French students raise the bar with this sci-fi short 'Terraform'

We love this time of year. The internet is full of graduating students' work, and if this short film is anything to go by, the standard is definitely on the up.

Terraform tells the story of the planet Mars being transformed from a dusty wasteland to an Earth-like paradise. A seamless blend of live action and CGI, the film was created by five students - Arthur Bayard, Guillaume Dadaglio, Félicien Daros, Vincent Glaize and Thomas Nivet - of French visual effects school ArtFX.

Short film Terraform is a seamless blend of live action and CGI

The six-minute short flows like a story being read to a child, for which the team managed to enlist the help of a familiar voice. "The voice-over was done by a professional actress who was also the French voice of Queen elf Galadriel in The Lord of the Rings. She offered to help us out and did it all for free," explains Thomas Nivet.

To accompany the brilliant narrative, the student team had to produce a lot of intricate visual effects. To do so they chose tools from a variety of 3D software. "We mainly used Maya with Mental Ray for all the CG elements and fluids," Nivet explains. "For the environments we used Photoshop and 3D terrain generation tools World Machine and Vue."

All of us collaborated and made a little bit of everything - it was a real team work

The combination of powerful software and working as a team helped them to deliver the awesome short in just one year. "From the pre-production to the end, all of us collaborated and made a little bit of everything," says Nivet. "On top of that we all had something particular to add, like Arthur and Guillaume did the environment part, Vincent and I did the fluids and dynamics part and Félicien did all the rendering workflow. It was a real team work."

The student team used 3D software Maya and render engine Mental Ray for the CG elements of the film

And judging by the reaction to the film since its release, their hard work has certainly paid off. "The film was shown in a theater in front of a jury (Paris and London post-production studios) and spectators and we got some great feedback from them," Nivet says. "Most of the comments online have also been really positive, which was a good feeling and nice to read."

We can clearly say that the film has helped us to get jobs

So what now for the talented bunch? "First of all, we can clearly say that the film has helped us to get jobs," says Nivet. "We have also been contacted by American producers but things are still in discussion for now, so we'll have to wait and see where it leads in the future."

Want to know more about how the film was created? Check out this cool making-of video:

Liked this? Now watch this!

Have you seen any student animations worth sharing? We're always looking for inspiring content so let us know in the comments below...