10 December 2013
Twenty students from both the second and third year of the Diploma in Digital Animation (DDA) went on a study trip to Hong Kong which included a visit to Siggraph Asia 2013. It was a fruitful seven days from the 18th to the 23rd of November 2013, exposing the students to the international animation industry and Hong Kong-based universities.
The DDA group visited FatFace Studios as the first place of interest, a well-known production company set up in 2004 that has achieved numerous TV commercial and film awards. A few examples of their works include "Tai Chi Hero", "Bruce Lee My Brother" and "Bodyguards and Assassins". Esmond Yeo, DDA Year 2 student added, "It was an eye-opener for me as I’ve never been to Hong Kong before. Visiting the studios and seeing the apartments there gave me an insight on how it’s like to work and live there."
They continued the next day with visits to three institutes of higher learning, namely Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), Hong Kong Design Institute (HKDI), followed by City University of Hong Kong (CUHK) in the afternoon. They were treated to a tour of the facilities, curriculum and were informed about possibilities of pursuing their bachelor degrees in HK. The students learnt that the animation universities in Hong Kong were more focused on the fine arts and the advertisement sector, more so than movies and video games.
"The trip was beneficial for us as we were exposed to professional standards of animation from around the world. That and the fact that we were enthusiastic made the trip all the more enjoyable," Khairulnizam, DDA Year 3 student, reminisced when asked on how he felt about the trip.
The highlight of the trip was a visit to Siggraph Asia 2013 where attended a few industry master classes including a storytelling and animation session by John Kahrs, the director of Disney’s "Paperman", who gave them many great tips. He explained in detail about the advantages 3D and 2D had on their respective film counterparts. Students also attended various talks by exhibitors, examples of which were "Houdini & the Houdini Engine" and the "Making of Pacific Rim", and walked through the various exhibition areas. They finished the day with an animation screening at the Electronic Theatre. "I think that overall, the trip was very fun. I’ve bonded with my friends - my future colleagues - more than anything else," 2nd Year DDA student, Yu An smiled.
As a sweet closure to their trip to Hong Kong, the students were treated to a full day at Disneyland Hong Kong, bringing a lifetime’s worth of fun memories for the entire group, who revelled in the rides and merchandise.