Working in visual effects, animation, games and similar creative media & entertainment industries has always been highly competitive. As an artist you constantly need to learn new software and challenge yourself to improve your creative and technical skills. You need to always be on the look out for that next career opportunity and even be willing to relocate to the other side of the world.

To make matters worse, there is a constant stream of aspiring artists hungry for a chance to work on the next blockbuster film and AAA rated game. As an established artist in these industries you may have strong production experience, a solid network of industry professionals and a killer portfolio but don't for one minute think you can drop your guard.

It's obvious I'm trying to paint a bleak picture here with an eye-catching title, but it's actually pretty exciting news when you think about it. In my opinion, highly skilled labour keeps our industries strong, educational facilities are challenged with updating curriculums and employers are forced to be competitive with career opportunities.

To show you how talented aspiring digital artists are these days, the Rookie Awards 2019 recently received 3,458 entries from artists around the globe and the work is truly incredible. Don't believe me? Take a look at the following sample of works submitted to our judging panel and try to tell me this isn't a good thing for our industries.

3D Animation

Winner: Mehmet Tayfur Türkmenoğlu
Turkey | Yıldız Technical University
I've been always drawing ever since I could remember. After attending high school, I noticed that this is my passion and the job that I could make a difference.

Runner Up: Jeremy Schaefer
United States | Ringling College of Art and Design
In high school I started messing around with cameras and visual effects. Two YouTube channels named Freddiew and Corridor Digital both heavily inspired me to just pick up a camera and make something.

Highly Commended: Ayoub Moulakhnif
Morocco | AnimSchool
I've been drawing and watching a lot of cartoons when I was a kid, one day I realized there is a possibility to turn my hobby into a profession, so I decided to become a storyteller.

Highly Commended: Jenna Spurlock
United States | School of Visual Arts
I grew up in Orlando, Florida next to Walt Disney World; so from a very young age I was able to observe the influence of animation to a wide audience of people of all ages. I was always passionate about the arts and studied painting for a few years before realizing that my ultimate dream is to create animated films and portray my love for both storytelling and visual art into a full-time career.

Highly Commended: Kriska Tsenova
United Kingdom | Glasgow Caledonian University
I am a visual storyteller and I have always been. Ever since I was a little kid I loved drawing, painting, reading, re-watching my favorite films 100 times and consequently creating my own stories. My life has grown around those passions of mine, I constantly explore different mediums and styles and I search for the best way to tell meaningful stories.

Highly Commended: Kim Strandli
Denmark | The Animation Workshop
Ever since my mom gave me access to Photoshop at age 8, I've wanted to learn as many creative tools as possible, as a way to distract myself from my home village where I didn't fit in. Even making DVD menus using Adobe Encore age 12 (for fun!). I eventually got my hands on 3DS Max, and it put me on a trajectory away from home, in the possibilities it opened up,and the communities I suddenly felt I belonged to. The enjoyment I've gotten from this medium made it impossible to want anything else.

People's Choice: Juan Fer Bravo
Mexico | Vancouver Film School
The first time I new I wanted to be part of this industry was when I was finishing High School 6 years ago and I was unsure about what I wanted to do for the rest of my life, drawing has always been one of my passions but after watching the pixar documentary I knew I had to be part of this amazing industry where I´ll be able to be myself and create more. After finishing my bachelor degree in Design, last year I did the 3D animation program where I was formally introduced to the Industry .

Visual Effects

Winner: Tomoe Matsushima
Japan | Musashino Art University

I realised it when I was university sophomore.

Runner Up: Angela Rico
United States | Gnomon School of Visual Effects
Two things happened that made me want to stop thinking about becoming a veterinarian. 1. I watched Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, and 2. I played God of War I.

Highly Commended: Denis Krez
Germany | Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg
With 16 years I had my first contact with VFX. My brother showed me a funny photomontage which one of his friends created as a joke. He put my brothers face on the poster of Terminator 2 - the one with Arnold sitting on the motorcycle. It wasn't just funny - it blew my mind how believable that montage looked. From that day on I picked up every online tutorial I could find and started the long journey of learning to see the world in relation to motion, light, composition and colour.

Highly Commended: Joyce Kambey
Singapore | 3dsense Media School
I was exposed to video games when I was young, and was interested to pursue a career in game industry. However I enrolled into an animation school where I learn more about the film and animation industry. Ever since then I have decided I wanted to do visual effects and pursue a career in film industry.

People's Choice: Laszlo Kalbache
Canada | ArtFx
When I was young and fascinated by VFX in big movies, I was already looking for how to create an effect.

Concept Art & Illustration

Winner: Hyun Lee
United States | Academy of Art University
Since I was in high school, I was interested in game industry especially, concept art.

Runner Up: Giuseppe Di Stasio
Canada | Syn Studio
I remember playing Mass Effect and loving it. When I checked out the art book it came with I realized that there's was a whole lot of art going into game development. Back then I had a very vague idea of what concept art was and it would have been years before I found the path that was right for me, but I think that was the first time I started thinking I wanted a career making art for games.

Highly Commended: Roanna Peroz
Singapore | 3dsense Media School
Growing up, my art was mainly influenced by anime, cartoons, videogames and comics. Illustration is something I've always enjoyed, and over the years I realised creating content for games, comics or any entertainment related industry is what I wanted to do for the rest of my career. A lot of artists in the industry inspire me as well, and the passion and dedication to their craft is something that keeps motivating me to constantly improve and work towards my goals.

Highly Commended: Pierre Lazarevic
2 years ago I decided to quit my job to join New3dge school. Right now I'm working on my own to achieve my portfolio to find a job.

People's Choice: Philip Sue
New Zealand
Around the age of 19 was when I found out about this industry and knew it was the place I want to be in. Five years have passed since then and I am still constantly learning to up-skill and aiming to land that first role.

Game Design & Development

Winner: Juras Rodionovas
Sweden | Futuregames

I enjoy immersing myself within my craft of character art and game development. I also like exploring and pushing character quality both visually and technically within restrictions of real-time rendering.

Runner Up: Vinicius Mantovani Favero
Canada | Think Tank Training Centre

Since i discovered that i can actually work with what i love.

Highly Commended: Mihai Muscan

While in high school, In the 10th grade I decided to take a 180* turn from studying bio-chemistry, in my preparation to enter med school, to this adventure. Never has been a day the same, literally. It started as a hobby and an escape from all the non sense real world had to offer and it just grew and grew. I still don't know what I'm doing, but I know where I am going. I'm going big I can tell you that.

Highly Commended: Manuel Sitompul
Netherlands | Breda University - IGAD - (NHTV)

Games have always been a big interest for me. As a child I spent the majority of my time exploring the story and worlds of Zelda, Pokémon and Rayman. I got so immersed in these worlds that I decided to start making my own by playing with Game Maker and learning GML.

Highly Commended: Debora Coelho
Canada | Think Tank Training Centre

In my early teenage years when I found out that a course dedicated to games was about to open in my city. Considering that since my childhood I was always into games and couldn’t help but think how would be amazing if I could live in worlds such as those ones I saw. Well, in a certain way working with it allows me to do so.

People's Choice: Keltic Vermeersch
Belgium | Digital Arts and Entertainment
The day I started highschool I knew that I wanted to study art, but coming from a big family my parents wanted me to first study two years of ASO (study in my country, more theory based) before they would consider letting me pick something that I would really like. After crunching those two years I still wanted to do the same, I wanted to create art. there was this school called KTA Brugge which had a learning curriculum called DAFE (Digital Arts Film and Entertainment) so my art journey began.

Architectural Visualisation

Winner: Mads Lind Nicolaisen
Denmark | 3D College Denmark

I have always been very creative playing with Legos playing Minecraft and etc... as a kid. And I picked up Photography and Graphic design in my teenage years. And when I was 19 I Discovered the magical world of CG. It started out as a hobby for me while living with my parents. and I really enjoyed it. so I decided to start at the school 3D College Denmark. And that's when I got really hooked.

Runner Up: Juan Pablo Orrego Contador

When I was about 13-14 years old, as I was really interested in homemade movies and VFX, which lead to me learning about 3D.

Highly Commended: Ion Ontiveros Ortiz
United Kingdom

A couple of years ago, at a dinner with friends, I met someone who introduced me to the world of architectural visualization. Since then it has become my obsession. I enjoy learning new skills, different ways of lighting, new render engines, etc. It has become my passion.

People's Choice: Shamanth
India | St.josephs academy
My talent in creative media was found by my teacher in class 8 and now I want to take my talent to sky where I can express myself in a outstanding way and moreover iam really interested in this field.

3D Motion Graphics

Winner: Doug Alberts
United States | Ringling College of Art and Design
I realized I wanted to work in the creative field at a young age. Something in it clicked for me and everything I made didn't feel like work. It was play. I remember watching the Nickelodeon bumpers that said, "Now Back to the Show." I admired how they had amazing animation and design. These bumpers made me ask how is that done? and how do I do that? Now, I have the amazing opportunity to do what I love every day. You can find me with a cup of fresh coffee and jamming out on some keyframes.

Runner Up: Daniel Whit
United States | Savannah College of Art and Design
I started my college career studying architecture but felt that something was missing. I would always attend huge electronic music festivals like Ultra, EDC, etc. and gaze up at the screens in awe. Eventually, I put two and two together and decided that I wanted to explore the field of animating and designing for a digital canvas. This moment occurred about two years ago, since then I have been focusing 100% of my time developing my skills and refining my craft.

People's Choice: Diana Verba
United Kingdom | University of Hertfordshire
I have always been passionate about art. Since my early childhood I have been participating in numerous art exhibitions and contests. However, at University I started to apply my passion in 2D animation and one year ago I opened to myself the universe of 3D motion graphics.

Immersive Media

Winner: Carl Krause
Germany | Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg
At the age of 12 I got in contact with 3DsMax and started to play around with it on my own. I was fascinated by the idea that I could build anything I wanted in the computer. Back then I thought I was goingt to be an architect. But with the time I was more and more fascinated with Animation, storytelling and computergenerated images. After college I started to study information technology but quickly switched to study Animation at the Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg.

Runner Up: Izel Moctezuma
United States | Ringling College of Art and Design
I've been an artist since I could hold a pencil and a programmer since elementary school. I made many small games over the years but never realized game development was a viable career option until late high school. Once I started learning the professional pipeline, I was hooked. There's no other field that so perfectly encompasses everything I'm passionate about in my life, and I'm excited to take my first steps into the industry.

Highly Commended: Fabrizio Bergamo
United Kingdom | Escape Studios
Games have always been a great passion of mine, I attended a graphic design school in Italy, I knew I wanted to continue my studies and go to a University, so I decided to try and combine my passion of Video Games and Design.

People's Choice: Meryl Lee Yen Yen
Malaysia | The One Academy
My hobby is drawing ever since I was small. From my hobby it became an interest of mine to commit my life to. From there on I want to work somewhere that I like and proud of.

Interested in seeing more amazing work from aspiring artists? The Rookie Awards 2019 received 3,458 entries from digital media and entertainment artists in 89 countries and all their work is online to view.