The Rookies Finalists 2023

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The Rookies Platform is an esteemed online community and showcase platform specifically designed for aspiring digital artists, designers, and filmmakers. It serves as a hub for creative individuals to share their portfolios, receive feedback, connect with industry professionals, and access valuable resources to enhance their skills and career prospects.


By participating in the Rookies Awards 2023, students can have their creative projects evaluated by a panel of experienced professionals from leading studios and companies worldwide. The awards cover a wide range of categories, including animation, game development, visual effects, architecture, virtual reality, and many more.


This year the Rookies Awards received 5517 entries from all around the world, including our talented DAE students! We’re very proud to announce the finalists amongst them in the ‘Rookie of the Year’, ‘Game of the Year’, and ‘Career Opportunities’ titles.


The finalists represent the very best entries selected by the judging panel which includes some of the most influential and respected experts in their creative and technical fields. Selections are made by scoring each student based on criteria including creative skills, technical skills, presentation, variety of skills, complexity, raw talent, and employment potential.


But there’s yet another category to win! The ‘People’s Choice Contender’. 

The general public can now get involved by voting for their favorite entries. Simply visit the entry pages for a finalist and click the 'Vote for People's Choice" button. The entries with the highest share count will win.


The winners will be announced on July 27th, 2023. So make sure to check back soon!


Rookie of the year | Concept art

Mari Gallet - View Entry

“I grew up in a very creative family, who nurtured my love for drawing from a very young age. I always knew I wanted to be an artist, but my specific desire to work in digital arts came in my early teens. My parents would take me to see every new animated movie in the theatre, and one day I came out of one of those theatres having decided I wanted to make things like that when I grew up.”

Vivien Siemers - View Entry 

“I've always been interested in working in a more creative field! I simply kept doing what I loved until I found my way to Howest DAE. Here I got to learn a ton of new skills and improved a lot!”


Rookie of the year | Game Development

Michalina Gasienica-Laskowy - View Entry

“I made my first render in the age of 10. I always thought 3D was something every person can tell the basics about - just like drawing. I realized how unique skills I'm developing when I went to high school and moved to another city. My new friends were amazed by my artworks and only a little percentage of them knew anything about what I'm doing. That's when I understood how narrow this genre is and that I want to follow it as my career path.”


Theoni Fotoglou - View Entry

“3D Animation student at Digital Arts and Entertainment, aspiring to be a character artist and rigger!”


Game of the Year | Console & Pc

Leggy Peggy | Luke van Klooster, Malou De Paepe, Rune van der Lei, Sarah Platteau, Hugo Colauto, Simon Schaep - View Entry

“LeggyPeggy is an exhilarating and cooperative game where two players take on the roles of a highly advanced robot and a plucky little girl armed with a powerful weapon. Together, you must use your unique strengths and abilities to overcome challenging parkour obstacles and defeat enemies. With fast-paced gameplay, exciting challenges, and an engaging story, Leggy Peggy is a game that requires communication and cooperation to conquer the track. Are you ready to join forces with Leggy and Peggy?”

Testerep: New Beginnings | Catharina Broes, Jeff De Meutter, Jeroen Van Lerberghe, Yvette Kooke, Lisa Raes, Ronan Bosman, Annika Ruppert, Joris Jehs, Tim Vermant, Louis Herman, Rick Van Gaalen, Rhidian De Wit - View Entry

A game developed by a team of 12 DAE students within a 48-day timeframe. "New Beginnings" by Testerep is inspired by a real-world event that took place in Belgium, where the people had to battle against the water. During the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, the devastating waves of a new series of storm surges caused the northern half of Testerep to eventually vanish into the North Sea. However, the southern part, which had been reclaimed through the poldering of the Testerepvliet starting from the twelfth century, remained a part of the mainland. Challenge yourself to survive for 30 days while constructing the New Testerep. Erect a thriving city, fortify your buildings with dikes, and combat the relentless onslaught of water!


Career Opportunities | That’s No Moon

Gabriele Stefanelli - View Entry

“Hi I'm Gabriele a 2nd year Game Graphic student at DAE (Digital Arts & Entertainment), although I've been practicing for 5 years. I've always been interested in Computers and graphics. Now my focus is on environment creation and technical art. The programs that I mainly use in my projects are Unreal Engine 5, Houdini, Blender, Substance Designer/painter and some other minor ones.”


Career Opportunities | Outpost VFX

Maarten Leys - View Entry

“As a kid I was inspired wachting movies and games, loved drawing and making animations.”


Career Opportunities | Ghost VFX | Copenhagen

Gilles De Regge - View Entry

“In my fifth year of my middle school I knew I wanted to do DAE and study for a job in the games/film industry. And now, here I am, creating cool and inspiring stuff. I always want to tell a story through my props, environments, lighting,... .”

Akio Inagaki - View Entry

“I first intended to study fashion. But during the process of exploring different art mediums to express my ideas, I became more and more fascinated by 3D Digital arts. And this is what made me redefine my career choices and applied to a digital art school to specialise myself in Houdini and scripting as I found out how exciting was the procedural workflow and its way of thinking.”


Career Opportunities | Mighty Kingdom

Miel Vandepitte - View Entry

"In 2016 I decided I wanted to become a comic book artist. While working on my first graphic novel (which was published in Dutch, French and English) I started to take an interest in building 3D environments and enrolled at Digital Arts and Entertainment (DAE)."