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Seoul Study Trip 2010

13 Dec 2010

Students from DDA and DDM 3D Animation Option experience winter in Seoul and gain valuable insights into animation production in Korea and the industry in Asia.

The 6-day trip was fully packed with activities including company visits to MOI Animation, Dongwoo Animation and Sunwoo Entertainment studios, film sets and art galleries. They even managed to squeeze in a full day roaming the exhibition halls and attending an animation screening at an international computer graphics conference!

A total of 17 students participated in the study trip – 4 from DDA Year 1 and 13 from DDM 3D Animation Option (6 from Year 2 and 7 from Year 3).

For most of them this was their first trip to South Korea, and they couldn’t wait to experience it. The very early morning check-in did not dampen their spirits one bit!

Upon landing we were whisked away by coach to MOI Animation, our first of three company visits planned for the entire trip. Unfortunately, by the time we arrived it was in the early evening and most of the employees have gone home. Despite this our hosts still managed to give us a comprehensive tour of the various departments and were more than happy to answer our questions regarding the work they do. After the short visit it was time for a hearty buffet dinner at the restaurant and a quick orientation of the railway system in Seoul. It was a hectic but enjoyable start to our trip indeed!

Excited faces waiting to board the plane at Changi Airport

Ms. Shinwan briefing students on the production process at Dongwoo Animation

Subsequent company visits on Tuesday and Wednesday proved even more insightful and eye-opening. At Dongwoo Animation, students were honoured by the presence of the President of the company Mr. Young Doo Kim, who took time out from his very busy schedule to welcome us. Our gracious host, Ms. Shinwan Kim then gave us a detailed tour of the various departments, enthusiastically introducing the students to key staff as well as allowing us to view the confidential works-in-progress Dongwoo Animation is presently working on. We got to view exclusive artwork, storyboards and layout sequences from the various outsourced work they do for Warner Brothers and Marvel Animation, as well as their own original productions.

Sunwoo Entertainment’s Production Supervisor Mr. Kevin Cho walked us through the studio, letting us observe the various department staff hard at work on the latest season of a 3D animated TV series commissioned by Disney. He then screened the company’s latest animation showreel and answered questions about the working environment in Korea’s bustling animation industry. We even had the chance to chat with three Singaporean digital artists from Sunwoo Asia Pacific – the newly set up Singapore branch of Sunwoo Entertainment – who are presently undergoing training at the main office.

Mr. Kevin Cho poses for a group photo at the office of Sunwoo Entertainment

Students go back in time as they walk through a full-scale film set

“After visiting Dongwoo and Sunwoo Animation, and witnessing their great achievements, I am greatly motivated to brush up my skills in 2D and 3D.” says DDM Year 3 participant Sia Yan Teng. Students see first-hand how passionate and motivated the digital animation artists are at these studios. DDM Year 2 student Wilkins Chow Shao Liang adds, “At Dongwoo Animation studio the staff told us that as important as it is to have skills, it was just as important to have sincerity and humility.”

Apart from visiting animation production companies, we also took the opportunity to check out the rich cultural sites Seoul had to offer. We learned a great deal about how their local movies and television shows are made, and viewed the many historical treasures of Korean cinema during our visit to KOFIC Namyangju Studios on Day 2.

Tour guide Brian explaining the purpose behind the particular design for this palace building

Group photo in front of the SIGGRAPH Asia 2010 exhibition entrance.

We walked through the Courtroom Set, the Miniature Filmmaking Center that showcased the production process of the successful animated movie “Wonderful Days”, and had a great time exploring a fully-reproduced traditional Korean village set outdoors.

On Day 3, after our visit to Sunwoo Extertainment, we strolled through Insadong, a place that housed various mini art galleries and shops selling souveniors and trinkets along the long main street, as well as many side alleys. The time we spent there barely scratched the surface of what the venue had to offer, and a few of the students expressed a desire to continue their exploration of Insadong should they travel to Seoul again in the future.

In addition to the art galleries at Insadong, we explored the majestic sprawling Gyeongbok Palace, did some viewing and sketching of exhibits at the huge National Museum of Korea which spans three large floors displaying many valuable artifacts in galleries such as the Archaeological Gallery, Donation Gallery and the Asian Arts Gallery.

A major highlight of the study trip was the chance to attend SIGGRAPH Asia 2010, a four-day international computer graphics conference held at the COEX in Seoul. Students had access to the exhibition where hardware and software vendors, companies looking to recruit and schools showing off their works were on hand to interact, inform and inspire.

In the evening, the students attended the Computer Animation Festival which awards and showcases the latest high quality animation works from around the world. The screening left most of them inspired. Lau Pui Shan, DDA Year 1 student admits “The animation screening was fantastic and awesome, I was very glad we had some very good seats.” Wilkins Chow, DDM Year 2 student relates an experience at the screening, “I saw a Pixar representative sitting so close to us that... it was just awe-inspiring.”

The trip to Seoul would not be complete without experiencing the huge variety of food and delicacies Korea had to offer. From a hearty buffet spread on the very first evening, to a delicious beef lunch in a cozy restaurant and not forgetting tucking into the famous ginseng chicken for dinner, students were assured of some great meals on the trip!

Hot snacks on offer from the street carts in Myeongdong

At designated stalls along Insadong and various street carts set up in the evenings along Myeungdong shopping district, students had the chance to try many different types of hot snacks to keep them warm as they walked around and explored the area. Although the weather in Seoul was very cold at the time – it even snowed on Wednesday evening and we woke up to a nice thin blanket of snow on the ground – the students’ were in high-spirits throughout the trip, eagerly absorbing all the sights, sounds and tastes as much as they could.

About DMIT Seoul Trip

The objectives of the 6-day study trip were to expose students to the animation industry in Korea, particularly in Seoul, as well as its rich culture. In addition, the visit to SIGGRAPH Asia 2010 was intended to introduce students to the cutting-edge developments happening in the international computer graphics community and as a chance for them to network with professionals and students who share the same interests. From the feedback we have received it has been a great success!

“Overall, the trip to Korea has taught me much; not just animation, but also Korea’s culture and history (and food too!). This trip has inspired me to be more focused on my course and also re-discover my love of drawing.” Karen Mei, DDA Year 1.

“Looking at the trip as a whole, I feel that the study trip was a success as the targets of the trip were achieve and if there was another trip similar to this, I would strongly encourage my peers to join as it is really a very good experience for students and the students will surely benefit from the study trip.” Tan Chee Liang, DDM Year 2.

“The trip allows me to have a better perspective on what I want to do in the future and how I should strive towards my goals and dreams. In a nutshell, the 6 days trip in Seoul was a fun and fulfilling one as I gained a lot of precious experiences and made some new friends.” Sia Yan Teng, DDM Year 3.

Group photo taken with the Cheongwadae (Blue House) presidential building in the background

Students observe the work spaces at Sunwoo Entertainment

Highly-detailed miniature set built for the animated movie “Wonderful Days”

The rich array of delicious food that our students managed to savour

Students explore the huge building housing the many galleries at the National Museum of Korea

Group photo in front of the COEX building to attend SIGGRAPH Asia 2010



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