Scene from animated feature Silhouette where a character Claire drinks from a mug

Student filmmakers of ArtFX School of Digital Arts in France embrace Autodesk Maya, AI to win big at VES for Silhouette

Autodesk empowers future talent with 16th consecutive sponsorship of 2024 Visual Effects Society Student Award

Student filmmakers of ArtFX School of Digital Arts took home the award for “Outstanding Visual Effects in a Student Project” for the film Silhouette last night at the 22nd annual Visual Effects Society (VES) Awards held at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, California. 

These awards celebrate the year’s most outstanding visual effects in film, television, and other media. At the 2024 event, up-and-coming filmmakers were recognized in the “Outstanding Visual Effects in a Student Project” category, sponsored by Autodesk for the 16th consecutive year. 

“I’m inspired by the depth and breadth of student talent we’re seeing in this year’s thoughtful storytelling, character development, and visual effects,” said Leona Frank, Autodesk’s director of Media & Entertainment marketing. “It’s an incredibly talented and creative group of artists entering the field. Congratulations to this year’s winners across categories, and thank you to the VES for providing a forum for their recognition.”

The artists behind Silhouette include students Alexis Lafuente, Antoni Nicolaï, Chloé Stricher, Elliot Dreuille, Baptiste Gueusquin and Marc Forest.In the short film, Claire is the young protagonist, isolated and living alone in a big city. As her loneliness takes hold, Claire’s body gradually disappears from the rainy streets of the futuristic metropolis.

Autodesk Maya was used to model assets, rigging, and animation, with the open source mGear plug-in for Maya playing a crucial role in the rigging workflow. To simulate crowds in the city, captured footage was interpolated using EbSynth, an AI-powered tool that enables the transformation of live-action by painting over a single frame. 

But Silhouette wasn’t the only short film at the VES Awards to leverage Autodesk technology in its creation. Other nominees in this year’s student project category include: 

  • Au 8éme Jour, a vibrant reflection on the world and its creatures, showcases how quickly its balance can be disrupted. The film is beautifully rendered with the tactile look of animals and sets fabricated out of cloth, thread, quilt, and yarn. Camels migrate across a blanket desert, birds fly through skies of intermingling yarn, and orangutans walk in fields of colorful flowers. The modeling, rigging, and animation was completed in Autodesk Maya and rendered in Autodesk Arnold.  Nominees for Au 8éme Jour include Flavie Carin, Agathe Sénéchal, Alicia Massez, and Elise Debruyne from Piktura in France.
  • The whimsical short L’Animal Sauce Ail takes place in a small village where a charming cast of characters hunt, consume, and overexploit natural resources and creatures. This abuse eventually leads to an inevitable environmental downward spiral. The lighthearted short with an important message was created using Autodesk Maya for asset modeling, rigging, and animation, and was rendered in Autodesk Arnold. Nominees for L’Animal Sauce Ail include Aurélien Duchez, Ysaline Debut, Diane Mazella, and Camille Rostan from Rubika Animation in France.
  • Loup y es-tu? tells the melancholy tale of Mischa, a young girl living on the outskirts of Moscow who fabricates a fabulous violin out of papier-mâché. She plays for the monsters who live in her apartment, but the less they listen to her, the more the wolf prowls near her. The paper-textured, handmade look of this world was created with Autodesk Maya for set dressing, lighting, and shading, and Autodesk Arnold for final render. Nominees for Loup y es-tu? are Célina Lebon, Louise Laurent, Emma Fessart, and Annouck François also from Rubika Animation in France. 

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VES Awards nominees for 25 categories, including Autodesk’s sponsored “Outstanding Visual Effects in a Student Project” category, were selected by VES members from 25 countries at 39 in-person and virtual nomination events worldwide during a 36-hour continuous process. The judging protocol included a review of each submission, including “Befores and Afters” by three different panels. Visit www.vesglobal.org for more information about the VES Awards and for a full list of winners.

Autodesk is inspiring students and educators to design and make a better world by providing the skills, hands-on experiences, and credentials via free software including Autodesk Maya, Autodesk 3ds Max, Autodesk Flame and Autodesk Arnold.


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