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茶道 – The Way of Tea (Sneak Peek)

Animated short film about mindfulness and the admiration of your surroundings and nature


The objective of the Elective module titled “Rhythm Image, Image Rhythm” was to develop a motion piece that works with rhythm in some way. This rhythm can be created by the visual or auditory aspects alone or by combining both. The methods could be chosen freely. I decided to utilise 3D animation for my project.

The project is quite ambitious and still a work in progress.


My first ideas included a few different Japanese art forms: haiku (short traditional poems), shin-hanga (an art movement in the early 20th century using wood-cut printing techniques), and kare-san-sui (the art of creating stone gardens). Whilst I contemplated about these ideas, I created a short video illustrating a modern autumn haiku by Japanese poet and physician Shūōshi Mizuhara (水原秋桜子):



tsurube otoshi to ihedo koubou shizuka nari

Haiku often contain seasonal words and phrases with figurative meanings. One possible meaning of Mizuhara’s haiku could be the following:

“Even though the sun goes down quickly, its rays are still warm and pleasant.”

Sound: cloud structures by shotobeats


Eventually, I settled on 茶道 (sadō), the traditional Japanese tea ceremony, as the topic I wanted to explore in my motion piece, inspired by Kakuzo Okakura’s (岡倉覚三) essay The Book of Tea: A Japanese Harmony of Art, Culture, and the Simple Life (you can also find it as a free ebook online).

I did not want the film to be about the tea ceremony specifically, but rather its embodiment of the importance of simplicity, harmony, and reverence in all aspects of life.

Jakob_Johannes-Storyboard.pdf PDF Jakob_Johannes-Storyboard.pdf

Parametric Systems

For realising the project, I worked extensively with parametric systems to create the scenery and 3D models. In a nutshell, parametric systems consist of independent input parameters, an explicit set of rules to evaluate these parameters, and an output produced by the evaluation. The input parameters and the ruleset can be changed by the user at any time.

The 3D software Blender includes a system called Geometry Nodes which enables artists to create 3D models and systems based on modifiable parameters. Geometry Nodes also allows to build complex models that could not be made manually.

I used this modelling approach to create a bamboo forest generator and a parametric shōji paper sliding door. Both systems can be adapted to any environment by adjusting various exposed parameters.

Tea House

One of the film’s centre pieces is a lakeside tea house. I imagined it as a combination of traditional Japanese architecture and “International Style” elements, illustrating the unique ability of the Japanese people to integrate foreign influences into their own culture.

I created a tea house model based on a concrete structure incorporating elements of traditional Japanese tea houses.

Tea House Interior Style Test.jpgTea House Interior Style Test.jpg
Tea House Interior Style Test 2.jpgTea House Interior Style Test 2.jpg

Bamboo Forest and Pond

The film starts in a bamboo forest with a view on a pond and the tea house on the other side. I started working on this scene first as I anticipated it to be one of the most complex of the whole project. The most difficult part when creating natural environments in 3D is to make it look, well, natural and believable. Usually, this can be achieved by adding many different things which unfortunately results in longer render times.



I used audio recordings of natural environments to create a soundscape that fits the visuals. Additionally, I recorded bamboo knocking sounds to add rhythm to the soundscape. For the time being, I created a stereo mix, but for the final motion piece, I plan to utilise spatial audio technology like Dolby Atmos to make it even more immersive.

Film Sneak Peek

Thank you for watching.

Ein Projekt von

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Beautiful work Johannes