Watch the Siggraph 2013 animation festival winners
Siggraph’s Computer Animation Festival showcases the best and brightest new work from the fields of CG animation and visual effects – and this year’s festival award-winners are the best and brightest of the lot.
Selected from over 500 submissions, the three winning entries and two runners up blend slapstick, surrealism and visual style in varying proportions. If you’re in Anaheim between 21 and 25 July, you can see them live, along with the other 100-odd other ads, cinematics, shorts and simulations on show.
But if you can’t make it to California (or if you just want a sneak preview) we’ve rounded up the shortlisted animations below – most of them, at any rate.
Sadly, work doing the rounds of other festivals usually can’t be posted in full online. But where this is the case, we’ve linked to the trailers and making-of videos to give you a flavour of the complete short.
Best In Show Award
A La Française
Directors: Julien Hazebroucq, Emmanuelle Leleu, Morrigane Boyer, Ren Hsien Hsu, William Lorton
Created by a team of students from leading French animation school Supinfocom, A La Française recreates an afternoon in Versailles during the reign of an alternative – and rather more feathery – Louis XIV.
We can’t find the full animation online, but the official trailer (top of story) and the longer work-in-progress excerpt above give you a sense of the short’s visual style and sly sense of humour.
Mysteriously, casting the nobles as birds works perfectly to convey the vanity and intrigue of the Sun King’s court. We think it’s the eyes. No one does ‘shifty-looking’ better than a chicken.
Director: Marcin Wasilewski
Created by Polish animation collective Grupa Smacznego, Lost Senses also has a strong sense of visual style – but used to rather more unsettling effect.
A “short story about an encounter in an abstract world”, the animation follows the unnamed protagonist (he’s described simply as “A Man”) as he goes to meet the equally significantly capitalised Woman in a flying city.
Inspired by the paintings of Giorgio de Chirico, the animation preserves some of the source material’s disorienting, dreamlike quality, but the character design has a more whimsical charm.
Again, the full animation isn’t online at the minute, but you can see the trailer and making-of above.
Best Student Project Award
Directors: Kyra Buschor, Anna Habermehl, Constantin Paeplow
If you visited FMX or IFTS this year, you’ll already be familiar with Rollin’ Safari. Created by students from Stuttgart’s Filmakademie Baden-Wuerttemberg, the four animations were used as festival idents.
All four are based on a single, brilliantly offbeat idea: what would happen if African wildlife looked, and behaved, like balloon animals?
The animation is immaculate, and the results are stunning: watching the inflatable crocodile trying – and failing – to sneak up on the equally rotund flamingos is just adorable.
The video at the top of the entry collects all four idents into one, and there are a couple of nice making-of videos (above) on the creators’ Vimeo channels.
Best Student Project Runner-Up
Director: John Pettingill
The sole US entry in the shortlist is also a student short. Directed by John Pettingill of Texas A&M University, Sleddin’ neatly combines the magical intensity of childhood with an adult sense of whimsy.
According to the offical synopsis, the animation “explores phenomenal childhood moments that are ultimately dependent on one’s own perspective”.
According to Pettingill’s own blog, it’s the story of a “young and tubby boy named Gus, as he prepares to sled down the cliff of his dreams”.
Both are absolutely accurate, and it’s this combination of highfalutin’ ideas and low comedy that distinguishes Sleddin’ from a lot of similar, but inferior, gag shorts.
Pettingill’s Vimeo channel includes a number of making-of videos, and if you’re interested in doing something similar yourself, the Sleddin’ project blog is practically a worked example of how to run a collaborative project.
Best Student Project Runner-Up
Director: Moritz Schneider
The second German animation in the shortlist is also the second from the Filmakademie Baden-Wuerttemberg. Directed by Moritz Schneider, Harald is a gloriously offbeat comedy.
At work, Harald does unpleasant things to large, sweaty men in the wrestling ring. But at home, he cherishes flowers. And when his pint-sized, overbearing mother takes away his favorite flower, he has to fight for it.
Sadly, the full animation isn’t online yet, but the zippy trailer gives you a good sense of its comic potential.