refers to the joint efforts of artistic creation, industrial management, and cultural dissemination, promoting each other, and going hand in hand. Pan Jian, director of the Film and Television and Animation Game Research Center of Zhejiang University, said.

He believes that in terms of artistic creation, marked by "Journey to the West: The Return of the Great Sage" in 2015, Chinese animation began to comprehensively rebuild the "Chinese School", and successively launched a number of popular works, such as "Big Fish and Begonia", "White Snake: Origin", "Five Elements of Foggy Mountains", "Chinese Strange Tan" and so on. Pan Jian said: "Although the subject matter of these works also focuses on myths and legends, they use the creative mode of 'rewriting', emphasizing the 'new' of the original work, rather than the 'adaptation' of faithfulness to the original work. ”

At the forum, a number of animation projects and a number of new animation works such as "The Season", "Chang'e", "Xinji", "Bai Suzhen", "Reading Xingxia" and many new animation works were released. It can be seen that traditional culture, myths and legends are still the mainstream of Chinese animation creation. For example, "The Season" personifies each traditional festival and creates comics, novels, illustrations and other forms to tell the story of what traditional festivals may happen in the past, present and future.

Cao Xiaohui, vice president of the China Animation Research Institute of Beijing Film Academy, is also a judge of the Art Film Award of the China Film Golden Rooster Awards. From the analysis of the nominations and award-winning works of the Golden Rooster Award Art Film Award in recent years, he believes that one of the manifestations of the innovation and development of Chinese animation is to express traditional themes and traditional culture with new concepts, new forms, new methods and new technologies. "We also seek breakthroughs in subject matter, such as "Thirty Thousand Miles of Chang'an" is a historical theme, attaching importance to the inner performance and image shaping of the characters; There are also works that focus on real life, such as "Tea Ah No. 2 Middle School", which tells the story of the growth of middle school students. Cao Xiaohui believes that Chinese animation can "learn from Chinese feature films", learn new ideas, new models and new changes in Chinese film creation, and use animation to better express real life.

Technological innovation promotes development

"Now, the development of global animation has reached a critical juncture. The development of animation from hand-drawn at the beginning, to digital technology, 3D production, and now fully generated with artificial intelligence (AI), is a process of technological innovation. Li Zhongqiu, vice president of the International Animation Association (ASIFA), said. Founded in France in 1960, the association currently has more than 5000,50 members worldwide, including more than <> member countries.

In this forum, many participants talked about technology, especially the impact of AI technology on animation creation. Shen Leping, chairman of Hangzhou Xuanji Technology Co., Ltd., chief screenwriter and director of cartoons such as "Qin Shi Mingyue", "Douluo Continent" and "Wu Gengji", shared the process of producing animation. He introduced that the company has five virtual platforms, including virtual studios, virtual actors, virtual studios, virtual shooting, and virtual performances, relying on these platforms to realize the visualization of scripts. "As far as performances are concerned, live performances are not replicable, but every virtual performance is a piece of data that can be recorded and replicated." Shen Leping said that they have accumulated millions of performance data and filed them digitally, and with the accumulation of virtual performance data, its use will be more efficient, and the character performance will be more flexible.

"Although AI has become very powerful, it is not a substitute for the creativity and thinking of artists at the moment, it is still a tool, but it is not an ordinary tool, but a super automated tool." Wang Lei, Dean of the School of Animation and Digital Arts at Communication University of China, believes that generative artificial intelligence (AIGC) is a new milestone in the development of animation technology, and the result will be the co-creation of humans and computing power. He believes that in today's rapid technological change, the changes of AI to the content media industry have just begun.

Yu Yishan, a professor and director at Cheongju University in South Korea, demonstrated the use of AI in film shooting. "AI can figure out the audience's preferences and participate in the creation in the studio, but I think the most important thing to produce a work of art that can move people is inspiration and emotion."

Cross-border integration to create IP

An animation exhibition area was set up at the forum, in which cultural and creative products were displayed, such as canvas bags, paper fans, celadon handicrafts, etc., which attracted many visitors to buy.

At the same time, the development of China's animation derivative industry has received more and more attention, and the creation of animation IP has shown the characteristics and trends of cross-border integration. For example, the integration of animation with cultural museums, intangible cultural heritage, tourism and other industries has opened up new development space for traditional industries.

Hangzhou Institute of Animation and Games has been innovating in "animation + Liangzhu culture". "We focus on the patterns of Liangzhu cultural relics, the story of Liangzhu, and the elements of Liangzhu to create from different levels, not only handbags, T-shirts, silk scarves and other daily necessities, but also Liangzhu's 'Sou Shen Ji' trendy toy doll series, forming the animation Liangzhu Metaverse, and also developing Liangzhu cultural games to promote Liangzhu culture with the help of digital entertainment." Su Huan, a teacher at Hangzhou Animation and Game College, said. In his view, the "Animation +" model is to make full use of the characteristics and advantages of animation itself, and enhance the expressiveness, narrative, appeal and communication of related industries through deep integration and collaborative innovation with different industries.

In recent years, many cities and scenic spots have their own mascots. Creating animation IP is not only conducive to shaping the local brand image, but also attracting animation fans and generating new consumption.

Rainbow Dash is the mascot IP of Dayun Town, Jiashan County, Zhejiang Province, which is formed by a stream of heating in the local Yunlan Bay Hot Spring, and its main characteristics are "warm" and "cute". Wang Yan, an associate professor at Zhejiang University's City College, shared the birth process of Rainbow Dash. "The local area has created a 'sweet holiday destination in China' and focuses on parent-child travel, so there should be a sweet and warm atmosphere." She said that since Rainbow Dash's debut in 2017, it has spawned parent-child picture books, parent-child musicals, and themed cartoons, which have enhanced audience stickiness. "The development of Rainbow Dash IP continues, and I hope to build it into a super IP about the story of China." In Wang Yan's view, super IP should have ultra-wide extensibility, super recognition, and be able to resonate and recognize the public.

Lai Rui

(People's Daily Overseas Edition)