Story by: Jack Foley
ESCAPE Studios, the premier visual effects school based in central
London, has announced The Ridley Scott Awards, a new initiative
to seek out and support film, television and computer games creatives.
Award-winning British director, Ridley Scott, has launched a
new enterprise that seeks to reward and promote the very best
creative talent in the visual effects and games industries.
Scott, who has used extensive special effects in films such
as Gladiator, Alien
and Blade Runner, said: "I am honoured to have these awards
named after me. Escape's initiative is vital to the discovery
of new talent for the UK's creative industries."
Together with Scott, Escape Studios has recognised that, with
the UK fast becoming a strong force in all areas of visual effects
and games production, it is vital that efforts to encourage and
develop the next generation of artists is maintained.
For the Awards' winners, the prizes on offer - which include
an exclusive training package at Escape Studios - will provide
an enormous foot-up into a notoriously inaccessible profession;
for Escape Studios, the winners will continue the flow of creative
talent passing through their doors.
The Ridley Scott Awards are comprised of four categories - Animation,
Visual Effects, Motion Graphics and Games - with each of these
individually sponsored by a key organisation from the creative
The awards provide a fantastic opportunity for anyone wanting
to enter the visual effects, games, television or animation industries
but who doesn't know how.
Winners from each category will be given full training at Escape
Studios; full copies of both Alias Wavefront's Oscar-winning 3D
Animation package, Maya, and Apple's industry standard tool for
digital compositing Shake, and an exclusive work experience placement
with the corresponding sponsoring facility.
Dominic Davenport, Escape's managing director, commented: "Escape
Studios is honoured to have the support of an industry luminary
such as Ridley Scott, as it only emphasises the importance of
such an initiative and the benefits of industry focused education."
Entry to the award scheme is open to anyone who is not currently
employed in the fields of visual effects, 3D animation, motion
graphics or games development. School leavers, college leavers
and graduates or those wishing to enter the industry from other
fields are all invited to participate.
The closing date is Tuesday, September 30, 2003, and no entries
received after this will be judged.
All entrants must enter online at www.escapestudios.co.uk
in order to be eligible for the awards.
Adds Mr Davenport: "The Ridley Scott Awards are designed
for those who have artistic skill but haven't had the opportunity
to be educated in the techniques and processes. These awards reward
potential rather than accomplishment, a concept which is central
to Escape Studios ethos."
Launched in response to the lack of training facilities outside
of the US,
Escape has made huge splash since opening its doors to a new generation
of creatives in July 2002.
Hundreds of students have successfully completed skills-led training
in the latest 3D computer animation and 2D visual effects, with
many going on to work in the creative industry.
The world of digital special effects is an exploding market and
the latest technology has revolutionised the industry.
The techniques employed are key to the success of high profile
releases, such as the recently developed Matrix
Revolutions movie and the Lord of the Rings films.
Escape's team of tutors, are handpicked from both sides of the
Atlantic, and are supplemented by leading industry figures to
ensure that techniques and technology are always one step ahead
but grounded in the real-world.
The curriculum has been developed in association with design
and post-production executives at the BBC, The Mill and The Moving
Picture Company (MPC).
The course programme has been developed to cater for both entry-level
students and established industry talent seeking to develop their
Students are taught on state of the art IBM workstations to emulate
a fully operational production environment. Packages taught include
Alias Wavefront Maya, Softimage XSI, Pixar Renderman, Apple Shake,
Discreet Combustion and Adobe Photoshop.
The Award categories
The Aardman Award For Animation
In the interests of simplicity and keeping things as open as
possible, it has been decided to go for an open brief with only
a few key guidelines. The awards are looking for a concept for
a character-based animation sequence of any description within
The Lionhead Studios Award For Games
Hansel & Gretel and the House in the Woods. The two characters
are in a situation where they have to work co-operatively in order
to resolve it. Perilous, humorous, adventurous, it's up to you!
The CNX Award For Motion Graphics
The challenge is to storyboard a live-action branding piece with
an all pervading CNX 'X' logo. Everything in the CNX world is
infused with CNX, from human genes to the fibres in their clothing
to the molecules in the air that they breathe.
The Moving Picture Company Award For Visual Effects
The brief is to visualise and storyboard an effects driven set
piece given little to no direction from the script. A good example
of this is in the first Lord
of the Rings film. When the fellowship is underground in the
mines of Moria, there is an elaborate chase down a huge stone
staircase. For this entire sequence the script read, 'The fellowship
run down the stairs'.