China’s giant panda A Pu debuts on the international stage
White face, black eyes with a chubby body, the adorable panda has left a deep impression on everybody’s mind. But what do you think of an intelligent, passionate and energetic image of China’s giant panda?
China Giant Panda Global Image Design Competition was launched by China Intercontinental Communication Center (CICC) and China Conservation and Research Center of Giant Pandas in February. After a four-month-long competition, the image of panda A Pu was selected from 2,023 global works in 22 countries on June 12 and will kick off a series of animations and exhibitions to the public in the near future.
The images of A Pu are expressed by different topics including music, e-sports and environmental protection. For example, the picture of musician A Pu shows he is playing an electric guitar.
“Those images highlight the elements of internationalization and youth, and demonstrate the international image of the Chinese giant panda,” according to a press release sent to the Global Times from CICC.
“We participate in this competition because many people including me like the panda. We are very impressed by its image from the famous movie Kung Fu Panda and as a professional in creating animation, I believe we can create a great panda image by ourselves,” Wang Tianshi, a designer from the champion team and a teacher from Beijing Film Academy, told the Global Times.
Wang said at the beginning of the design, the six core members in the team did not have a clear idea about the image, but they made one thing clear – that designing a character should be based on the panda’s intrinsic character rather than simply designing a beautiful appearance.
Thus, they started from setting the image’s personality. They later created a charming sunny young personality by combining the theme of China’s giant panda and the world’s new youth, designing hundreds of visual images and voted for selecting the best one.
This set of images expresses A Pu’s youthful vitality and energy, and choosing these topics are more in line with his image and personality, which is full of positive energy.
Speaking of the name A Pu, Wang explained that the name’s pronunciation is similar to the English word “up,” which means moving forward.
“The process of creation is very enjoyable because I can cooperate with many famous artists to exchange ideas as a designer and I also made many new friends. All the things I experienced are a reward for me,” Wang said.
“The design of the competition mentioned a lot of important elements like science and globalization, and we need to emphasize the young China and the new international role of China through the image,” Mary Sue Ginsburg, one of the judges and the head of the Asian Department of the British Museum, said in the final competition.
Some Chinese netizens commented that the image of A Pu is similar to Black Cat Detective,a Chinese animation television series produced by the Shanghai Animation Film Studio.
“The image of the giant panda has a lot of creative space since its outline is very simple. If we want to break this image, we need more innovation,” said Zhu Yuping, the former deputy director of Shanghai animation film studio.
Zhu noted that one of the differences in the competition is that the experts gave some guidance for perfecting the final work, which makes the work better.
“In this year’s competition, we saw a lot of refreshing designs, but in the end we could only choose one image to represent the new youth. In the selection of the last 50 works, we will pay more attention to the fact that if this image is suitable for animated images,” said Shi Jieyu, another judge of the competition.
“We held the competition to select a Chinese panda image because we need a young image of the Chinese panda in the new era. A successful character image should not only represent its own country, but also represent the commonality of all mankind. In that case, our panda A Pu showcases the unique style of Chinese civilization in the international arena, and also resonates with people around the world to show our inclusive and harmonious attributes,” according to the press release.
Panda A Pu is like a bud of Chinese youth culture and a representative of new life hopes. He represents the voice of Chinese youth and enhances the exchange and communication between the Chinese culture and the world. This image will play the role of a medium to increase communication among young people around the world, noted by the document.
CICC will cooperate with overseas professional animation teams to develop and create a series of film and television works by using the image of panda A Pu as a prototype, and continue to promote it.
“A Pu is about to appear on the screen, and his charm will be fully displayed in the form of animation, interactive exhibitions and other young people’s favorite creative methods,” Wang said.