“The Happy Duckling” by Alberta College of Art & Design

  • ©Gili Dolev  Alberta College of Art & Design


SIGGRAPH Video Review:




    The Happy Duckling


Company / Institution / Agency:

  • Alberta College of Art & Design


    “The Happy Duckling” uses 3D animation to bring a pop-up book to life. The artists simulated paper to create a believable, engaging, and magical world where anything is possible.

    The film demonstrates a different use of 3D technology, where instead of using objects with volume and mass, the film’s world created is paper-thin. The characters and sets appear to be made of paper and follow strict rules to ensure the authenticity of the look and feel.

    The story takes place inside a pop-up book, so familiar paper-engineering devices tell the story. In order to hold the audience’s suspense, it was crucial to reproduce a convincing paper world with the correct material properties and animation style.

    One of the main animation challenges was to give the characters in the film enough emotional range, while not choosing obvious 3D solutions for facial expressions. The leading principle in the film was to only use design and animation solutions that can be created from real paper. In order to find these solutions, the team created sets and mock-up characters from actual paper before reproducing them digitally in Maya.

    The result of this uncompromising method is a rich paper-like world that allows viewer immersion in the environment.


    Maya 8.5, Adobe Premiere 2.0, Adobe Photoshop CS, Adobe AfterEffects CS, digidesign, Pro Tools, mental ray, ambient occlusion Final Draft

Additional Contributors:

    Director: Gili Dolev

    Script: Gili Dolev

    Composer: Mick Cooke

    Production Designer: Janek Matysia

    Technical Supervisor: Paul Boyd

    Animators: Chris Seed, Jere Virta, Jonathan Blair, Vykintas Kazdailis, Katerina Kulendikova

    Additional Animation: Murray Sinclair, Andrew Strachan

    SFX and Folley: James Scanlan

    Special Thanks: Karn David

    Supported by Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design, University of Aberta ink.digital, Primus Design Group

    Sales and Distribution Monster Distributes Ltd.

Animation / Video Overview: