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Last Monday night’s VR Awards in London was a celebration of outstanding achievement in the Virtual Reality Industry. The awards honored directors, developers, and – of course – techies. A few members of the AMD Studios Team attended the show to fly the flag for AMD and announce AMD Studios’ dedication to VR and VFX innovation.

Innovation in the VR entertainment sphere was celebrated with the “Best out of home VR Entertainment” award to The VOID’s Ghostbusters: Dimension and the “VR Startup of the Year” award presented to LiveLike for their revolutionary VR sports viewing. The big winner of the night was Oculus. The VR company took home awards for their groundbreaking technology with Oculus Touch for “VR Hardware of the Year” and Oculus Rift for “VR Headset of the Year”.

Like any awards ceremony, the VR Awards was a glitzy affair, but distinctively everyone in attendance at this ceremony also shared a passion for making VR universally applicable in areas such as entertainment, education and training, and healthcare. There was a palpable excitement for the important advancements that had been and would be made by the leaders of the industry. These advancements were highlighted by the technical award winners, including ImmersiCare by Tribemix for “Best use of VR in Healthcare”, Industrial Training International’s ITI Crane Simulator for “Best use of VR in Education and Training”, and G’Audio Lab for “Innovative VR Company of the Year”.

As well as presenting awards for innovative VR, AMD Studios announced its newest educational endeavor. The Studios has begun working with film schools to seek out the brightest visual effects students to further technological and creative leadership. The team plans to support select students’ future careers as artists and animators through the close support of their work while in school. These students push the boundaries with new and exciting creation techniques and are critical to creating the future of visual effects.

AMD has a long tradition of supporting open industry standards by contributing to open source tools and even sharing their own work as open source projects. AMD’s dedication to accessible open source software is a huge help to all VR and VFX innovators, including students. This software gives users fantastic choice and opens the door for virtually all creators to access to the tools they need for their ground-breaking art. With open source software, more creators can also access creative tools and make truly novel visual effects. AMD is dedicated to collaboration and open standards to encourage budding VFX and VR creators to think outside of the box and change the industry one frame at a time.

To celebrate this dedication, AMD Studios most recently teamed up with Foundry and Chapman University’s Dodge College of Film and Media Arts in Orange, California to support their student creators. The team worked with Dodge College to recognize some of their top film and visual effects students and showcase Foundry’s integration of OpenCL into Nuke 11.0.

Back in September, representatives from AMD Studios visited Chapman University for an AMD Studios Senior Thesis VFX Pitchfest. At the Pitchfest, dozens of undergraduate and graduate students pitched their thesis films that sought to solve a problem in the visual effects pipeline and featured innovative and professional quality visual effects techniques.

Students presented projects featuring homemade 360 VR filming, floating display creation, CG characters, stop-motion animation and even real-time rendering. Although all of the presented projects were impressive, five thesis films were chosen to be supported by AMD. Each winning team was awarded AMD Radeon™ Pro graphics hardware to help complete their visual effects to the most professional quality possible. This support also includes creative and technical assistance from the AMD Studios team. AMD Studios will be following these students throughout the 2017-18 school year and will be sharing their projects as they come to life. Watch this space for the next in our video series on their progress.

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