Global kudos for Rookies nominations

The 10th Annual Rookie Awards are a global digital portfolio competition for young artists looking to launch their careers – and Flinders University students studying the Bachelor of Creative Arts (Visual Effects and Entertainment Design) in conjunction with CDW Studios in Adelaide have yet again excelled with many nominations as finalists.

The 2020 Rookies competition has attracted 3,769 entries from 521 schools in 88 countries for a total of 58,558 uploads. Flinders/CDW students appear in the finals 18 times, with nominations in several categories for the first time – and several students nominated in more than one category.

Amid such fierce global competition, Flinders lecturer and course coordinator Katie Cavanagh reminds that earning nomination as a finalist is a big achievement that attracts global recognition.

“The finalists represent the very best entries selected by the judging panel which include some of the most influential and respected experts in their creative and technical fields,’ says Ms Cavanagh.

“This is one of the reasons that we encourage our students to enter. It’s not easy to get your work past the eyes of the people at Marvel, Epic Games, Naughty Dog, Weta, Animal Logic and Framestore, to show the calibre of this year’s judges.”

One of Alex Tuma’s digital renders that earned him a Rookie nomination.

The category of Concept Art – for which students create concepts for feature film, computer games, story narrative, theme parks, advertising and fan-art purposes – attracted 14 full pages of entries, and four Flinders/CDW Studios students have been included among the 29 individual finalists. Congratulations go to Jay Blencowe, Jordan Soar, Duncan Li and Jonathan Wenberg, with Flinders/CDW Studios being one of the few schools with multiple finalists in this category.

The Weta Digital Internship, for which the winner will receive one month of experience within Weta’s world-class Concept Art Department, has 20 finalists, and 12 are from Flinders/CDW – Jay Blencowe, Hamish Kentwell, Nathan Thorman, Jordan Soar, Jonathan Wenberg, Thuy Anh Le, Rebecca Thomason, Jackson Bosley, Jo Chalmers, Kyle Brand, Angela Garnaut-Jager and Duncan Li.

The Visual Effects category – for artists working with elements integrating live-action footage to create photo realistic environments – has a big international field of finalists that includes Alex Tuma (the first Flinders student to have earned a nomination in this category).

Game of the Year Console & PC Finalists has a Flinders/DCW finalist for the first time. The team, led by Honours student Anthony Robinson (who has been nominated for three 2020 Rookie awards), has worked on Tinker and Spell: Seekers of the Lost World.  This is the first game by Golden Age Studios, which is keen to promote positive messaging through gaming entertainment and reinforce morals and emotional intelligence in a younger audience.

The Rookies category and internship winners are announced July 30, and the School of the Year rankings (Flinders has been in the top six for Digital Illustration for the past three consecutive years) come out in August.

“At this level of competition, making the finals is a very big deal, so we celebrate at every stage,” says Ms Cavanagh. “It’s especially good news that global companies rank Flinders/CDW Studios students among the best in the world.”

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