Wednesday, February 6th, 2013 Posted by Jim Thacker

Eye candy: Natalis

The teaser for Natalis. The diploma short, created by students from leading German school Filmakademie Baden-Wuerttemberg, carried off last night’s VES Award for Outstanding Visual Effects in a Student Project.

Life of Pi and Brave may have grabbed most of the headlines at last night’s VES Awards, but the evening is also a chance to honour student work – and great student work is Filmakademie Baden-Wuerttemberg’s forte.

Three of the four nominated films in this year’s ‘Outstanding Visual Effects in a Student Project’ category were created by graduates of the school – including Natalis, the eventual winner.

Directed by Daniel Brkovic and Jan-Marcel Kuehn, who created the FX along with a team of student TDs, the short blends organic and mechanical imagery to unsettling effect.

According to the official synopsis: “Natalis tells the story of EA, half woman, half machine [who] discovers a strange plant with cocoon-like leaves. Inside this cocoon floats a human embryo. As she touches the plant, EA experiences a vision: the embryo has transformed into ENKI, an insatiable monster that destroys the world.”

Although Brkovic had worked at Pixomondo, Studio Soi and Framestore during his studies, the work on Natalis still posed new technical challenges, some of which you can see in the breakdown video above.

“We had to develop a solid pipeline as well as individual workflows and plugins to realize the project,” he said. “With motion capture, facial capture and muscle rigs, we entered yet unknown territory.”

Visit Natalis’ Facebook page