Taking digital art further
An art school scholarship sets an artist on his way to a successful digital animation career.
DIGITAL animator Goh Chee Seng fell in love with art when he was 11. It all began when a school teacher asked if anyone wanted to participate in an art competition. That was the beginning of his interest in art, which became a life passion.
Goh, 34, recalls spending his younger days learning to draw from friends and doodling, sketching, drawing, painting at every opportunity.
For him, pursuing art as a career became a natural choice.
Later on, he discovered the opportunities available in the creative industry when he signed up for an art workshop/ talk from The One Academy, an art college in Bandar Sunway in Selangor.
In 2001, Goh’s life changed when he took part in a nationwide art competition, organised by The One Academy, which offered scholarships to its top three winners.
It was called the New Media Award (now known as Malaysia Top 10 Outstanding Young Artists Awards or MT10). The competition was held in collaboration with Walt Disney Studios back then, and the competition’s theme was based on the animated film Monsters Inc.
Goh knew he couldn’t merely draw the film’s monsters, as the competition was far too great. Instead, he drew a man trying to get into his monster suit to scare his son, only to fail. The man’s bewildered expression was clearly expressed in Goh’s drawing, something he spent a lot of time perfecting.
That drawing was special enough to win over the judges. Goh was named the New Media Award Gold Winner in 2001 and won a full scholarship worth RM50,000 from The One Academy.
With that, Goh took up a digital animation course at The One Academy and he graduated after three years there.
He was often under the tutelage of individuals who had a hand in creating, drawing, or directing some of his favourite animated films. It is part of The One Academy’s “Masters Train Masters” coaching philosophy.
“My dream to pursue a career in the creative industry was made possible thanks to the gold prize.
“The competition did two things for me. First, it gave me hope and the opportunity to get an art diploma that I’ve always wanted. Second, it helped the people around me change their perception of my dream,” says Goh.
“Before I won the competition, my family, relatives, and friends kept questioning my decision to get an art diploma, and my wish to establish a career in the creative industry. After I won the competition, they thought it was a miracle and realised that it could be possible for me to follow this career path,” he explains.
In 2011, Goh founded his company, Illusionist Animation Studio, which specialises in 3D animation and provides 3D animation content (like movies and game cinematics) for the international market.
One of the notable achievements by Illusionist Animation Studio was its collaboration with Square Enix, a Japanese video game developer, publisher, and distribution company. Both companies worked on Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV, a Japanese computer-animated science fantasy film, which was released last year. Goh’s team created the kingdom in which the movie set is set in.
Goh aims to push further in the digital animation field.
“People see what I have achieved and they say, ‘If Chee Seng can do it, I can do it too’. I feel privileged to be the person who encourages them to make that first move,” he says.
Goh has come a long way since he won that MT10 competition.
Twenty years on since it was established, the MT10 art competition/awards ceremony is still going strong.
In conjunction with its 20th anniversary, this year’s MT10 Gold Winner will win a RM20,000 prize in addition to The One Academy’s scholarship (worth RM80,000). Also, two new awards will be given out this year: The Distinguished Art Educator Awards will be awarded to passionate teachers who nurtured the top 10 winners; and the Art Educator Lifetime Achievement Award will be awarded to an art teacher who has dedicated his or her entire life to nurturing students who have become artists themselves.
Visit top10.toa.edu.my to find out how you can participate in the competition.
In 2011, Goh founded his company Illusionist Animation Studio, which specialises in 3D animation.
In 2001, Goh won a full scholarship, studying digital animation at The One Academy.