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Trigger, Interactive Design Studio

Working in Shanghai


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Trigger, Interactive Design Studio

with Jason Yim

Video: Working in Shanghai

(Music playing) (Woman talking on phone) Jason Yim: The workflow between the US and China offices, some of it was kind of designed and some of it kind of happened organically, but it's not A team, B team situation. All our projects probably run through, get touched by both offices. I would say it's easier on the programming side because I think it's much more yes/no, black and white sort of thing, but creatively, it's really difficult.

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Trigger, Interactive Design Studio
1h 25m Appropriate for all Nov 11, 2009

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Trigger may be the biggest little interactive shop that probably has never been heard of. This amazing boutique shoots out web sites, online games, Facebook apps, and iPhone apps for major motion pictures like Spider-Man and District 9, and consumer brands like Nike and Red Bull. Combining a talented design team with solid software engineering, Trigger has mastered the integration of creative expression and technology. With offices in Los Angeles and Shanghai, they've found the elusive winning formula for East-West collaboration. This installment of Creative Inspirations takes viewers inside what may be a prototype for the next generation design firm.

Subjects:
Web Interaction Design Creative Inspirations Documentaries
Author:
Jason Yim

Working in Shanghai

(Music playing) (Woman talking on phone) Jason Yim: The workflow between the US and China offices, some of it was kind of designed and some of it kind of happened organically, but it's not A team, B team situation. All our projects probably run through, get touched by both offices. I would say it's easier on the programming side because I think it's much more yes/no, black and white sort of thing, but creatively, it's really difficult.

Over here, if we were talking to an artist and said, "You know how like, the Tie fighters flew in the scene in StarWars, that kind of feeling?" And everyone here would get it instantly. So you can reference movies and stuff. If you are working in China, initially, you couldn't do that because we just didn't have the same touch points with the creative staff there. In addition to, of course, the cost advantage of Shanghai, like the other reasons why we move there were Shanghai is like the cosmopolitan centre of China.

So we thought that before the partner we were working with was in Shenzhen, which is Southern China, so we found that the town pool there was quite a lot smaller. But once we moved to Shanghai, we found that there is a lot of expatriates, a lot of Europeans and stuff, so we have like French designers and there is also a lot of universities there. So right now we are running internship programs where we are pulling artists and illustrators and stuff just from the local universities and then there is also the exposure to media because it is such a cosmopolitan city.

I mean you go down the street and the buses all have plasma screens. Every taxi will have a plasma screen in the backseat. Even on the river, they will have these giant barges that have a massive screen that's just floating down the river, playing at, and you don't expect that out of China. But I think like, from, like being inundated with media, that's the best place. And that speaks to the idea of exposure, like we need our artists and programmers and stuff to understand what's considered cool, what's good motion, what's good design and the only way to do that is you can't force-feed that.

They have to see that on a day-to-day basis when they are taking the bus to work or relaxing on a weekend, and stuff. Vivid Savitri: In Shanghai, we, like, contrary to what a lot of people believe, we don't work 24x7. Some of us are just, like, here just because we love the games and everybody in this office, like almost everybody at the office, they have their own game device for Nintendo DS, Sony PSP and that's how they are. And like, for us, for lot of us here, actually, it's a passion because we actually love games. We love toys. We love movies.

I grew up with superheroes, I mean, so and that's enough sign, right? Anthony Palacios: I think you do have to make a lot of references to film or to common experiences. We can make comparisons to a site that we just finished a few years back. "Oh! We should make it, something move "kind of the same way that we did on this project." If we say, "Let's make it look cool," then everything is very stoic, everything is very smooth, but not necessarily like cool, the way we want it to be cool.

So there is a lot of visuals that we'll trade back and forth. A lot of storyboarding happens. A lot of rough Flash animatics will be done here, in house. We will show those to the Shanghai team as well. Judd Kim: In my case, doing motion graphics with someone in Shanghai, I might do the storyboards over here and set down the initial concept and maybe some art direction of setting up what the elements are going to look like and then it's up to the resource over there to be able to be execute on the animation. So as far as day-to-day interaction with them goes, they will often be sending me rough starting with animatics and then full sequences and I can give feedback to them on a daily basis.

Then they've got that day to hit the revisions, send another render back to me, I will be able to review that the next day and there's a continuous cycle until we have got something really tightened up. We have worked at a system where a lot of the work can actually be done over there, reviewed over here, and then just continuously worked in that 24-hour work cycle. Vivid Savitri: I am a glutton for a self- punishment, which means that I am always aiming for perfection. Of course, we all know that it doesn't exist. Sometimes I have to stop myself, well actually, no, actually other people have to stop me because I go over the scope just because like "Oh! Come on. You can't kill that!" But then like I may be like "All right, so, let's do this" and so to the team brainstorm and always like things. I think I am Nazi when it comes to like paying attention to details, but then not to lose sight on the big picture as well is another challenge.

Loc Le: You can ask one individual here and another individual in the Shanghai office. These days we are pretty good meeting right in the middle in terms of what we want. We have gotten our communication to a level that, in so short an amount of time, that I am very surprised how well it works between Los Angeles and Shanghai.

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