For everyone used to the grandeur and immense scale of the U.S. SIGGRAPH, it is important to explain that the inaugural SIGGRAPH Asia in Singapore is planned to be much smaller. ACM has taken a big risk in bringing the conference abroad, no one could be certain if it would work. With the last conference day still ahead of us I would already like to call the show a success. From what I see and hear, everybody seems happy at SIGGRAPH Asia in Singapore. The exhibition floor is busy; the quality of talks is as high as we are used to, the Electronic Theater has been praised for its quality selection, and whether speaking with SIGGRAPH Committee members or attendees, everyone notes the intimate feeling, “stars” of the community become more approachable and there is a family flair in the air.
Singapore? Singapore! Some factors that are making this a great show can be attributed to the very active and growing Asian Computer Graphics community, some of it to the vibrant scene in Singapore itself. It is not a coincidence that Singapore is striving in animation and games. MDA, the Media Development Authority, a government agency, is heavily supporting our industry with research and creative grants, new schools and training facilities and support for companies. Adding to the local studio scene, the opening of Lucasfilm Animation Singapore has been a milestone, with Ubisoft having opened this year and Double Negative setting up their studio in spring 2009.
The latest project is the NYP-SESI Visual Effects Studio, a collaboration between Nanyang Polytechnic and Canadian software developer Side Effects Asia Pacific (SESI-AP). It is aimed at training and producing talent in visual effects, games and interactive digital media for Singapore and the region.
Another project that has just been announced is Mediapolis @ one-north, a 200-ha innovation and R&D hub driven by industry demand, will be developed in stages. When ready, it will be a hub that will house a media ecosystem comprising soundstages with green screen capabilities; digital production and broadcast facilities; interactive digital media (IDM) and R&D activities; Computer-generated Imagery and visual effects; post-production, games and animation; industry-response digital media schools, business parks, work lofts and incubators; intellectual property (IP) creation and digital rights management.
Melanie Beisswenger is character animator and animation teacher based in Singapore. Some of her past projects include the Academy Award winning feature film Happy Feet, the stereoscopic 3D animated feature Fly Me to the Moon and the TV launch commercial for the blockbuster game BioShock.
Melanie is teaching as Assistant Professor at the School of Art, Design and Media, NTU in Singapore and has been involved with SIGGRAPH Asia 2008 as Computer Animation Festival Producer.