Archive for category Teaching

Future

Teaching Challenges in Singapore

Teaching classes in animation that have a heavy technical component is challenging in that the processes needed to understand and enable the student to rise to a point where they can express themselves with graceful aesthetic choices involve embracing a steep learning curve. This has proven a challenging group of subjects to teach. On the one hand, if I simplify the lessons then more advanced students stray off and lose interest, if I focus on their needs the less experienced students get lost and frustrated.

To find solutions to these problems I decided to alter the nature of my classes to encourage peer learning in group projects, create detailed online video tutorials as well as reference the many already online and to personally meet with students on a one to one basis to enquire on the status of their progress in each class. Students enjoy getting extensive notes for each subject and lesson, with a detailed approach and documentation in a video of what is expected of them they have better access to the materials that are important to learn.

In the recent past, I have dealt with the problems of delivering detailed instructions by creating a YouTube Channel that features all of the lessons taught in my class. I plan to further supplement these videos as the technology for content creation changes. Aside from my students, these tutorial videos have received almost 1000 views. Students often are overwhelmed by the amount of detailed information that they must learn in class and enjoy going over these tutorials after class time. This in addition to notes on the class seems to be best for students. Although I have used tutorials from other sources students prefer that this information is provided directly from the instructor. This strategy has paid off as evident in the student feedback forms. The videos online have as well received almost one thousand views since their upload from sources outside of the class and outside of Singapore. Utilizing this approach with a more personal touch in class I think is the best way forward. I plan to update lessons to keep the information pertinent.

online Maya tutorials

I have created a Pinterest to supplement aspects of my courses, the boards therein have garnered more than 200 followers, a few of which are students of mine however most of which people who share an interest in my courseware. For example my Polygons, NURBS, and Displacement Mapping board is a resource of every aspect of modeling covering direct offset of geometry components e.g. vertex manipulation to manipulation using displacement maps.

AI-based chatbot

In-line with my research I am exploring bots that disseminate information through user discourse. Currently aligned with a more entertainment focus these “bots” can be queried for particular data. Although the information that they provide is better used outside of studio instruction, the bots hold potential for alternative and supplemental instruction outside of the classroom. The creation of virtual characters with conversational interactivity is an interesting topic for study.

My current research focus is on responsive design in animation. I focus on design looking at the creation of real-time content and audio integration in a public setting.

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Impact

PERFORMANCE INDICATORS

Many students who took classes with me and worked as work-study research assistants or full-time after graduation have moved onto successful careers in animation. They made movies that have received numerous awards in film festivals and are recognized as the new local talent with skills in the craft of animation, and as artists and film-makers bringing a new vision to the field.

Raymond Teo, Tan Pang Ren, Malcolm Qwah

Raymond Teo, Tan Pang Ren, Malcolm Qwah part of our first cohort of students graduated in 2009. The three both studied under me and worked as research assistants. They created the Final Year Project (FYP) animated short titled ‘Drunken Moon’. It won top prize in the Open Category from Singapore and was screen in Tokyo at the TBS 14th Digicon. Short listed for screening at the 9th Singapore Short Cuts! it was nominated for BEST DEBUT in 4th International Festival of Animated Films TOFUZI, in the Baltic country of Georgia.

Tales of the Chugawagas

Khoo Yi Hui, Goh Huiying & Anne Tan’s Final Year Project (FYP) animated short film titled ‘Tales of the Chugawagas’ won the First Prize in the 3D category of the Lumière Digitale Animation Film Festival 2011! It was nominated for Best Animation at the upcoming 3rd Singapore Short Film Awards! Their short film also won a ‘Certificate of Encouragement – Creative use in Animation’ at the Very Short International Film Festival (VSIFF) 2012 held in Singapore.

‘EMMA’ Joshua Tan’s 2010

A short film made in my ANI380 Animation Seminar class a Local Selection Winners took home the Grand Prix Award at the Very Short Film Competition (Singapore) in 2010 and received $1400 in prize money for his efforts. It was screened at the Festival in France under the International ‘Out of Competition Family/Kids’ Category.

Project Marionette

Directed and produced by Tan Cheng Quan (Joshua) with Candice Elizabeth Chua Cher Ern & Liew Yong Jia 2010

Winner of a ‘Certificate of Encouragement – Creative use in Animation’ at the Very Short International Film Festival 2012 held in Singapore. I supervised their animated film through Final Year Project. Joshua Tan recently set up his own company CraveFX and is doing well as an animation entrepreneur.

I! Mark Cheung, Singapore 2012

Final Year Project (FYP) Short animated film was selected to premiere at the 20th Annual International Festival of Animated Film Stuttgart 2013. Mark’s work focused on a metaphorical and visual interpretation of the expression of thought and discovery of self. This past June 2013 he screened his film at the 4th Experimental Film Forum at The Substation in Singapore.

i! (2012) – mark cheung

Students under my tutelage have been fortunate to find work both in Singapore and abroad. Notably two former students that received their Master of Science (MSc) in Digital Media Technology Degree, Devanathan Ram Prasad and Sailaja Sruthi Yadlapati worked in my research and were hired by the Dreamworks Dedicated Unit at Technicolor in Bangalore. One of these students, Ms. Yadlapati recently left to join NUS as an applicant for a PhD. Other students joined companies like Lucas Film, Double Negative, the Discovery Channel and even the United Nations. Ms. Ang Yizhi who started with me in her second year as a student who had never touched computer animation is now a computer graphics artist at Tecmo Koei. Ms. Hazel Hnin is a character animator at Southern Star Entertainment with a subsidiary located in Singapore Southern Star Entertainment is a large entertainment conglomerate. Ms. Hai An Nguyen Pham worked closely with me as a student and research assistant is now working on staff as a computer graphic artist at Oliver Wyman. Two of my programming staff from originally from Myanmar, Mr. Aung Sithu Kyaw and Thet Naing Swe in an entrepreneurial venture set up their own game company in Singapore. Another Ms. Chong Ren Rong is a research assistant at University of California Los Angeles in their media research group housed in Melnitz Hall the home of their Film School of which I am an alumni.

Former Students who worked on Research

Throughout the past 8 years of Teaching Research and Service at NTU, I have been fortunate to have received close to 15 million Singapore Dollars in research funding. These projects, all collaborative efforts were designed for the most part to experiment with learning theory, e.g. Michael J. Jacobson’s “Virtual Singapora“, an investigation focused on the design of learning technologies, Beaumie Kim’s work research and development of learning resources and tools focusing on Earth Sciences “Serious Embodied Learning” and Miao Chunyan’s Intelligent Agent-Augmented Multi-User Virtual Environments: Research into Designs for Learning Environments of the Future. Along with these collaborative efforts where I worked as co-Primary Investigator I have led my projects e.g. “Cinematic and Narratives: creating stories within real-time visual toolsets” and have engaged students directly in award winning research.

Undergraduate Students Hired into Research

Lim Yuan Wen, Tan Pang Ren, Qwah Ying Hwa, Qvek Jia Liang, Khoo Yihui, Yu Chao, Su Fang, Nguyen Hieu Hanh, Stefani Irwin, Chan Ying Hol, Kyi Phyu Hnin (Hazel), Ang Yi Zhi, Lee Jun Yi, Gao Shan, Nguyen Pham Hai An, Antoinette Jade, Florence Sjah, Fung Chun Hong, Gan Li Juan Clara, Han Shengyi, Kanan Abdul Mohamed Ali, Pok Sim Loong, Siew Zhi Zhong Jerome, Tan Jing Ting, Tan Shu An Lauren, Trinh Dinh Quan, Yang Na       Ajin Joseph, Ang Yi Xin, Lam Yaocheng, Isabella Tan Hui Huang, Teo Qing Yu Trina, Qwah Ying Hwa, Long Yinghan, Chong Shuzhen Sara, Chan Yin Wan, Ang Tze Qi, Teo Say Kiam Raymond, Cheng Yu Chao, Pan Huiting, Au Chong Weng, Mak Hon Keat, Huang Shicong, Seow Wen Hui Vanessa, Koh Wei Min, Wang Xun, Siew Zhi Zhong Jerome, Wong Si Yuan, Goh Zhengyang, Vincent, Xiong Ying, Hu Yunwen, Chua Yifang, Kyi Phyu Hnin, Dessy Sudjana, Wang Shi Hui, Su Guohao, Huang Yanying, Lim Ming Rong, Eunice

Masters Students

Devanathan Ram Prasad, Liu Linyi, Sailaja Sruthi Yadlapati, Aung Sithu Kyaw, Wang Chao, Chen Chao Hai, Liu Yong, Lu The Kiet

Research Fellows

Zhang Liang, Doros Polydorou

Professional Hires

Jorge Helguera Represa, Andrew Gregory, Jamie Telford, Wong Jing Cherng, Boon Yifei, Kim Hak Hyun, Thet Naing Swe

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Development

COURSE SYLLABI AND RELATED DETAILS

FDN140 Foundation Design and Time currently DN1004 Foundation 4D I

During my first years at ADM I taught a number of different subjects. As we needed to construct the curricula and design the course and did not have many instructors with sufficient experience to teach the subjects we needed to cover. Therefore I needed to teach using a broad swath of my expertise. One of the courses that I developed was the 4D Foundations course. Although the class was conceived in meeting consultations within the school I was tasked to write the original course syllabus and teach for two semesters within the area. The course I came up with in consulation with my colleagues follows:


View Sample

Subject Outline
Subject Name: Design and Time – Draft: 5-Jul-13
Subject No.: FDN 140
Subject Type (such as required Course): Major Core
Major: First Year Foundation Program
Teaching Hours: 90
Prerequisites: Admission into the School of Art, Design and Media
Professor: Mark Chavez
Office Hours: W,TH,F 3:30 – 5:00pm

1. Objectives:

  • To explore the use of narrative methods and its practical techniques.
  • To investigate fundamental aspects of sequential narrative with audio.
  • To explore the creative and conceptual elements and principles of narrative processes.
  • To identify good practice in studentship and professional behavior.

2. Outcomes and Achievements:

  • Students develop both the practical skills of time based media and other related techniques and the conceptual skills necessary for developing and communicating with the medium.
  • They extend their knowledge base about how to apply narrative techniques to describe story, location and character development and their relatedness to it.
  • They learn appreciation of fundamental aspects of good studentship including prompt, regular attendance; self-motivation and direction; and making a contribution to peer learning and critique.
  • They also learn some of the fundamental cultural issues and applications regarding the use of narrative storytelling and sequential descriptive techniques and its place in the creative process in Eastern and Western conceptual frameworks.

3. Content outline

  • A range of media and practical techniques will be explored while the cultural, theoretical, aesthetical and communicative aspects of the following elements and principles are covered.
  • The class will be split into two sessions:
  • The first half convening from 8:30 am until 11:30 am will consist of theoretical discussion in a workshop format, including review of the previous weeks work completed after scheduled class hours.
  • The second half continuing from 12:15 pm until 2:30 pm will be practical applications of techniques discussed.

Design and Time Methods

  • Media and Techniques
  • Story and Narrative in Reality Based Fiction
  • Character Driven Storytelling
  • Adaptation of Literary Works
  • Beat Boards and Style Sheets
  • Editing
  • Audio

Design and Time Concepts

  • Planning and Organization
  • Scriptwriting And Planning With Written Media
  • Thumbnails
  • Collecting And Composing With Visuals
  • Editorial
  • Time Systems Including Eastern And Western Approaches
  • The Influence Of Mtv On Contemporary Film-Making
  • Implied Time Vs. Actual Time
  • Sound Effects And Audio Enhancement
  • What Is ADR
  • Sweetening a Sound Track
  • Making Sound That Fits

Timetable


July 25 | Week 1


Orientation Week


Aug 1 – 5 | Week 2 – 3


Building A Narrative With Work Based On Reality

  • Emphasis on Location, Plot, Character:
    Understanding the methodology of team work in film making.
  • Mockumentary: “This is Spinal Tap”
    Create a Mockumentary.
  • Assignment:
    Read Shakespeare’s “King Lear” by Week 4
    Read HG Wells “War of the Worlds” by Week 5



Aug 15 – 19 | Week 4


The Script

  • Analysis And Structure In Adaptive Works:
    Understanding the writing for visual media.
    Character development.
    Analyze the methods used to adapt Shakespeare’s “King Lear” into the film“Ran”
    Adapt elements of “King Lear” into a story.
  • Assignment:
    Write an breakdown analysis contrasting the written story with the movie adaptation.
    Adapt elements of “King Lear” into a visual story.



Aug 22 – 26 | Week 5


Continue work on assignment from previous week.



Aug 29 – Sept 2 | Week 6


The Script

  • Analysis And Structure In Adaptive Works:
    Understanding the writing for visual media.
  • Character development:
    Analyze the methods used to adapt H. G. Wells’ “War of the Worlds” the radio adaptation and the George Pal movie.
  • Assignment:
    Write an breakdown analysis contrasting the written story with the movie adaptation.
    Adapt elements of “War of the Worlds” into a visual story.


 


Sept 5 – 9 | Week 7


Continue work on assignment from previous week.



Sept 12 – 16 | Week 8


Recess.



Sept 19 – 23 | Week 9


  • The Visuals:
    Deconstructing film: BEAT BOARD
  • Analyze the film Lawrence of Arabia in relation to its emotional beat.
  • Assignment:
    Create a story that fits a beat similar to Lawrence of Arabia.



Sept 26 – 30 | Week 10


Continue work on assignment from previous week.



Oct 3 – 7 | Week 11


  • The Visuals:
    Deconstructing film: Style Sheets
  • Analyze the film Sin City in relation to its style.
  • Assignment:
    Write a breakdown analysis contrasting the parts of the graphic novel with the movie adaptation.
    Create a story that fits a style similar to Sin City.



Oct 10 – 14 | Week 12


Continue work on assignment from previous week.



Oct 17 – 21 | Week 13


  • Audio and visuals.
  • Adding the dynamics of sound.



Oct 24 – 28 | Week 14


  • Audio and visuals.
  • Adding the dynamics of sound.



Oct 31 – Nov 4 | Week 14


FINAL PROJECT



Nov 7-11 | Week 15


REVISION AND EXAMINATION (Final Project)


4. Teaching Methods (lecture percentage and lab or practicum percentage out of teaching hours during class)

  • Language: English
  • Percentage Seminar /critique: 20%
  • Percentage Studio: 50%
  • Percentage Outside Teaching Hours: 30%

 5.Textbook and references

  • Required Reading:
    Shakespeare’s “King Lear”
    H. G. Wells’ “War of the Worlds”
  • Suggested Reading:
    Umberto Eco (Editor), Alastair McEwen (Translator) History of Beauty, December 2004, Rizzoli, ISBN: 0847826465
    TBA
  • Movies to Watch
    Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0077745/
    Mars Attacks! (1996) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0116996/
    TBA
  • Web References
    Kurzweil Accelerating Intelligence Network: http://www.kurzweilai.net/
    Whitney Biennial: http://www.whitney.org/biennial/
    Mandatory! Read this for the basic story of King Lear: http://shakespeare.palomar.edu/lambtales/LTLEAR.HTM
  • Resource guide for more King Lear information
    http://www.engl.uvic.ca/Faculty/MBHomePage/ISShakespeare/Lear/Lear.TOC.html
    http://www.netexplosure.com/kinglear/
    http://www.pathguy.com/kinglear.htm

6.Grading Method

  • Assessment Criteria
  • Development of practical, technical hand-based skills
  • Evidence of understanding of key concepts and topics
  • Evidence of imaginative thinking and concept development
  • Evidence of problem solving ability
  • Timely and satisfactory completion of exercises, projects and assignments
  • Ability to ask questions and seek out help from the instructor
  • Critical perception and utilization of criticism
  • Good studentship and contribution to peer group learning
  • Grading Method
  • 50%-Appropriate execution of and intellectual clarity in exercises, projects and assignments
  • 30%-Good studentship, participation in class and timely completion of work
  • 20%-Attendance

 

7.Resource Requirement (include classroom requirement, environment requirement, number of teaching assistants, lab requirement)

  • Equipment and Facilities required
  • PC projection, Monitor Display, VHS & DVD playback, PA system, OHP etc
  • Studio, well ventilated and with pinning space
  • Storage – plan chests; material and prop storage
  • (Separate storage should be available for students)
  • Flat tables, Stools

 

8.Course constructive plan

  • The course structure is based on studio/workshop and seminars. Exercises and projects are initiated through verbal and written briefings and work continues outside of regular class meetings. Feedback is given through regular critiques.

 

9.Type of students

  • First Year Foundation Program Students
  • Reminders
  • Any work must be made available in a media viewable during class critique
  • All work including initial sketches must be kept and be available for assessment
  • Verbal briefings should be backed up with written versions where possible
  • The timetable and critique for assignments should be published and adhered to
  • Broad themes will facilitate the introduction of fundamental theoretical concepts
  • Broad themes will facilitate cross referencing between groups
  • Consider diagnostic opportunities for joint projects with 2D, 3D and Foundation Drawing
  • Gradually increasing time for projects trains students in time management
  • Exercises and projects will increase in complexity as the year progresses


FDN110 Foundation Drawing (Figure Drawing) currently DN1001 Foundation Drawing I

During the first years at ADM I developed, co-developed and taught many courses Foundation Drawing being one of them. My focus in my own undergraduate studies was drawing. I have continued to study drawing taking professional classes. In addition I use these skills both in my own research and as a professional artist. It was with much pleasure that I taught this class.


View Sample

Subject Outline
Subject Name: Foundations Drawing – Draft: 5-Jul-13
Subject No.: FDN 101
Subject Type (such as required Course): Major Core
Major: First Year Foundation Program
Teaching Hours: 54
Prerequisites: Admission into the School of Art, Design and Media
Professor: Mark Chavez
Office Hours: W,TH,F 3:30 – 5:00pm

1. Objectives:

  • To explore the use of a range of media and practical techniques.
  • To investigate fundamental aspects of image making exploring gesture, volume and perspective.
  • To explore the creative and conceptual elements and principles of drawn processes.
  • To identify good practice in studentship and professional behavior.

Timetable


July 25 | Week 1


Orientation Week


Aug 1 – 5 | Week 2 – 3


Building A Narrative With Work Based On Reality

  • Emphasis on Location, Plot, Character:
    Understanding the methodology of team work in film making.
  • Mockumentary: “This is Spinal Tap”
    Create a Mockumentary.
  • Assignment:
    Read Shakespeare’s “King Lear” by Week 4
    Read HG Wells “War of the Worlds” by Week 5



Aug 15 – 19 | Week 4


The Script

  • Analysis And Structure In Adaptive Works:
    Understanding the writing for visual media.
    Character development.
    Analyze the methods used to adapt Shakespeare’s “King Lear” into the film“Ran”
    Adapt elements of “King Lear” into a story.
  • Assignment:
    Write an breakdown analysis contrasting the written story with the movie adaptation.
    Adapt elements of “King Lear” into a visual story.



Aug 22 – 26 | Week 5


Continue work on assignment from previous week.



Aug 29 – Sept 2 | Week 6


The Script

  • Analysis And Structure In Adaptive Works:
    Understanding the writing for visual media.
  • Character development:
    Analyze the methods used to adapt H. G. Wells’ “War of the Worlds” the radio adaptation and the George Pal movie.
  • Assignment:
    Write an breakdown analysis contrasting the written story with the movie adaptation.
    Adapt elements of “War of the Worlds” into a visual story.


 


Sept 5 – 9 | Week 7


Continue work on assignment from previous week.



Sept 12 – 16 | Week 8


Recess.



Sept 19 – 23 | Week 9


  • The Visuals:
    Deconstructing film: BEAT BOARD
  • Analyze the film Lawrence of Arabia in relation to its emotional beat.
  • Assignment:
    Create a story that fits a beat similar to Lawrence of Arabia.



Sept 26 – 30 | Week 10


Continue work on assignment from previous week.



Oct 3 – 7 | Week 11


  • The Visuals:
    Deconstructing film: Style Sheets
  • Analyze the film Sin City in relation to its style.
  • Assignment:
    Write a breakdown analysis contrasting the parts of the graphic novel with the movie adaptation.
    Create a story that fits a style similar to Sin City.



Oct 10 – 14 | Week 12


Continue work on assignment from previous week.



Oct 17 – 21 | Week 13


  • Audio and visuals.
  • Adding the dynamics of sound.



Oct 24 – 28 | Week 14


  • Audio and visuals.
  • Adding the dynamics of sound.



Oct 31 – Nov 4 | Week 14


FINAL PROJECT



Nov 7-11 | Week 15


REVISION AND EXAMINATION (Final Project)


4. Teaching Methods (lecture percentage and lab or practicum percentage out of teaching hours during class)

  • Language: English
  • Percentage Seminar /critique: 20%
  • Percentage Studio: 50%
  • Percentage Outside Teaching Hours: 30%

 5.Textbook and references

  • Required Reading:
    Shakespeare’s “King Lear”
    H. G. Wells’ “War of the Worlds”
  • Suggested Reading:
    Umberto Eco (Editor), Alastair McEwen (Translator) History of Beauty, December 2004, Rizzoli, ISBN: 0847826465
    TBA
  • Movies to Watch
    Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0077745/
    Mars Attacks! (1996) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0116996/
    TBA
  • Web References
    Kurzweil Accelerating Intelligence Network: http://www.kurzweilai.net/
    Whitney Biennial: http://www.whitney.org/biennial/
    Mandatory! Read this for the basic story of King Lear: http://shakespeare.palomar.edu/lambtales/LTLEAR.HTM
  • Resource guide for more King Lear information
    http://www.engl.uvic.ca/Faculty/MBHomePage/ISShakespeare/Lear/Lear.TOC.html
    http://www.netexplosure.com/kinglear/
    http://www.pathguy.com/kinglear.htm

6.Grading Method

  • Assessment Criteria
  • Development of practical, technical hand-based skills
  • Evidence of understanding of key concepts and topics
  • Evidence of imaginative thinking and concept development
  • Evidence of problem solving ability
  • Timely and satisfactory completion of exercises, projects and assignments
  • Ability to ask questions and seek out help from the instructor
  • Critical perception and utilization of criticism
  • Good studentship and contribution to peer group learning
  • Grading Method
  • 50%-Appropriate execution of and intellectual clarity in exercises, projects and assignments
  • 30%-Good studentship, participation in class and timely completion of work
  • 20%-Attendance

 

7.Resource Requirement (include classroom requirement, environment requirement, number of teaching assistants, lab requirement)

  • Equipment and Facilities required
  • PC projection, Monitor Display, VHS & DVD playback, PA system, OHP etc
  • Studio, well ventilated and with pinning space
  • Storage – plan chests; material and prop storage
  • (Separate storage should be available for students)
  • Flat tables, Stools

 

8.Course constructive plan

  • The course structure is based on studio/workshop and seminars. Exercises and projects are initiated through verbal and written briefings and work continues outside of regular class meetings. Feedback is given through regular critiques.

 

9.Type of students

  • First Year Foundation Program Students
  • Reminders
  • Any work must be made available in a media viewable during class critique
  • All work including initial sketches must be kept and be available for assessment
  • Verbal briefings should be backed up with written versions where possible
  • The timetable and critique for assignments should be published and adhered to
  • Broad themes will facilitate the introduction of fundamental theoretical concepts
  • Broad themes will facilitate cross referencing between groups
  • Consider diagnostic opportunities for joint projects with 2D, 3D and Foundation Drawing
  • Gradually increasing time for projects trains students in time management
  • Exercises and projects will increase in complexity as the year progresses


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