This award is to honor the overall achievement of a single created environment in a Photoreal (i.e., live action) or Animated Episode, Commercial, or Real-Time Project that best creates an illusion of setting for the story being told. Created environments are defined as either completely artificial environments, or the significant enhancement of an existing practical set or location through the addition of elements not present during photography. The environment may occur more than once in the project and under different conditions, but must be the same environment, created by the exact same team.

This category judges not only the techniques for creating the environment, but also their integration with any practical plate photography or animation style. Before & Afters must show the integration of the multiple elements used to create the environment.

All entries must focus on one contiguous environment and be consistent in scope by featuring either breadth or detail, but not both. For example, an entire city or large environment should be shown largely in flyovers and wide shots.  Smaller, more intimate environments, such as a forest grove or building interior should be confined to a single setting of the immediate surroundings. This is similar to how a physical set built for shooting during a typical project is used only for a single location such as a house, a street, or a miniature city.


A single Episode of a Photoreal or Animated Series, Mini-Series, Movie, or Special, intended for Broadcast or Streaming; or

Photoreal or Animated Commercials or Commercial Short Films, intended for Theatrical, Broadcast or Streaming; or

Video Games or other interactive projects created with a Real-Time Engine

Click for details

Premiere Dates:

January 1 to December 31, 2017


An Episode is a catch-all term for these Awards which means any project that was produced specifically to be delivered to viewers via over-the-air, pay or basic cable, satellite transmission, or streamed over the Internet. Episodes must have been available for broadcast at least once, or for sale, streaming, or download to the general public for at least one week. Programs that consist of repurposed material, or are alternate “Special Edition” cuts of a program that was also broadcast or shown in theaters, are not eligible.

Unless otherwise noted in the specific category description, the following project types fall under this heading:

  • Series: Multiple episodes (minimum three, except for series canceled before completing three episodes) in which theme, story line and main characters are presented under the same title and have continuity of production supervision. Visual effects produced solely for a main title sequence are not eligible, nor are clip shows, year-enders, “best-ofs” and anniversary specials that repurpose material that aired previously.

  • Movie: A non-episodic program created specifically for broadcast on television, pay/basic cable, or satellite channel or streaming on the Internet.

  • Miniseries: A limited-run program of at least two episodes, but less than the current standard series season, which may be a serialized drama or anthology program with stories based on a particular theme. For the purposes of these Awards, only a single episode may be submitted for consideration. Submissions combining episodes are not allowed.

  • Specials: A one-time piece of entertainment programming, not including commercials, which is promoted and advertised as a “Special” but not a “Special Presentation” of an ongoing series.

  • Pilots: Considered to be regular episodic programs for the purposes of these awards.

A commercial is a piece whose primary purpose is to promote a product or a message. It may be of any length, but it may not be a project designed to make money in its own right. For instance, a fictional short film which prominently features a for-sale car and is distributed for free to promote the car “virally” is allowable, but a feature film featuring a toy line but which requires a purchase of the film itself (in any medium) in order to pay for its production is not eligible. Commercials must have been broadcast a minimum of one (1) time on a channel available to the general public or in a public theater, or streamed for (1) week within the year of eligibility.
Real-Time Projects are defined as projects that are generated through a CG rendering engine at the same time the audience experiences them. Pre-rendered projects, such as “cinematics”, are not eligible - all projects must be demonstrably interactive at the time of the real-time render. However, projects played back to audiences after a real-time render is captured are eligible. Elements may be CG, photographically captured, or both, but photographic elements must be projected on to CG surfaces within the project to qualify. For instance, a simple spherical camera one can pan through but not otherwise control is not eligible, but an interactive project created in a game engine with some camera elements would be. One way to demonstrate the real-time nature of the Project is by including an fps frame rate counter in the Before & Afters. The frame rate should not drop below a point that detracts from the presentation. If the real-time nature of the submission is called into question, the submitter must be able to prove the real-time nature of the rendering by demonstrating interactivity of the scene live to the VES Awards Committee. Real-Time Projects must have been released for the first time to the general public within the calendar year of the Awards. Demonstration and pre-release products are not-eligible for an Award.

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. The submitters choose whether to place a project in either a Photoreal/Live Action category or Animation based on their own vision for the project, much as other awards may ask a submitter to choose Comedy or Drama.

Additional Information:

Title sequences are eligible as long as they are submitted in textless form, and they are part of the storytelling and are not a specially designed separate title sequence. Motion graphics and logos are not eligible in this category.



Slot 1: open to any significant created environment contributor
Slot 2: open to any significant created environment contributor
Slot 3: open to any significant created environment contributor
Slot 4: open to any significant created environment contributor
Slot 5: empty

Click for details

A maximum of four (4) individuals, including Miniature/Physical Models artists, who personally contributed significantly to the creation of the Work to Be Considered, may be named in any one Specific Arts entry.

All individuals submitted must be directly involved with the work being considered in the entry and must have contributed to the artistry being considered for the Award. For example, animators, riggers, modelers, texture artists, or even actors would be an important part of an animated character entry, but environment or effects simulation artists would probably not. The Awards Committee reserves the right to question whether an artist contributed directly to the work being considered.

Overall project VFX Supervisors are specifically not eligible in these categories.

Facility (in-house) VFX Supervisors who wish to enter must submit a petition along with the entry in which they provide verifiable details of their significant, personal hands-on work on the Work to Be Considered that was over and above their normal supervisory duties.

Animation Producers, VFX Producers, Executive Producers or facility managers are NOT eligible.

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.

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.


Multiple entries from the same project are eligible provided the the artistic teams are 100% different and the environment being submitted is completely different.

Click for details

If multiple entries are submitted for an environment, all submitters will be notified that they must submit one joint entry or risk disqualification of all entries. If a payment has been made on a duplicate entry, the submitter may use that payment towards an entry in a different 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
*Not including the length of slates

Click for details

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, however you may NOT:

  • Change the order of sequences from how they appeared within the project
  • Change the order of or edit shots 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

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 to set up the effects being presented.

Before & Afters

All entries must submit Before & Afters. The Before & Afters material must be unique to this entry and tailored to the category you are entering. Where the special (practical) effects played a major role in the project, the Before & Afters should include footage demonstrating this fact. Before & Afters entered in different categories from the same project must be significantly different from one another and must specifically address the shots being submitted. 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:

  • Company 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.
  • Special Venue entries must include video footage of the project from the perspective of the audience.
  • Real-Time entries should include video footage demonstrating game assets in their native authoring environment. Overlays showcasing hardware and software performance are also welcomed.
  • You may not use the same Before & Afters material for two different categories.

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
  • 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.

Guidelines for Written Material:

  • Put the Submission Number on every page
  • Keep the number of pages to a minimum; judges are given only one minute to review your material
  • Use large type for easy reading in subdued light
  • Do not use binders or folders
  • 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.


Use only the official VES Awards Slate that was automatically generated when you created your submission. If revised materials are submitted, they must be clearly labeled “Revised” on the slate and given a revised submission date.

Submitting Viewing Materials

Viewing materials should be submitted in electronic form whenever possible. We strongly discourage 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.

The electronic submission format is DNxHD 36 in a QuickTime wrapper. Note that this year Avid has changed the name of the codec from "DNxHD 36" to "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
  • 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 slate on both uploads and follow the upload order below in assembling your submission:

Upload No. 1:

Part 1:















Upload No. 2:

Part 2:















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: November 6, 2017
DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSIONS: Thursday, November 30, 2017, 11:59PM PST

Click for details

You must upload your viewing materials and optional supplemental written material between November 6 and November 30, 2017

If your project premieres after the November 30 deadline, you must complete a submission form, pay the entry fee by the deadline, and submit a Petition to stating the facts concerning the delayed release date. The Awards Committee will consider your petition, and if it is granted, viewing materials must then be submitted at the earliest practicable date, but in no event later than December 22, 2017 except for projects with a release or air date later than December 15.

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



Period of Eligibility for Entries

Jan. 1 – Dec. 31

Rules & Procedures Posted

Aug. 14

Entry Forms Available, Submissions Open

Oct. 9

Upload Viewing Materials

Nov. 6 – Nov. 30

Submission Deadline

Nov. 30


Bay Area, London, Montreal, New York, New Zealand, 
Sydney, Vancouver, Toronto Nominating Panels

Contact Local Sections for Dates

L.A. Nomination Judging Panels Meet and Vote

Jan. 13

Nominations Announced

Jan. 15

On-Line Viewing & Voting (Members Only)

Jan. 25 – Feb. 8

16th Annual VES Awards Gala

Feb. 13



$400. Use vouchers where applicable.

Click for details

The total fee for each entry is $400, regardless of how many individuals are named on the submission or their VES affiliation.


Each VES member is entitled to one personal Submission Voucher that will cover that member’s entry fee for one entry only or that member’s pro-rated portion of one entry if he or she is a part of a team entry.

For purposes of pro-rating, VES vouchers are deemed to have a value of $100 regardless of the category being entered. Therefore, the non-VES entrants must pay the difference between the $400 total entry fee minus the value of the VES vouchers being applied to the entry.

  • Example #1: Assume that an entry in category 4 (where a total of five entrants is allowed) is using two vouchers valued at $200. That leaves a balance of $200 to be split among the remaining three entrants for a total value of $400.
  • Example #2: Assume that an entry in category 12 (limited to four entrants) is using one voucher only. That leaves a balance of $300 to be split among the remaining three entrants.

Each member may make a voucher by photocopying his or her valid VES membership card and including it with the submission as his or her portion of the entry fee.

Vouchers are non-transferable.


Payment must be received by the VES no later than 5 PM PST, November 30, 2017. Entries are not complete and will not be vetted until payment has been made.


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

Click to view directions

  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 9, 2017 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. Print your completed Submission Form, 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 printed entry form signed by the appropriate individuals and send one copy of the form to the VES, 5805 Sepulveda Bl., Suite 620, Sherman Oaks, CA 91411 by the submission deadline of November 30, 2017 along with your payment. 
  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 DNcHD SB 8-bit), as specified above, no later than Thursday, November 30, 2017.


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.  Use the official petition form for that purpose found on the Entry site, which is available after you've created your submission.


Questions about these Awards should be directed to

Technical questions about submitting should be directed to

Click for details

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:

2017.10.02: Updated the Qualifying Projects description to reflect the correct types for this Category, the How Many Entries section to reflect the correct types for this Category, the Eligibility section to reflect the correct types for this Category, title sequence information, and corrected typographical errors.