Category 24: Emerging Technology Award2023-11-06T14:36:47-08:00

Category 24: Emerging Technology Award

This award honors the inventors of a novel and uniquely innovative tool, device, software, or methodology of outstanding value to the art and science of Visual Effects, Gaming or Animation. The achievement is original and advances the state of the art.   

This award celebrates individuals: the production developers, R&D technical directors, software engineers and creators of the technology behind the visuals. The nominees are the primary, individual contributors to the technology– not artists that use the technology, not the company within which the technology was developed, nor the managers who supported it – unless they are also contributors.

In its simplest form, a new technology (software, hardware, workflow) is developed over a period of time which could be several years. The technology is eligible for submission in the same year that the technology sees its first substantial and impactful use for relevant project work (visual effects, animation, games).   If the technology being submitted is derived from a prior technology, then the submission must clearly demonstrate (as documented in the video and supplemental PDF) how this advancement from prior work represents a new and substantial innovation.

Relevant Projects refers to projects that feature visual content produced using the technology under consideration created during the VES release guidelines for that year. All Relevant Projects to be considered as part of eligibility vetting must be listed in the Supplemental PDF, with release date and content type (feature, episode, real-time project, commercial, special venue project). Only Relevant Projects are eligible to be used in the Work to Be Considered reel.


Photoreal or Animated Features intended for Theatrical Release; or 

Episodes of a Photoreal or Animated Series or Limited Drama/Mini-Series, intended for Broadcast or Streaming; or 

Photoreal or Animated Commercials, intended for Theatrical, Broadcast or Streaming; or Special Venue Projects; or Game Cinematics; or

Video Games or other interactive projects created with a Real-Time Engine. 

Premiere Dates: 

January 1 to December 31, 2023 


Technology is defined as a tool, device, software or methodology (or a combination thereof) developed or deployed to aid the application of scientific or artistic knowledge or engineering in the creation of visual effects, animation, or real-time content.

A Feature is defined as a scripted, single, closed-end work with a beginning, middle and end, with a duration of 45 minutes or more. Pilots or single episodes which are part of a Series or Limited Drama/Mini-Series as defined in any VES Episodic eligible award categories, are explicitly excluded from this category. 

A Series is defined as a scripted program with a theme, storyline or principal characters that must be predominantly featured in a minimum of six (6) continuous episodes. 

A Limited Drama/Mini-Series is defined as a single title, multi-part, closed-end program based on a single theme or storyline, with a clear beginning, middle and end, which is resolved within the piece in two (2) or more installments.

A Commercial is defined as a motion imaging work that has been paid for by an identified sponsor, has been sent through one or more mass media, and is directed to a market segment with the explicit purpose of supporting the promotion or sale of a product, brand, service or idea. It should be readily apparent to the viewing public that the entry is a commercial. 

Game Cinematics are defined as non-interactive sequences inserted into the action of a video game, or the pre-rendered sequences used as a game promotion.

Real-Time Projects  are defined as projects that are generated through a CG rendering engine at the same time the audience experiences them. One way to demonstrate the real-time nature of the Project is by including a fps frame rate counter in the Before & After. If the real-time nature of the submission is called into question, the submitter must be able to prove the real-time nature of the rendering by demonstrating interactivity of the scene live to the VES Awards Committee. Real-Time Projects must have been released for the first time to the general public within the calendar year of the Awards. Demonstrations are not eligible for an Award. 

Game content updates, such as a new season or a DLC pack, may be submitted as valid entries, as long as the vast majority of the content being shown in the Work to be Considered is new to that release and shipped during the premiere date window for this awards year. The entirety of 

the year’s work may be considered, but the entry must be clearly titled showing the content source. 

A Special Venue Project is defined by the location at which the material is shown. Special Venues are locations such as theme parks, large-format theaters, museums, galleries, outdoor sites, or live theaters, but not standard movie theaters, homes, or personal viewing devices. Projects must be specifically created for that venue; repurposed projects do not qualify. One time projects (e.g., opening/closing ceremonies at the Olympics) are eligible in this category, as are Virtual Reality projects for Special Venues. Demonstration, pre-release, or trade show projects are not eligible for the VES Awards. Special Venue Virtual Reality projects must use custom equipment and cannot use readily available consumer gear. Special Venue Projects may be Photoreal or Animated, interactive or linear, and 2D or 3D; but the Work to Be Considered and Before & Afters must be submitted as 2D, linear, and with the correct specifications. 

Photoreal is synonymous to live action, the intent being that the images should appear to have been photographed in the real world, even if the actual subjects are fantastical and do not exist in the real world. 

Animated refers to a project where the filmmakers have purposely chosen a look clearly distinct from photorealism for the benefit of the storytelling. The Awards consider animation to be a genre that is independent of the process by which it is created. Some of the techniques of animating films include but are not limited to hand-drawn animation, computer animation, stop-motion, clay animation, pixilation, cutout animation, pinscreen, camera multiple pass imagery, kaleidoscopic effects created frame-by-frame, and drawing on the film frame itself. Motion capture and real-time puppetry are not by themselves animation techniques. 

Additional Information: 

Titles, motion graphics, and logos are not eligible in this category.


Entrant eligibility will be confirmed by the VES Technology Committee in its sole discretion. Published talks, presentations/courses, and media references may be used as additional sources to validate job title and appropriate contribution. Contributor refers to those individuals primarily responsible for directly creating the technology itself. Companies or corporations are not eligible although individual contributors from commercial technology developers could be eligible if their contribution is significant.

Slot 1: Primary designer, architect or developer of the technology being submitted

Slot 2: Additional developer or engineer that has contributed significantly to the development of the technology

Slot 3: Additional developer or engineer that has contributed significantly to the development of the technology

Slot 4: Additional contributor that has added significant value to the design, development, engineering, or integration of the technology

Slot 5: empty

A maximum of four (4) individuals most responsible for the overall technical design, supervision, execution, and delivery of the technology may be included.

These individuals may be but are not limited to:

Principal engineer, domain R&D lead, principal research scientist, head of engineering, Software developer, senior researcher, senior engineer, lead software engineer, pipeline developer, systems architect, UX/UI designer, technical director

List entrants in the order in which they should appear in any announcements or publicity. Make sure the names are spelled correctly. Select your nominees carefully. Submitters should consider qualified artists who no longer work at the facility.

If you find that you need to make an entrant name substitution, go to your original online submission form using the username and password issued at the time of submission. Make the desired name change and click “Submit” to complete the change.

No substitutions will be allowed after the nomination event.

If there is valid reason to question the eligibility of an entrant, the VES Awards Committee reserves the right to investigate the situation and take appropriate action. For more information on name substitutions, consult the VES Awards Policies, Section 11, Name changes, substitutions, and challenges.

Submission Forms and Submission Numbers

You Must fill out a Submission Form online and obtain a Submission Number to be in the Awards. Complete the form, have it signed (electronic signatures are acceptable), upload the completed form to the site by the deadline, November 30, 2023.


Entry forms must be signed by:

  • The person submitting the entry (who may or may not be an entrant); and
  • A member of the submitting facility’s management; and

  • The overall project Technology Supervisor; or

  • The overall project Producer

The signers acknowledge that all entrants are eligible and agree to follow and be bound by the rules, procedures, and policies of the VES Awards.

Contact Person

Please assign one contact person for all your entries. This is the individual (the Submitter) to whom the username and password for uploading your electronic submission will be sent.

This contact person must be available to the Awards Committee during vetting (December through early January) to deal with any potentially disqualifying issues that the Awards Committee may uncover during vetting. He or she should know where to reach everyone named on the submission in case of questions and who can arrange to re-edit a submission if necessary.


Only ONE submission per technology is permitted for the Emerging Technology Award. Submissions may combine the work of several facilities in one entry.  Submitters should consult with their teams to avoid conflicting entries.

If multiple entries are submitted for a technology, all submitters will be notified that they must submit one joint entry or risk disqualification of all entries. If a payment has been made on a duplicate entry, the submitter may use that payment towards an entry in a different category.

However, a Project may feature multiple technologies that are eligible for submission.


Work to Be Considered Length: 1:30 Max.*

Before & Afters Length: 2:30 Max.*

Mandatory Supporting Material PDF: limit 1000 words (Not including chronology) and 8 images

Demo: The VES Tech Committee may require a demonstration of the technology.

Submission format (new for 2023): Quicktime with video as ProRes 422 Proxy, 1920x1080p, 23.98fps,  Rec709, Gamma 2.4. Audio as Stereo 16-bit 44.1/48KHz embedded uncompressed PCM.  No exceptions.

*Not including the length of slates

Entry Content

Your entry is made of three parts:

  • The work you are submitting for the judges to view (the Work to Be Considered).
  • Descriptive information about how the VFX for the project were created (the Before & Afters material).
  • Supporting Explanatory PDF

Entrants are responsible for their own quality control. The VES accepts no responsibility for viewing materials that do not play properly, are submitted at the wrong resolution or format, or are of inferior quality (see Submission Format, below).

Work to Be Considered

This is the project material you wish to be evaluated as the end product of (at least in part) the emerging technology being considered. All Work to Be Considered must be submitted as premiered. Long single shots may be edited down for length by trimming the head or tail of the shot, or lifting one continuous section from the middle. However, you may NOT:

  • Change the order of sequences from how they appeared within the project
  • Change the order of or edit shots (except very long shots as stated above) within a sequence
  • Put different contextual material around the Work to Be Considered other than how it was premiered
  • Add fades or dissolves to “smooth” awkward transitions created by cutting down the sequence. However, you may place a few frames of black between segments
  • Use sound other than the original sound track as premiered
  • Add watermarks to any viewing material

You should provide some contextual material surrounding the Work to Be Considered where it is available. “Contextual Material” is the shots (visual effects or otherwise) immediately preceding or following the work you are submitting. This contextual material shows how the Work to Be Considered fits into the scene, sequence, or project. Contextual Material must be short and solely shown to set up the effects being presented.

Before & Afters

All entries must submit Before & Afters. The Before & Afters material must be unique to this entry and tailored to the category you are entering. Before & Afters entered in different categories from the same project must be significantly different from one another and must specifically address the shots and category being submitted.

The Before & Afters reel must demonstrate the technology and how it is used in producing visuals and must clearly delineate the specific contribution of the technology to the overall shot work. This may include:

  • Design schematics
  • Interface screen captures
  • Video demonstration of the technology being used (as long as the artist is not seen)
  • Early iterations of the tech and test results
  • Side-by-side comparisons to alternate workflows
  • Work-in-progress (developmental progression of shot)
  • The finished shot

In addition:

  • Company logos, logo bugs, or individual names identifying who worked on the entry are not permitted. Entries containing such material will be required to resubmit without identifying marks or they may be disqualified.
  • Special Venue entries must include video footage of the project from the perspective of the audience.
  • Real-Time entries should include video footage demonstrating game assets in their native authoring environment. Overlays showcasing hardware and software performance are also welcomed.
  • You may not use the same Before & Afters clip for two different categories, though limited reuse of individual shots is permissible as long as they fit the intent of the category.

Your entry may be disqualified if the Before & Afters material contains any of the following:

  • Extraneous material that does not relate directly to the Work to Be Considered, including early test work done on other clearly identifiable projects.
  • Shots or sequences that are not shown in the Work to Be Considered except for brief references from external sources, such as YouTube or other films.
  • Talking heads explaining the work (voice-over narration is acceptable).

Written Supporting Material

The Supplemental PDF is mandatory for all Emerging Technology submissions.  All Projects to be considered as part of eligibility vetting must be listed in the Supplemental PDF, with release date and content type (feature, episode, real-time project, commercial, special venue project) and must conform to the VES release guidelines for that year.

Submitters must provide supporting written documentation that describes the innovative technology in sufficient detail for the VES Technology Committee to be able to evaluate its merits.  

A detailed development process timeline (development chronology) with contributor attribution is required.  

Please use the following format:


Contributor(s) – Contribution(s)

Development milestone or advancement



John Doe – software developer

Jane Doe – principal research scientist

Implementation of 2018 Sigggraph paper on novel flip solvers including Houdini integration. John Doe was responsible for the writing the majority of the software code. Jane Doe was responsible for the initial research and development of the primary algorithm used in the code.

If the technology is a new version of pre-existing tech, the submission must clearly delineate NEW development, thus establishing what is in scope for consideration.

 Supplemental PDF may include external links, but only to published peer-reviewed papers.

Please submit a PDF file of your written material at the time of submission by uploading the PDF by clicking on “Actions>Upload supplemental material” on the Submission Form. PDFs of nominated entries will be posted on the View & Vote website. Do not send printed copies of written supporting material to the VES.

Guidelines for Written Material:

  • Put the Submission Number on every page.
  • Keep the number of pages to a minimum.
  • Written material may not include the names of individuals or facilities that directly worked on the visual effects.
  • Reprints of magazine or web articles are not allowed.
  • Please name the PDF file the same as the submission number of your submission (e.g. 01-9999).
  • Eligible projects must be listed by type and release date.
  • Please include chronology of development.
  • Describe where the technology has been used.
  • Is the technology commercially licensed?


All sound used in the Work to Be Considered portion of the entry must be the original sync sound as premiered. Entries may be submitted MOS, but they must be clearly labeled as such on the slate. However, the Before & Afters material may have alternate audio, including relevant commentary. Commentary may not include the names of facilities or individuals that did the work, be self-congratulatory, or otherwise off-topic.


  • The Slates contain the Entry ID needed for the filename. It is the same number as the ID on, but in a different order needed for our records.
  • The Head Slate goes at the beginning of each submission, and the Tail Slate goes at the end of each submission. Tail slates will be automatically generated when you create your submission. If revised materials are submitted, you do not need to update the Slate.

Submitting Viewing Materials

Viewing materials must be submitted in electronic form. We will not accept a submission in physical media form.

Electronic Submissions

When you first made your submission you created a unique username and password to use for electronic material submissions. Use the same username and password for all your submissions. But keep in mind that each individual entry will also be given a unique file name that corresponds to only one specific Submission Number.

Submission Format: ProRes Proxy (new for 2023)

The new submission format for 2023 is Apple ProRes Proxy in a QuickTime wrapper (.mov).

 All viewing material must follow these guidelines:

  • 1920x1080p, 23.98fps ProRes Proxy Video
  • Color encoding per Rec. 709
  • Gamma 2.4
  • Audio should be stereo, embedded uncompressed PCM 16-bit 44.1/48KHz.

No exceptions to these requirements.

The VES is not responsible for any artifacting present in video files used for online voting that may be caused by interlaced footage.

Upload Order

The entry must be uploaded in three parts:

The Work to Be Considered (the entry) is one upload; and

The written supporting material (PDF).

Use the VES slates on first upload and follow the upload order below in assembling your submission:

Upload No. 1:

Part 1:


B) :01 BLACK
D) :01 BLACK

Upload No. 2:

Part 2:


B) :01 BLACK
D) :01 BLACK

Do not combine your uploads.  Viewing material deviating from these format specs will not be accepted.

Part 3: Supporting material PDF

File Naming Conventions

NOTE: The Entry ID is the number on your SLATE, formatted as XX-XXXX

Your uploaded submission(s) must be named as follows:

For Part 1: Work to Be Considered

  • Entry (This is the original project material)

For Part 2: Before & Afters

  • Entry (This is your Before & Afters file)

For example: For Submission ID 02-0003, name your files as follows:

  • Work to Be Considered:
  • Before & Afters:

For Part 3: Supporting material PDF

Entry ID.pdf (This is your supporting material file)

For example: For Submission ID 02-0003, name your files as follows:

Work to Be Considered:

Supporting material file: 02-0003.pdf


SUBMISSIONS OPEN: Monday, October 9, 2023

DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSIONS: Thursday, November 30, 2023, 11:59PM PST

NOTE: Unavailability of personnel to prepare submission materials in time to meet the entry deadline is not a valid reason to be granted a deadline extension.


(Dates subject to change)


Period of Eligibility for Entries January 1 – December 31
Rules & Procedures Posted August 28
Entry Forms Available, Submissions Open——– October 9
Submission Deadline November 30, 2023


Global Nominating Panels January 13
L.A. Nomination Judging Panels Hold Vote——- January 13
Nominations Announced January 16
On-Line Viewing & Vote (Members Only) January 22 – February 4
22nd Annual VES Awards Gala Wednesday, February 21, 2024



The total fee for each entry is $460, regardless of how many individuals are named on the submission or their VES affiliation.


Each VES member is entitled to one personal Submission Voucher that will cover that member’s entry fee for one entry only or that member’s pro-rated portion of one entry if he or she is a part of a team entry.

For purposes of pro-rating, VES vouchers are deemed to have a value of $115 regardless of the category being entered. Therefore, the non-VES entrants must pay the difference between the $460 total entry fee minus the value of the VES vouchers being applied to the entry.

  • Example #1: Assume that an entry in category 4 (where a total of five entrants is allowed) is using two vouchers valued at $230. That leaves a balance of $230 to be split among the remaining three entrants for a total value of $460.
  • Example #2: Assume that an entry in category 12 (limited to four entrants) is using one voucher only. That leaves a balance of $345 to be split among the remaining three entrants.

Each member may make a voucher by photocopying their valid VES membership card and including it with the submission as their portion of the entry fee.

Vouchers are non-transferable.


Payment must be received by the VES no later than 5 PM PST, November 30, 2023. Entries are not complete and will not be vetted until payment has been made.


Submissions may only be made through this VES Awards website by following the directions below. 

  1. Designate ONE person to be your primary “go to” person for all VES Awards matters. This person is the official Submitter. He or she must sign the Submission Form. 
  2. The submission form will be available starting on or about October 9, 2023 on this site.
  3. Click on “Submit an Entry” below. 
  4. After clicking “Submit an Entry”, click on “Create New Submission.” Instructions will take you through the complete registration and submission process and will guide you on how to prepare your materials for upload. 
  5. Give each entry a distinct project title (preferably the project’s main title) and entry name on both the entry form and on the slate (e.g., Main Title of Project: Avengers; Name of Clip: Hulk Smashes Loki). 
  6. When you have completed the Submission Form, click ”Submit”. A unique submission number will be automatically issued. At the same time, slates will be automatically generated for your viewing materials. 
  7. One submission per form. Do not combine multiple entries on a single submission form.
  8. Making a note of the official Submission Number. Do not lose this login information or share it with an unauthorized individual. You will need this information later if you have to make changes to your submission. 
  9. Print or Download your completed entry form, have it signed by the appropriate individuals (electronic signatures are acceptable), upload the completed form to the site by the deadline, November 30, 2023. 
  10. Entry fees should be paid by using the online credit card authorization form in the section “Submit an Entry”. 
  11. Use the Submission Number in all correspondence relating to your entry. 
  12. Upload your viewing materials in Submission Format (ProRes as specified above), no later than Thursday, November 30, 2023.

The VES Awards Committee may need to revise the text on this page. If we do, we will note any revisions below: