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Kung Fu Panda

designer: Michael Riley • studio: Shine Studio • comment

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Hollywood loves China. In the year of the Beijing Olympics, several movies with a Chinese theme are released. (See also the title sequence of The Mummy 3).

Kung Fu Panda, DreamWorks' latest animated blockbuster, tells the story of a lazy panda bear named Po who, against all odds, becomes a Kung Fu warrior.

The 8-minute end credit sequence by Shine draws heavily upon traditional Chinese imagery and was done in close collaboration with James Baxter Animation (who created the 2D animated opening titles) and the DreamWorks Animation team of animators, production designers and directors. The Kanji symbols that open the first part of the sequence read "Kung Fu Panda".

Shine created a horizontal crawl for the credit sequence instead of the usual vertical crawling credits - a reference to Chinese scrolls. All credits had to be translated into Chinese, as Shine wanted to use the traditional red stamp look for the character and production credits.

Kung Fu Panda's production designer Raymond Zibach and art director Tang Kheng Heng had done elaborate visual research for Kung Fu Panda. "By having a lot of contact with DreamWorks, they were able to give us concept stills that had images of the characters, set illustrations and so on ... That was the springboard for all the imagery we used," explains Shine's art director Michael Riley on Dailymotion.

In the first part of the sequence each character does their own thing with the dummy. "The dummy was part of the story," Riley tells us, "It was an object Shifu (Dustin Hoffman) presented to Po (Jack Black) to practice Kung Fu. Po made his best effort to swipe at the dummy, and it consequently smashes him in the face. For the title sequence, each character in the sequence interacts with the dummy in their own way, showing a little bit about their character and personality." The story beats to establish each character were provided by Head of Story for 'Kung Fu Panda', Jen Yuh Nelson.

"Kung Fu Panda was a pleasure from start to finish because the filmmakers were amazing (directors Mark Stevenson, John Osbourne, and producer Melissa Cobb)", Riley writes in an email. "Jeffrey Katzenberg is also a great person to work for. He inspires everyone to be their absolute best, but have fun while doing it".

Article: Remco Vlaanderen, © Submarine Channel, 19 August 2008.

Year of production


Title designer

more about Michael Riley

About Michael Riley

Michael Riley

Michael Riley is the creative director of Shine, a creative design studio in LA. He has been directing and designing film and television main title sequences, theatrical trailers, television commercials and corporate identity packages since 1991. He has designed main title sequences for Traitor, Signs, Mad Money, and television title sequences for Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Blade: The Series, Criminal Minds, Karen Sisco, Ally McBeal, Saturday Night Live, and many more. "I was very happy to work for DreamWorks on Kung Fu Panda. Maybe Gattaca, for Andrew Niccol; Band of Brothers for Steven Spielberg; or Standoff for Fox; or 21st Century for The United Nations," Riley answered, when asked what title sequences he is most proud of.

more about Michael Riley

Full credits

Creative Director
Michael Riley/Shine
Executive Producer
Bob Swensen/Shine
Dru Nget/Shine
Dan Meehan, Zee Nederlander/Shine
Cee-lo Green & Jack Black “Kung Fu Fighting”
Production Studios
Dreaworks, Pacific Data Images (PDI)
Director (film)
Mark Osborne & John Stevenson

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