NEmation! 6 Production Week 1 : The Unsung Heroes

Hi Folks,

I’m James Soh and I’m one of your three NEmation! 6 Ambassador Finalist … you’ve probably either seen me around the NE6 production area snapping pictures or more likely I’ve already talked to you in person while I collected stories to write this post. 🙂

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Entrance to NEmation! 6 Production Area

For those of you reading this who are not familiar with NEmation! 6, this is the start of a 3-weeks production phase where the 10 final teams are rushing to transform their story from a concept on a story board into a one minute animation.

You can read more about how they got to be in the Top 10 here.

My Mission As An Ambassador

My mission as an NEmation! 6 Ambassador is to provide an alternative view point to what’s traditional being reported on NEmation!

Some may interpret alternative view as a neutral perspective … I just want it to be something different.

In the past (probably including the present and future too) … a lot of attention is given to the participants, which is just natural but I would like to bring the attention to a group of folks who have always around to:

  • Take Care Of The Participants
  • Ensure That Everything Is Running Smoothly
  • Provide Support

In addition to doing just about anything else that no one has thought about … like spray Dettol Air Freshener to kill the germs in the air … a brave attempt to keep everyone working in the production space healthy.

Yes, I’m talking about the instructors & coaches from Animagine – The Unsung Heroes of NEmation! 🙂

An Earlier Picture of Animagine Instructors

An Earlier Picture of Animagine Instructors

The Teams Are Well Taken Care Of

First off … the instructors takes good care of the participants.

I would like to reassure all the parents of the participants that your child are in very good hands. You don’t have to trust what I say … just take a look at the pictures below:

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Neat Tent For Each Team To Work In

The production space is actually an Auditorium at Nangyang Polytechnic that is converted into an animation studio.

Each Team is house in a well lit Tent with sufficient working space and a “curtain” that can be drawn close for privacy.

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Loads Of Drinks Including Mineral Water For Thirsty Participants

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Well Stocked With Snacks To Keep Hunger At Arms Length

Other than having a nice air-conditioned area to work in, they are also sufficiently stocked up with food & drinks to help manage the occasional hunger attack.

Of course, biscuits are not the only thing the participants eat … they are all still growing up so to ensure that they eat their meals … Instructors from Animagine gathers them periodically to give occasional briefing and remind them to have lunch/dinner … all done just before meal time (what a coincidence right?).

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Briefings Before Meal Time

And of course, when some of them stubbornly refuse to go for their meal – claiming they are full or have work to do (sounds familiar?) – Instructors will offer to “packet” their food back for them – even though rule number 2 says “No Eating Of Outside Food In The Studio”!!

So rest assured that your kids will keep growing during NEmation! 6 production phase 🙂

The Instructors Ensures That Everything Is Running Smoothly

One thing I found strange during my first visit for week 1 of the production phase was that all the teams had:

  • Brand New Story Boards
  • Animation Technique Finalized For their Animation
  • Animation Equipments Properly Setup

I knew that the participants had been busy with exams between September and the start of NEmation! 6 production phase.

So I was pretty surprised and a little amazed that they still had time to redraw their storyboard … until I asked around and was told that the new story boards I saw were drawn by the instructors – based upon the original story board that got the teams through to the finals.

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Every Team Had A Newly "Tightened" Story Board

The instructors explained that this is to give the story a “tightening” so that it can better convey the message in the one-minute of animation.

While I was interviewing the participants about how they like their “new” story boards, the general consensus was that they like it very much.

The next thing I notice was that every team seemed to have decided on the technique they will be using to animate their story … i.e. whether using clay models, paper cut-outs or digital drawings.

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2D Digital Rotoscoping Chosen For Dreamation

I was again wondering that given the limited time that the participants had before the start of the production phase … how could they ensure that their chosen method would work?

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A Traditional Rotoscoping Drawn With Pen And Light Table Chosen For Hungry Monster

Again I asked around and again I got the some answers …

The animation technique was chosen together with the participants and the instructors tested every selected technique, before the start of production phase ,to ensure that each method should work.

They’ve even gone as far as to test different setups to find the best tool to be used for each type of animation technique.

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A Traditional Rotoscoping With Light Table Setup

But even with all these extra efforts and testing put in by the instructors, there can still be hiccups or unforeseen circumstances that may force a team to change technique midway through production.

In fact, I hear that at least one team – Team iSmacked – had to change their animation technique.

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iSmacked Switched Their Animation Method to Using Toon Boom

Well … it’s not a perfect start but I’m pretty sure without the extra efforts put in by the instructors to test the techniques before the start of production, there would have been much more of such hiccups.

So well done instructors 🙂

Providing Support (Technical & Emotional)

Throughout the week observing the NEmation! 6 production phase … I notice another role that the instructors were playing … that of providing Technical Support, such as:

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Providing A Timetable To Benchmark The Production Progress

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Reviewing The Work Done So Far - Team Reveille In The Picture

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Helping Team Jelvetica Find the Right "Pink" For Thier Characters Skin Colour

But sometimes when the going gets tough … the instructors lend a little emotional support in the form of a pair of helping hands such as:

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Helping Team Asian Keedz Who Had A Ton Of Paper Cutting To Do

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And When A Pair Is Not Enough ... You Bring In Three Pairs!!

I pulled some instructors aside to ask them why are they offering to help physically? Aren’t the participants supposed to it on their own?

Want to know their answer?

Pretty simple and straight forward really.

Three weeks of production sounds long but in fact is pretty short.

The work that the participants had to do during the production phase is more like a on-the-job training rather than a classroom learning experience so the instructors will provide whatever help that is required of them.

And for some of the participants, they are doing such work (such as paper cutting, painting, drawing, clay modeling, tracing, etc) for the first time in their life. So a little hands on guidance and show of support goes a long way in boosting their morale.

The Unsung Heroes

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Instructors Working Behind The Scene ... Checking, Testing, Checking & Still Checking

So Kudos to the instructors from Animagine … the Unsung Hero’s of NEmation! 6.

Great work getting everything and everyone on track.

Thank You for the Great Support you have given me as NEmation! 6 Ambassador Finalist … for answering many of my seemingly dumb questions.

I believe that many, if not all, of the participants in the Top 10 Team will also shower you (the instructors) with Big Thank You’s for the Fantastic Support you have given them.

Who Wants To Say Thanks

I have sung my praises … here’s your turn …

So participants … this is your opportunity to say “Thank You” to your instructors who have help:

  • Guided You
  • Drawn With You
  • Paint With You
  • Cut With You
  • Tested For You
  • Laugh With You
  • Package Food For You

Oh … do remember to say who you are and to whom your “Thanks” was address to, Ok?

Cheers,
James
NEmation! 6 Ambassador Finalist

Note1 : All Photos Taken With Canon EOS 600D … Thanks to our sponsor Canon!

Note2 : No names of any instructors have been mentioned … It’s done on purpose to highlight the group as a whole. Participants are encourage to shower your “Thanks” to any individual you want to say thanks to

 

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