20 Anniversary of Thru the Moebius Strip
20 years ago, we set out to build a dream and an industry. 20 years now, we accomplished what we set out to do. Together as a team, not a company, we have shaped, built and lead the digital content industry in Asia.
I am happy that we have come back together one more time after 20 years. Let keep the dream alive.
20 years ago, preproduction work began on “Thru the Moebius Strip” with conceptual drawings by Jean Giraud Moebius. The full feature computer generated imagery in HD movie was completed in 2004 with both English and Chinese dialogue and was cinematically released in China in 2005. This was the first ever CGI full feature length movie produced in China. As one of the producers closely involved in the production of the movie, from preproduction to post production including the production of the lush symphonic and choral music, this was one of the proud achievements of my life. But “Thru the Moebius Strip” is much more than a feature film. It is the centerpiece of a vision conceived by Raymond, my youngest brother, to build an industry for our country.
When work started on the movie, there were only a handful of CGI artists in China. No one knew how to make a full feature length CGI movie. It was a monumental artistic, technical and organizational challenge. While the preproduction proceeded in California, USA, a school for training CGI artists was started in Shenzhen to train the hundreds of artists who would be needed to make the movie. When the first batch graduated, a studio annexed to the school was started to employ them for making the movie. Computer technology in the early years of the 21st Century was many orders of magnitude below the capability of the present. To make a movie that tells a compelling story, the CGI artists involved had to be supported by a complete production system that had to be created from scratch. When this was completed, this system could produce models and animate them to lifelike movements, create sets, manipulate camera angles, produce appropriate lighting, and compositing all of that into many thousands of individual frames to be stored for synchronization with dialogue, sound effects and music. The computer software available in the market proved wanting for the task, and much in-house software development had to be undertaken to complete the movie.
The artists who graduated from the training school and the CGI scientists and technicians involved in the production had the unique opportunity of cutting their teeth in one of the most challenging projects in CGI history. It was a baptism by fire. They were the first major cohort of CGI artists and CGI scientists and technicians in China. From the experience gained through the making of “Thru the Moebius Strip”, they went on to do great things, and built the CGI industry of China today.
28 December 2020
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