AIT Students Winners at the 2021 AEAF Awards

9 October 2021Written by Emma Woodward

Five AIT student projects were selected as finalists in this year’s AEAF Awards, and two of the AIT finalists came away as winners in their respective categories. We are incredibly proud of the students, their teachers, and all the hard work that has gone into these projects. Each year, the prestigious AEAF Awards celebrate the best work across animation, VFX, games, and immersive media.

The students’ work made an appearance alongside entries from international industry leaders, including MPC Film, Method Studios, and Weta Digital, and local legends including Flying Bark and Cheeky Little Media.

AIT and The Forge

Students enrolled in AIT’s Bachelor of 2D Animation, Film, 3D Animation or Game Design participate in a final year unit called The Forge. This intensive unit prepares students for the demands of industry by having them fulfil an industry brief in a simulated workplace environment.

Students collaborate as a production team, and at the end of the subject will have their own production – ready to add to their portfolio, and to submit to awards and competitions, including (for our animation students) the AEAF.

The AEAF Awards

The AEAF Awards are Australia’s leading annual awards, recognising the world’s best artists and studios creating animation and visual effects. An internationally recognised jury panel reviews hundreds of entries before announcing the finalists for each of the 20 categories of competition.

Previous winners of the AEAF Awards are among the world’s premier post-production companies, effects houses, and film studios.

The AEAF Awards Night included a screening of the Finalists and Winners Showreel – a compilation of clips from all finalists and winning projects in all categories.

Bringing together the best talent from the industry alongside students still honing their craft makes the AEAF a true showcase of current and future talent working with animation and VFX.

Check out this year’s finalists and medal winners below:

VR Experience Category

Title: ColorgizeVR

Crew: Nathalia Andrade Da Silva and Gabor Vermes

Award: Bronze

In collaboration with their AIT teacher Carlton Zhu and AIT’s industry partner LiminalVR, students Nathalia and Gabor created ColorgizeVR.

“Our aim was to create a short, energising VR experience as our final university project.

We had a short period of time to make it happen but the support from our teacher Carlton and the weekly catch up meetings with Adam from LiminalVR made it much more manageable.

Step by step we built a virtual reality game from scratch, where we created our own colour palette, designed the sounds and tweaked the initial idea weekly, added extra mechanics and simplified the physics system.

Both me and Nathalia were very proud of the outcome and we are extremely happy to make it to the top three of the AEAF award in 2021.

It was an honour to work with Nathalia and Carlton Zhu on my very first VR game, I have learnt a lot from both of them. Also, I would like to say thank you to Adam and Damian from LiminalVR for the opportunity and their support to work on such a unique project.”

– Gabor Vermes

Watch ColorgizeVR here.

Student Category 

Title: Operation: Recess

Crew: James Dickson 

Tiffany Kho 

Crystal Thurley 

Vy V Dinh Ngoc 

Award: Bronze

Agent Charlie Maron (that’s MA-ron, not MO-ron) must retrieve a precious Yugimon card from Timmy, the Troublemaker of Terror before the school bell rings. 

“Our team was ambitious from the start. We wanted to combine all of our talents to create something we would be proud of. Our team of four worked through many challenges over the three-month timeframe to tell a unique story in six to seven minutes. We reworked our draft script five or six times and had to cut a lot of our original ideas, but our final product was definitely something we are proud of. Working through the weeks, we kept up strong communication with back and forth of different shots to make sure everything flowed nicely and we gradually started to see our creation come together piece by piece. With enough hard work and communication, we were able to finalise and submit our best work yet!” 

 – James Dickson

Watch Operation: Recess here. 

Title: Social Surfer

Crew: Chloe Lambley 

Jack Nicholls 

Jeremy Abood 

Hai Nam Phung 

Award: Finalist

Using Toon Boom Harmony, Adobe Premiere Pro, and Adobe After Effects, the students created the story of the Social Surfer – a lonely guy who wants to make friends on the internet. He dives right in, and through acts of kindness, he finds shared interests and makes connections wherever he goes. 

Watch Social Surfer here. 

Title: Iron Knight 

Crew: Talish McKenzie 

Award: Finalist

In this short animated film by Talish McKenzie, two agents, Rex and Toby, are tasked with the recovery of classified information held on a floppy disk, in the hands of the infamous kingpin known as the Iron Knight.

 “I did the work as part of my advanced 2D animation assignment in 2020 with help from Tohno Teh and Brandon Crummy for the voice acting. I created it using pencil and pen on paper as well as poster paint (Sakura poster colours) for the backgrounds. The frames were scanned and digitally coloured. Everything was composited in After Effects. I wanted to create it as traditionally as I could with the resources I had available as I enjoy the classic hand drawn style of cel animation which I was emulating. I am a fan of the textures and grit that physical art displays. My inspiration also came from action films and anime from the 70s, 80s, and 90s. Akira was a big influence, particularly with the colour choices.” 

 – Talish McKenzie

Watch Iron Knight here.

Title: The Call of Caelum

Crew: Natasha Perrett 

Dominique Eichenberger

James Dickson

Tony Phan

Isaac Biala 

Joshua Romero

Award: Finalist

“The Call of Caelum was created with some amazing talent. Our team was determined to create something fun and eye-catching and with varied skill sets. Through this, we were able to create something unique. There were some obstacles along the way, but we managed to push through them. We are proud of what we created and we hope to get together to create something even better next time.”

 – James Dickson

Watch The Call of Caelum here. 

Well done to all the finalists and winners, and thank you for sharing your inspiring work with us.

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Find out more about AIT and our courses by visiting our connect page and choosing your own adventure. Talk to someone about your study options, book a campus tour and have a look around, chat with a current AIT student or get started on your application.

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