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China’s Yihan Xu animates viral video for ‘Real Time with Bill Maher’

Whenever celebrated Motion Designer Yihan Xu begins working on a new project, she feels the same sense of euphoria that she did as a child picking up a pen and paper ready to draw. Her passion for what she does translates directly into her work, and the millions around the world that have seen her animations can see her vast talent.


Xu is known for her work on concert tours for Justin Bieber and Chris Brown, collaborating with some of the world’s biggest brands like T-Mobile, Apple, and AirBnB, and a variety of online projects, including popular website ATTN’s viral video It’s Time to Rethink the Electoral College. No matter the medium, she finds the process of creating an illustration from start to finish a very fun and rewarding process.

“In my job, you get to work on all these amazing projects that then get millions of views online or aired on a big television channel. It’s incredible exposure for an artist,” she said. “And you learn something new every day. Your newest projects might be something you’ve never tried before, or something may come up that you have not experienced. You get to learn some new skill or software. It is always good to learn something new, as you never know when one day that new skill might give you new opportunities for your future.”

When Xu finished the Electoral College video for ATTN, they were extremely impressed with her work. They soon partnered with Maher and HBO to release an animated version of Maher’s “New Rules”, an editorial segment from his weekly HBO series Real Time to talk about political issues. After the success of the last video, ATTN invited Xu to take part in this new venture.

“I love that ‘New Rules’ connects political issues with animation in such a refreshing way. It is very funny and quirky, and the animation is very spot on. It is easy for people to understand the message and laugh at the same time. The animation is entertaining to watch and easy to understand,” said Xu.
Xu worked as the lead animator for Bill Maher’s animated narration of Donald Trump on “New Rules” from concept to final animation. She also designed many backgrounds and graphics assets at the beginning stages of the project.

Once the team had locked down the style and visuals, Xu began her work, making designs and background art. “New Rules” is sarcastic narrative animation. Therefore, her team picked a sharp blue and red as the main colors for the project, knowing it would be easy to get people’s attention with the dramatic colors.

After finishing the majority of the design assets, Xu then put everything into animation software and started animating. It took a few weeks to revise the animation and design assets, with many revisions to ensure perfection. However, through outstanding work ethic and innate talent, Xu and her team finished the project in under three weeks.

“Working on this project was fun, challenging, and rewarding at the same time. It suits my skill set and my strength as an animator. I like to do character animation and play with colorful shapes. This project is the perfect way for me to express my love for characters and colors,” said Xu.

The “New Rules” video aired on Real Time with Bill Maher back in 2016 and was then published on the show’s Facebook page, where it has amassed over 15 million views on the platform alone. It also received significant media attention, commending the excellent animation and harsh political narrative.

“It was great to work with HBO and Bill Maher, and it feels amazing that the work received so much public attention and recognition,” she said.

Watch “New Rules” here to see Xu’s outstanding animation and get a good laugh at Maher’s witty humor:


By Annabelle Lee
July 8th, 2019

China’s Yihan Xu animates viral video for ‘Real Time with Bill Maher’ Reviewed by JaamZIN on 12:07:00 PM Rating: 5
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