Categories: Animation Articles

From Up on Poppy Hill – Studio Ghibli

The beauty of a good animation movie relies on original story telling as well the innovation that is used through cinematography. Overall, combined with the cinematography element, the quality of the animators style and how they incorporate that with the design of the characters and scenarios to flesh out the story in “From Up on Poppy Hill” was brilliantly executed.

From Up on Poppy Hill Background

From Up on Poppy Hill is a Japanese movie made by Studio Ghibli, the creators of My Neighbor Totoro, Spirited Away and Ponyo among others. The studio was founded by animation veterans Hayao Miyazaki, Isao Takahata and Toshio Suzuki after the success of Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind.

As many other Studio Ghibli movies, the animation of the movie reflects the every-day life of the different Japanese settings from their period dramas as well to their more fantastical scenarios that are inspired on the creators daily livings.

The movie is set on the Port of Yokohama, on the eve of the 1964 Olympics. There is a realistic side to the animations scenario as the Port of Yokohama was used as a inspiration for the scenarios used; which gives an authenticity to the narrative of the movie to the viewers. No matter where the viewers are from they can see a little bit of Japan on a different era, where everything was far simpler.

Movie Production

The technique used to create the realistic approach is rotoscopy, but what is really interesting about the movie production process is that the film had minor setbacks on the post-production stage due the 2011 earthquake-tsunami tragedy that hit the coast of Tohoku. The tsunami generated blackouts making some of the artist work increasingly difficult as they had to put in extra hours to finish the movie on the release date on July 16 of 2011.

A little bit about Rotoscopy

This anuimation technique is a technique that deserves respect as it is very time consuming ( but reaps great rewards). The Animator traces over previously filmed footage (frame for frame) to convert it into animation.

Written by Ruan Smit


Ruan Smit started Pixelsmithstudios with the vision of creating a new design orientated environment of sharing, learning and expertise development amongst local Animators,Illustrators,Game Developers and VFX artists in South Africa.

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