22nd Annual VES Awards Rules, Procedures and Policies2024-07-15T11:39:36-07:00

Please note: Rules and Procedures for the 23rd Annual VES Awards are coming soon. 

Welcome to the 22nd Annual VES Awards

Dear VES Awards Submitters:

Here is important information that will help submitters navigate the 22nd Annual VES Awards:

First, all submitters need to know that the schedule of the VES Awards is back to the customary timetable that applied prior to the disruption brought on by the pandemic last year.  Please pay close attention to the schedule.  Entries are open for submission from Monday, October 9 to Thursday, November 30, 2023 at 11:59 pm Pacific Time.

Our industry is constantly changing.  Consequently the Awards Committee made some revisions in the Rules & Procedures to bring the definitions of several categories in line with current industry practices.  Please be sure to review the rules for categories you plan to enter.

We kept the format of the Rules & Procedures (R&Ps) the same as last year’s so that you can quickly find and access all the information you need from within any category’s “home” page. Everything you need to know to prepare an entry can be found with a click on the Category page you are interested in.

Some good news:  The cost of submission remains at US $460.00 per entry.

Please remember that only ONE submission per project is allowed in the General Categories (categories 1 through 8). If more than one facility wishes to make a submission for a given project in one of those categories, they must coordinate their submission through either the overall VFX Supervisor or overall VFX Producer to submit a joint entry. Only in broadcast or streaming categories may multiple submissions from the same project be allowed under limited circumstances.

We continue to encourage entrants to submit optional PDFs of written supplemental material for posting to the View & Vote site.

And finally, the expected date of the 22nd Annual VES Awards presentation is Wednesday, February 21, 2024.  We look forward to welcoming you to the Awards Gala.

Address your questions, if any, to awards@vesglobal.org,


Each category below will take you to a description of the page, with all the instructions needed in the “details” sections.

Category 1: Outstanding Visual Effects in a Photoreal Feature
Category 2: Outstanding Supporting Visual Effects in a Photoreal Feature
Category 3: Outstanding Visual Effects in an Animated Feature
Category 4: Outstanding Visual Effects in a Photoreal Episode
Category 5: Outstanding Supporting Visual Effects in a Photoreal Episode
Category 6: Outstanding Visual Effects in a Real-Time Project
Category 7: Outstanding Visual Effects in a Commercial
Category 8: Outstanding Visual Effects in a Special Venue Project
Category 9: Outstanding Animated Character in a Photoreal Feature
Category 10: Outstanding Animated Character in an Animated Feature
Category 11: Outstanding Animated Character in an Episode, Commercial, Game Cinematic, or Real-Time Project
Category 12: Outstanding Created Environment in a Photoreal Feature
Category 13: Outstanding Created Environment in an Animated Feature
Category 14: Outstanding Created Environment in an Episode, Commercial, Game Cinematic, or Real-Time Project
Category 15: Outstanding Virtual Cinematography in a CG Project
Category 16: Outstanding Model in a Photoreal or Animated Project
Category 17: Outstanding Effects Simulations in a Photoreal Feature
Category 18: Outstanding Effects Simulations in an Animated Feature
Category 19: Outstanding Effects Simulations in an Episode, Commercial, Game Cinematic, or Real-Time Project
Category 20: Outstanding Compositing & Lighting in a Feature
Category 21: Outstanding Compositing & Lighting in an Episode
Category 22: Outstanding Compositing & Lighting in a Commercial
Category 23: Outstanding Special (Practical) Effects in a Photoreal Project
Category 24: Emerging Technology Award
Category 25: Outstanding Visual Effects in a Student Project


Before submitting an entry, please read through the entire Rules and Procedures for your Category, and then click the link “Submit An Entry” on the Category page or here: Submit An Entry


Just a few reminders:

  • Any project that premiered anywhere in the world in 2023 and that meets the criteria of the VES Awards may be entered.
  • The deadline for submissions is Thursday, November 30, 2023, 11:59PM Pacific Time.
  • You must upload your viewing materials and optional supplemental written material (if any) between November 6, 2023 and November 30, 2023
  • The Awards Committee does not give advice prior to vetting on which category an entry should be submitted in. When it is unclear which category a submission is properly eligible for, use your best judgment based on category definitions and submit entries accordingly. If, during vetting, the Awards Committee determines that the entry is in the wrong category, the Committee will discuss the matter with you and give you the options of 1). Revising it to better fit the category, 2). Moving the entry to a more suitable category, or 3). Withdrawing the entry.
  • It is the policy of the VES Awards that Special (Practical) Effects Coordinators/Supervisors be recognized for their work when the special effects contributed significantly to the overall visual impact of a production. Accordingly, the Special Effects Coordinator/Supervisor must be named in all but two General Categories when the contributions of the special effects are a prominent part of the project. Therefore a fifth nominee spot is set aside exclusively for the Special Effects Coordinator/Supervisor. Should one not be entered, this spot will remain vacant.


Questions about these Awards should be directed to awards@vesglobal.org.


VES Awards Policies

The VES Awards Policies contain the technical details used by the Awards Committee to govern the VES Awards process. Feel free to browse the sections below:

1. Naming of Key Personnel

It is the spirit and intent of the VES awards to honor not only VFX artists, but also members of the management team that are primarily responsible for accomplishing the work that we honor. For this reason it is a fundamental policy of the VES that both the overall project VFX Supervisor and VFX Producer (or their equivalents in the gaming and animation sectors, respectively) shall be named as the first two entrants in any General Category entry. They are considered key personnel. No substitutions will be allowed for either of these positions. In the absence of either of these individuals on the project, no other individual may be nominated in their place and their spot on the entry shall remain vacant.

The choice of the other two individuals who may be named in a General Category entry is at the discretion of the VFX Supervisor or VFX Producer. There is no requirement to name additional people. However, any additional individuals being named must have personally contributed significantly to the visual effects of the project in a creative or technical role. This should include the Special Effects Coordinator when the special effects made a particularly significant contribution to the visual effects of a project. A fifth entrant slot is reserved exclusively for the Special Effects Coordinator/supervisor when the special effects played a particularly significant role in the visuals of the project.

Facility (in-house) VFX Supervisors and VFX Producers are not considered ‘Key VFX Personnel’ within the meaning of these Awards unless they were also the project’s overall VFX Supervisor and VFX Producer. However, they would be eligible to be entered as one of the two additional entrants in a General Category at the discretion of the overall VFX Supervisor or VFX Producer.

Executive Producers or management personnel of facilities are not eligible in any category unless they can demonstrate by petition that they personally played a significant hands-on role in the creation of an entry that went over and above their normal duties within the facility or production.

2. Submission Guidelines

Entries may be submitted by:

    • The VFX Producer
    • The VFX Supervisor
    • The project’s Producer(s)
    • The project’s Director
    • Any individual who meets the eligibility requirements specific to each category
    • Studios, production companies, and visual effects facilities may make a submission on behalf of anyone listed above
    • Next of kin may make a submission on behalf of a disabled or deceased relative

The VES does not provide guidance on which category a project should enter. When it is unclear which category a submission is properly eligible for, entrants should use their best judgment, submit a Submission Form and pay the entry fee. If, during vetting, the Awards Committee questions the choice of category, the Committee will discuss the matter with the submitter and may direct the entry to be moved into a category where it is eligible. The VFX Supervisor or VFX Producer (or their respective equivalents in the animation or gaming fields) shall then have the discretion to move the entry per the Committee’s request, modify it to meet the criteria of the category, or withdraw the entry.

3. Signatures

Signatures are required on the Submission Form from two or three individuals, depending on the entry. The signature of two individuals is required when an entry is submitted directly by a production’s own visual effects department, or by an independent artist not working for a facility. In these cases signatures are required from the person completing the submission form (the Submitter) and either the overall VFX Supervisor or VFX Producer of the project.

A third signature is required when the work being submitted was created by a facility that performed the work for a production company. In that case, the signature of a member of the facility’s management is required.

By signing the form, these individuals agree to abide by the rules of the Awards and attest to the accuracy of the information supplied and the eligibility of the entrants named on the submission. Further, by signing the Submission Form, the overall VFX Supervisor or VFX Producer declare that they have the authority to resolve any disputes arising from the choice of entrants named on the submission. This provides an opportunity for facilities and entrants to be fully aware of and to resolve any conflicts and errors BEFORE submitting an entry. Entrants and submitters agree to hold the VES free of any liability in case of disputes arising from an entry.

The VES will not arbitrate disputes concerning who deserves to be named on an entry. However, the VES reserves the right to verify the qualifications of an entrant if it has reason to believe that the entrant is ineligible. If an entrant is found to be ineligible on the basis of credible information, they may be disqualified by the Awards Committee at any stage of the awards process up to the presentation of awards. Submission forms must be physically signed by the submitters. Electronic signatures are acceptable.

4. Payments and Refunds

All financial transactions are handled by the VES Office. Please address your inquiries to awards@vesglobal.org.

As a general rule, no refunds will be given except when a category is eliminated in its entirety, or in case of an error on the part of the VES Office or the Awards Committee that causes an entry to be lost or disqualified through no fault of the submitter.

Refunds will specifically not be given for:

    • Late receipt of entry materials
    • Submission of faulty viewing materials
    • Voluntary withdrawal of an entry
    • Failure to make timely corrections to an entry after having been advised by the Committee of a problem entry

A submitting organization may voluntarily choose to withdraw an entry at its discretion. No entry fee refunds shall be given in these situations.

5. Vetting

Viewing Materials

The Awards Committee screens all viewing materials in their entirety to confirm that the submission meets entry requirements. When an entry is found to have a problem, the Committee will advise the entrant via e-mail of the problem and give the entrant a deadline for making the required corrections. If the corrections are not made in a timely manner the entry may be disqualified.

Entrant Eligibility

The VES does not determine who should be named on an entry. It is up to the submitting organization to name the entrants. Artists who feel that they deserve to be entered on a submission should discuss the matter with the submitting organization at the earliest opportunity. If a question concerning an entrant’s eligibility arises based on their true function and/or length of service on a project, the VES Awards Committee will verify the individual’s actual role. If, after due investigation, the Committee finds that the role of the individual in question is not in conformity with the eligibility rules of a given category, the entrant may be disqualified at any stage of the awards process up to the presentation of awards.

Project Eligibility

If a question of a project’s eligibility arises, based on premiere date, type of production (for example, whether a broadcast program is part of a series or a Special), or any other valid reason, the VES Awards Committee will verify the project’s details. If the Committee finds that the production in question is not in conformity with the eligibility rules, the project may be disqualified. Corporate IDs or marks and company logos of the company or companies or individuals involved in the production of any entry may not appear in viewing or written materials. Violation of this policy may lead to the disqualification of the entry.

6. Nominating Procedures

Nominating Criteria

SUBMISSIONS ARE ELIGIBLE FOR AN AWARD ONLY IF THE WORK MERITS AN AWARD BASED ON CURRENT STANDARDS OF THE INDUSTRY as determined by the judging panels. Nomination judging panelists may choose not to bestow a nomination in a category should they determine the work submitted not to be worthy of a nomination in their expert and qualified opinion. The decisions of judging panels are final.

Peer judging panels screen all qualified entries in their respective categories and may nominate up to five entries in categories 1 through 8 and up to four entries in all other categories. Voting shall be by secret ballot.

Nominations balloting occurs in two phases:

    • After all entries in a category have been screened, the nominating panel shall hold an open vote to determine whether the category merits an award. A majority vote shall be required.
    • Assuming that this vote is affirmative, judges shall then cast a secret ballot to determine the nominees.


The guiding policy for the number of nominees is that there shall not be more than five nominated entries under any circumstances. Therefore, ties for the last place in the nominations voting shall be resolved as follows:

    • In case of a two-way tie in categories with a maximum of four entries (Specific Arts categories), both entries shall be nominated without further voting, for a total of five nominations.
    • In case of a two-way tie in categories with a maximum of five entries (General categories), the nominating panel shall be given a new ballot listing only the tied submissions and hold a revote until the tie is resolved. The entry receiving the most votes will become the fifth nominee.
    • In case of a three- or four-way tie for the last entry in any one category, the nominating panel shall be given a new ballot listing only the tied submissions and hold a revote until the tie is resolved. Following the revote, the five entries (or four in categories limited to four entries) receiving the highest number of votes will become official nominees.

Categories with Only a Single Entry

If there is only one entry in a category in any given year, the peer judging panel must vote that the entry is worthy of a nomination by a two-thirds (2/3) majority. The vote shall be open, and votes shall be counted and recorded by the room monitor. Should the lone entry not get a two-thirds majority vote, then the category will be eliminated from the Awards for the current year, and the entry fee shall be refunded to the submitter. (Please see SECTION 9: FINAL VOTING, for more information on how the vote for a category with a single entry is handled.)

Elimination of Categories

Any category that has three or fewer valid submissions for two successive years will be reviewed by the Awards Committee and considered for elimination from the awards until such time that the Committee sees strong evidence of sufficient interest in the category to revive it.

Peer Judging Panels

The VES utilizes qualified peer judging panels to screen all submissions to determine the nominees in each category.

Judges are assigned to evaluate and vote on entries in their areas of expertise. All judges are screened for conflicts of interest. However, it is up to each judge to notify the Awards Committee of any potential conflicts of interest at the time of the judging.

Judges are sought out in the fall of each year. Only VES members in good standing may serve on judging panels.

The qualifications for serving on a specific panel include, but are not necessarily limited to, the following:

    • Judges must have a level of expertise in the category being judged
    • Judges must not have a conflict of interest in the category they are judging. A ‘conflict of interest’ exists when a judge personally worked on a project being considered by the panel to which they are assigned. However, it is permissible for a judge to be an employee of the facility that created the work under consideration as long as they did not personally work on the project. In the event of a conflict of interest, a judge is required to notify a member of the VES Awards Committee and must recuse themself from voting on any entry in that category and is strictly forbidden from attempting to influence the vote of others.

Room Monitors

Every nominating panel is to be assisted by a member of the VES Awards Committee who shall act as room monitor. Room monitors shall read the category definitions to nominating panels before showing the entries, interpret the rules, and answer questions posed by panelists. However, room monitors may not express opinions on the merits of entries and are prohibited from casting votes.

7. Petitions

Under specific circumstances, an entrant may petition the Awards Committee for an exception to the rules. These circumstances are limited to:

    • Substitution of one entrant or nominee’s name for another in a challenge after nominations are announced
    • Change in an entrant/nominees’ job description or credit
    • Entering an artist in a craft category normally off-limits to that individual
    • Withdrawing a submission
    • Request to extend a submission’s deadline when circumstances leading to the request are beyond a submitter’s control.
      NOTE: Unavailability of personnel to prepare submission materials in time to meet the entry deadline is not sufficient cause to petition for a deadline extension
    • Petitions must be in writing and the petitioner must have a valid submission (entry) number before submitting a petition
    • A petition must make a clear, compelling and factual case for why it should be granted. The Awards Committee will then vet the claims being made, and if found to be valid, may make an exception to the rule at its sole discretion
    • The Committee reserves the right to ask for additional evidence or details when a petitioner’s request lacks sufficient information for the Committee to make a fair and impartial decision
    • Petition forms are available on the entrant’s individual submission page.

8. Review and Oversight

The Awards Committee reserves the right to question, review and/or ask any individual who is part of a submission or has made a submission on the behalf of others to the current awards program for further information and facts. Should this information not be forthcoming in a timely manner, the submission or individual may be disqualified.

The Visual Effects Awards Committee and its members serve at the pleasure of the Board of Directors of the VES. Therefore the manner in which the Awards process is run, and all decisions that the Awards Committee makes, are subject to review and revision by the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors of the VES.

9. Final Voting

Final voting takes place via the Internet on a secure website. All VES members in good standing as of January 1, 2024, may vote in the Awards.

Voting invitations are sent out prior to the start of online voting to the member’s email address on file with the VES office as of January 1, 2024. This invitation contains a unique encrypted link that a voter must use to access the VES Online View and Vote System. It is the member’s responsibility to insure that their valid email address is listed with the VES. 

The VES Online View and Vote System will be available at 12:00 AM PST on January 22, 2024 and will close at 11:59 PM PST on February 4, 2024.

The VES office will send all members information on how to view the material and cast their votes online. If you have not received this information and instructions for voting by January 22, 2024, please contact the VES office for further directions. It is the member’s responsibility to contact the VES office in the event instructions are not received.

Members will be able to view nominated entries in each category on an Internet-capable computer prior to voting, using secure media formats and procedures served by a secure web server.

The online materials are to serve as reminders and demonstrations of the steps involved in creating the visual effects shots. Whenever possible, VES members should view entries in the context or venues for which they were produced, i.e., films in a movie theater, HD programs in High Definition, etc. Members are at liberty to abstain from voting on submissions that they feel uncertain about or have not seen.

Categories with Only a Single Qualified Entry

In the event that a category has only one (-1-) nominated entry, a simple majority of the members who voted in that category during the View & Vote shall be required in order to bestow an award on that lone nominee. For example, if 200 members vote in a category with a single nominee in it, a majority of 101 votes for the nominee is required for that nominee to be honored with the award.

10. VES Awards Winners

Award winners will be announced at the annual VES Awards Show. The VES Award will be presented to the individual(s) listed on each entry’s official Submission Form.

Categories are limited to either four or five individuals who may receive an award for a single category. The number depends on the category in question. All General Categories except categories 3 and 6 may have as many as five nominees, the fifth spot being reserved exclusively for the Special (Practical) Effects Coordinator/Supervisor. All Specific Arts Categories are limited to four nominees only.

A nominee or the nominee’s family may appoint a designee to accept the VES Award, should they not be able to attend the Awards Event. The nominee or their appointed representative should advise the VES Awards Committee if they will not be able to attend the Awards Event.

11. Name Changes, Substitutions, and Challenges

Individual nominees on an entry may withdraw themselves, but the entry and/or nomination will stand as long as at least one team member remains.

To withdraw an entire entry at any step of the nominating process, the Submitter must send a petition to awards@vesglobal.org to request the withdrawal and stating the reason for withdrawing.

Changes in Entrants

Name changes may be made at the discretion of the submitter up until the date of the Nomination Event.

The VES does not take a position on who should be named in a submission as long as an entrant is eligible per the Rules & Procedures. Choice of entrants is the responsibility of the submitting organization.

Submitters wishing to make a change in entrants must go to their original online submission form using the username and password issued at the time of submission. They may then make the desired name substitution in entrants and click “Submit” to complete the change.

No name changes will be accepted after the Nominating Event on January 13, 2024 except in case of a legitimate challenge.

Challenges to Nominations

Challenges may be made only by an individual who would be personally affected by the outcome of the challenge. No proxy challenges will be allowed.

In the event of a challenge to a nominated individual after nominations have been made public, the challenger shall first contact the Submitter and the two parties shall attempt to settle the dispute. The Challenger shall, at the same time, advise the VES Awards Committee in writing of the challenge. Challenges must be made no later than January 26, 2024 and must be resolved no later than February 2, 2024. Both parties to the challenge shall keep the VES Awards Committee informed of their progress.

If the Submitter agrees to make a change, the Submitter shall send a petition to the VES to awards@vesglobal.org, citing the reasons for the change and indicating the name(s) of the individuals being changed. Challenges not resolved within the stated two-week window shall result in the nominations remaining as originally publicized.

In the case of challenged nominations, substitutions MUST be approved by the overall VFX Supervisor or the overall VFX Producer of record. Only they have the authority to settle challenges.

The Awards Committee will consider the petition and if the request for the substitution is found to have merit, the Awards Committee will advise the concerned parties of its decision. The VES Awards Committee reserves the right to review any name substitutions and may act upon requests for name substitutions at its sole discretion.

UNDER EXTRAORDINARY CIRCUMSTANCES, should the parties involved feel that the Awards Committee decision is unjust, they may appeal the decision to the Executive Committee of the VES. However, by doing so the entire category will be pulled from the awards until such time as the Executive Committee delivers a decision. As the Awards Program runs on a very tight deadline, this may mean that the winners will be announced sometime after the Awards event itself.

The VES is not responsible for failure on the media’s part to honor any name changes it grants, nor is it responsible for misspellings or any other incorrect information the press may report.

12. Press Releases

Press releases are issued to the media after the Nominating Event and again after the Awards are presented, listing all nominees and winners, respectively. The order that project names are listed in is determined randomly prior to the nominating event and follows the order in which entries appear on the nominating ballot.

The listing order of individual names on a nomination is determined by and follows exactly the order in which the names are listed on the entry form. Please be sure to list them correctly at the time of submission.

It is the submitter’s responsibility to assure that all names and job titles on a submission are correct.

13. Rules For the Protection of the Physical Award

The VES Award (Statuette) is the property of the VES. All rights are reserved by the VES.

The VES Award may not be reproduced or used in any commercial manner unless specifically authorized or permitted by the VES in advance and in writing, it being understood that possession of the Award is solely for the benefit of the recipient and the recipient’s heirs or successors in interest.

The VES Award may not be sold. If a recipient or the recipient’s heirs or successors in interest propose to sell or otherwise dispose of the VES Award, such persons shall return the Award to the VES, which will retain the Award in storage in memory of the recipient.

Should your award be damaged or destroyed, please contact the VES office for information on repair or replacement. If the award was destroyed, you must provide proof of loss.

14. Ownership and Clearances

All materials submitted to the VES awards program will be considered cleared only for the following uses:

    • Screening by the VES staff and Awards Committee for the purposes of vetting a submission
    • Screening by the nominating panels, and associated personnel for the purposes of nominating the work submitted,
    • Screening by eligible VES members for purposes of selecting the outstanding achievement in each category,
    • Screening by the VES members and their guests at the VES Awards Ceremony,
    • Archival purposes.

In the event that any other uses may be required, the VES will obtain the required rights and permissions from the copyright owner and/or distributor of the material.

The person submitting the ‘materials’ shall, if nominated for an award, exercise best efforts to assist the VES in obtaining, without charge to the VES, a license to use excerpts from the submitted film or broadcast program, which illustrates the nominated materials, in the VES Awards Show for domestic and international uses.

15. Certificates and Commemoratives

Nomination Certificates are provided to all nominees.

Commemorative VES Awards may be purchased for:

    • The facility at which the awarded work was created. In the event that multiple facilities created the awarded work, a maximum of four facilities may be eligible to purchase a commemorative award. Only facilities that directly created the awarded work are eligible. Commemorative statuettes may not be purchased on behalf of or presented as gifts to other facilities.
    • The facilities selected to purchase the physical award must be:
      • Submitted by the project’s VFX Supervisor and/or VFX Producer
      • Vetted by the VES office, and
      • Approved by the VES Awards Committee
    • The production company that produced the project containing the awarded work
    • In the case of commercials, the advertising agency under whose creative direction the awarded work was accomplished
    • The network on which the project containing the awarded work was premiered
    • The studio that distributed the project containing the awarded work

The facility, production company, advertising agency, network and studio are only entitled to one commemorative award each per category in which the work was awarded. Commemorative VES Awards may not be ordered for individuals. 

The plaque on the commemorative physical award will read exactly as awarded. No name substitutions or additions are allowed.

The words, “Facility Copy” will be added to the awards and the letter “C” will be placed before the serial number to identify it as a copy of the actual award.

16. Promotional Screeners

The Awards Committee permits promotional screeners – including commercially released Blu-rays and DVDs that may have ‘Extra Features’ on them – to be sent by studios to the VES membership.

Screening materials may not contain direct appeals for votes in any VES Awards categories.

Please see the Categories for a complete list of General and Specific Arts Categories.

VES Awards Policy Concerning Screenings, Screeners, and Self-Promotion