STUDIO.CGARTIST.COM develops 3D Visualizations and Virtual Reality (VR) Experiences with a network of first-class artists and production partners. Under its main URL, CGARTIST.COM, it also provides a production platform with an online marketplace for CG-related assets and jobs. CGARTIST.COM was launched 15 years ago to contribute a variety of services to the emerging global Computer Graphics (CG) industry. As a pioneer in e-commerce, it originally launched a successful online shop for software training DVDs covering courses in all major CG- and digital design-related software, and in later years served as a production house for animated commercials, CG shorts and game art, contributing to numerous productions in Europe, the US and South-East Asia. Coming originally from a background of visualization, animation, including film production and TV commercial for industrial clients, CGARTIST.COM is now becoming a production network for anything CG-related, covering the areas of full VR productions, animations, game art, VFX, 3D print, illustration and frame-able/fine digital art through its growing network of contributors.
Besides our ongoing commercial projects, we also help NGOs with art productions and take on free community projects to help grow the appreciation of VR and CG applications. Below is a list of highlights on presentations, public talks, interviews and community engagements that I have done during the years in relation to VR and CG development. Hit me up at ch (at) cgartist.com if you need any info, VR- or CG-related help, a contribution, talk, article, commentary, review or anything else to grow and support the industry.
July 22, 2017: Talk on VR for Filmmakers at Crossing Borders, Documentary Campus, Kuala Lumpur
Filmmaking and VR is a much-debated subject matter. I had the privilege to give a talk on VR day in Kuala Lumpur, together with Lionel Chok of Immersivly and Bryan Seah from Discover Networks, Asia Pacific. The event was titled “Getting Real about VR” and was geared towards documentary filmmakers, organized by Documentary Campus’s Crossing Borders program. In this talk, I am giving an overview of what is important for filmmakers to know when it comes to VR market expectation, formats, techniques and tools. It was a very inspiring crowd and I had many interesting discussions about the future of VR.
April 5th 2017: Talk on Modeling and VR at AsiaVR Association hosted by PIXEL Studios, Singapore.
I was invited by the AsiaVR Association to talk about my VR production experience with The Future is Wild. The event was focused on modeling for VR and I took the opportunity to introduce The Future is Wild VR to the audience. The talk starts with explaining the general project and ip context before going into more specific production steps.
The AsiaVR Association is the largesr VR- and AR-community and meetup group in Singapore.
PIXEL Studios is an initiative by IMDA for next generation content creators and media businesses, to come together to conceptualize stories, produce online videos, develop games, create prototypes and innovate.
AsiaVR, PIXEL Studios, Singapore.
2016: Launch of Unreal User Group Singapore by CGARTIST.COM
In April 2016, I got together with a fellow Unreal user in Singapore to start the Unreal user group in Singapore which has now grown to 55 members. A pretty good result considering the fact that there was only a handful in the beginning. The first event in May 2016 was launched with CGARTIST.COM as the organizer at the Games solution center in Singapore (now Pixel studios). The group is now a great resource if you need help or a second opinion on a development issue. It was great to get a lot of support from Epic Games in setting this up. Please join if you are interested to learn more about Unreal. ( www.meetup.com/Singapore-Unreal-Engine-Developers )
March 2015: Hackerspace Introduction to the Oculus Rift
In March 2015, I was asked by the Hackerspace organizers from CoLAB in Phnom Penh to give an introduction to the Oculus Rift and my VR development work at the frequently held Hackerspace event. It was a great event with an interesting mix of people and a lot of talent from various areas of IT development and coding. A very inspirational get-together with a great creative energy behind it. It is always amazing when you find these kind of places that occasionally pop up in South-East Asia. Even though originally run by mostly expats, it has now to my knowledge include a rapidly growing local IT-crowd and become an attractive event to hook up for production cooperation and help on talent shortage.
January 2015: Stuff Magazine Interview
In early January 2015, I was contacted by the international gadget magazine STUFF to do an interview with the local Phnom Penh edition of the magazine. The idea of STUFF was to report not only on international gadget releases but also on the development of cutting-edge technology applications that involved local companies. A great concept in my eyes. The STUFF reporter team came to my studio with their own photographer, writer and tester. One of the staff employees, Vathana Phon from the design team, came specifically as a game tester. It was a lot of fun showing Vathana some of my demos. He had a blast and was super excited, even though these were mostly work-in-progress apps. The journalists asked me a lot of questions on my developments and my opinion on VR in general. The interview turned into a major feature story with a colorful four-page spread in the print edition. The online edition, containing less visuals, is here (see link). It is in the Khmer language though, but I hope it says good things 🙂
December 22, 2014: Presentation “Virtual Reality, Oculus Rift and Its Impact on South-East Asia”, at Development Innovations, Phnom Penh
In December 2014, I was approached by Development Innovations in Phnom Penh, a project funded by USAid to promote, startups, technology solutions and business leadership in emerging markets. The program director asked me to do a talk on what I expect the impact of Virtual Reality would have in South-East Asia, as he knew that I had been working on a number of film productions and TV commercials in the region, thus knowing the local media industry and its players. The talk was titled “Virtual Reality, Oculus Rift and its impact on South-East Asia” and was very well-attended, packing the venue with mostly IT students who showed a lot of interest in the subject. I put in a lot of work into the presentation, showing the whole evolution of VR, where it came from and where it is expected to head and, of course, with a focus on how businesses in the region could benefit.
September 2014: VR Course at Limkokwing University
In September 2014, the Faculty Management Group of Limkokwing University contacted me to enquire if I would be interested in conducting a Virtual Reality course at the Phnom Penh campus of the University, as there was a growing interest by students in the subject. I had previously lectured part-time on Animation, Multimedia and VFX at Limkokwing, which had been a great experience enabling me to not only connect with local academics and media students, but also to get out of the studio once in a while. I accepted and was very excited to lecture on my most preferred subject, VR development, while continuing to work on my commercial work with my own company. The University allowed me to adjust the course curriculum which was previously centered around classic IT-related VR subject matters such as VRML and X3D to a curriculum with a more production-oriented focus by introducing the latest tech-trends which included an introduction to Unity 3D and the Unreal Engine. Because this was the time when the new era of VR emerged, it was a great opportunity to experiment with my students on such open questions of VR standards as UI conventions, user experience and locomotion issues.
October 10, 2014: Interview “Oculus Rift in the Kingdom”, Khmer Times, Phnom Penh
In September 2014, I was approached by the journalist Cecelia Marshall who was writing for the Khmer Times, a leading daily English publication in South-East Asia.
She asked me to do an interview regarding my VR projects and to share my views as a developer on the future of the VR industry. It was a big feature story in the print edition, which got a lot of attention from a number of people of interested in Virtual Reality after reading about it there. I believe Cecelia can be credited to have gotten a number of people excited about the possibilities of VR with her enthusiasm and dedication as a journalist. This was at a time when a lot of people in the region heard for the first time about VR.
September 13, 2014: Presentation “Oculus Rift & Virtual Reality”, Barcamp, Phnom Penh
It was an honor to present my experience developing with the Oculus Rift at Barcamp, Phnom Penh, on September 13th in 2014. Barcamp is an international network of user-generated technology conferences. It’s a great place to hook up with like-minded people and share ideas and experiences. At this presentation I was talking about my demo project code-named “Mekong Mutant”, which was basically a sandbox for various art tests and techniques of deploying character animations and interaction in VR using Unity at that time. The event helped me to hook up with a number of new VR enthusiasts that I recruited for my next VR meetup in Phnom Penh.
July 28, 2014: Presentation “Developing for the Oculus Rift in Cambodia”, Nerd Night, Phnom Penh
Nerd Night is one of the most popular regular evening events in Phnom Penh. It draws a big international crowd and covers all sorts of nerdy subjects from tech to social issues. It is a global phenomenon now in 90 cities around the globe. For me, it was a great opportunity to share my thoughts on VR on July 28th, 2014, in a presentation titled “Developing for the Oculus Rift in Cambodia”. At that time, to my surprised bubble existence, this was still a subject that a lot of people hadn’t heard of. So the mission was to introduce people to what VR is, where it comes from and what to expect in the future, based on my own experience working with the technology. The required format was a PechaKucha presentation, in which you have 20 seconds to present each of the 20 slides. No pause, break, or timing control. I’m not sure if I like this format as it adds tension to the already stressful situation of facing a large audience. I would have preferred to have a relaxed chat at my own pace. Nevertheless, the crowd was great, and there was a lot of interest and Q&As after the show.
August 2008: Interview, Synergy Magazine, Contact Singapore, Ministry of Manpower, Singapore
In August 2008, Synergy Magazine by Contact Singapore (Ministry of Manpower, Singapore) asked me for an interview. I was at that time developing a game project with a team of about 20 developers in the Chinatown area of Singapore. It was a major production that had been in development since 2006 and was funded by a VC partner in the US. The game engine used at that time was Gamebryo. Unfortunately, due to the looming financial crisis in 2008/9, the VC partner pulled out and the project had to be killed. Definitely a lot of lessons were learned during the whole production. Nevertheless, it was a lot of fun and may be continued when the time is right (click on the thumbnail image to the left to read the interview).
September 17–20, 2008: Panel Member, “Indie Games Funding”, GCA Games Convention Asia, Singapore
From September 17th to 20th, 2008, I was invited to be a panel member on the “Indie Games Funding” conference at GCA Games Convention Asia, Singapore. I was invited to give a talk on the subject of VC and discuss my views with the audience, which was a very fruitful experience. The conference was originally organized by the German Messe Leibzig company. It was a top-notch event and I remain good friends with a number of participants whom I met at that event for the first time. The concept of the GCA was to create a game business hub in Singapore and bring together all aspects of game development. At some point the convention was discontinued. I believe Casual Connect Asia is now the biggest gaming convention in Singapore.
July 2008: Guest Lecture “Game Development”, National University of Singapore
In July 2008, Dr. Nareyek, Director of the NUS Games Lab at the National University of Singapore, asked me to do a guest lecture for his students. The idea was to share my experience as an independent developer and give an overview of technical and organizational issues in a small company with a lot of outsourcing partners. The main part of the presentation was centered around the creative process and its challenges. The interest from students was very high with a lot of questions, especially regarding their career options in this field. My own motivation was of course to also use this opportunity as an recruitment call for interns.
October 2007: Industry Representative, MOM China Delegation (Beijing-Chengdu- Shanghai), Ministry of Manpower, Singapore
In October 2007, I was invited to be part of an Industry Representative of the Singapore Ministry of Manpower (MOM) delegation to China. The idea behind this short week-long trip was to get in touch with universities and companies in China, in search for talent and business development. Part of the group were the management of Industrial Light and Magic (ILM) and Lights & Shadow, among other Singapore Developers. At that time, there was a real shortage of game development talent in Singapore and you have to give credit to the Media Development Agency (MDA, now IMDA) and MOM for taking the initiative to tackle the problem then. The trip covered the areas around Shanghai, Chengdu and Beijing. Besides being an incredibly interesting experience, it was great way to be introduced to high-level executives, meet university management and business leaders that would have been otherwise very difficult to access. The trip resulted in a number of excellent business opportunities with partnering studios and valuable personal contacts that are still my premier contacts in the region.