Jul 12, 2015

The Magic behind Dreamworks Animation at ArtScience Museum

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I've always loved animation. But the wifey isn't a big fan of animated movies, so it's a good thing I now have 3 monkies to accompany me whenever a new one hits the cinemas! For the monkies though, sitting through 100 minutes of animation in a make-believe world and getting entertained by it is all there is to the movie.

But behind the animated movie lies numerous and painstaking work that hundreds of people had put in tirelessly, from the storyboards and animators to the producers and directors. Which is why if your kids (or you) have always been curious in discovering the magic that goes into bringing some of their favourite characters from Dreamworks Animation - Shrek, Kungfu Panda, How to Train your Dragon, Madagascar - to life, then Dreamworks Animation: The Exhibition at ArtScience Museum will be an eye-opening experience. 

Let me say this - do NOT go to the exhibition expecting to see mascots prancing around. Ratherm the exhibition provides a rare glimpse into DreamWorks Animation’s collaborative and visionary approach to animation, and offers an insightful look into the processes behind the on-screen magic.

Curated by the Australian Centre for Moving Image in close collaboration with DreamWorks Animation, the exhibition features 31 films with more than 400 displays, taking visitors through 4 main sections of Character, Story, World and Drawing Room.

Every movie begins with an idea, so the first section of Character illustrates the evolution of DreamWorks Animation characters, from the germ of an idea through to fully animated personalities. Visitors can also see how new artistic processes and technologies are swiftly adopted from film to film, to help flesh-out the characters and provide the realism, complexity, and expressiveness.

It was enlightening for the monkies to see the thought processes of the artists, via their drawings, as some of the final illustrations for the characters sure didn't look like the initial sketches!

Moving on, the Story section is where the magic of story-making takes place. Head to the mock-up desk in the middle of the section where it represents the heart of story development, where storyboard artists, directors, writers and producers spend countless hours pitching ideas, developing plots and writing dialogue that may or may not survive the film’s final cut.

Equally interesting is the Story Pitch screen, where visitors will be able to catch a glimpse of how an initial conceptualising scene in Shrek is run through before the actual animation takes place.

Personally though - and I think the monnkies will agree with me - the World section is pretty much the best of the lot. This section focuses on the research and inspiration that underpinned the creation of each film’s look and feel, highlighting the books, artists, films, and international locations the DreamWorks Animation artists researched in the development of their worlds.

So expect to see impressive scale models of miniature castles, cities and towns, which served as the backdrop and surroundings of past Dreamworks animations.

And no matter how long the queue is, DO NOT miss Dragon Flight: A Dragon’s-Eye View of Berk, the highlight of the exhibition. This theatre show offers a spectacular 180-degree view of the Island of Berk from How To Train Your Dragon. Beginning with a simple sketch on paper, the experience culimates with a virtual ride, flying on Toothless' back and soaring over Berk. For best results, snag a seat in the middle of the theatre.

For kids who love to try out some doodling and watching it come to life, make a beeline to the Drawing Room where the Animation Desk Interactive Kiosk allows users to learn the basic principles of animation and create a short animated line drawing sequence of their own.

Throughout the exhibition, there are also many interactive stations where kids can have fun. Like making their own animated flip-book, playing with mood and lighting effects on The Croods, or even making exaggerated facial expressions with Po!

Thoroughly educational and informative, the exhibition definitely made the monkies appreciate the creative process that went into the making of an animated movie. Ale was too young to understand some of the concepts (although she was happy enough to identify some of the recognisable cartoon characters) but for the boys, they realised an animated movie is not as simple as just taking up a pen and draw.

Check out the following related programmes too!

Public Guided Tours
Saturdays | 5pm
Sundays till 19 July | 11:30am

Gain insights to the creation of DreamWorks’ star characters in this entertaining and informative 30-minute tour. Complimentary to ticket holders of DreamWorks Animation. Up to 25 visitors on a first-come, first-served basis. Stickers will be given out 5 minutes before start of tour.

Saturdays, 18 & 25 July, 1, 8, 15, 22 & 29 August | 2:30pm

Understand first-hand this fascinating form of animation and create a short film by moulding your own clay character. S$5 per person. Suitable for all ages. Purchase tickets in advance from the B2 retail outlet.

The Magic of Animation Workshop
Sundays, 9 & 23 August | 2:30pm

Learn about the beginnings of animation through fascinating still and moving footage, zoetrope demonstrations, and the opportunity to create your digital flip-book. S$5 per person. Suitable for all ages. Purchase tickets in advance from the B2 retail outlet.

Film Screening
Expression Gallery, Level 4 | 2pm

Come and watch the biggest DreamWorks animations in its series of film screenings.
19 July – Kung Fu Panda
26 July – Chicken Run
16 August – Megamind
30 August – Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit

Complimentary to ticket holders of DreamWorks Animation: The Exhibition. Entry is on a first-come, first-served basis.

Useful Information

Dreamworks Animation: The Exhibition
ArtScience Museum
Now until September 27 2015; 10am to 7pm daily
Admission: Local Adult $14 | Local Child (2-12) $9 | Local Senior Citizen (65 & above) $12 | Standard Adult $21 | Local Child (2-12) $13 | Local Senior Citizen (65 & above) $17
FAMILY FRIDAYS: Children go free! Every Friday, up to four children under 12 years old enter for free with every adult ticket purchased! For more details, visit HERE.

For tickets or more information, visit www.marinabaysands.com/museum/dreamworks-animation.html

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