Category 25: Outstanding Visual Effects in a Student Project2020-11-05T14:04:56-08:00

Category 25: Outstanding Visual Effects in a Student Project

This award is to honor outstanding achievement in visual effects in a Student Project. A Student Project is defined as any project that was created by a student or team of students while attending a recognized school and that was completed during the calendar year of 2019. It may be Animated or Photoreal; linear or interactive; 2D, or 3D; but it must be submitted according to the specifications below. Submissions may not contain crew credits or school logos or names, though acting credits are acceptable.

Intent of the Student Award: The intent of the VES Student Award is to help foster the skills of student VFX artists before they become professionals in the VFX industry. The VES therefore will not accept entries from students who have had significant professional experience working in visual effects or animation, be it in film, TV, or games without a Petition from the faculty advisor explaining how the professional work did not violate the above intent. “Significant professional experience” includes, but is not necessarily limited to, more than six months internship at a visual effects or animation company.

Faculty members or other professionals may only serve as advisors and may not play a hands-on role in the creation of the submission. The VES reserves the right to question and disqualify, at any step of the nominating and voting process, student submissions that appear to have benefitted from inappropriate professional creative participation.


The VES Student Award has additional Rules and Procedures due to the nature of the award. Please read the below section carefully before submitting.

  • Students must have been registered in and attending the school during the current calendar year ending December 31, 2020
  • Every student entrant must send a copy of a valid and dated student I.D. card or proof of registration along with the entry form for each student being entered
  • Entries must be submitted personally by the student(s) who created the Work to Be Considered or by an official Festival/Awards Office of the school. Submission forms must be signed by a submitting student in either case. If the school submits the work, they must include contact information for the students
  • The VES requests that schools nominate up to four students in each submission
  • Submission forms must also be co-signed by a teacher or educational adviser under whose guidance the project was created to certify that the project was completed during calendar year 2020
  • Entries submitted on behalf of students by any other representatives, administrators, agents, or faculty members other than the school’s official Festivals/Awards Office will not be accepted
  • All qualifying student entries will first be submitted to Autodesk for preliminary judging. The fifteen top entries selected by Autodesk will then be voted on by the VES Nomination Event judges for selection of the final four nominees
  • By entering these awards you are agreeing that AUTODESK has the right to play the submitted Student Award material, without charge, on its website or a website of its designation for the purposes of promotion
  • The VES shall have the unrestricted but non-exclusive right to exhibit the submitted Student Award material at any venue and in any media, including but not limited to, websites, television, visual effects anthologies and other activities in connection with the legitimate business of the VES


The VES recognizes all schools around the world that are accredited or otherwise endorsed by an official educational body. Additionally, the VES recognizes schools that specialize in the teaching of film, television and visual effects. The word “school” is used here to mean any organized institution that has a faculty, teaching facilities, and a program of learning that results in graduation that is recognized by other learning institutions or the earning of certificates attesting to completion of one or more courses.

If you have a question about your school’s eligibility please contact the VES as soon as possible.


Student entrants must provide the name, phone number and email address of an individual who can be contacted during the Christmas-New Year break who is authorized to act in behalf of the entrant(s) in case of problems. It is especially important for entrants to have access to editing and/or dubbing facilities in case a submission needs to be corrected. Failure to do so may result in disqualification of the entry.


One student from the winning entry will be invited to attend the Awards Gala at the expense of the VES. Covered expenses include airfare to and from Los Angeles, transportation to and from the airport to a hotel of the VES’ choosing, two nights hotel accommodations, and two days per diem of $75. All other expenses are the responsibility of the student.


Photoreal or Animated Student Projects

Completion Dates:

January 1 to December 31, 2020


Student Project is a motion media project created under the auspices of an accredited school or university.

Photoreal is synonymous to live action, the intent being that the images should appear to have been photographed in the real world, even if the actual subjects are fantastical and do not exist in the real world.

Animated refers to a project where the filmmakers have purposely chosen a look clearly distinct from photorealism for the benefit of the storytelling. The Awards consider animation to be a genre that is independent of the process by which it is created. Therefore the project may be created with traditional animation crafts, modern digital techniques, or live action photography that has been manipulated such that it does not look photoreal.

Additional Information:

Titles, motion graphics, and logos are not eligible in this category.


Slot 1: open to any significant Student contributor, preferably the VFX Supervisor

Slot 2: open to any significant Student contributor, preferably the VFX Producer

Slot 3: open to any significant Student contributor

Slot 4: open to any significant Student contributor

Slot 5: empty

A maximum of four (4) students most responsible for the overall creative design, supervision, execution, management and delivery of the project may be included.

If a student or team of less than four students created the project, but other students contributed significantly to the visual effects or animation, then it is strongly suggested that the other slots be used to recognize their contributions.

Entrant Names; Entrant Substitutions

List entrants in the order in which they should appear in any announcements or publicity. Make sure the names are spelled correctly. Select your nominees carefully. Submitters should consider qualified artists who no longer work at the facility.

If you find that you need to make an entrant name substitution, go to and log onto the original online submission form using the username and password issued at the time of submission. Make the desired name change and click “Submit” to complete the change.

No substitutions will be allowed after the nomination event.

If there is valid reason to question the eligibility of an entrant, the VES Awards Committee reserves the right to investigate the situation and take appropriate action. For more information on name substitutions, consult the VES Awards Policies, Section 11, Changes in Entrants and Challenges to Nominations.

Submission Forms and Submission Numbers

You must fill out a Submission Form online ( and obtain a Submission Number to be in the Awards. Print out the completed form, have it signed, and mail, fax, or scan and e-mail it to the VES office. Mailed submission forms must be postmarked by January 16, 2021. Faxed or emailed submission forms must arrive at the VES office by the deadline.

Contact information:


Entry forms must be signed by:

  • The person submitting the entry (who may or may not be an entrant); and
  • The overall project VFX Supervisor; or
  • The overall project VFX Producer.
  • In the case of submissions created under the employ of a facility, a member of the facility’s management

The signers acknowledge that all entrants are eligible and agree to follow and be bound by the rules, procedures, and policies of the VES Awards.

In the case of multiple entries from the same submitting organization, instead of signing each individual submission form the overall VFX Supervisor or overall VFX Producer (or the equivalent to these job titles) may submit a single signed letter to the Awards Committee covering all of the award submissions they are authorizing. This letter must include each individual Submission Number for which they are signing. To avoid confusion, this letter should be submitted to the VES office at the same time as the entries it is authorizing.

Contact Person

Please assign one contact person for all your entries. This is the individual (the Submitter) to whom the username and password for uploading your electronic submission will be sent.

This contact person must be available to the Awards Committee during vetting (December through early January) to deal with any potentially disqualifying issues that the Awards Committee may uncover during vetting. He or she should know where to reach everyone named on the submission in case of questions and who can arrange to re-edit a submission if necessary.


Only ONE submission per project is allowed in this category.


Work to Be Considered Length: 1:30 Max.*

Before & Afters Length: 1:30 Max.*

Optional Supporting Material PDF: 1:00 reading time

Submission format: DNxHD36 (aka DNxHD LB 8-bit) video: 8-bit 1920 x 1080p 23.98 fps, audio: 16-bit 44.1KHz. No exceptions.

*Not including the length of slates

Before & Afters videos are not required to be submitted for this category but may be submitted at the option of the submitter. However, student entrants who choose not to submit Before and Afters are required to submit a short written explanation of how the work was created. Do not include the names of the school or of individual students who worked on the project in the written material, or your entry may be disqualified.

Entry Content

Your entry is made of two parts:

  • The work you are submitting for the judges to view (the Work to Be Considered).
  • Descriptive information about how the VFX for the project were created (the Before & Afters material).

Entrants are responsible for their own quality control. The VES accepts no responsibility for viewing materials that do not play properly, are submitted at the wrong resolution or format, or are of inferior quality (see Submission Format, below).

FACILITY IDs: Viewing materials (including Before & Afters), supplemental written materials, or slates may NOT contain the names of facilities, production company logos, logo bugs, or individuals that worked on the project. Entries containing such material will be required to resubmit without identifying marks or they may be disqualified

Work to Be Considered

This is the project material you wish to enter for an award. All Work to Be Considered must be submitted as premiered. Long single shots may be edited down for length by trimming the head or tail of the shot, or lifting one continuous section from the middle. However, you may NOT:

  • Change the order of sequences from how they appeared within the project
  • Change the order of or edit shots (except very long shots as stated above) within a sequence
  • Put different contextual material around the Work to Be Considered other than how it was premiered
  • Add fades or dissolves to “smooth” awkward transitions created by cutting down the sequence. However, you may place a few frames of black between segments
  • Use sound other than the original sound track as premiered
  • Add watermarks to any viewing material

You should provide some contextual material surrounding the Work to Be Considered where it is available. “Contextual Material” is the shots (visual effects or otherwise) immediately preceding or following the work you are submitting. This contextual material shows how the Work to Be Considered fits into the scene, sequence, or project. Contextual Material must be short and solely shown to set up the effects being presented.

Before & Afters

Before & Afters must demonstrate how the work was accomplished through one or more of the following:

  • Storyboards Animatics and/or previs
  • Raw plates
  • Raw elements
  • Work-in-progress (developmental progression of shot)
  • The finished shot

In addition:

  • School logos, logo bugs, or individual names identifying who worked on the entry are not permitted. Entries containing such material will be required to resubmit without identifying marks or they may be disqualified.

Your entry may be disqualified if the Before & Afters material contains any of the following:

  • Extraneous material that does not relate directly to the Work to Be Considered
  • Shots or sequences that are not shown in the Work to Be Considered except for brief references from external sources, such as YouTube or other films
  • Talking heads explaining the work (voice-over narration is acceptable)

Written Supporting Material

Submitters may, at their option, provide a concise written description of how the Work to Be Considered was created. Please submit a PDF file of your written material at the time of submission by uploading the PDF by clicking on “Actions>Upload supplemental material” on the Submission Form. PDFs of nominated entries will be posted on the View & Vote website. Do not send printed copies of written supporting material to the VES.

Guidelines for Written Material:

  • Put the Submission Number on every page
  • Keep the number of pages to a minimum
  • Written material may not include the names of individuals or facilities that directly worked on the visual effects.
  • Reprints of magazine or web articles are not allowed
  • Please name the PDF file the same as the submission number of your submission (e.g. 01-9999).


All sound used in the Work to Be Considered portion of the entry must be the original sync sound as premiered. Entries may be submitted MOS, but they must be clearly labeled as such on the slate. However, the Before & Afters material may have alternate audio, including relevant commentary. Commentary may not include the names of facilities or individuals that did the work, be self-congratulatory, or otherwise off-topic.


The Head Slate goes at the beginning of each submission, and the Tail Slate goes at the end of each submission. Tail slates will be automatically generated when you you create your submission. If revised materials are submitted, you do not need to update the Slate.

Submitting Viewing Materials

Viewing materials must be submitted in electronic form. We will not accept a submission in physical media form.

Electronic Submissions

When you first made your submission you created a unique username and password to use for electronic material submissions. Use the same username and password for all your submissions. But keep in mind that each individual entry will also be given a unique file name that corresponds to only one specific Submission Number.

Submission Format: DNxHD 36 / DNxHD LB 8-bit

As in previous years, the electronic submission format is DNxHD 36 (DNxHD LB 8-bit) in a QuickTime wrapper. Note that the former Avid DNxHD36 codec is now named DNxHD LB 8-bit.

Updated upload instructions can be found in the Online Submission Guide at

The submission/encoding format is easy to use, and is compatible with all major computing platforms (PC, MAC, Linux). It has been designed to be practical on all but the slowest of Internet connections.

All viewing material must follow these guidelines:

  • 1920 x 1080p, 23.98 fps DNxHD 36 8-bit video (DNxHD LB 8-bit video)
  • Color levels per Rec. 709/BT.709
  • Reference black is defined as 8-bit value 16, and reference white is defined as 8-bit value 235
  • Viewing material need not be submitted in the final grading
  • Note: all entries will be displayed as above in video range. DO NOT submit materials in full RGB range or they will look incorrect. The VES does not have the capability to correct material submitted in full range
  • Audio in 16-bit 44.1KHz

No exceptions to these requirements.

The VES is not responsible for any artifacting present in video files used for online voting that may be caused by interlaced footage.

Upload Order

The entry must be uploaded in two parts:

  • The Work to Be Considered (the entry) is one upload; and
  • The Before & Afters material is the second upload.

Use the VES slates on both uploads and follow the upload order below in assembling your submission:

Upload No. 1:

Part 1:


B) :01 BLACK
D) :01 BLACK

Upload No. 2:

Part 2:


B) :01 BLACK
D) :01 BLACK

Do not combine your uploads.  Viewing material deviating from these format specs will not be accepted.

File Naming Conventions

Your uploaded submission(s) must be named as follows:

For Part 1: Work to Be Considered

  • Entry (This is the original project material)

For Part 2: Before & Afters

  • Entry (This is your Before & Afters file)

For example: For Submission ID 02-0003, name your files as follows:

  • Work to Be Considered:
  • Before & Afters:


SUBMISSIONS OPEN: Monday, December 14, 2020

DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSIONS: Saturday, January 16, 2021, 11:59PM PST

You must upload your viewing materials and optional supplemental written material between December 14, 2020 and January 16, 2021

NOTE: Unavailability of personnel to prepare submission materials in time to meet the entry deadline is not a valid reason to be granted a deadline extension.


(Dates subject to change)


Period of Eligibility for Entries Jan. 1 – Dec. 31
Rules & Procedures Posted Aug. 13
Entry Forms Available, Submissions Open Nov. 6
Upload Viewing Materials Dec. 14, 2020 – Jan. 16, 2021


Submission Deadline January 16, 2021
Global Nominating Panels Contact Local Sections for Dates
L.A. Nomination Judging Panels Hold Vote Mar. 1
Nominations Announced Mar. 8
On-Line Viewing & Voting (Members Only) Mar. 15 – Mar. 29
19th Annual VES Awards Gala April 6


$25 regardless of the number of individuals named on the entry.


Submissions may only be made through this VES Awards website by following the directions below.

  1. Designate ONE person to be your primary “go to” person for all VES Awards matters. This person is the official Submitter. He or she must sign the Submission Form.
  2. The submission form will be available starting on or about October 5, 2020 on this site.
  3. Click on “Submit an Entry” below.
  4. After clicking “Submit an Entry”, click on “Create New Submission.” Instructions will take you through the complete registration and submission process and will guide you on how to prepare your materials for upload.
  5. Give each entry a distinct project title (preferably the project’s main title) and entry name on both the entry form and on the slate (e.g., Main Title of Project: Avengers; Name of Clip: Hulk Smashes Loki).
  6. When you have completed the Submission Form, click ”Submit”. A unique submission number will be automatically issued. At the same time, slates will be automatically generated for your viewing materials.
  7. One submission per form. Do not combine multiple entries on a single submission form.
  8. Making a note of the official Submission Number. Do not lose this login information or share it with an unauthorized individual. You will need this information later if you have to make changes to your submission.
  9. Have your entry form signed by the appropriate individuals and mail, FAX, or email one copy of the form to the VES, 5805 Sepulveda Bl., Suite 620, Sherman Oaks, CA 91411 by the submission deadline of January 16, 2021 along with your payment. Use FAX no. 818-981-0179, email address
  10. Entry fees should be paid by using the online credit card authorization form in the section “Submit an Entry”.
  11. Use the Submission Number in all correspondence relating to your entry.
  12. Upload your viewing materials in Submission Format: DNxHD 36 (aka DNxHD LB 8-bit), as specified above, no later than Saturday, January 16, 2021.


Exceptions to the rules may be requested by petition. The Awards Committee considers all petitions on their merits and may grant them at its sole discretion. Submit petitions by clicking on the “Petition Committee” link on the Submission Form.


Questions about these Awards should be directed to

Technical questions about submitting should be directed to

SohoNet Support
SohoNet provides a 24/7 support operation for all aspects of the electronic submission process:
For general inquiries and non-urgent problems, send an email to The subject line should begin with VES. Please provide a contact phone number and time zone/hours when you will be available.
For urgent issues on uploading, please call one of the following 24/7 support lines, making clear that you are calling about the VES electronic submission process
Please have your submission number available when calling.
  • USA: +1 310 449 8610
  • UK: +44 (0) 207 292 6909
  • Australia: +61 1800 77 5280

The VES Awards Committee may need to revise the text on this page. If we do, we will note any revisions below: