Tuesday, November 28th, 2017 Posted by Jim Thacker

Watch monstrously good VFX short The Ningyo in full online

Regular readers may recall our 2013 interview with VFX artist Miguel Ortega on the making of The Ningyo, his beautiful 30-minute VFX short, described as “Young Indiana Jones meets The Twilight Zone”.

Four years on, we’re pleased to say that the film has been completed, done the rounds of the festival circuit and – as of last night – is available to watch in full on Vimeo, along with a mini making-of feature.

A historical tale of mythical creatures, shot in an ordinary Californian home
A Faust-like tale set within the world of cryptozoology, The Ningyo follows paleontologist Dr. Marlowe’s quest to track down the titular creature: a mermaid-like monster from Japanese mythology.

To shoot the movie, Ortega and partner and production designer Tran Ma transformed their own house into a working film set, even converting their bedroom into a replica of a college professor’s office circa 1909.

Visual effects, including Marlowe’s menagerie of creatures and some spectacular digital environments, were created by a team of volunteer artists from studios including Weta, Digital Domain and Tippett Studio.

The film was completed in November 2016, since when it has been doing the rounds of the film festivals – it won four awards at FilmQuest alone – and has featured on VICE’s Creators website.

However, unless you were lucky enough to attend one of those screenings – or were one of the The Ningyo’s Kickstarter backers – today is your first chance to see the short in full.

See how the effects for The Ningyo were created
As well as the film itself, which you can find at the top of the story, Ortega has put together a seven-minute making-of, showing the creation of the physical sets and the richly detailed CG environments.

Creature enthusiasts should hang on for the second half, which provides a glimpse of the movie’s digital beasts, including concept art, base geometry and animation rigs.

Miguel Ortega is now working on a feature film version of the story, and tells us that he should be announcing the producer and writer soon, so check the link below for updates.

Visit The Ningyo’s Facebook page
(Includes a list of upcoming screenings)

Read our 2013 interview director Miguel Ortega about the origins of The Ningyo