A computer animation student is getting ready to sink his teeth into an oral health campaign after being commissioned to create a short film for Lanarkshire’s Chinese community.

New College Lanarkshire (NCL) is working with the Lanarkshire Chinese Association (LCA) to produce an animation project that will be accessible to all ages and backgrounds, and especially children aged under four.

HND 3D computer animation student Ruben Fernandez has been chosen to create a character and film, which will be dubbed in Cantonese and will be subtitled in simplified Chinese and English.

The three-minute animation will feature a tiger cub character conceptualised by Fernandez to reflect that 2022 – when the project is due to complete – is the year of the tiger in the Chinese Zodiac.

The partnership came about after LCA’s chairperson Pui Ling Glass and secretary Alice Yeung approached the college looking for assistance in the development of an educational animation for children that highlights the benefits of effective tooth-brushing and healthy eating.

Lecturer Scott McKenzie, HND 3D computer animation course leader, said: “I hosted a meeting with Pui Ling and Alice Yeung to discuss the Association’s requirements. Following a viewing of a show-reel by Ruben Fernandez, our HND Student of the Year, the Association immediately commissioned Ruben to commence the animation project.

“Ruben is not only an extremely talented artist and animator, but also trustworthy, reliable and maintains a professional work ethic. The educational animation will have an ‘infotainment’ guise, which will have a greater impact on the broader community, young and old.”

The animation project is being funded by the Scottish Government through the ‘oral health community challenge fund’, which will provide £35,810 over three years to improve oral health amongst infants and families in the Chinese community in Lanarkshire.

Ruben Fernandez has created a tiger cub character

LCA has been supporting the Chinese community from North and South Lanarkshire since 1996.

Pui Ling Glass said: “When LCA decided to produce an animated film, the first place I thought of was NCL, as I am aware that there is an animation department, and it would be a good place to approach. This will be an ideal opportunity to give the project maximum exposure and to fulfil LCA’s aims and desire to work in partnership with local groups and organisations.

“LCA is delighted to be able to engage with animation artist Ruben. The meeting with Scott and Ruben was extremely fruitful. The decision to commission Ruben was made immediately after the meeting. LCA is looking forward to a long working relationship with NCL in the future.”

Fernandez added: “I feel very excited and so proud to be selected for this commission. This is a great opportunity and a big responsibility to create something professional. This project is my first job in the industry as a freelancer and is a great opportunity to show my skills and what I have learned. I hope that this project helps me to develop my career as an animator and bring me new opportunities in the industry.”

Matthew Smith, head of faculty of computing and creative industries, said: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with the Lanarkshire Chinese Association, and we look forward to a long, collaborative relationship. This project is not only giving our student, Ruben, experience of a live commission, but it is also helping to raise awareness in the wider community of the benefits of good oral health.”