Bournemouth University graduate wins worldwide student animation competition


An animation graduate from Bournemouth University has been named Computer Graphics Student of the Year.

Pramod Lj, who completed an MA in Digital Effects at BU in September, beat more than 320 entries from around the world to win the accolade, as part of the CG Student Awards.

Pramod, who is from India, was awarded the title after submitting a showreel of work completed while studying at BU – including buildings in Bournemouth town centre being pulled back to release hundreds of balloons and a car being made out of cubes.

He said: “It was totally unexpected, and it feels awesome to have won a competition with such high standards. Honestly, I feel that there were many entries that deserved to win.

“When I first entered the competition, I just wanted my work to be seen by many people. The competition is a great platform to showcase you work.”

The CG student awards are an annual event which showcases and rewards excellence in computer graphics from students and recent graduates worldwide, and are sponsored by a number of industry names.

Pramod, 25, has won more than £20,000 of visual effects software, access to online workshops and subscriptions to specialist magazines as prizes for winning the award.

“I am really excited about the prizes,” said Pramod, who is now working as an intern at Side Effects Software in Santa Monica, USA.

“Now that I have all these packages with me, it gives me a great opportunity to broaden my skills.”

The National Centre for Computer Animation (NCCA) at Bournemouth University was also highly commended in the School of the Year category in the CG Student Awards.

Pramod said that his time at BU helped him develop as a 3D artist.

“I chose the NCCA for its reputation. Before joining I didn’t know much in detail about VFX, and it was at the NCCA where I developed all my skills.

“The course structure was great – you start from the basics and slowly get into the advance stuff.

“One great thing about the course is that they push students to create great looking and convincing visuals. They encourage using simple techniques and creating great visuals with it, which I feel worked well for me as it is more artist-friendly. It was a great experience.”

Watch Pramod’s winning showreel

Work by final year animation undergraduates at BU will be showcased in London as part of the NCCA Undergraduate 2013 Degree Show. The free show takes place on 18 and 19 July and tickets can be ordered here

BU graduates celebrate Oscar and BAFTA success


A number of Bournemouth University (BU) graduates celebrated nominations and wins at high-profile award ceremonies this year.

Graduates of the National Centre for Computer Animation (NCCA) in BU’s Media School worked on the visual effects for blockbusters nominated at both the 2013 Oscars and BAFTAs.

Steve Twist, who completed a BA in Computer Visualisation and Animation and an MSc in Computer Animation and Visual Effects at BU, worked on the visual effects for Life of Pi – which won both the Oscar and BAFTA in the Visual Effects category.

Steve worked for California-based Rhythm & Hues Studios as a Character Rigger – and helped create the skeletal structure, muscles and body, and face controls for the computer-generated animals on the lifeboat during the film.

“It was an amazing experience to work on Life of Pi,” said Steve, who graduated in 2010.

“The artists at Rhythm & Hues are an incredible group of people, and it was quite a journey to see the film develop.

“When I saw the movie in the movie theatre, I was very proud to have played my small part to bringing the characters of the movie to life.”

Unfortunately, the company recently filed for bankruptcy protection, so Steve said winning the awards was a “bittersweet moment”.

“It’s amazing that our work was so well received, both by audiences and by critics,” he said. “But, needless to say, I probably felt every emotion possible during those few days.”

Meanwhile, visual effects supervisor Paul Franklin, who co-founded VFX company Double Negative and received an Honorary Doctorate from BU in 2012, and graduate Andy Lockley, who completed an MA in Digital Effects in 2000, were BAFTA-nominated for their visual effects work in Batman film The Dark Knight Rises.

Emma Clifton, who completed a BA (Hons) Computer Visualisation and Animation degree in 2005 was among BU graduates and ex-lecturers who worked on the Oscar and BAFTA-nominated visual effects for The Hobbit.

And two 2010 graduates of the BA (Hons) Computer Visualisation and Animation degree course at BU worked on the Oscar-nominated visual effects for Snow White and the Huntsman.

Dante Harbridge-Robinson was part of a team at BlueBolt Ltd. who helped design and create the castle in the film, while Daniel Georgiou worked on it as a matchmove artist for Double Negative.

Daniel, who now works as a lighting technical director, also worked on visual effects for Les Miserables and Skyfall, which were both nominated for numerous high-profile awards.

It wasn’t just visual effects that BU graduates received recognition for. BA (Hons) Television Production graduate Teddy Leifer was part of the team nominated for Best Documentary for a feature he produced called The Invisible War.

Teddy, who graduated in 2005, was executive producer on the film, which explores the topic of sexual assault in the US military.

Stephen Jukes, Dean of the Media School, said: “We live and breathe the industry in the Media School and we are extremely proud of our graduates who go on – which increasing success – to carry off some of the most prestigious awards.

“I believe we offer a unique combination of academic learning and professional practice which sets students up extremely well to flourish in the rapidly changing and highly competitive media world.”