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Search For A Star reveals top student game artists, earn interview with leading UK studios

With over 800 students signing up to the competition late last year, a panel of industry judges have now picked four students to win the Search For A Star and Sumo Digital Rising Star art competition, for specialities including character art, environment art, animation and VFX.

16 judges from nine leading UK studios and tech companies, including Dom Hood & Kelvin Tuite from Sumo Digital, Glenn Brace from nDreams, Gina Jackson from Imaginarium Studios, Tom Pickard from Boss Alien, and representatives from Playground Games, Edge Case Games, Codemasters, Creative Assembly and Foster & Partners came together on Thursday 13 th April at University of Hertfordshire to celebrate young talent in the games industry and to meet the 22 gifted student finalists.

Each winner will receive an interview with a leading UK studio for a job or internship, alongside additional prizes donated by members of the industry, including a personal studio tour donated by Creative Assembly and creative licences of Allegorithmic software.

Search For A Star Character & Environment Art category winner, Michael Starovoytov from the University of Huddersfield, described winning as a bitter-sweet moment after competing in the same bracket as his close friend Maxim Zazulak. The judges picked Michael not only for his artistic work, but because he added a story to each character he created. When asked, judges claimed that Michael was “ heading exactly in the right direction to a successful career in the games industry”.

Niels Dewitte, from Howest, won the Search For A Star Animation & VFX bracket of the competition for his beautiful VFX work ( https://goo.gl/ZrNOZI). Niels charmed the judges with his humble and warming attitude, who described his work as “ A beautiful combination of technical prowess and artistic ability”.

Judges also picked two winners for the Sumo Digital Rising Star competition for students not in their final year of university. The industry experts described the work of Sumo Digital Rising Star Character & Environment art bracket winner, Dorota Sekula from Abertay University, as showing a “ real sense of character which shines with personality”, while Alexander Gray’s melee animation won his bracket of the competition. Judges were particularly impressed with Alexander’s leadership potential in the future.

All the work of the art winners can be found on the Grads in Games website ( https://goo.gl/T7dZ7v).

In its second round, the competition created over 50 games, which can be downloaded and played for free on our website ( https://goo.gl/0Sxoa7) , alongside 60 pieces of art, which can be viewed here ( https://goo.gl/lQ2oXF) and here ( https://goo.gl/VQy8bp

For further information, please contact Molly Charlesworth:

+44 (0)1709 834777


Notes to Editors: 

  • This has been the biggest year yet for Search For A Star & Sumo Digital Rising Star, with over 800 students from more than 75 universities across the UK and internationally submitting work for round one.
  • Artwork created by our finalists can be found here ( https://goo.gl/o1PqdD) , and games created by finalist programmers can be downloaded and played for free at https://goo.gl/Cui1td .
  • Partners of the competition include Sumo Digital, Playground Games, Boss Alien, nDreams, Epic Games, HackerRank, Furious Bee, Edge case Games, GaasWorks, Playstation First, Gamer Camp and the UK Games Fund. 
  • Code Finals Day was held on the 10 th April 2017 at Staffordshire University. 
  • Art Finals Day was held on the 13 th April 2017 at University of Hertfordshire. 

About Aardvark Swift & Grads In Games: 

In 1989 Aardvark Swift became the first ever recruitment agency dedicated to the video games industry. We recruit permanent, temporary and contract staff for developers, publishers and distributors of video games worldwide. 

Launched in 2014 by Aardvark Swift, Grads in Games is an international initiative which aims to improve the links between the UK games industry and academia. We provide resources and guidance designed to increase the employability of students and graduates. 

Our showcase events are Search For A Star and Sumo Digital Rising Star – A series of critically acclaimed annual talent competitions, with challenges designed to assessed by games industry professionals. Everyone who takes part gains a unique experience of studio hiring processes, with the winners being given opportunities to work within leading UK studios. 


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