Joelyn's Museum Escapades

Museum Escapades: Dream… then work it!

Museum EscapadesAt the moment, I’ve been sorting out my photographs and albums after returning from my Cameron Highlands trip. And while that is in the waiting line of blog posts, here’s what the Tiger and I had the pleasure of experiencing at the Dreamworks Exhibition at the ArtScience Museum.

The Basics of Storytelling

Upon entering...
Upon entering…

The exhibition was sectioned into three main areas – story, characters, setting. Upon entrance and past the obligatory green-screen photography booth, we were greeted with a showcase of familiar clay models.

Models upon models...
Models upon models…
And walls of concept art.
And walls of concept art.

Lining the cylindrical entrance were artist impressions and models of the characters of Shrek, Kungfu Panda, and Spirit: The Stallion of Cimarron. Models from The Road to El Dorado, The Prince of Egypt, and a few others studded the centre as well.

Shrek, Kungfu Panda, and Spirit each had media umbrellas, where we were able to listen to the experiences of the artists and animators when they were coming up with their stories and characters.

Concept art for Shrek.
Concept art for Shrek.
Master Sifu! (Which is a redundancy)
Master Sifu! (Which is a redundancy)

From 2D to 3D

In the light of the many 3D animations from Dreamworks, it can be easy to forget that they started with classics like The Prince of Egypt, The Road to El Dorado, and Spirit: The Stallion of Cimarron. Things started to take shape with collaborations like Chicken Run, Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, and Flushed Away (with Aardman Animations) came into play.

The leads of Chicken Run
The leads of Chicken Run
And Gromit amazed by the huge melon in his garden
And Gromit amazed by the huge melon in his garden

Films like Shrek and Madagascar shot Dreamworks into full-blown 3D animation, now with favourites like How to Train Your Dragon, Kungfu Panda, and remakes like Mr. Peabody and Sherman under their belt.

The Process

What I particularly liked about their exhibit on characters and stories was the story and drawing board projections. It was entertaining to see a typical day at the team’s drawing board, and it was hilarious listening to the story board pitch of a scene in Shrek.

All in a day's work
All in a day’s work

While it was both enlightening and amusing, it gives a better sense of appreciation when you see the energy behind these family films. And the number of storyboards created for one film.

Pitching a single scene to the audience
Pitching a single scene to the audience

The Result

3D animation is not just a team of artists working on numerous in-betweens and drawings. Looking at the sets on display, it is clear our animation films have entire worlds and lives built into their studios.

In a land, Far Far Away...
In a land, Far Far Away…

Taking a ride on Toothless in a “How to Train Your Dragon” flight show, we got a ride of our lives as we travelled through the world of the dragons and their trainers, something we often miss out during the films. Yet, it is a key aspect the film will collapse without.

What We Know Today

So when you think about your favourite animations – Kungfu Panda, Madagascar, Rise of the Guardians – what you see is only a fraction of the many processes, creativity, and stories the creators have. What we see and know are the final cuts which pull through.

And what we saw in this exhibition was the birth and lives of many worlds, characters, and stories to last our lives.

So hop on and take this journey through an animated world.
So hop on and take this journey through an animated world.

The Dreamworks Exhibition will be at the ArtScience Museum until 27 September 2015. For more information, click here.

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