Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Prominent Game Creator Launches FigurePrints and Brings Game Characters to Life

REDMOND, Wash.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Ed Fries, former vice president of Microsoft Game Studios, has partnered with gaming giant Blizzard Entertainment®, developer and publisher of World of Warcraft®, the industry-leading, massively multiplayer online role-playing game that hosts more than 9 million subscribers, and launched his latest endeavor, FigurePrints, a premium service that allows World of Warcraft players to create 3D statues of the individual characters they play in the game.
For the first time, we are taking this new technology and using it to bring objects out of a virtual world and into the real world through 3D printing, said Fries. We are turning the actual characters that gamers play into something that is tangible and physical, no longer just online, and frankly we just think that is really cool.
By partnering with Blizzard Entertainment, Fries is able to give World of Warcraft players the ability to bring their characters to life via the FigurePrints website, The service will be available to the public today, December 11, and will cost $99.95 per figure.
Some day these 3D printing machines will be in everyones home, said Fries. But up until now they were only accessible to a few people in large companies. FigurePrints gives everyone access to this technology for the first time. Eventually, this will have application far outside the gaming arena.
Some of the first to take advantage of this exciting new technology are owners of the recently announced Dell XPS M1730 World of Warcraft® Edition notebook. Each system includes a golden ticket for the printing of a World of WarCraft® character at no charge.
About FigurePrints
FigurePrints,, is officially launching today, December 11, with this innovative 3D printing process available only to World of WarCraft® gamers. CEO and Founder Ed Fries is best known for his time at Microsoft Game Studios where under his leadership, Microsoft Games produced more than 100 innovative and influential games for both the Xbox and Windows platforms. Among the most notable: Halo, Age of Empires, Flight Simulator, Combat Flight Simulator, Rise of Nations, Zoo Tycoon, Mech Assault, Crimson Skies and Project Gotham Racing.
About Blizzard Entertainment, Inc.
Best known for blockbuster hits including World of Warcraft® and the Warcraft®, StarCraft®, and Diablo® series, Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. (, a division of Vivendi Games, is a premier developer and publisher of entertainment software renowned for creating some of the industrys most critically acclaimed games. Blizzard Entertainments track record includes ten #1-selling games and multiple Game of the Year awards. The companys online-gaming service,®, is one of the largest in the world, with millions of active users.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Phillipine Animation Industry

an interview by Caleb Cheong
ACM SIGGRAPH Singapore Chapter
Chair for Industry Relations
F: +65 6312 5705(Siggraph Singapore chapter)

to Grace Dimaranan
Animation Council


CC: Dear Grace, Dear Avic,

Thank you for your fast reply. I would sincerely appreciate more information regarding Animation / Game Development companies in the Philippines. I have many questions such as:
  • How many large companies are there? Meaning 100 staff & above. Are they locally grown or branches of overseas companies such as Disney? How many years have they been operating?
  • How many medium sized companies are there? Meaning 50 to 100 staff. Are they locally grown or branches of overseas companies such as Disney? How many years have they been operating?
  • How many small companies are there? Meaning 10 to 50 staff.

GD: Animation companies have been operating in the Phils since the 1980's. The animation Industry in the Phils is more than 25 yrs already. For registered companies under the Animation Council, its in the ACPI website. Under ACPI we have 40 companies and we have incoming new members next month. For the whole Philippines, the numbers would be around 70 - 80 companies serving different kinds of animation outputs.

There are local companies in the Phils wherein Disney, Warner Bros, Cartoon network, Studio B, Nelvana, Japanese anime shows are outsourced either as subcontractors, sister companies, satellite studio, partner studio or are involved in co-production ventures.

For estimation purposes ( acpi & non-acpi members ), large companies ( 100 staff & above ) -- 7 companies ( All foreign-owned studios ) ; Medium size companies
( 50-100 staff ) --- 25 companies ( mixture of foreign & local owned studios ) , small companies ( 10-50 staff ) --- 40 companies ( mostly are local owned studios )

CC: What are Philippines animation companies looking for? Are they seeking projects or investments or joint ventures? Are they open to the idea of merging with other companies? I know in Malaysia, quite a few small companies after awhile usually merge together like 5 companies merge into 1 larger company in order to take on bigger projects. What is the view of Philippine business owners to such proposals? Are they open or close minded.

GD: The Philippines animation sector is always open to all kinds of business options in terms of outsourcing, co-productions, investments opportunities to grow the industry. Yes, the industry member studios are helping one another in sharing work/ projects with no fear of competition. We opted to be cooperative in our industry & help one another. In this way, our govt helps support the sector thru promotions, trade fairs, exhibits & conferences. No, the industry is not close minded to other options. We are wary of course of animators/ artists' exodus or recruitment of our animators of other foreign studios ( India , china directors coming in the country to have Filipinos work in their countries. )

CC: Sorry I have so many questions because I have not been to the Philippines before.

GD: You should visit here in Manila ! You will be very surprised of the progress of the country to date & the infrastructure here. Most of the 1st time foreign business people visiting here, usually end up investing in the country due to the magnitude of talent and the proficiency & flexibility of the people. Please contact ACPI should you be visiting so that we can tour you to some of the companies here.

CC: I have traveled to visit Universities & studios in Malaysia, Thailand & Indonesia. I know many of the companies & lecturers in those countries as well as from my own country, Singapore.

What about training in the Philippines? Where do your staff get their training? What scale & level are the schools at? Is there sufficient supply of training institutes & teachers? How many training centres are there in Manila or the other big cities? How does a sincere person wanting to learn 3D get access to training? Please provide me with more details.

GD: We have Universities offering a degree in 3d animation, multimedia & animation courses, we have specialized training centers teaching industry -based 2D, 3D, Flash and very soon game dev courses. We collaborate regionally ( provinces ) to access art schools & universities to teach animation or tweak their curriculum to give way to new industry based teachings & trends. We co-developed a curriculum with TESDA concerning animation so that it will be officially published, disseminated to art & fine arts schools all over the country. These efforts main purpose is to increase awareness in animation & to increase graduates of animation so that they can be hired in the industry.

CC: I value such knowledge as it helps me understand your situation & to gauge the potential opportunities that SIGGRAPH brings. Will a visit by myself to the Philippines benefit the industry? YES, maybe enlighten us more what siggraph can do for our industry / animation sector.

Will I be able to understand the situation better if I were to visit Manila? Can we arrange for regular trips by Singapore Companies to the Philippines?

GD: YES, coordinate with our executive director, Ms Avic Ilagan of any visits intended for the industry.

The ACM SIGGRAPH Singapore Chapter is a not for profit organization run by volunteers.

Mr Caleb Cheong is Exhibitions Chair for SIGGRAPH ASIA 2008.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Hongkong Filmart

Hongkong Filmart adalah pasar film terkemuka di Asia. Di sini para pelaku industri film saling menjalin network dan merupakan kesempatan terbaik untuk membeli hak lisensi dan distribusi film dan televisi.

Pada kesempatan ini, rekan saya, Caleb Cheong dari Siggraph chapter Singapore berkunjung ke Filmart untuk melakukan sosialisasi tentang Siggraph 2008.

Ini beberapa oleh-oleh foto yang diambil di Hongkong Filmart.

Pavilyun Malaysia di Hongkong Filmart

Caleb mengundang Grace, Presiden dari Phillipine Animation Council ke Siggraph Asia 2008.

The ACM SIGGRAPH Singapore Chapter is a not for profit organization run by volunteers.

Mr Caleb Cheong is Exhibitions Chair for SIGGRAPH ASIA 2008.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Undangan bertemu Pangeran Andrew

"Wah saya terlambat nih, demikian pikir saya!" sambil saya bergegas masuk ke ruang Ceria di Hotel Shangrila. Hari ini istimewa, saya mendapat undangan menghadiri ramah tamah bertemu dengan Pangeran Andrew, Duke of York dari UK. Wah, tidak setiap hari mendapat undangan sekelas ini :)

"Ayo silakan masuk, semua sudah di dalam, sebentar lagi Pangeran akan masuk!" demikian ujar resepsionis dari yang ada di depan.

Setelah mengenakan badge berlabel coklat, saya langsung bergabung dengan teman-teman dari industri kreatif yang sudah memenuhi tempat di ruang Ceria.

Beberapa wajah yang aku kenal di antaranya adalah Pia Alisjahbana dari Femina Group, juga Harry Darsono desainer fashion kondang. Yoris Sebastian, pemenang IYMEY (International Young Music Entrepreneur) 2006 menyapaku. Dan ternyata seluruh finalis IYCEY (International Young Creative Entrepreneur), ada di sini, seperti Wahyu Aditya pemenang kategori film, Deli Makmur pemenang kategori fashion, dan banyak lagi.

Tidak lama kemudian, Pangeran Andrew masuk, dengan senyumnya yang menawan, kelihatan segar dan ramah. Ia menyalami seluruh hadirin dengan antusias, dan menariknya, ia langsung akrab berbincang dengan setiap dari kita. Saya pikir, wow, ini kualitas negarawan yang bisa membuat dirinya diterima setiap orang, dan mau meluangkan waktu meskipun hanya sekian menit untuk setiap kita agar merasa special! Belum pernah ada apresiasi seperti ini oleh negarawan di negeri sendiri.

Ia bertanya "Hmm, what is animation activist?" kepada Wahyu Aditya, atau "What do you think about art influence architecture or the other way around?" kepada Gustav, pemenang IYCEY untuk Design, dan "Wow, so many architect here!" kepada kita semua. Ia juga mencoba kursi hasil rancangan Leo Theosabrata. Brilliant! And very appreciative to all of us!

Acara yang berlangsung hanya 1 jam itu mampu mencair dan kita semua menjadi akrab karena kesempatan bertegur sapa dengan rekan-rekan. Bahkan mas Yudhi dari British Council mengajak saya untuk sharing my latest project, Ideopoliz kepada teman-teman di situ. Sekaligus kesempatan baik bertemu dengan wakil dari Binus, UPH, mas Djuhara dari IAI dan teman saya, pak Irvan dari FGD.

Sayangnya tidak boleh membawa kamera :) Anyway, oleh-oleh saya adalah undangan dari British Council. Nice experience!

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Seminar UMN di Mal Gading Serpong

Mal Gading Serpong disulap menjadi UMN World (Universitas Multimedia Nusantara). Di sini kampus yang dimiliki oleh group Kompas Gramedia memberikan informasi tentang kampus, mahasiswa dan teknologi.

Saya diminta berbicara tentang Animasi dan entrepreneurship. Merupakan suatu kehormatan saya boleh berbicara bersanding dengan idola-idola saya. Beberapa tokoh idola saya, mas Dwi Koendoro ngobrol tentang Panji Koming dan Mas Wedha berbicara soal Digital Wedha. Mas Wedha adalah ilustrator Lupus, bacaan saya waktu masih muda :). Tidak ketinggalan, mas Arbain Rambey, wartawan foto senior Kompas juga sharing di sini.

Nikmati rekaman videonya: Andi, Wedha, Dwi Koendoro, Arbain Rambey