The animation lab sounded like a ghost town…eerily silent. But it was not for lack of life. The inhabitants were each in their own stratosphere busy envisioning and creating their creatures and creations.
From spheres and cubes, came sharp-toothed, winged, giant insects; whimsical spiral-tailed, four-legged seahorse creature; a hell knight, a warrior elf with amber yellow eyes and a thorn-tailed dragon. They all have one thing in common: Z Brush. A 3D sculpting software that makes creative imaginings pulse to life.
Cebu’s digital art scene has been throbbing of recent years, albeit a small community at present. As more and more illustrations, film post-productions, and animation projects are being outsourced, Cebu’s community stands to benefit.
“There’s a big demand for the animation industry, but the challenge is that we lack teachers,” says Kenneth Garcia, 3D Animation Specialist, teacher and the resource person for the workshop. He started working in the animation industry from the bottom up since 2006. “Its hard work but it’s worth it—seeing your work in big screen.” Garcia smiles.
Envisioning Cebu as an animation hub, the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP) collaborated with University of Cebu (UC) Animation Department in promoting and cultivating talents through a short summer workshop aptly titled 3D Sculpting Using Z Brush.
“Z Brush is a very powerful tool…in fashion, jewelry, furniture, gaming…it’s very good for conceptualization.” Explains Garcia patiently to this writer, an initiate to the animation sphere.
And he is right!
“Gamit jud kaayo ni sa akong trabaho, (This is very useful in my line of work)” Enthused a designer who attended the workshop.
The workshop was comprised not only of high schoolers but also professionals who were eager to learn. Most of them started with no background in the software.
But in just four Saturdays, the students have morphed their ideas into multiple characters.
But getting to know and use the software was only half of the workshop, the second part was getting to see a wider scope of the industry—a road trip to an animation studio!
Drawing and painting rooms, editing and animation rooms, green screen and a 3D printer…the workshop students were treated to a tour of FMA (Film & Media Arts International Academy), a film and animation studio/school right at the heart of Cebu.
The eyes of the workshop students lighted up as they saw the possibilities of how it all came together. From just a figment of their imagination, to the computer screen, and to a three-dimensional, fully-colored model, and integration with live models summing up to a resulting film.
Like the red blob on the computer screen that grew from just an idea, the VFX (visual effects) and animation commerce is set to expand. However, challenges such as the lagging speed of the country’s internet, expensive animation equipment, few teachers, and even fewer investors hamper the growth of this industry.
But ideas do not die as long as there are people willing to cultivate it.
“What we need is to grow more studios. The digital creative industry in Cebu is still a long way…but there is hope.” Garcia encourages.
Check out the creations!
This is how a red blob became a four-legged whimsical creature!