Rishikesh Nayudu, 4th year student at ARTFX, is the winner of a prestigious scholarship awarded by Aaron Blaise, a former American director at Walt Disney Animation Studios.

American director, screenwriter and animator Aaron Blaise, a graduate of Ringling College of Art & Design (Sarasota, Florida) spent over 20 years at Walt Disney Animation Studios. His name can be found in the credits of Walt Disney’s greatest hits: The Lion King, Aladdin, Pocahontas and Mulan. Aaron Blaise is also one of the directors of the film Brother of the Bears, released in 2003 and nominated for an Oscar for best animated film. Now a wildlife artist, Aaron transmits his passion and know-how via the Creature Art Teacher website. Through his foundation, Aaron Blaise has made it his mission to make art education accessible to all by creating a scholarship for talented students from around the world. 

In early 2021, the artist awarded his scholarship ($5,000 USD) to one of ARTFX’s students: Rishikesh Nayudu, 22 years old, currently in the 4th year of the Visual Effects’ program in Montpellier.

The generous donor was won over by the work of the student of Indian nationality, who came to France especially to join the ARTFX school: 

“Rishikesh’s portfolio was outstanding! From the hundreds upon hundreds of submissions we received, he stood out. It is clear that he is talented and hard working. This award is merit based and seeing the strength of his portfolio it is clear that he has a great career ahead of him.”

Aaron Blaise

Rishikesh’s work includes breathtakingly realistic 3D portraits created using Zbrush and Maya software. In an article published by The Rookies, Rishikesh details his working techniques: “There are a lot of artists that I follow on Instagram, YouTube, and twitch. I discovered a lot of new things by watching their presentations at ZBrush Summits and live streams. ‘Konyak Tribe Realistic 3D Portrait’ was the output of an experiment during his summer vacation of 2020. This project helped me to learn, understand, and try out new stuff without fear. I went through the ‘trial and error’ phase before getting to the end of this project. I guess being fearless and trying out new things and failing at them will make you much better. 

Also in his portfolio is The Giant, a work portraying a figure of a giant, which combines realism and stylized creation of a character with an original style. This creation earned him an “Excellence Award” from The Rookies 2020.

The Beauty and the Beast & The Giant made by Rishikesh Nayudu

Rishikesh has also worked on a Stylized 3D character model for an online 3D modeling challenge (Feb 2021) . It’s based on a concept of David Ardinaryas Lojaya beautiful design of a princess, translated into 3D by Rishikesh, maintaining the appeal and character.

First of all, congratulations to you Rishikesh! Why did you choose to study at ARTFX?
I heard about ARTFX from friends who have been studying here. Also, for several years, the school has been at the top of The Rookies’ ranking, especially in the field I was interested in: VFX and 3D animation. ARTFX is a good step towards get into the industry as they have great connections with industry. I’m currently specializing in Modeling, Texturing and Look development (Surfacing) and I appreciate the school’s connections with the biggest studios which gives me confidence in terms of finding my first job.

How was your integration into the school? 
It tooks a lot of courage to leave everything behind family, friends, language etc. I didn’t speak the same language which was a barrier to communicate. But now I’m doing good. I have learnt a bit of French, still learning every day. People are quite friendly here. ARTFX offers separate classes for international students, where classes are taught in English. ARTFX has a great community of mixed population from all over the world (60 different nationalities) but mostly French as it is based in France. 

How did you hear about the Creature Art Teacher Foundation Scholarship?
I watch a lot of art related livestreams and podcasts on YouTube, twitch etc. to learn about the new stuff in the animation industry and to stay updated with the latest information. I follow Aaron Blaise on Instagram and YouTube. So, one day as I was watching his live video on YouTube, he spoke about the scholarship program. Anyone from animation colleges could apply and must have a portfolio. So, I applied just to see if I would get it or not. I kept updating my portfolio with the latest work (Artstation).
5 months later I got an email saying “Congratulations you have won our monthly scholarship” and my initial reaction was it might not be true or it’s just some scam or advert. But as I read the email, I understood that it’s from Aaron Blaise and Nick Burch (his partner). I was delighted to see that and felt happy that my work on my portfolio got me such a prize. I felt rewarded.

Do you have a message for animation students or for those who, as early as middle and high school, dream of turning their passion into a profession?
Being fearless is a great way to learn new stuff and also to improve. Don’t hesitate to reach out to the artists that you admire online or even in your college. Enjoy and like what you do, that’s the most important thing! Or else don’t do it.