We all know now about the Malaysian arm of visual effects studio Rhythm & Hues that was responsible for the effects of the ocean and the tiger in the movie Life Of Pi. The movie won an Oscar for Visual Effects and the team, comprised of only Malaysians was thrown into the spotlight as a team that raised our national spirits. Well, they’re not the only studio with global acclaim.
The million-dollar studio that couldn’t sell their program in Malaysia, Inspidea
Disturbing as that Mama may be, it was very successful. | Image: Inspidea.com
Founded by CJ See and Andrew Ooi, Inspidea is responsible for properties like Boo & Me that have been distributed to 80 countries worldwide and 16 languages. The company’s first effort in 2004, Johan, the Young Scientist, was made with a simple task: to teach kids to love science. Local broadcasters didn’t give it the time of day which forced them to take the product to Cannes where they managed to sell it to Dubai. It has since been sold to 33 countries in total and was bought by TV3, and then Astro, ironically. You probably recognise them for their character Mustang Mama in Mustang Mama Football Fever. The character aired in conjunction with the 2006 World Cup. Given that about 99% of their sales come from foreign markets, we’d safely say they’re sights are global. They’re currently working on Magiswords with Cartoon Network Studios USA!
Check out their work at their website.
Japanese in-game cinematics pioneer, Silver Ant PPI
Big partnerships go a long way. | Image: sa-ppi.com
CEO of Silver Ant PPI, Goh Aun Hoe, graduated from the Nippon Electronic College in Tokyo in 1989 and launched Silver Ant in 1999. Their first big break for in-game cinematics came in 2002 when Konami, creators of the Metal Gear Solid series contracted them to produce game cinematics for an American client. With the boost in confidence they went on to produce more content for big gaming houses like Pachinko, Sega, From Software, and Sony Entertainment. By 2004 they had already proven themselves in the Japanese gaming market and even pioneered 3D cinematics for Nintendo’s Super Mario Brothers video game. They’ve also produced a full animated movie called SeeFood which was screened in 90 different countries. In 2013 the company joined forces with Polygon Pictures Incorporated and is now working on TV shows like Transformers Robots in Disguise, Ajin – Demi-Human and Knights of Sidonia.
Silver Ant and Silver Ant PPI can be found here and here.
2D animation experts, Vision Animation
The traditional 2D art form is well preserved at Vision Animation. They currently produce original animated series for international markets and their portfolio boasts a collection of children’s programs like CJ The DJ, which won an AWGIE (Australian Writers’ Guild Award) in 2009 for Children’s Television. Their 2012 effort, Flea Bitten, also bagged them an AWGIE for animation and an APRA (Australian Performing Right Association) AGSC (Australian Guild of Screen Composers) Award for Best Music for Children’s TV in 2013. Like Inspidea before it, they have their own Transformers title, Transformers: Rescue Bots that's being carried by networks like Cartoon Network and Univision. They’ve collaborated with Hasbro Studios, Moonscoop, Moody Street Kids, Cinegroupe, Kapow Pictures, Cuppa Coffee Canada, and Tell Tale Productions, and are focusing fully on IP ownership through international partnerships as well as their own developments.
Pitch them an idea for a kids program here.
The testament to slowly climbing the animation ladder, FlyStudio
Image: Capcom, Konami
Established in 2001, Flystudio is responsible for a lot of the VFX you see in Malaysia; from Channel [V] – The Ticket to Senario XX, and from Nippon Paint’s Blobby, to an animated character SITI for Tourism Malaysia. Rising up the ranks, they came into Digital Frontier Group’s radar in 2011, one of the biggest Animated Feature production companies based in Tokyo, Japan. With that partnership they went on to provide modelling, animation, simulation and effects works to the Japanese production team for Resident Evil: Damnation, a feature length animated film based on the zombie survival horror game Resident Evil. In 2012 they started work on Konami’s Metal Gear Rising Revengeance, providing assets to Konami Digital Entertainment. We notice they’ve also contributed to Metal Gear Solid V Ground Zeroes. They now produce game cinematics, animated features, in-game assets, feature film VFX, and commercials.
Do a quick fly by here.
Visual effects is thriving in Malaysia and the next wave of designers will be riding the Virtual Reality train as we've covered here. Though it's a sad fact that Malaysians can only find real money distributing their work overseas, we know we've got a healthy creative economy waiting when audiences here are ready.