Shuttlecock of Friendship is a short animation film created as a spring project in Kai Lappalainen’s 3D animation class.
The film is focused on human-animal communication and relations. The interaction happens between two characters: a boy and a squirrel. The squirrel is shown as a wild animal, not as a human-like intelligent creature as it often happens in animation, even though easier to contact than normally. The communication happens without words, through gestures and playing. Even though the boy needs the shuttlecock that is stuck on the tree, he doesn’t try to exploit the squirrel and use the animal to achieve his own goal. Instead, he chooses to make contact, play genuinely and become friends. The squirrel is sad and bored in the beginning, maybe depressed, and obviously needs a friend. The boy is always positive and confident even though he has a problem, and he is ready to share his positive way of looking at the world with others. So, when he notices a sad and a bit frightened squirrel, he decides to cheer it up though playing, and then invites the animal to come to him. And the squirrel brings the shuttlecock out of its own free will because it’s now friendly and grateful for playing, and it guessed that the shuttlecock belongs to the boy.
The author hopes that this short film will enhance positive attitude towards life problems and non-exploitative friendly relationships with wild animals among children and adults.
Software used: Maya (animation and modelling, rendering), Substance painter (characters texturing), Houdini (tree modelling), ZBrush (boy sculpting), After Effects (compositing and video editing).
The sounds were taken from the https://freesound.org website.
Alexey Nikolaev New Media Design and Production