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Chunhui Meng

PhD Work

Interpretation of 'Nymph of the Luo River' Using 3D Technology

My research concerns the use of 3D technology to convert 2D ink paintings into animations. Traditional Chinese ink animation is an artform that emerged in the 1960s. This form of art conveys dynamic ideas via the traditional artistic language of ink painting while using modern technology. China's early animation artists regularly explored the national style of ink painting while creating animated material. With the development of computer software and hardware, traditional ink animation has significantly improved over the past ten years. During this period, a new technique was developed that is consistent with the international trend in ink animation: 3D ink animation, which combines contemporary artistic thought with 3D software in modern ink painting.

What is significant about the use of 3D technology in the expression of Chinese painting?

Although computerised 3D ink animation lies outside the traditional ink painting animation process, ink animation can still be paired with modern 3D technology; thus, there is the potential for the creation and expansion of this new form of animation. More specifically, I will explore the possibilities of using 3D technology to create a 2D animation, for example, through methods of test taking and recording of the 3D animation techniques and visual effect software used in animation production. More specifically, I will focus on the painting Nymph of the Luo River, created by artist Gu Kaizhi during the Jin Dynasty (265 AD–420 AD).

What is the connection between Nymph of the Luo River and animation?

Nymph of the Luo River tells a traditional Chinese myth. Transforming it into an animation will provide an opportunity to share Chinese aesthetic culture and philosophy. In addition, Nymph of the Luo River has an important status in Chinese narrative painting, which will also contribute to the study of character animation.

In terms of the more theoretical background around the research practice, the aim is to investigate the cultural history of Nymph of the Luo River and the skills required to create the painting. Secondly, I intend to leave a comprehensive record of how the character studies of Nymph of the Luo River can be applied to the animation process. At my current stage of MPhil Degree, I am focusing on translating this painting into a CGI version of the still image with a view to transforming it into an animation later.

Regarding the methodology, I will analyse different perspectives from which the Chinese ink painting Nymph of the Luo River can be interpreted to produce a 3D animation, including, amongst others, character design, the use of lines and the composition of space.


  • Chunhui Meng
  • PhD


    School of Communication


    Animation, 2012–2017

  • Chunhui works as a digital artist and animator. After graduated from China Academy of Art with BA Hons in Multimedia in 2010, she developed her interest in digital art, especially in 3D animation. During this period, Chunhui’s attention was exploring the relation between 2D and 3D animation. Her final project “White Album” is a combination of both 2D and 3D animation.

    Between 2011 and 2012, Chunhui came to London to continue studying in postgraduate character animation and she also completed a MA in Visual Arts (Digital Arts). Her vision was using 3D technique to generate 2D drawing animation style.

    As a research student, Chunhui focus on more specific aspect of the topic the relationship between 3D and 2D. Contribute to a deeper understanding of Chinese painting and calligraphy; she is conducting research into creating 3D animation based on an ancient Chinese scroll painting, which will face both theoretical and technical challenge. In additon, Chunhui’s will also research something about recent Chinese animation development, especially Chinese 3D ink animation.