Escape Awards: The Winners
Last night Tate Modern played host to the Escape Awards, the annual ceremony held by the London-based computer graphics and VFX school, Escape Studios, to honour the work of the UK's best CG talent. Nominees included Framestore CFC, The Mill, MPC and Glassworks with a wide range of work up for each of the eight awards, ranging from student shorts to CG for Doctor Who, Harry Potter and Guinness. Well done to Framestore, who took three of the big trophies – click through for the full results...
CG in commercials winner: Glassworks for Flexifuel, Ford
CG in Film winner: Framestore CFC for The Golden Compass
CG in Music winner: Framestore CFC for The Salmon Dance by the Chemical Brothers
CG in Games winner: Ninja Theory for Heavenly Sword on PS3
Design Visualisation Moving Image winner: Uniform for The Crystal
In the Design Visualisation Still Image category, the winners were Burrows Nvisage for their shot of the Land Rover LRX in Piccadilly Circus. The prize in the student CG category went to Cumbria Institute of the Arts graduates Ian Wharton and Edward Shires for their Roald Dahl-inspired short film, Solar.
I and some colleagues was rather surprised with the game category results. The gollum rip off wasn't particularly interesting/impressive.
The architectural sections in which a glass shader on a rhombus floating around London was laughable - and Framestore winning for Primeval was an absolute travesty. The decay piece & Dr Who were far more interesting.
Framestore did deservedly win for the music video category though. A stunning piece of craftsmanship.
Its a great idea to have an award for such a range of digital work - but there were clearly a number of unhappy people (naturally), but espcially as the general vibe was that 'the best didnt win'...in most categories. For a first time event - it will have to be run much more carefully and judged far better to be taken seriously/considered a valid award.
Since Heavenly Sword was rendered in real-time on a home console (the only games entry that was), and represents a milestone in dramtic performance in games, I think it was well-deserved.
Perhaps the judges are a little more informed than you think they are. Perhaps they judge technical and artistic achievement over flash-bang-gee-whiz stuff that gets you and your colleagues going.
I must say I have to agree with points made in both of these comments.
My response to both of the above would be that perhaps it wasn't made clear that this was a technical achievement award. Artistic goes hand in hand with 'flash-bang-gee-whiz' stuff. The winners were clearly based more on technical achievement than artistic/seamless intergration. The visual effects created for 'Sunshine' for example are far more artistic/creative/interpreted than a horde of battling polar bears. However, the polar bears are an impressive and spectacular technical achievement.
The winners are valid if we put into perspective what they won for. I suspect Primeval won due to the shear volume and amount of it in just one episode, and also its technically complex animation more so than its artistic vision/appearance.
The winners were chosen by 38 judges from across the CG industries, Artists, software developers and business people who work with this content every day were chosen to give as broad a response as possible. Technical merit was the major factor, although artistic endeavour is difficult to ignore. It is difficult to say that the wrong things won when such a diverse range of people chose them.
Just a little aside to all the comments. What Dominic Davenport failed to point out on the night or in any of the press listings was that a number of entries which would have had a good chance of winning could actually NOT get judged because of technical issues with the viewings. Unfortunately this rendered the awards a little bogus as most entries were being judged in different resolutions and under differing critieria, some not at all. Fight For Life work by Jellyfish Pictures (also nominated for Carbon Footprint) which has won all the CGI in broadcast work in the last year was not even able to be viewed for technical reasons. The Carbon Footprint peice that was sent in was the wrong one and sent by the broadcaster, again because all of the work sent by Jellyfish was unable to be viewed. In the end the awards were a nice idea and hopefully have a big future, but lets judge it on how they go next year and whether the judging criteria works out.
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