Watch the Siggraph 2015 animation festival winners
Siggraph’s Computer Animation Festival showcases the best new CG work being created anywhere in the world – no matter which part of the industry you work in.
Over the past 15 years, many of the winners in the festival’s animation categories (Best In Show, Jury’s Choice, Best Student Project) have gone on to Oscar nominations – or even Oscar wins.
And since 2014, the festival has also recognised the work of pioneers in other fields of computer graphics, from cinematics and music promos to simulations and visualisations.
If you’re in Los Angeles between 9 and 13 August, you can see the winners live, along with all of the other ads, cinematics, shorts and simulations on show in the festival screenings.
But if you can’t make it to California (or if you just want a sneak preview), we’ve rounded them up below.
Obviously, we couldn’t post entire movies, so we haven’t covered Paddington, which won Framestore the award for Best Visual Effects, or Home, which won for DreamWorks in the Best Animated Feature Film category.
But that still leaves eight pieces of gorgeous eye candy for you to enjoy, including the show’s overall winner.
Best In Show
Citius, Altius, Fortius
Director: Felix Deimann
Felix Deimann’s graduation short, created during his studies at Fachhochschule Dortmund, turns sport into art.
Citius, Altius, Fortius (it’s the Olympic motto: ‘Faster, Higher, Stronger’) motion-tracks and rotoscopes original footage of famous Olympic performances, replacing the athletes with simple geometric forms.
The austere visual style, elegant score and judicious use of camera moves and retiming all contribute to a finished piece that celebrates the grace of both human movement and abstract forms.
Amir & Amira
Directors: Sara Ayoub, Martial Andre, Benjamin Condy, Ariane Dedulle, Cecilia Maturi, Tatiana Tchoumakova, ESMA
Amir and Amira begin as identical children. But as they grow older, they begin to take on distinguishing characteristics: short hair for Amir, long for Amira; male and female clothing.
Eventually, they become puppets controlled by disembodied hands that emerge from behind a curtain, forced to move and behave in ways ‘appropriate’ to their gender, and punished when they resist.
It’s an elegant way in which to explore the arbitrary roles society imposes on us, and one that, in the hands of a talented team at leading French art school ESMA, ends on a note of hope.
Best Computer Animated Short
Jinxy Jenkins and Lucky Lou
Directors: Michael Bidinger, Michelle Kwon, Ringling College of Art and Design
Being chronically unlucky isn’t much fun. But it turns out that being chronically lucky isn’t much better.
Ringling College has turned out some of the funniest student shorts of recent years, and opposites-attract comedy Jinxy Jenkins and Lucky Lou certainly has its share of sight gags and set pieces.
But more than a simple joke short, it’s both a universal love story and a reflection on how people complement one another in relationships, set against a colourfully stylised digital San Francisco.
Best Student Project
Directors: Alexis Decelle, Cyril Declercq, Vincent Defour, Pierre Jury, Isart Digital
The plot of French student short L3.0 may reference WALL-E, but the tone edges more towards I Am Legend, as sentient toy robot Leo wanders the streets of a Paris emptied of all living creatures.
It’s an odd, and surprisingly effective, blend of cuteness and grittiness, carried over into the art direction, with the cartoony lead character contrasting with the photorealistic butterfly and live-action environments.
Best Visualization or Simulation
Multi-scale Multi-physics Heart Simulator UT-Heart
Director: Hirofumi Seo, Sciement
Sciement’s compelling medical visualisation uses actual data from UT-Heart: a supercomputer-based multiphysics heart simulation developed by The University of Tokyo and Japanese research institution RIKEN.
The simulation combines research in engineering and physiology to mimic the behaviour of the heart more accurately, and is expected to help predict the outcomes of real patients undergoing heart surgery.
Assassin’s Creed Unity (E3 cinematic trailer)
Director: István Zorkóczy, Digic Pictures
Topping our own ‘Best of E3‘ list in 2014, Digic Pictures’ masterly trailer for Assassin’s Creed Unity puts the cinematic qualities back into games cinematics.
The vast, movie-scale environments – shown off by Digic’s trademark birds-eye-view opening shot – and huge crowd scenes contrast powerfully with the rather smaller-scale human drama playing out in the plot.
A four-minute animation created to promote a multiplayer online game that spawned a multi-million-dollar e-sport, Curse of the Sad Mummy isn’t exactly your average music promo.
But it’s hard not to be seduced by the beautifully intricate visuals, created by design collective Shy the Sun, while LoL’s huge player base helped the short reach a vast audience: 7.5 million YouTube views and counting.
This whimsical Ikea ad is a second successive win for director/VFX house tag-team Dougal Wilson and MPC, who took the award for Best Advertisement last year their snarky Three ‘The Pony’ spot.
Using a T-shirts as stand-ins for birds, the team used a mixture of puppetry and CG to bring its very unusual flock to life, setting the animation against footage of some stunning real-world environments.