Thursday, April 20, 2017

“The Art Behind the Game - The Ubisoft Experience" Exhibition Showcases Ubisoft Singapore's Creative Works


There have been art exhibitions hosted by game publishing company Ubisoft Singapore before, but the latest edition curated and designed by WY-TO, is the best one yet.

"The Art Behind the Game - The Ubisoft Experience" held at the National Design Centre, focuses on the Assassin's Creed franchise, which has sold over 100 million copies worldwide. One of the biggest selling game franchises of all time, Assassin's Creed offers its fans opportunities to take the "leap of faith" and fight for freedom.

The exhibition is held in partnership with DesignSingapore Council, as part of VOILAH! French Festival 2017. This year's VOILAH! festival's theme is about imagination and innovation, and the eye-catching Ubisoft event encapsulates these ideas perfectly.

Red Dot Diva attended a media preview of the exhibition earlier this week, and here are what you can expect at the event.

For starters, one simply cannot miss the biceptous, life-sized Connor Kenway statue standing guard at the entrance of the exhibition. Red Dot Diva is pretty sure he loves the attention so feel free to take many selfies with him.

There are 3 different parts for the exhibition: the history of Ubisoft, a showcase of the other memorable games produced by the company like "Prince of Persia", and finally, a tribute to Assassin's Creed, with displays of various behind the scenes aspects of the franchise.

Ubisoft Singapore has been involved with the franchise since "Assassin's Creed II". As the local team built up its resources and experience in the following years, the company became heavily involved with the "water technology" and ocean-based gameplay of "Assassin's Creed: Black Flag". So, naturally, a large part of the exhibition was related to this game title.

It is best to begin at the far right of the exhibition space where the Environment Design section is found. Here, one can view the research sketches of actual locations by the artists, and then examples of how these visual ideas were depicted in the form of paintings to be used for the game production later on.


The Story Boarding section comes next. There are a series of sketches showing actions and a sequence of events to help pre-visualize ideas for the game's storylines. There will also be a video montage of the story board images side by side with actual gameplay so that visitors can see how ideas have been translated to the final product.


In the Urban Environment Cities and Natural Environments segments, there are actual photos of the team at key locations as well as sketches and concept artwork relating to the architecture and scenes, like coastal beaches.



Gorgeous artwork of landscapes can be found here, as well as sketches by Associate Art Director of Ubisoft, Kobe Sek. According to Head of Communications Sylviane Bahr, Kobe draws many of such quick sketches while he is commuting to and from work on the MRT.



At this juncture, folks can either choose to wander further one to the Naval Design section or turn right again to check out the Fashion / Character Design huddle.

Red Dot Diva has a thing for the Character Design section as there are many portraits of pirates, including one awesome one of Blackbeard. Bad bad pirates are so darn sexy. :D



The Sound Booth that is next to the Fashion/ Character Design area is also very interesting, with lyrics of songs painted all around. Visitors will be able to listen to the many sea shantys featured in the games and watch a video of the foley artists finding ways to create and record sounds that would be used for the game. For instance, splashes during fights held in water, steamboats, anchor chains or whale sounds.

Here's a sneak peek of the fascinating video:

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The sound work for Assassin's Creed: Black Flag and Syndicate were done in Singapore, and Ms. Bahr mentioned that oftentimes, staff members were called in to record as part of crowd voices, depending on what kind of accent was needed.


The spacious Naval Design section wraps up the tail end of the Assassin's Creed section, and if you have a thing for ships and vessels, this is the area you should go for.

There is a visual map of different types of ships depicting their scale in relation to each other as well as the size of a human being. The same was done with marine life, like whales and sharks.

Apparently, the first version of the shark looked "too nice" (chibi shark? hahaha) so the artists added more blood and muscle to it. And then, hunky shredded sharky seemed to bulky so they sharpened its fins for speed. Voilah, mega killer shark for the game!


Intricate drawings and plans were also done for the interior of ships! The design were done in Singapore, with the artists working with historians so that the vessels will look as authentic as possible.


Visualizations of sea battles were also painted. These four paintings were done by artists based in Singapore and Montreal, and yet they looked amazingly similar.


In niches here and there around the booths, Assassin's Creed fans have a thrill recognizing original game cases and detailed sculpted figurines like these two:


The exhibition wraps off with a cubicle about the Ubisoft family, and the Singapore teams contributed to the space by adding photos, doodles, humourous notes and several office in-jokes. "We are serious about fun," Sylvaine Bahr chuckled.


Red Dot Diva does not play video games at all, but she still enjoyed the exhibition tremendously because she appreciates the creativity and hard work that goes into productions like these. The flow of the exhibit feels organic and does its job grabbing one's attention visually at every turn.

If you already enjoy Ubisoft's game titles, especially Assassin's Creed, then you should not miss checking out this exhibition! There are many beautiful masterpieces to gawk at and a few interesting multimedia activities to enjoy, so one could geek out for a good hour or so, and it's all FREE!

 


In addition, those who aspire to learn more about game production and sign up for 2 Ubisoft workshops held in May. Click here to sign up!

“The Art Behind the Game - The Ubisoft Experience" Exhibition
Where: National Design Centre, 111 Middle Road
When: 19 April to 25 May, 2017
Time: 9 AM to 9 PM
Cost: FREE



Sunday, April 16, 2017

Get Up Close To "Game of Thrones" Pencil Microsculptures by Salavat Fidai at K+ - 22 April to 4 June 2017

HBO's insanely popular TV series "Game of Thrones" is known for portraying scenes on a grand majestic scale. As Season 7 is set to return to our screens on 17 July 2017, the battle for the Iron Throne is expected to get more intense.

However, to promote the upcoming new season, HBO Asia is offering fans a chance to view Westeros in a whole different level - a very tiny level to be exact. The company has specially commissioned Russian artist/ sculptor Salavat Fidai to carve a series of microsculptures on the tips of graphic pencil leads!

16 of these astoundingly intricate carvings will be on display at K+ Curatorial Space this coming weekend till 4 June, and it is free to attend! The sculptures include iconic images like the White Walker, Hand of the King, various different house sigils, Drogon, Three-Eyed Raven, the Oathkeeper and more!


Sunday, April 9, 2017

Glitzy 3-Day Celebration for Star Wars May the 4th 2017 at Gardens by the Bay



Local Star Wars fans would have already been aware or signed up for the first Star Wars Run held on May 6th organized by sports event management company, Esprimo.

In addition to the themed run, the company has also collaborated with the Singapore Tourist Promotion Board to make this year's May The 4th celebration into a three-day festival at Gardens by the Bay's Supertree Grove.

The galactic shindig kicks off on Thursday May 4th with appearances of Chewbacca and Kylo-Ren, a SaberTrees Light-up of the supertrees as well as the specially choreographed Garden Rhapsody Star Wars Edition light show set to the movie franchise's iconic soundtrack.

A replica of the two-legged All-Terrain Scout Transport (AT-ST) will also be standing guard at the Supertree Grove. This should be a great photo opportunity for any Star Wars fans, especially if you are dressed for the occasion!

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Be One of the Fast and Furious 8 Crew at Cathay Cineleisure!

It's time to gear up and rev those engines of sweet powerful rides as the latest movie of the Fast and Furious franchise skids into town on April 13.

Directed by F. Gary Gray (Straight Outta Compton), "Fast and Furious 8" (also called The Fate of the Furious in the U.S. market) brings familiar faces like Dom Toretto (Vin Diesel), Letty (Michelle Rodriguez), Roman (Tyrese Gibsons), Frank Petty (Kurt Russell), Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) and Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) back together again. There are also newcomers Scott Eastwood, who plays an agent and Dame Helen Mirren, who appears as Deckard and Owen Shaw's mother.

Just as things are beginning to feel normal, Dom is lured back into crime by a charismatic villainess called Cipher (Charlize Theron), who by the way, is able to control a mass of cars and machines at one time. So Cool!!! The frenetic chase takes the team from Cuba to the busy streets of New York City to the icy plains of the arctic. Will the Furious crew's "family-first" mantra be able to survive Dom's betrayal?

Now, from 31 March to 23 April 2017, you can get your very own taste of being in Dom's kickass, stunt-driving crew! Here's how:

Monday, March 20, 2017

Diva's Recap of "Ghost in the Shell" 14-Minute Preview (Spoilers!)

At a small "Ghost In The Shell" fan event last Friday, 17 March 2017, Red Dot Diva had the chance to watch a 14-minute sneak peek of the live action movie in 3D.

Despite the furore over the casting of Scarlett Johansson as Major (which is based on Motoko Kusanagi in the manga by Masamune Shirow) and "whitewashing" of the popular franchise, the film looks visually stunning. It took just a few minutes for Red Dot Diva to feel immersed in the near-future cybernetic world, and she wished it was a full movie screening instead. 

"Ghost In The Shell" is a story about a cybernetic anti-terrorist field commander Major, who is determined on going after a hacker called The Puppet Master. There may be a larger purpose to The Puppet Master's plans to take control of Hanka Corporation's artificial intelligence programs, and Major begins to uncover her past and question about her own existence.

For the live action movie, instead of The Puppet Master, the main enemy is cyborg ghost-hacker named Kuze (Michael Pitts). Or rather, Kuze will a mix of the two anime characters in the upcoming film directed by Rupert Sanders.

( WARNING : SPOILERS AHEAD )

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Game of Thrones Season 7 Arrives on HBO Asia 17 July 2017, 9 AM

Winter is Coming. And so is War!

After that shocking "Game of Thrones" S6 season finale where a whole bunch of people went Kaboom!, the cruel and scheming Cersei ended up being crowned as Queen of the Seven Kingdoms. From then on, things are just going to get more intense.

The convergence of the different houses in Season 7 will unfold in just seven episodes as the different players focus on King's Landing. This is ominously depicted in the first official teaser made entirely of sigils belonging to the main Houses at play - the Lannisters, the Targaryens, the Starks, the Baratheons and the Tyrells, plus one more powerful game changer - the White Walkers.

Will the Great Wall hold? Or will it all come tumbling down?




Thursday, March 9, 2017

Kinokuniya Singapore's Main Store at Ngee Ann City Has A New Front!



YAYY!

After a few months of renovation works, Kinokuniya's flagship store at Ngee Ann City opened its new frontage yesterday.

The book store - which has a large and loyal following - acquired the tenancy of the adjacent space which was previously occupied by a restaurant. Kinokuniya Main Store now takes up about 38,000 square feet of retail space, expanding its Level 4 space for more books, more collectibles and more goodies!

About 20 eager fans waited at the main entrance yesterday morning for the shutters to scroll up. Red Dot Diva was there as well to be one of the few to experience the spanking new area. Her verdict? It certainly made the store looked more spacious, fresher and was easy on the eye.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Disney's "Beauty and the Beast": The Giant Rose in Bell Jar at Raffles City and other Limited Edition Product Collaborations

It's time to countdown to the live action movie of Disney's "Beauty and the Beast", which will launch at Red Dot Island movie theatres on 16 March 2017.

The movie stars Emma Watson as Belle, Dan Stevens as the Beast, Luke Evans as Gaston, Josh Gad as LeFou, amongst many others including Emma Thompson as Mrs Potts and Sir Ian McKellen as Cogsworth.

Ever since the animated movie back in 1991, the image of a red rose in a bell jar has become synonymous with "Beauty and the Beast". In the original movie version - which Red Dot Diva could watch over and over again - the enchanted floating rose represented a clock, a visual reminder of what beauty really means, counting down to the end of the spell placed on the Beast, when he would return back to human form if he found everlasting love by his 21st birthday, or forever remain as a monster. Of course, for the romantics, the red rose is also a symbol of true love.

From now till 26 March 2017, fans can revel in the larger than life Rose and Bell Jar on display at Raffles City mall.


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Thursday, March 2, 2017

Fans Go *SNIKT*! Over Absolute Comics' Sexist Movie Review of "Logan"

The sad state of affairs.

Not cool, Absolute Comics. Not cool at all.

In fact, it is downright disgusting and unacceptable. Not to mention, so so creepy. YUCKS.

Red Dot Diva does not patronize the local store called Absolute Comics (thank the goddesses!), so it was only when two of her friends shared the shop's Facebook snapshot review of the movie "Logan" yesterday, that she got wind of the situation.

The offensive post has already been removed from Absolute Comic's Facebook timeline, but here's a screenshot of the original one, captured by a friend @sanzochan.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Fan Activities for new Wolverine movie "Logan", happening at Shaw Lido!

The latest X-Men movie "Logan" will premiere on local theatres on 2 March 2017. Lead actor Hugh Jackman has mentioned that this will be the last time he will be performing as the powerful mutant Wolverine, with the trademark adamantium claws.

The Aussie actor has played the role of Wolverine 9 times in the various X-Men movies. More amazingly, Hugh Jackman, who is in his late 40s, have managed to look even more ripped as Wolverine in the recent films than his very first appearance in 2000!

To celebrate the movie's launch in Red Dot Island, Shaw Theatres IMAX® and Twentieth Century Fox have planned some special fan activities. For starters, if you cannot wait for the official premiere date of "Logan", you can already book for a special preview screening at Shaw IMAX theatres on 1 March, 8 PM at SGD 20 per ticket. Each attendee will receive a special "Logan" mini poster! (Do note that the movie has been rated M18.)

Over at Shaw Lido, there will be a photo exhibition called featuring behind-the-scenes  from the movie. To pay tribute to the wonderful Hugh Jackman, fans can also leave notes on a message wall.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Join the "Femme Magnifique" Graphic Novel Anthology Kickstarter Campaign!

Never before has the volume of female voices come through so strongly in various forms of geek and pop culture than in recent times, where the rights of women are being questioned and debated upon. These discussions range from the Gamergate incident, the hacking and leaking of celebrities' nude photos, and the rise of "Cosplay Is Not Consent", to the success of the movie "Hidden Figures" which was based on the lives of three black female "computers" who worked at NASA.

Most of these voices from women have been delivered with courage in times of adversity and polarity, while some voices are made in derision against or in confusion as to what a female voice really means. There may be a high level of unfiltered noise and negativity in the feminist rhetoric, and yet, this is the opportunity to fight stereotypes about women and set the stage for more varied and uplifting female-centric stories to be told.

Former Executive Editor of DC's Vertigo imprint Shelly Bond takes up the challenge by creating a comic book project called "Femme Magnifique". She will be working closely together with Kristy and Brian Miller of HiFi Colour Design to publish the hardcover graphic novel anthology, which will consist of 30 short stories about kickass women who have been trailblazers in art, science, history and pop culture.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Diva's Movie Review: "The Lego Batman Movie" Is Funny and Simply Bat-astic!

Total geekgasm is how Red Dot Diva would describe "The Lego Batman Movie", which premiered in local theatres on Thursday, 9 February 2017.

There's LEGO of course, kapow! action, tons of comic book references, several pop-culture nods, and Batman. Lots and lots of Batman! In fact, "The Lego Batman Movie" is more Batman than the Batman movies of recent years, and most of all, it's the funniest!

With Will Arnett providing Lego Batman with his imitable deep raspy voice, the animated bricked Dark Knight is even more larger than life, his over-the-top heroic gestures and constant declaration that he only works alone, is just but an excuse to avoid feeling abandoned again. Even his arch nemesis The Joker (voiced wonderfully by Zach Galifianakis) knows that all too well.


Friday, February 3, 2017

Join the Batmania at the LEGO Batman Movie Activity Area & Fan Event at ION Orchard!

This is the Batman Movie you have all been waiting for!

The awesomely successful "The Lego Movie" was the film that introduced us to the egoistical but hilarious "I'm Batman-I Only Dress In Black"-LEGO Batman (Will Arnett). Since his superhero personality is too Huge to remain in just one movie, the Bat is BACK. This time, he will be calling all the shots (or he thinks he will be) in "The LEGO Batman Movie", by going up against The Joker (Zach Galifianakis) in order to save Gotham City.

Not quite used to working with a team, Batman also faces challenges battling the band of villains together with orphan Dick Grayson aka Robin (Michael Cera), Barbara Gordon aka Batgirl (Rosario Dawson) and the ever loyal and classy butler, Alfred (Ralph Fiennes).

Directed by Chris McKay, and produced by Dan Lin, Phil Lord, Christopher Miller, and Roy Lee, "The LEGO Batman Movie" premieres in Red Dot Island theatres on 9 February 2017!

For the last couple of months, Team Batman ,i.e. LEGO Batman himself, Robin and Batgirl, has been meeting their fans at shopping malls and cinemas around the island. Being hardcore fans of #TeamRichGuys, Red Dot Diva and geek-girl pal Jas managed to catch the trio at Cathay Cineleisure the week before Chinese New Year!

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Women's Marches Draw Millions Across The Globe

There was a great disturbance in the Force yesterday, 21 January 2017, a day after the inauguration of Sith Lord Donald Trump as the 45th POTUS.

With the man taking over the reins of the highest power in the U.S., the rights of women as well as those of minorities, immigrants and LGBTQ seem to be more at stake than ever before. Neither have the men he chose to serve in his cabinet manage to instill confidence that the people's rights are not being threatened.

The constant fight for equality, representation and diversity is a familiar thing for women everywhere. It takes place at home, at school and in the workplace, and started from the very day you were born.

Never abating, the struggle continues and sometimes, it feels like a lost cause. Then there are days where you strive to keep up with the momentum and do or die, to have your voice heard because you are, in a way, also standing up for your fellow sisters who may not have a similar opportunity to speak for themselves. Red Dot Diva feels ... has been living with such strong sentiments. She believes most of you do too.

At the Women's Marches across several cities in the U.S., activists gathered and rallied for women's rights. The grassroot-organized march was estimated to be the biggest protest in the history of the U.S. with over a million participants. About half a million people converged in Washington D.C. with hundreds of thousands of others in Los Angeles, New York, Seattle and Denver.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

The Synths are Back! Humans Season 2 Returns on AMC Asia, 14 February 2017


Before HBO's "Westworld" took TV and scifi audiences by storm, there was a brilliant series by UK's Channel 4 and AMC called "Humans" about sentient androids hiding in the plain sight from human beings.

The first season which starred a wonderful ensemble cast including William Hurt as Dr George Millican, one of premiere robotics engineers of the first working synthetics (or "synths" for short), Colin Morgan, Gemma Chan, Emily Berrington, Katherine Parkinson, Ivanno Jeremiah and more.

The follow-up season of "Humans" returns on AMC Asia, Singtel (Channel 322), 14 February 2017 at 10 PM.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

HBO Asia Premieres Carrie Fisher & Debbie Reynolds Documentary "Bright Lights" 8 January, 9 AM


It has been a difficult holiday season for Star Wars fans with the passing away of Carrie Fisher on 27 December 2016. She was well-loved and admired for her roles as Princess/ General Leia in the Star Wars movies, and her death was unexpected.

Worse still, a day later, her 84-year-old mother and Hollywood legend Debbie Reynolds, passed away of a suspected stroke. The two women live next door to each other and were very close.

According to Carrie Fisher's brother Todd Fisher, his mother had said that "she really wanted to be with Carrie" just before she died. Debbie Reynolds is best remembered singing and dancing beside A-listers Gene Kelly and Donald O'Connor in the movie musical "Singing in the Rain".

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Pokémons Everywhere! Go on the Poke Trail at Singapore Changi Airport


Red Dot Diva is not a Pokémon game player, and yet, she is totally attracted to the uber-cute designs of the characters. See? The game is so evil that it can even lure a non-gamer!

Changi Airport has been cashing in on the Pokémon craze this 2016/ 2017 festive season, with various installations and activities up till 11 Feb 2016. That means, the fun stuff will be around till after Chinese New Year!

Amongst all the activities, Red Dot Diva thought going on the Poké Trail was the most fun. She loves a good hunt and in fact, she went back to Changi Airport three times to try to catch 'em all. Well, at least those that are in the public areas!

A new batch of Pokémons appeared around the airport terminals on 5 December 2016, so on Christmas Eve, she went to check them out together with geek gal pal, Jas. That was her 3rd attempt at searching for the little critters.

Here's Red Dot Diva's route for the Poké Trail around the public areas. If you are coming by train or bus, it may be easiest to start from Terminal 3. When you find the Pokémons, do not forget to take a selfie with them. Then, post at least 3 selfies on your social media accounts with the hashtag #PokemonatChangi. You will get a chance to win something at the lucky spin.

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