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Motion designer Yihan Xu animates key graphics for Justin Bieber's "Purpose World Tour"
At the beginning of every day, Yihan Xu makes herself a cafe latte and opens her laptop, ready to work and keep living her dream. As an industry-leading Motion Designer, Animator, and Illustrator in her home of China, each new project allows her to further explore her passion. She is always looking for inspiration, taking notes from other artists and noticing the small details in things. She sketches and creates and brings those ideas to the digital world to make them come alive.

Throughout her esteemed career, Xu has worked on a series of prolific projects. These include national commercials for instantly recognizable brands like T-Mobile, world tours for award-winning artists including Chris Brown, television series such as HBO's and Bill Maher's hit New Rules, and viral online animations like It's Time to Rethink the Electoral College. Evidently, she is incredibly versatile and knows just how to animate a project to make it a success.

"My style of work is primarily two-dimensional, simple, fun, character-based animation and full of colors," she said.

One of the most notable projects on Xu's resume is the "Purpose World Tour" for pop-icon Justin Bieber. The "Purpose World Tour" was the third worldwide tour by the Canadian singer. It was in support of his fourth studio album "Purpose". The tour started on March 9th, 2016 in Seattle and ended on July 2nd, 2017 in London. 

"I like most mainstream artists, and I find that Justin Bieber's songs are really catchy," said Xu. "It was an honor to get to work with the Possible team again and another A-list mega star. It was one of the most popular/sold-out shows at Hyde Park in London in 2017. It really diversifies my portfolio a lot, getting a taste of the visual effects world."

Xu had previously worked with the design firm Possible on Chris Brown's "One Hell of a Night" tour in 2016 and they were so impressed with her work they invited her to join the next project. Together, they designed, shot, animated, and edited together 22 custom full-song scenics and three intro and interstitial cinematics for the tour. 

Xu was the animator/compositor for five of the songs on the tour and knew the importance of her role. It was similar to the Chris Brown tour, but trickier, because Bieber was touring in multiple stages in different cities, which meant the screen ratios and sizes all varied. She therefore made sure all the visual elements were not disproportionate and altered the composition and sizes of the visual elements as it was needed based on the size of the stage screens.

Xu's tireless efforts paid off. According to Pollstar, the "Purpose World Tour" grossed $163.3 million and sold 1,761,642 tickets in 2016 and the 29 shows in 2017 grossed $93.7 million with 1,043,839 tickets sold. Overall, the tour had a total of $257 million and 2,805,481 in attendance in 141 shows, becoming one of the highest-grossing concert tours of all time. The tour also received a lot of public attention from the fans and media. 

"It is an honor to know that the project was played as the stage backgrounds when Justin Bieber was touring, knowing millions all over the world were entertained by my work," said Xu. 

People came to the show to hear Bieber's music, but they were absolutely captivated by the graphics of Xu and her team, and that is just why she loves what she does. She knows it takes time and hard work to create a project so successful, but she is committed to even the smallest detail of every frame of her animations. She encourages those looking to one day pursue motion graphics to be as determined as she is.

"Never stop making new art. Squeeze in some time to do some personal projects, even just doing some sketches every day is good. Find inspiration in other artists' work," she advised. "Making connections is very important too. Stay friendly with all the companies and individuals you work for; you might run into each other very soon on the next project. Even though it may not seem like it when you are drawing, animation is a team effort and that is always important to remember."

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