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Shanshan He: Bringing Magic to Life as an Environment Artist in “Wishing Box”

Shanshan He is an experienced environmental artist and Illustrator with a diverse background in the entertainment industry. With a proven track record of working on high-profile projects, Shanshan has contributed to the success of several notable films and games. Shanshan started her career as a Texture & Lighting Artist at StudioX, where she honed her skills in creating visually stunning environments. Shanshan then joined Fox VFXLab (21st Century Fox) as a VAD Artist, where she worked on the pre-production of “Mouse Guard,” a highly anticipated film known for its detailed visuals. Shanshan’s talent and expertise caught the attention of The Walt Disney Studio, where she served as a Senior Illustrator for “The Lion King: MUFASA.” In this role, Shanshan not only created 3D environments but also played a crucial part in designing the film’s style. Their work influenced the camera movement and set design, making them an integral part of the core team. Shanshan joined NetEast Game as a Lead Environment Artist for the popular mobile MOBA game ” Onmyoji Arena.”

Shanshan was responsible for overseeing and coordinating the creation of environments, ensuring the overall quality and consistency of the game’s immersive world. Shanshan was involved in another exciting project at NetEast Game as the Lead Environment Artist for “Everywhere.” In this role, they guide the creation of game levels and ensure the desired aesthetic, playability, and technical standards are met while also serving as a liaison between departments to maintain cohesiveness and consistency in the game world. Shanshan’s passion for creating immersive environments extends beyond games to the world of film. She was the Lead Lighting/Environment Artist for “Wishing Box” at StudioX. In this critically important role, Shanshan collaborated with the director and film crew to enhance the film’s visual look and feel, creating an immersive and believable environment for the characters and story. With a strong sense of visual storytelling, technical proficiency in 3D design software, and creative problem-solving skills, Shanshan has significantly contributed to each project they have participated in. Their ability to bring a vision to life through their artistry and attention to detail has made them an asset in the industry. Shanshan’s dedication, talent, and experience make her a highly sought-after artist and an invaluable member of any creative team.

“The Wishing Box” is an enchanting animated short film that follows the journey of a greedy pirate and a naive monkey who stumble upon the legendary wishing box. The film, which can make audiences from around the world laugh heartily, avoids complex story backgrounds, and delivers a boundary-less masterpiece instead. Shanshan He, the talented environment artist behind this eye-catching film, has brought her creative vision to life with the help of over 150 outstanding international young artists.

After three years of meticulous polishing, “The Wishing Box” showcases the production team’s skills and expertise, including members from top international animation and film production companies such as Pixar and ILM. The film captivates viewers with its visually stunning animation and special effects, seamlessly combining multiple elements to create a cohesive and believable world. Shanshan He’s role as an environment artist involves setting the mood, conveying emotions, and guiding the audience’s attention through lighting design. She collaborates with the director, art director, and animators to effectively communicate and integrate her lighting designs with the project’s overall vision. Her responsibilities include shooting live-action footage on set or on location, color correcting the final image, rendering it in a suitable format, and adding the final composited image to the edited film. “The Wishing Box” has received numerous accolades for its outstanding animation. It was nominated for the Following:

  • Oscar Nominated Short Films: Animation
  • Won the Best Animation award at the Accolade Global Film Competition
  • Recognition for Best Director at the Shorts That Are Not Pants Festival
  • Best Animated Film at the Comic-Con Independent Film Festival
  • Won Best Animation at 14th Annual Dam Short Film Festival
  • Won the Critics’ Choice Award Blue Plum Animation Festival
  • Best Animation award at the Naperville Independent Film Festival
  • Best Animation at Breck Film Festival
  • Won Film Score Outstanding Achievement Award at Calcutta International Cult Film Festival

When asked about the difference between movies (animation) and games, Shanshan highlights the similarities and growing convergence between the two mediums. She notes that while both aim for visually appealing final scenes, there are significant differences in perspective and technical aspects. In the film industry, shots are reviewed from the camera’s perspective, while games focus on simulating the player’s point of view. Technically, games emphasize polygon count, tiling UVs, and modular pieces and often feature more dynamic camera perspectives. Procedural modeling and set dressing are also more common in games.

The making of “The Wishing Box” has provided Shanshan He with valuable learning experiences. Collaborating with various artists and departments has taught her effective communication and integration of lighting designs with the project’s overall vision. This experience has positively influenced her work in other productions, as she now understands the importance of collaboration and its impact on the result.

Designing this short animation has been an advantageous experience for Shanshan He. Building strong relationships and collaborating effectively with fellow artists and crew members has created a sense of camaraderie and accomplishment. Being recognized for her contributions to the film, whether through awards, nominations, or positive feedback, has been a gratifying acknowledgment of her hard work and talent.One of the most challenging aspects of designing “The Wishing Box” was improving rendering speed. With over a hundred objects and dozens of sets, the team had to find innovative solutions to reduce render time. They projected the background onto a simple ship cabin geometry as HDR maps and focused on small details to create realistic materials and visually appealing scenes. To tackle this challenge, the team had to find innovative solutions to optimize the rendering process. They projected the background onto a simple ship cabin geometry as High Dynamic Range (HDR) maps, which helped reduce render time. By simplifying the geometry and using HDR maps, they maintained the visual quality of the backgrounds while speeding up the rendering process. Shanshan’s work as an environment artist in “The Wishing Box” has brought magic and wonder to the screen. Through her artistic vision and dedication, she has contributed to the film’s success and created an immersive world for viewers to enjoy.Shanshan, He’s contributions to notable films and games, have left a lasting impact on visual storytelling and immersive environments. With an eye for detail, a strong sense of visual aesthetics, and the ability to bring visions to life, Shanshan consistently delivers outstanding work. Their dedication, creativity, and technical proficiency continue to make them a highly sought-after artist, poised to make even more significant contributions in the future.


To keep up with Shanshan, check out her social media at:

Fame Media

Writer Sherry Lee,

Hollywood Legends Editor-in-Chief

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