Back­ground magic

Malaysian an­i­ma­tor K. C. Ong talks about cre­at­ing fire and magic on Kung Fu Panda 3.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - SHOWBIZ - By MICHAEL CHEANG en­ter­tain­ment@ thes­tar. com. my

WHEN you watch Kung Fu Panda 3 and see a build­ing blow­ing up, a tree burn­ing or a stone fall­ing into wa­ter, chances are you’re watch­ing some­thing that Malaysian an­i­ma­tor K. C. Ong cre­ated.

The Kuala Lumpur- born Ong ( full name Ong Kiem Ching) is an ef­fects an­i­ma­tor for Dream­works An­i­ma­tion, and works on the back­ground ef­fects that not only en­rich the en­tire movie, but also play a big part in some of its ma­jor set pieces.

“What I do on Kung Fu Panda 3, and the two movies be­fore that, is an­i­mate the ef­fects in the back­ground, like ex­plo­sions, de­struc­tion, magic, wa­ter or fire,” he said dur­ing a phone in­ter­view from Cal­i­for­nia.

“We have 40 peo­ple in the ef­fects depart­ment, and we cre­ate all th­ese el­e­ments. So when­ever you watch some­one fall in the wa­ter and you see splashes ... we do that. We don’t do char­ac­ter an­i­ma­tion. There is a sep­a­rate depart­ment for that,” Ong added.

Ong, 44, had al­ways been very in­ter­ested in com­puter graph­ics ever since he watched Juras s ic Park when he was 22 and was blown away by it.

He did his un­der­grad­u­ate and Masters de­grees in the Na­tional Univer­sity of Sin­ga­pore, and later worked in a com­puter graphic re­search lab in the univer­sity, where he learnt all the soft­ware used in an­i­ma­tion.

He then moved to China to work for a new an­i­ma­tion stu­dio for four years, be­fore get­ting an of­fer from Aus­tralian an­i­ma­tion stu­dio An­i­mal Logic.

There, he worked on his first ever an­i­mated fea­ture, the Os­car­win­ning Happy Feet in 2005, and that got him hooked on work­ing on fea­ture films. Two years later, he ended up in Dream­works An­i­ma­tion.

Ong has been with Dream­works for the past eight years, and pre­vi­ously worked on the first Kung Fu Panda movie as well as its se­quel, How To Train Your Dragon 2 and Home.

Ac­cord­ing to him, each Kung Fu Panda movie he has worked on has been more chal­leng­ing than the pre­vi­ous one.

“The first movie was the first time we see a big fluffy panda do­ing kung fu, so we were all very ex­cited to work on the movie!” he said.

“Be­fore the movie was re­leased, we al­ready knew it would be suc­cess­ful be­cause even within the com­pany we loved it.

“For the se­cond and third ones, the nov­elty of a kung fu- fight­ing panda had worn off, so the di­rec­tor wanted to up the ante in terms of vi­su­als and ac­tion. So, work wise, it has been more and more de­mand­ing and more com­pli­cated from movie to movie,” Ong ex­plained.

“For in­stance, de­stroy­ing a build­ing was a lot more de­mand­ing as it needed more de­tails, and we needed more new tech­nol­ogy to help us. The third movie has a lot bet­ter vi­su­als ( com­pared to the other two).”

Among the mem­o­rable scenes Ong has worked on within the fran­chise is the one where Ti­gress de­stroys a wooden bridge in the first movie, as well as a piv­otal mag­i­cal scene in be­gin­ning of the third movie.

Ac­cord­ing to him, the best part of be­ing at Dream­works is the team he works with. “The most re­ward­ing thing is to work with peo­ple who are very good in their job.

“In my depart­ment, I have a lot of se­niors who are very ex­pe­ri­enced, and they are open and like to share their knowl­edge. It’s a good team to work in,” he said.

“It’s also sat­is­fy­ing to see all the ef­fects I’ve worked on, like the beau­ti­ful splashes of wa­ter and the big ex­plo­sions on screen, af­ter spend­ing so long in front of the com­puter run­ning sim­u­la­tions!”

See all that wa­ter? Chances are, ong had a hand in mak­ing it come to life. ( right) Born in KL, ong is an ef­fects an­i­ma­tor for Dream­works An­i­ma­tion, who worked on Kung Fu Panda 3. — Pho­tos: 20th Cen­tury Fox

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malaysia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.