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Singapore's Polytechnics Offer Toon Courses

In Singapore, three more polytechnics have been offering animation courses to meet increased demand from both students and industry, reports CHANNEL NEWS ASIA.

Lingun Sung, director at animation firm Peach Blossom Media, said, "Animation, I think, should only be a passion; it should not be a business, just because the risks are so great, for example product development time takes so long. There are a lot of new companies sprouting out. Some are going to blindly fall off a cliff, a lot of them will, but all we need is some of them to reach the finish line and create some really good Singapore animation."

The Media Development Authority has invested S$165 million in the animation industry in the last two years. The business has expanded by more than 10 times in the last four years, but experts also warn that turnover is extremely high, because the product is not as creative.

Graham Michael Perkins, consultant, School of Technology for the Arts, Republic Polytechnic, said, "The industry is requiring the thinking type of student not technologically savvy... there is more to it then knowing the features of a software, some people leave poly and universities competent in those areas but industries need more than that."

Republic Polytechnic has opened the School of Technology for the Arts, while Temasek Polytechnic is launching a new diploma in moving images.

Irwanta Salim, course manager, Interactive Media Design, Temasek Polytechnic, said, "We have ideation subjects, how to generate lots and lots of ideas, and translating that into a design process. We have a lot of art-based subjects, where students are encouraged to explore, experiment, say with paintings, print and also pottery."

Starting in May, Nanyang Polytechnic will offer a new course focusing on computerized animation techniques. In July, the Nanyang Technological University will welcome more than 100 students in its new school for Art, Design and Media.

However, educators say students must be prepared to look outside of Singapore for jobs.

Associate professor Russell Pensyl, vice-dean, School of Art, Design and Media, Nanyang Technological University, said, "If you look at the opening up of the marketplace in China, at the opening of media markets around Southeast Asia, the potential is quite great."

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