Autodesk Honors 'PLASTIC' for Outstanding Student Achievement in Visual Effects

SAN RAFAEL, Calif., Feb. 23 /PRNewswire/ -- Software Design Company Presents Award at Visual Effects Society (VES) Ceremony

SAN RAFAEL, Calif., Feb. 23 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Recognizing the importance of supporting students in the dynamic visual effects sector of the entertainment industry, Autodesk, Inc. (NASDAQ: ADSK) Vice President of the Digital Entertainment Group, Stig Gruman, presented the first-ever student award at the Visual Effects Society (VES) annual awards show on February 21. The winners were Sandy Widyanata and Courtney Wise, who created their short film, "PLASTIC," as a graduation project while studying at the Australian Film Television and Radio School.

"PLASTIC" is a live-action film about the obsession for the perfect body image. It's supported by the art of animation and visual effects, and was developed using a variety of technology, including Autodesk Maya software, a powerful, integrated 3D modeling, animation and rendering application.

Autodesk, a longstanding supporter of visual arts and design education, first proposed the idea of a student award to the VES in 2007. Steven Spielberg, the renowned director and producer, reinforced Autodesk's belief in promoting student accomplishment when he received the VES Lifetime Achievement Award at last year's ceremony. In his acceptance speech, Mr. Spielberg commented that he was impressed with the fantastic student work that he'd seen recently, and encouraged the VES to invest in its future and recognize such exceptional achievement. Autodesk was delighted to work with the VES and answer Mr. Spielberg's call to action.

"This award is a wonderful opportunity for us to inspire the next generation of design professionals," said Joe Astroth, Autodesk vice president of Learning and Education. "As visual effects become more technically complex, the need for well-trained talent in the entertainment industry continues to grow. We're very proud to partner with prestigious international organizations like the VES to encourage students to hone their digital technology skills and prepare for exciting careers."

"We were thrilled when one of our earliest supporters, Autodesk, committed to making this important award possible," said VES Executive Director Eric Roth. "We hope this student recognition will become an annual rite of passage for the Steven Spielbergs of tomorrow."

Australian Winner Selected from Group of International Nominees

The award honors exceptional visual effects in a project created by a student or group of students while attending an accredited school. Evaluation criteria included how well the visual effects serve the story being told and whether the work demonstrates exceptional talent. The VES selected four international nominees, and the winning entry was chosen through online voting by VES members from around the world. In addition to "PLASTIC," nominees included "Hangar Number Five" from the United States, "La Main Des Maitres" from France, and "Our Wonderful Nature" from Germany.

"Sandy and I worked together very closely to develop the story of 'PLASTIC' without a particular technology in mind," said Courtney Wise, the film's producer. "We believe that technology is most powerful when it enhances, rather than dominates the film."

"However, we recognized that without 3D technology such as Maya, the story and message of 'PLASTIC' would never have been achievable or feasible," added Sandy Widyanata, the director and visual effects artist. "We would have had to tell the story as an animation, which would not have been as compelling. 'PLASTIC' needed to be live action in order to have the greatest impact."

See Autodesk YouTube channel for links to the VES Award nominees' videos.

About the VES

The VES is a professional, honorary society, dedicated to advancing the arts, sciences and applications of visual effects and to upholding the highest uniform standards and procedures for the visual effects profession. The VES is the entertainment industry's only official trade organization representing the extended community of visual effects practitioners, including supervisors, artists, producers, technology developers, educators and studio executives.

About Autodesk Education

Autodesk supports students and educators by providing powerful 2D and 3D design software, innovative programs and resources designed to inspire the next generation of professionals to experience their ideas before they're real. By supporting educators to advance design education and science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills, Autodesk is helping prepare students for future academic and career success. Autodesk supports schools and institutions of higher learning worldwide through substantial discounts, subscriptions, grant programs, training, curricula development and community resources. For more information about Autodesk education programs and solutions, visit

About Autodesk

Autodesk, Inc., is a world leader in 2D and 3D design software for the manufacturing, building and construction, and media and entertainment markets. Since its introduction of AutoCAD software in 1982, Autodesk has developed the broadest portfolio of state-of-the-art Digital Prototyping solutions to help customers experience their ideas before they are real. Fortune 1000 companies rely on Autodesk for the tools to visualize, simulate and analyze real-world performance early in the design process to save time and money, enhance quality and foster innovation. For additional information about Autodesk, visit

Autodesk, AutoCAD and Maya are registered trademarks or trademarks of Autodesk, Inc., and/or its subsidiaries and/or affiliates in the USA and/or other countries. All other brand names, product names or trademarks belong to their respective holders. Autodesk reserves the right to alter product offerings and specifications at any time without notice, and is not responsible for typographical or graphical errors that may appear in this document.

(C) 2009 Autodesk, Inc. All rights reserved.

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