Monday, November 21, 2005

Wuah! EL makes an entry!

It may sound like a real bad excuse to say that I have not been making entries here because of my tight workload in the company, but it really is the case.

Reeeally lah.

Granted, I was lazy on several occassions. Especially in the still, eerily-silent aftermath of a blitzkrieg of work (like now, at the time of this writing), when I want to do nothing more than to fall asleep staring at the idiot-box in bed. And then of course, there's WoW, which (finally, finally) found its way onto my harddisk three months ago, and have been a frequent activity in my recreational reportoire.

Yes, for those of you in the know, you must be going "AHA!" to that last point I made. Yes, I cannot begin to deny that WoW did not account for less than quite a number of entries that should have long been up here. But the good news is, I've been WoW-ing at more... sedated frequencies now. Proof of which is here - I'm making an entry now, okaaay? Add to that the fact that I've decided, after trying for a few months, that blogging is not for me, and you'll start to realise how glad I am feeling right now, to have scrubbed the dust off my Blogger login and to be writing this.

There's also a gazillion tonnes of photographs to upload to our Flickr page, of the rich grace of God which has poured over Animagine through the class bookings He's given us during the past months when I've stopped making entries here. We've met (and gotten back) some wonderful students and taught at some interesting places (and had many splitting headaches and sore throats) which I hope to pen down here. I really hope to secure these little bits of Animagine history before they fade from my memory. Before this year is up, I pray.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

RGPS : S.A.T 25 - 27 July

It went as quickly as it came.

I awoke this morning at 6.30am, and was about to jump out of bed to get dressed when I realised that there was no need to get up so early - we're not going to RGPS today. We had already wrapped up the workshop the day before.

After four classes and six anxious mornings, this sudden change in routine felt really weird.

And perhaps, a little sad too.

And why shouldn't I? The day before, at the end of the S.A.T Workshop, the P4's suddenly grabbed the company brochures off the table and rallied around us. They held up the bright yellow pieces to us.

"Can you sign this for us?"

"Yes! Sign please!"

"Yes yes, autograph pleeease..."

The sweet little ones. I could do nothing but comply as I was cornered into a chair. Even as I was obligingly signing on the covers of the brochure that I myself had designed, part of me was still pleasantly astonished and trying to figure out what was going on. Chances are, Joshua and I never felt so honored and appreciated before.

Thank you girls, from the bottom of our hearts. You can never imagine what a big encouragment that was.

RGPS 25 July S.A.T [42]

To be honest, the 25 July batch was a whole lot different from the 20 July. There were more chattery and boisterous personalities, allowing us to exercise our mentoring abilities. And there were quite some spills and thrills during the three days, as models had to be re-made and scenes had to be re-animated - all of which didn't happen with the 20 July batch! We were all jittery in our hearts. Where patience waned, we had to inspire. Where enthusiam got carried away, we had to curb and guide... without killing creativity.

I don't think we did, judging from what you girls produced in the end. We were so worried about some of you. For Danica and Jia Ping, I was constantly trying to make sure that they were comfortable, for they were not classmates like the other two groups and thus were keeping silent for the whole of the first two days as far as I could tell. So imagine my delight (and relief!) when you two came through, and with a wonderful little ending sequence as well! Weisiong thinks they've got a little bit of story-telling in their clip, with those progressive sequences, and I agree. Well done girls!

And of course, I'm sure we won't be forgetting the crowd favorite in a hurry, that vomitting worm. Sheryl, Hilary and Monique are really fast workers who can also churn out good, solid, frame by frame material. In all honesty I was extremely suprised when I first glanced at the standard of the 'extra footage' they were making, after completing everything on the first animation-day. They sure didn't spare the frames! Speaking of which, was it Monique or Hilary who was always quoting Joshua, "Frames - the more the merrier!" Well, you girls sure lived up to that. We are truly impressed.

RGPS 25 July S.A.T [46] RGPS 25 July S.A.T [45] RGPS 25 July S.A.T [43]

And to all the rest of our dear students, we appreciate your patience and efforts too! Believe me when I say that each and every one of your animated shorts entertains me in their own unique ways. The hats and eyelashes, the tombstones and the popping eyes, the kissy lips and the bows... the list of of your creativity is long. And the way that each team stretched and improvised our original animation, was inspiring.

RGPS 25 July S.A.T [38] RGPS 25 July S.A.T [32] RGPS 25 July S.A.T [16]
RGPS 25 July S.A.T [11] RGPS 25 July S.A.T [1] RGPS 25 July S.A.T [24]

It's all this and more, that makes me as reluctant as you girls were, to say goodbye and send you girls out the classroom. I wish that we had more time, so we could sit together and I'd go through every single one of your animated clips and show you, by pointing out all the little details, how wonderful a piece of work y'all produced. Yes, I wish we could stay on and do that.

Speaking of which, kids nowadays seem to know and say the darndest things. I recall overhearing this part of a conversation:

"... how I wish they can stay on after this. Then they can teach us how to make more animation!"

"Aiyah, don't be silly. They won't get more money if they stay longer, so why should they?"

For the life of me I do not remember myself being aware of, or even caring about such materialistic truths when I was in primary four.

But to this student (whoever you are), I'm not so sure that my desire to be back with you girls in RGPS is entirely about profits.... not so very sure at all. We're putting our best efforts into our proposal right now, so that we may see you again soon in the Alpha Program. Pray for us.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

RGPS : S.A.T 20 - 22 July

Yay (and phew)! We've completed our very first S.A.T Workshop in school - at Raffles Girls' Primary!

Girls, it was a blast for Joshua, Weisiong and me, spending the past three mornings bringing you into the world of animation!

It was a fulfiling experience for me as I believe it was for you, especially when, at the end, I literally saw your burning enthusiasm for this new art form you've discovered. I was greatly encouraged when a number of the P5's turned up early, and the whole class refused to go when the Workshop ended. It sure looked like passion to me.

And when you renamed the S.A.T from "See & Try" to "Short & Tiny", I knew that you girls had really fallen in love with animation. I promise that we'll do our best in working with RGPS to bring you the Alpha Program which nearly all of you were clamoring for. Pray that it will happen.

To the 20 July P4's, I'm sorry that we didn't have more time to take some proper photographs of you. We were all a little ruffled by the disruption from the double-booking of our room.

RGPS 20 July S.A.T [9] RGPS 20 July S.A.T [3] RGPS 20 July S.A.T [2]

RGPS 20 July S.A.T [10] RGPS 20 July S.A.T [8] RGPS 20 July S.A.T [6]

And to the teachers, parent volunteers, and alumni members who lent their time and support to the children and us, I express my gratitude - Delphine, Audreline, Yin Ling, Angie, Bobby, Ian, just to name a few. The big and little ways in which you helped to facilitate the S.A.T Workshop. Moggie, your nasi bryani went not only to our stomachs, but to our hearts as well (and I'm not referring to cholestrol here, okay).

Principal Miss Tan, thank you so much for dropping in despite your busy schedule - your supportive presence meant a lot to your girls, I assure you!

Though we were initially apprehensive about spreading the one-day S.A.T Workshop over three, we were nonetheless glad to reap the good that came out of it, especially how it gave everyone involved in the Workshop added time to evaluate and appreciate it for what it was. On my end, it was the best, real-life opportunity to observe the effect of our courseware on the P4's and P5's as it worked its function, surfacing both budding talents and areas of weakness in the students. Patience, teamwork and planning skills are just some of the areas in which our students are tested, and I'd be lying if I said it was a 100% passing rate (though I am extremely glad to say that it nearly was). Fine-tuning in terms of our courseware information and logistics will also be done, as mistakes did not come solely from the students.

We're looking forward to more fun with the 25 July batch.

Meanwhile, I'm seriously reconsidering my preference of boys over girls for children.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

We are going to RGPS!

I apologise for the rather long pausity of entries. But well, I am glad to say that it's for a good reason, as we had been running about several places nearly everyday recently - appointments and more appointments!

We are grateful for enquiries and interest from some of the schools that responded. We are in the midst of discussion right now for the implementations of our animation programs at their premises.

And meanwhile, we have produced a small little plaything, a flipbook animation, drawn by yours truly. It had been sent out to school principals all over the island. I hope it's refreshment to the sight, after the endless barrage of hyped 3D graphics these days. It's also a demonstration of the kind of difference that animation principles can bring about to a student's work.

As for our students - put in your utmost attention, and you may just get one from us as a perk at the end of the session!

And on the 20th this month, we will be conducting our very first S.A.T Workshop at RGPS! We're looking forward to offering our best to the little ladies there, and hope to spread the love for the art among them. It's also our very first workshop in a school, and anticipate applying what we have learnt from our previous S.A.T (yes, our mistakes and blunders) and give the young RGPS students an improved experience. And as usual, we'd appreciate teachers / parents / students pointing out our blind spots... and prayers will be also be much appreciated!

Friday, June 24, 2005

Alpha Program now available for booking!

Our next workshop schedules have been confirmed!

We have more S.A.T's coming up, and for our S.A.T. participants from 17June, WE HAVE AN ALPHA PROGRAM! Our first! We're probably just as excited as those of you who've been asking about when the Alpha Program will be. Here are the details:

S.A.T. Workshop I (conducted over two weekends)

16 July @ 9.30am - 12.30pm
23 July @ 9.30am - 12.30pm

S.A.T. Workshop II (conducted over two weekends)

16 July @ 2.oopm - 5.00pm
23 July @ 2.oopm - 5.00pm

S.A.T. Workshop III (conducted over two weekends)

17 July @ 4.oopm - 7.00pm
24 July @ 4.oopm - 7.00pm

Alpha Program

Every Saturday from 30July - 10Sep and 22Oct - 19Nov
(the hiatus in-between is for the examinations)

The venue for all these programs are at:

Learning Media Education Centre
Blk 710A Ang Mo Kio Ave 8

#02-2629/31/33 S'pore 561710

(click here to see a zoomable map)

Remember that if you were with us during the S.A.T. Workshop, you're entitled to discounted enrollment fees! And as usual, contact us at 62898521 for registration and stuff!

A direct link to this article here

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Featured Business Column @ Project:Senso

The folks at Project:Senso have plugged ANIMAGINE as their featured business for the month of June! (see here) I did a short sharing in response to their kind invitation, which I feel will be a very useful addition here. Read on:

My two pals and I formed ANIMAGINE to spread our love for the art animation art form. It's been existing in our minds ever since we underwent our animation training 7 years ago. By the time we were done with school, NS, and some business-training, Singapore was just declaring its focus into the media and animation industry (which started with PM Lee's mention in the 2004 ND Rally and the announcement that ol'George and company were setting up shop on local turf).

The fact that the MDA had marked animation as a niche genre with strong potential to bring S'pore international success said alot, while the govt was pretty intent on 'prepping the workforce at tertiary levels, we observed little motivation and awareness among the young generation who would grow up to see the prime of the animation industry. By this we mean the awareness of what animation really is (read: not mere 'cartoons'), that one could actually work as animator for a living (and not just as its audience), or what one could do to pursue it. We want to spark an interest for the animation as an established and respected art form because animation, like mastering martial arts or the piano, is a discipline best inculcated with time. Heard of the kids who participated in the production of Star Wars Episode I at age 14? Guess how young they started fiddling with animation on their desktops. And no, good animation is not a 'computer' thing either (~LOL). It really bemuses us everytime we are told by local schools that animation is 'under the I.T. department'. That's another misconception that has to go if we're going to have the quality professionals needed to hold our animated rice bowls.

Well folks, in essence, that's how ANIMAGINE has got her work cut out for her. We look forward to hearing your comments, questions, and even collaborative possibilities (if we have the honor of your appreciation) Smile

A direct link to this article here

A point to share with the parent

It just occured to me that I should share some points here with the parents.

During our debriefing and analysis after our first
S.A.T. Workshop two days ago (which you can read about by clicking here), one of our decisions was to incorporate more specific, or like how we put it, 'less free-form' instructions to our students during their hands-on activities. This was due to my observations of certain younger memebers of the class having questions and experiencing slight lapses in deciding what to do and create for their animation activity.

If you've recieved and viewed your VCD of the day's works by your child and the rest of the class, you might have wondered why we instructed our students to duplicate our examplary claymation clip instead of giving them space for their own creations.

You might have asked, Didn't I read a tonne of stuff about advocating personal creativity on the Animagine flyers?

Yes you did. Creativity in creation is something that we planted close to the heart of
ANIMAGINE when we made her. It will always be one of the most important things that we wish to inculcate in every child that animates with us.

However, the
S.A.T. is, at the end of the day, designed to function as a preview to full-fledged basic animation courseware. As such, we have to be prepared that most of the participants have little or (most likely) zero pre-conceptions of how animation creating. Thus as professionals, we'd wanna make sure that every child participating in the S.A.T. gets the least stress and most fun while dicovering what animation really is - the stress goes on our shoulders in designing a workshop that will do just that, and in this case, a set of slightly more rigid instructions that will help our students achieve the objectives of such an S.A.T, and in doing so, provide the means for them (and you, their guardian) in making an informed decision before enrolling in the Alpha Program. There, having the benefits of more time to fiddle and get accustomed with the craft, they will be better able to enjoy the freedom of more creativity.

We'd probably be seeing some outrageously wonderful works from our young charges then!

p.s: more works on our VCD presentations will follow - we know it's not the best yet.

A direct link to this article here

Look what's in the mail

We worked with our list of must-do's and upgrades that we identified during the Workshop on the 17th, and managed to get quite alot done today. The missing video clips, incorrect info are all being updated. The majority of our efforts however, went toward preparing the VCDs that our students and their parents will be recieving in their mail very, very soon.

Speaking of which, look what came in OUR mail!

YES! It's the very CDRs that the students' work will be output on! We're working hard to finalise the contents right now, along with the mail packaging stuff. And to our dear students and their parents, this is what your VCD will look like when you get in your hand:


Please be patient - one like that will be reaching your house in the next few days!

A direct link to this article here

Friday, June 17, 2005

First S.A.T. Workshop 17 July 05

After much preparations and expectations, we've finally conducted our very first public workshop today. It was an S.A.T. Workshop held at The Substation from 10am to 6pm, with Joshua and myself helming the instructorship.

Our workshop was attended by a total of thirteen students within the age range of 9-13 years old, with the exception of one 14 year-old. Among them were some of our young relatives who had previously attended our private 3-hour trial session and were were interested to participate in what we're teaching through ANIMAGINE. They, and most of the other students, would find the program to be fun-filled and enjoyable at the end of the workshop.

During this first-ever public demonstration of our services, our primary objective was to start evaluating the effectiveness our long-planned courseware and workshop structure. Some of our were main concerns were:

  1. Are the students able to understand and absorb the content of our courseware?
  2. Do they find our courseware subject and workshop appealing and enjoyable?
  3. Is our workshop duration justifiable and effectively spent?
  4. To start experiencing mistakes and to upgrade our service accordingly.

Save for the exception of a couple, the students were all able to comprehend the information which were taught to them, proving the accuracy of Joshua's recommendations and advice from his experience in working with young students. Naturally then, I observed Joshua to be the more engaging instructor among the two of us. I needed to adapt my presentational skills to the younger generation. We also made the mistake of forgetting the ice-breaking games, which would have greatly helped our young students.

In terms of the animation-creating activities, I could observe no difficulty on the part of the students in utilizing the capture systems we provided. Their understanding and execution of the exercises were nearly without hitches, except in their first activity where they were allowed to get acquainted with the act of animating and the concept of creating motion. I observed momentary lapses in six of the children, and upon discussion we thought that it was because our instructions allowed a little too much freedom in what they could create, leading them to ask questions like, "What are we supposed to do next?" Age might also have been a factor, as the six students happened to be within the 10-12 year old range while no such lapses occurred in the older students - in fact, they seemed rather happy to be able to be able to indulge in their imagination and appreciate the freedom for creation.

As expected, the favorite segments of the S.A.T. Workshop were the animation activities, particularly claymation, from the feedback we recieved. Our direction in ensuring that students could get straight to essence of animation and creativity with minimum tech-fuss also seemed to work well, seeing the excitement and even satisfaction on the students' faces at the sight of life being given to what was actually inanimate off-screen. Less time figuring out software meant more quality time for the meat of the art.

We also found out that the workshop could be completed in one less hour then planned. This meant that we could pack a leaner courseware and more efficaciously utilize the attention span of our students. Nonetheless, around 70% of the students opted that they would proceed on to the Alpha Program upon the consent of their parents. The rest who didn't were either doubtful because of heavy curriculum workload, or decided that animation was no their cup of tea. We are not particularly concerned about such students as the S.A.T. Workshop is, after all, a preview to the comprehensive Alpha Program, and should accurately inform the participant of what the animation art form is really like, and whether they would pursue it through the Alpha Program.

There are obviously other areas in which corrections are needed, and we shall meet all those that are possible before our next S.A.T. Workshop. Overall, I am personally satistfied with what we were able to deliver and learn from this workshop. We're certainly looking forward to turning more of our concepts into experience.

Many thanks to you, our students, and you, parents and guardians who trusted us and allowed us the privilege of spending our very first with your beloved children and charges. We look forward to seeing you folks at the Alpha Program soon.

God bless!

A direct link to this article here.

Saturday, June 11, 2005


We're doing a stand-up rehearsals for the S.A.T Workshop today, having gone through an informal, seated run-through yesterday. The workshop's next Friday, and we need to thoroughly familiarize ourselves with the slides and movies content in order to produce a smooth dialogue of relevance. The times spent on each slide and topic has to be nailed down too, we'll need to go through the actual demonstrative exercises.

Publicity-wise, I'm glad that the poster's done, and all we have to do right now is to get an affordable, effective printer and we'll be able to pass them out to our potential partners. The teaser clip for the Alpha Program is finished too, though I can safely say that there's much more room for improvement, especially if we're going to establish the respectable, quality brand that we envision.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

What This Journal Is All About

ANIMAGINE PTE LTD was created by three young gentlemen (at least, they'll like to think they are) who graduated from the 2nd batch of the Digital Media Design course at NYP. Passionate about the art of animation and it's relevant forms, they were one of the many among their peers who aspired to make a living out of this craft that they loved so much...

Right, I'll skip the grand prologue, 'coz it's all on the ANIMAGINE homepage. I'm Ellery, one of the three fellows I spoke of in the earlier paragraph. I started this blog to NOT be just another corporate propaganda channel with mission statements and cheem (Singlish expression for 'deep') pedagogic write-ups devised to either convince or confuse you. This blog is a personal record of my work in my company, a sharing of what it goes on within it, and how it concerns you.

And who am I addressing here with "you"?

You could be the parent or guardian who signed up your child for one of out little workshops. You could be a school principal who's wondering what this Animagine company does and whether they're any good for your students' curriculum. You could also be the teacher in the school which enlisted ANIMAGINE, and the contact person in charge. You could even be one of our students who, for reasons we cannot comprehend, chose to drop in here to read some potentially boring adult stuff (okay, you guys are much smarter now then we were at your age, I'd admit). And yes - you who stumbled in here by accident - you are welcome too.

Right. You probably have get the idea of who "you" could be now, yes?

Good. Here's a warm, informal welcome to Ellery's journal of ANIMAGINE.

I just want you to know that when you read the articles posted here, you're looking at a human face, not a cold, corporate identity (yes, I am human despite what my two partners might tell you). These are all my individual thoughts and interpretation of what ANIMAGINE is doing as a company. I am seeking the sentimental value of a company journal that is faithful to its growth and hopefully, at the same time, allow potential clients, existing customers, friends, students, partners - you - to gain valuable insight into how ANIMAGINE is growing and upgrading to give better service. Along the way you'll hear the collective thoughts of the directors (mainly through my words), on nearly every aspect of ANIMAGINE that we can imagine to be your concern.

For the sake of my partners, I will also be laying off the super-duper company secrets (so you do not even need to try asking). For the sake of you who'll (hopefully) be bookmarking this journal, I will be laying off the corporate bluffs and cover-ups, and be as honest as I can possibly be when writing here.

I'd like to hear what you think (and who knows, make some friends too), especially if you've read a post that involved you (regardless of it you're a student, a parent, or a principal) - let me know how my company did. Leave comments, or email me in private; help me understand what you want to see more of in my company's services, or how you feel about them. There's something you don't like? You can be straight-forward about our mistakes - I only ask that you be courteous in this public space. On the flipside, if you think that ANIMAGINE did you (or your organisation) a good service, please do let me know all the more!

God bless; I pray I'll see you here again soon.

A direct link to this article here