The Infinite Zenith

Where insights on anime, games and life converge

Tokyo Region: Home of Five Centimeters per Second

It probably isn’t surprising that the artwork in Makoto Shinkai’s Five Centimeters per Second was inspired by real world locations in and around the Tokyo region, although as the collection of screenshots below attests, the level of detail is nothing short of impressive, and upon first glance, it is difficult to tell which of the images are from the anime, and which are the concept photos used to make the environments. This process is mentioned in one of Makoto Shinkai’s artbooks: titled Sora no Kioku, or Memories of the Sky, the artbook is a B5-sized, 175 page artbook that features stills from Makoto Shinkai’s works, as well as outline to computer graphics elements and techniques, such as how RGB, anti-aliasing, resolution, trace and flare play a role in the production process. The artbook also elaborates on hthe process behind how Makoto Shinkai converts photographs of real-world locations into the settings depicted in his films.

Besides showcasing artwork from Five Centimeters per Second, The Place Promised in Our Early Days and Voices from a Distant Star, the book goes into various details underlying scene composition, providing some of Shinkai’s insights and images of the locations that inspired a scene paired with section of the script. In particular, Shinkai explains how his team uses Mac OS X, Adobe Photoshop and After Effects to turn the concept art into scenes for the film. As each of the artists render the images, they select particular colour palettes to appropriately convey a particular season, weather, time and temperature to ensure that everything is consistent. The end result are the balanced, detailed, photo-realistic images that viewers enjoy in films bearing the Makoto Shinkai style.

3 responses to “Tokyo Region: Home of Five Centimeters per Second

  1. aurajanuary April 2, 2014 at 14:22

    Would that the world looks in real life the way Shinkai portrays it, with all that magic and color and light.


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