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Dreamworks Animation

Sometimes, the best way to find out about the best exhibitions in town is to be there and take a look around at the biggest, flashiest ads! Chances are high that these exhibitions would be a great experience.

Dreamworks Animation: The Exhibition was such a case for me and I finally went to pay a visit to the ArtScience Museum in Marina Bay two months into my stay in Singapore. I will recommend this to anyone who has watched an animation and loved it! :D


The exhibition is split into three sections: Character, Story and World. Featured animations include Kung Fu Panda, Madagascar and How To Train Your Dragon, but there are many others that were shown in the exhibition. While the entire exhibition is dedicated to the behind-the-scenes work of creating an animation, Character mostly consists of preliminary sketches and maquettes, while the latter two sections Section and World contain more visuals of the final products, short scenes from the animations and interviews with the brilliant people behind them.







Shark’s Tale

Here’s a closer look at the aforementioned character maquettes that are hand-crafted, clay or moulded plaster sculptures made to give drawn characters a real, three-dimensional counterpart that the filmmakers can work with. All the maquettes are gray in color, but are made with precise details that we viewers might easily overlook while watching the animation itself.


Kung Fu Panda

So many well-covered art walls on display! These art walls are filled with drawings and sketches of the characters early in the production process, so most of the drawings are not eventually realized in the final visual of the animation. But there are a number of gems displayed, like the drawings of a Kung Fu master bear and Po holding Shifu in his hand!


Kung Fu Panda


Kung Fu Panda

I really like this sketch of the four main characters in Madagascar! They were created with four different body shapes specific to each of them: Alex (the lion) is an inverted triangle, Marty (the zebra) is a cylinder, Melman (the giraffe) is a long rectangle, and Gloria (the hippo) is a circle.




Story is the smallest section in the exhibition, and shows the work involved in creating thousands (!) of storyboards, production members acting out scenes from the animations, and filmmakers discussing how individual scenes are worked out.


How to Train Your Dragon


There are also various interaction machines stationed around the exhibition area. I’m including this here since this was taken in the Story section, the various expressions of Po were too cute to resist! That’s actually a screen projecting visuals, and there are a few screens positioned in various parts of the exhibition as well.

The actual interaction part is on those machines with which you can get a taste of working with digital art! You can play with different characters or sceneries and tweak them to get your desired look. I was “working on” Astrid from How To Train Your Dragon and I could change the way she looked according to what I liked: her hairstyle, swoop of her bangs, eye shape, eye size, sharpness of nose, presence of freckles, length of smile, and so many other details that I’d never considered before. A scenery option is waves, and you can adjust color, light reflection, tidal height and so on.


Mr. Peabody & Sherman

This is just plain hilarious and impressive. How do you take such a well-known and well-loved Renaissance painting and cartoonize it?! It’s certainly beyond me.


Kung Fu Panda


World is the biggest section and also my favorite! It felt like I was continually moving onward to discover different worlds from the various animations. Each was as immersive as the next, and it felt like it would never end.


How to Train Your Dragon

Dragon Flight is a definite must-watch! It’s a separately screened mini-animation set in the world of Berk from How to Train Your Dragon and you watch it as if you were riding Toothless and soaring above the Isle of Berk.


The Croods

The Croods was also given a mention in the World section and it’s so fitting since the animation is about a caveman family discovering new worlds. In the “jungle” world, to create a kind of landscape that viewers could feel that they were discovering along with the Croods, the filmmakers looked to underwater photography which resulted in a jungle more vivid and more flowly than you’d expect.


How to Train Your Dragon

Models! Of the entire worlds the animations were based. Such amazing detail and I wish I could them take them home with me, HAHAHA! The Isle of Berk where dragons are trained was meant to look like a finger pointing up at the sky.






Shark’s Tale


Kung Fu Panda

Love this sketch of the marketplace in Kung Fu Panda, with its circularity and the Dao symbol right smacked in the middle. All the references to Chinese traditional and cultural symbols in the Kung Fu Panda movies are just too adorable.


The Dreamworks Animation exhibition is ongoing till September 27th! Head down to the ArtScience Museum and enjoy the lovely, lovely look into the world of animation.

Tickets are SGD$15 for adult Singapore residents, view more ticketing info on their website here.

This is the last post from my holiday in Singapore! I’m now back in Hong Kong and adjusting back to the speedy life here again. ;) Looking forward to viewing more art in Hong Kong, so stay tuned!

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