Give Life to 2D

NEWS RELEASE, October 9th, 2013

Technology contribution in e-publishing of PEPITA: TAKEHIKO INOUE MEETS GAUDÍ

Proprietary Live2D technology directly animates the hand-drawn character

Tokyo, Japan, October 9, 2013 - Cybernoids, the inventor of Live2D, today announced its participation and contribution of computer graphics technology in the e-publishing of PEPITA: TAKEHIKO INOUE MEETS GAUDÍ, a travel memoir about the Inoue’s journey in the footsteps of the Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí.

First published in print in Japan, PEPITA: TAKEHIKO INOUE MEETS GAUDÍ is translated into English and e-published by VIZ Media LLC, the largest distributor and licensor of anime and manga in North America.The eBook edition of PEPITA: TAKEHIKO INOUE MEETS GAUDÍ features a cover art drawn by the master manga artist and animated with Live2D.


CG Works Contributed by Cybernoids

In the process of e-publishing, Cybernoids received the portrait of Antoni Gaudí in his youth with which the company provided the following works using its proprietary Live2D technology:

 ① Developed an interactive 2D model of the portrait that is smooth in movement and rich in expression,
   all without transforming it into a 3D model.
 ② Controlled the 2D model to generate an animation based on directions from Inoue.
 ③ Rendered the animation in a format compatible with the given e-publishing platform.

Finding a movement in something you would never expect to move

The cover of both the print and the eBook editions feature the same portrait of young Gaudí. The strong character comes into being with Inoue's distinctive style; subtle coloring of watercolor and lively lines of a brush stroked on paper. Animating such fine art is traditionally thought to be difficult and therefore done with either transforming it into a stylized 3D or a simplified cartoon.

Live2D takes a radically different approach to animating 2D art. It takes an original artwork, separates it into components, edits the components individually and/or collectively on a 2D geometry, and re-builds the components, which then results in an interactive 2D model (Live2D model) that looks, moves, and acts precisely as the creator desires and with every detail of the original art preserved. In this e-publishing project, Cybernoids developed a Live2D model of the portrait with which the company generated an animation footage based on directions from Inoue.

The famed manga artist commented on Live2D that, "It comes with a surprise when you find a movement in my hand drawing, something you would never expect to move. I think it makes an entertainment when such surprise is carefully delivered to the audience rather than quickly passed through him. I see potential in movement that is not overly animated."


PEPITA: TAKEHIKO INOUE MEETS GAUDÍ is a travel memoir about Inoue’s journey in the footsteps of the Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí and is comprised of prose, sketches, and color illustrations inspired by Inoue’s encounter with the work of the architect. It was first published in print in Japan by Nikkei Business Publications in December 2011 followed by introduction of a renewal edition to be marketed in eight other countries. The e-publishing in English by VIZ Media LLC is part of the international marketing efforts, and the Live2D animation is only implemented in the eBook edition.

It was recently announced that SHO BY TAKEHIKO INOUE – PEPITA2, the second book of the series was published in September 30th, 2013. The sequel takes as the central theme the Japan's indigenous sprit of “Sho” (inheritance, succession) hidden behind a Shinto ritual "Sengu", and Inoue shares his deep exploration of the theme with his illustrations, sketches, essays, and interviews.

First Live2D in eBook and outside Japan

Live2D is Cybernoids' proprietary computer graphics technology that allows artists to create animations and interactive contents while staying true to the original 2D art. Since the first introduction in 2008, the technology has powered more than 80 titles in games and apps in various platforms, including two apps hitting number 1 in iTunes App Store. While the technology has rapidly expanded to various areas of application, the English eBook edition of PEPITA: TAKEHIKO INOUE MEETS GAUDÍ is the first eBook title that employs a Live2D content. The eBook also marks an international debut for Live2D as the first title released outside Japan.