Original Force

Headquartered in Nanjing, the capital of six dynasties in the history of China, Original Force was founded by CEO Harley Zhao, a super fan of “Star Wars” series. The company name “Original Force” actually originated from the core concept of “Star Wars”, indicating the exploration of potential.

In 1999, Harley quit his job at a bank which was thought to be a stable and golden job, and set up Original Force in a small chamber at Nanjing Jinpeng Hotel where his dream of animation started to sail. In 2001, Harley became an ALIAS MAYA Certified Professional, taking on another role as mentor for animators.

Before long, Original Force got 5 million RMB of angel financing which enabled Harley to acquire three animation companies in Beijing and Chengdu. Later on, Original Force secured orders from renowned companies in China and beyond, such as Microsoft Studios, EA, 2K, Tencent, Warner Bros, and The Third Floor, thus expanding its business further abroad.

At the end of 2010, Walden International, a famous venture capital firm in Asian-Pacific region, injected tens of millions of RMB into Original Force, boosting Original Force for further development. One year later, Original Force, still a young company back then, was designated to produce the TV version of “DreamWorks Dragons” after defeating another five world famous animation studios. The whole Chinese animation industry exploded with excitement at the news—it was the first time that a Chinese animation studio became a major player in a world-class project.

As expected, the TV drama “How to Train Your Dragon” proved to be a big success Scoring 8.4 out of 10 at Douban. Two animators from Original Force were nominated for Annie Award(one of the highest honors in animation) as “Outstanding Character Animation” for their work in this project. When the whole industry marveled at the achievements of Original Force, the company set its goal towards a higher arena.

In the same year, Original Force created the CG teaser for Tencent’s online game “Asura”, presenting its magnificent fighting scenes with exquisite visual effects. Asura was a milestone game of Tencent that was the most heavily invested at the time.  Featuring typical oriental elements with visual effects that match Hollywood, the teaser made Asura into the selection of the SIGGRAPH electronic theater as the very first commercial animation of China. This caused quite a stir in the animation industry. A media outlet even said, “This is the best presentation of Journey to the West ever!”

Original Force later participated in the production of “Monster Hunt”, a box office hit in 2015. The thrilling scenes of a human-monster war at the beginning of the film, together with the amazing panoramic views of villages and mountains, were all created by Original Force. Also, Original Force took part in the 2D drafting of some monsters, and the shaping of main animated characters like Huba, Pang Ying, and Zhu Gao which were well adored by the audience.

In 2016, Original Force participated in the production of UAE’s CG film “Bilal”. The first CG feature of the Middle East later earned the 89th nomination for the Best Animated Feature. From layout to the final rendering and compositing, Original Force produced the fight scenes  of the hero’s final revenge against the villain .

In the same year, Original Force was selected as the exclusive CG creator of Guo Jingming’s “L.O.R.D: Legend of Ravaging Dynasties”. As the very first CG/live-action film in China, L.O.R.D. started a new chapter in the development of Original Force. With only a little over a year to finish the production, Original Force had nearly 500 artists on the project, leaving infinite imaginary space for the industrialization and sustainable development of the animation industry.

In August 2017, Original Force’s very first own 3D family animated film “Duck Duck Goose” was screened at the Cannes Film Festival and scored the highest overseas sales among Chinese animation films, restoring the confidence of China’s animation industry. On March 9, 2018, “Duck Duck Goose” was released in China. and received praises from audience of all ages.

In 2018, Original Force worked on “Monster Hunt II and completed 30% of the entire CG shots, including multiple shots that successfully presented the performance of Huba and Benben, the two main CG characters, making robust contributions to the visual effects of the film.

Constantly sharpening professional competence over the past two decades, Original Force now enjoys a renowned reputation in the industry. Gathering more than 1,200 artists, including some senior animators who once worked at world famous animation studios like Disney and Pixar, Original Force has grown into an ecosystem that integrates IP development, project investment, content innovation, R&D, IP licensing, and talents training. Equipped with a complete industrialized production pipeline, Original Force has forged long-term cooperation with studios like DreamWorks, Sony, The Third Floor and Lion Stage in its core business, feature animation production . So far, Original Force has set up independent subsidiaries in Beijing, Chengdu, Wuhan of China and in the U.S. and Thailand as well.

Building momentum from past achievements, Original Force keeps moving forward and innovate from the global, ecological, industrial and technological perspectives.

Industrialized animation production requires efficient pipeline and technical management. In this regard, more than 1,000 artists of Original Force have been working as a team to ensure that intensive tasks be done as scheduled through industrialized management. To ensure pipeline efficiency, Original Force has set up the Pipeline Development Department to develop and improve pipeline management system suitable for industrialized production. Knowing that, after all, pipeline depends on man, Original Force has spent a lot of time and energy on talents training, which played a key role in its success. Harley believes that the biggest problem facing the animation industry is not the lack of talents, but the lack of patience to develop talents. He said, “The reason that Original Force can spend 20 years to realize a dream is that we are more patient in developing talent, which can hardly be done by others.”

High-quality CG output requires not only industrialized production, but also advanced technologies. For many years, Original Force has been working on technological research. In 2015, together with Nanjing University, Original Force set up an Ultra-Realistic 3D Body Scanning Laboratory, one of the few laboratories jointly established by enterprises and universities for studying the application of 3D technology in animated films and TV shows, games, and VR. Ultra-realistic 360° scanning technology, which gives detail to even a pore, has been applied in the production of several Original Force’s projects. In 2017, Original Force was authorized to develop Avatar motion capture technology in Asia, and started the research on Ncam real-time technology. For this course, artists were sent to Beijing and Shanghai to investigate the possibility for the R&D of new VR photography technology. Through numerous days working around the clock and constant modification, they finally overcome the barriers and found a solution for the application of the new technology, perfectly incorporating real-time live-action into the visual world of UE4.

Through industrialized production reform and technological research, Original Force has been striving to transform from an animation producer to an international content creator. In the future, Original Force will stick to the production of high quality original animation and entertainment content and strive to become an industry leader. With animation, Original Force is always serious!



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