The VES Awards are again right around the corner and, as I did last year, I have listed my picks in each category and my thoughts on the visual effects of the different films, tv episodes, games, and commercials.
Outstanding Visual Effects in a Photoreal Feature
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Episode VII has been lauded for its visual effects, and it’s quite reasonable to think that it will win here. ILM’s work is excellent and provides much of what makes the film so exciting. The types of work completed include CG aliens, creature effects, space battles, simulations, and multiple, stunning, fully-CG environments.
Outstanding Supporting Visual Effects in a Photoreal Feature
Yeah, In the Heart of the Sea‘s whale attack scene was quite memorable, but I lean towards The Walk for supporting visual effects. Atomic Fiction, along with Rodeo FX, recreated the Twin Towers, as well as 1970s Lower Manhattan. The modeling team really pushed the detail to the wall, and it shows.
Outstanding Visual Effects in an Animated Feature
The Good Dinosaur
Pixar’s latest film has incredibly realistic landscapes, and the effects created for the storm sequence are amazing.
Outstanding Visual Effects in a Real-Time Project
Destiny: The Taken King
When it comes to effects, the latest Destiny game is pretty impressive. It could even be considered a bit crazy with the wide and varied amount of energy and explosion (or explosive energy) effects that are present.
Outstanding Visual Effects in a Photoreal Episode
Game of Thrones; The Dance of Dragons
Despite the strong projection work created for Jonathan Strange created for Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, I’m naming Game of Thrones for this category. The visual effects created by Pixomondo for the medieval drama have an excellent track record during awards season, and the visuals are just as exciting this year as any other.
Outstanding Visual Effects in a Commercial
Halo 5; The Hunt Begins
SSE’s commercial “Maya” was a big winner last year, and while they again have a nomination (“Pier”), my money is on Halo 5’s advert for its explosive effects of a war-torn city, futuristic fighting, and collapsing buildings. More.
Outstanding Visual Effects in a Special Venue Project
Nike; The Neymar Jr. Effect
2016 is reportedly “the year of VR,” and so it makes sense that we see VR projects entering awards contention. And what could fit the new medium better than an intense soccer, erm, football to my non-U.S. readers, match.
Outstanding Created Environment in a Photoreal Feature
Ant-Man; The Microverse
The Tomorrowland Center in the movie Tomorrowland was a visually stunning environment, but for Ant-Man, ILM allowed us to see a sub-atomic world that we could only imagine.
Outstanding Supporting Visual Effects in a Photoreal Episode
Black Sails; XVIII
This is the second nomination for the Starz series, and while it lost last year to American Horror Story, the quality and level of detail is incredible for a weekly program.
Outstanding Animated Performance in a Photoreal Feature
Star Wars: The Force Awakens; Maz
The character of Maz with motion-capture performance by Lupita Nyong’o was probably the most interesting character in The Force Awakens, and the CGI was flawless. The team at ILM should have no trouble securing this award.
Outstanding Animated Performance in an Animated Feature
Regrettably, I haven’t seen enough of the nominees to choose here.
Outstanding Created Environment in an Animated Feature
Outstanding Animated Performance in an Episode, Commercial, or Real-Time Project
Outstanding Created Environment in an Episode, Commercial, or Real-Time Project
Outstanding Virtual Cinematography in a Photoreal Project
Outstanding Effects Simulations in an Episode, Commercial, or Real-Time Project
Halo 5: The Hunt Begins
Again, I’m giving this to “The Hunt Begins.” There were some excellent nominees, but the epic-scale effects of the Halo 5 promo are well done.
Outstanding Compositing in a Photoreal Feature
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Star Wars was my pick for Outstanding Visual Effects, so it makes sense that it I would also list it here for compositing. However, everything in the film felt pretty seamless and grounded with both practical and visual effects being indistinguishable from each other.
Outstanding Models in a Photoreal or Animated Project
Jurassic World; Indominus Rex
Outstanding Effects Simulations in a Photoreal Feature
San Andreas; Los [sic]Angeles Destruction
I really want to give this to the Hulk vs. Hulkbuster sequence from Avengers: Age of Ultron, but let’s face it, an earthquake in Los Angeles means huge-scale destruction effects.
Outstanding Compositing in a Photoreal Episode
Game of Thrones; Hardhome
Clearly, there is some love for Game of Thrones as it has managed to pick up three of the four nominations in this category. This makes the decision difficult, but I’m going for “Hardhome” due to the crazy complexity of its VFX shots.
Outstanding Effects Simulations in an Animated Feature
The Good Dinosaur
This one goes to The Good Dinosaur for the scene where Arlo is washed away in a storm. Sure, water simulations of waterfalls are nothing that hasn’t been seen before, but the Pixar sim artists created exceptional work in this scene. I feel that, just for this reason, the film stands out in this category.
Outstanding Compositing in a Photoreal Commercial
While not getting the best overall pick, I believe that it is time to revisit “Pier.” That orangutan is so well-integrated, I just don’t see how this commercial can lose. Watch it here.
Outstanding Visual Effects in a Student Project
I have been following the student films from Germany’s Filmakademie for about 3 years now and seen the high level of visual effects that its students are able to achieve. So it is no surprise that three of the four student projects this year come from the school. Jagon gets my pick because, while not being flawless, the realism of the CGI is enough to make the viewer question why it’s nominated for visual effects. See a BTS video here.
See the list of winners at: https://www.visualeffectssociety.com/14th-annual-ves-awards-winners