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Unread 04-13-2003, 08:34 PM
RachelOfMars RachelOfMars is offline
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Animation Winners at Nats

I haven't quite cooled off regarding this topic yet, so my apologies if I offend anyone by being mean here.

There were only two awards, and I think it was a mistake to get rid of the other three; unless there weren't five good animations, which maybe in Autodesk's opinion there weren't. Quite frankly, I wonder whether Autodesk people or Ted Boardman had anything to do with the judging process.

Team #1182 got Rookie award. I *think* I know which one that is -- one of the rookie animations that Ted Boardman showed during his speech on Thursday. Bouncing FIRST logo shapes, right? That was a fun one. Good materials and lighting and animating, good concept, good job. It would've been nice if FIRST had actually shown their animation during the ceremony.

And the Grand Prize winner... congratulations to team #967. Their entry was slick. It was a good concept. They did an amazing job and should be proud of their work, and I'm not just saying that to be nice; heck, their narration was incredible, I would pay that guy money to do such a good job narrating for an animation my team'd do. Only, only, only........ 967's entry wasn't an animation. I'm not even sure if it was 3DS they used for the little animated bits that were there; someone on my team said they it looked like an animation from Inventor. I was too distracted by the fact that it was so primarily not-CG, so I probably missed some things.

I'm... um... confused. When they played the winning animation, for awhile I wondered if they were accidentally playing a Chairman's entry instead of a Visualization one; then I tried to convince myself that the people there were 3D models. Nope. Personally, I thought that either the team with the crayon-animation, or team #103, should have won, at least out of the animations I saw on Einstein. There may have been other good ones that I missed, and maybe if you're better at looking past technical gimmicks, other teams did better. But even if technical skill isn't everything, that doesn't mean it should be nothing.

Anyone else have thoughts on this? Anyone from team #967? Feel free to tell me I'm wrong; I prefer to think that I'm crazy than that the people in charge are. (Although, that does seem to be the theme of the times...)
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Unread 04-13-2003, 08:52 PM
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(967, I'm not trying to be mean, still a little upset about this, I don't want to get you mad)

I know that when I saw the winning animation, me and the other 2 students from the animation team were all mad. The only use of max that I saw in that was the robot that kept flashing on, maybe they didn't quite understand that its called "Animation" for a reason.
Was max used for combining them, and thats why they thought it was so good?
Our team used some real video in our animation, (someones head in a space suit) but that wasn't 90% of the animation. I remember seeing another one like that at UTC, only the video was all of it, except for titles on paper

When they were presenting the awards, did anyone notice how many people clapped for animation, compared to how many clapped for the winning robots
And how, the animation was seemed to be made part of the Lego league? Maybe "Going back to FIRST robotics" would have been nice in between the awards.

Well, what can you do for this year? But for next year..maybe better specify the rules (If there were rules, please link me to them)
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Unread 04-13-2003, 08:55 PM
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At least they were running animations all day.
Personally I thought 342's animation was the best.
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Unread 04-13-2003, 09:04 PM
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Are the winning animations posted anywhere yet? I really would like to see those, but the site that the rules say should have them have not been updated for a year...
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Unread 04-13-2003, 09:30 PM
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I think that the rules should definitely clarified for next year. I saw the video as more of an advertisement and I was really surprised that autodesk representatives would pick an animation that barely utilized the tools their company donates. This isn't sour grapes or anything because we weren't in the running, I just thought it was an odd choice.

Congratulations all the same
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Unread 04-13-2003, 09:59 PM
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i am mostly upset by the lack of respect that first has given us animators, we put in more hours of work than the students who built the robot only to have a guy from autodesk stand there talk fast and disregard quite how much work was put into inventor, and visualization.

they also eliminated the honorable mentions, which recognized many of the teams which had done very well and yet weren't exactly what every judge liked.

excellent content communication and slick presentation to 967! I'm not trying to bash u guys at all.

i am also just wondering how much work you all put into your animations. For us it was at least like a couple hundred hours a person.

one more thing i noticed was that the "random" matches were less random than ever, we were teamed with/against the same group of teams the entire competition, i saw the same about 18 robots the whole competition.

lastly, was it just me, or is it upsetting to anyone else how the competition is turning into a spectator "battlebots" type of competition basically, every year the competition is less and less complex and rely more on speed and power, than skill to manipulate field objects. also, they are focusing more and more on winning, which i believe should be more of a side goal to the learning and inspiration that first is founded upon.

I must say that every team did extremely great jobs this year, i was amazed how great even all the rookie teams were.
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Unread 04-13-2003, 10:20 PM
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Yeah, I was really surprised by how the whole Autodesk awards went. Team 967's animation had a slick presentation and awesome narration (Great Job!). But, a lot of the animation could have been done without 3ds max. It almost seems like Autodesk didn't even read the guidelines they provided. Also, why was called it Grand Prize? Wasn't it "Autodesk Visualization Award" at the regionals. Everything just seemed confusing on the autodesk end.

Hopefully next year FIRST will give some more thought and respect to the animation awards.
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Unread 04-13-2003, 10:37 PM
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I dunno, that was a pretty good concept and very good creativity on the part of 967...but I'm pretty pissed. The amount of work we put in to this is crazy. Everything in our animation might just as well been live footage. I probably could have gotten some footage of mars, or a bomb defuser bot, or submarines(for those of you who havent seen our animation, that stuffs iin there) and it would have been easy for us to get footage of someone driving the robot. And why not? It probably looks better than our animation. Because real life does look better than what most people can do in 6 weeks on a computer. This is an ANIMATION award....we could have done it in 1 weekend if we used real life footage...and all we would have needed was Flash and maybe premiere, screw 3ds MAX, it would be unnneccessary.

To be fair, however, it is mostly our mistake. Nowhere does it say we may not use liberal amounts of live footage, and Content and Creativity are both bigger than technical.

Maybe the title of this forum should be renamed to "Vizualization Competition".

Ah, forgot some stuff. About the lack of respect...I was extremely pissed that they didnt even treat this like a real award...they announced it and everything but they had shown the same video earlier on the einstein field for those of us who might have been watching. They eliminated all pretext of suspense and they even skipped right over the rookie animation award. What is the deal with that?
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Unread 04-14-2003, 01:50 AM
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I'm also upset with the results of the visualization competition. (By the way, I started writing this before the last few posts, so I'm probably repeating some stuff) I do realize that it is called the "visualization" award and not just the "animation" award, but I think it's not very fair to the animators that an entry comprised almost entirely of video clips, no matter how good it is in content and creativity, should win a national award that is widely assumed to be (based on past winners national winners and autodesk's sponsorship of the award) about 3d animation.

I'm not saying that team 967's entry is undeserving of recognition for its entry; it had great content communication and creativity. It was very well done, and the team did nothing wrong by submitting it. The problem, as I see it, is that the "technical execution" part of autodesk's judging system is corrupt. It's extremely unreasonable to compare student-made computer animation to live video, especially when technical execution is 20% of the grade. Personally, I don't think an entry that only uses live footage deserves much credit for technical execution. Recording something on a camcorder is a bit less technically demanding than producing an entire scene in 3ds max. Because of this, I think they should have a separate competition for video only.

If my animation team and I had known that the judges had a preference for video, we would have gotten the media crew to make something. Instead, in our ignorant suppositions, we spent countless hours planning the animation, learning 3ds max, and eventually applying advanced techniques in mapping, materials, modeling, animating, rendering, lighting, camera-ing, etc. to create our animation. Before the deadline, I remember spending a week of 15-hour days on nothing but perfecting and finalizing the animation, not even stopping to eat lunch or dinner. This was all during a huge snowstorm that dropped more than 2 feet of snow and almost completely blocked the roads to my school; I was actually considering spending the night in the computer room. All of this was even after my 4-animator team spent 3 to 4 weeks working on the animation at school and at home.
Because of autodesk's decision, it almost feels like I wasted my time. I might as well have taped a few of my team's meetings, set aside a couple of nice days to string some clips together, and taken a half an hour to render 2 or 3 simple images of the engineer-made robot. Animation takes more time, effort, and skill than clipping live footage, and I think it also deserves more recognition.

I know that I'm not giving team 967 a whole lot of credit for their technical work; it probably took a more significant amount of time than I'm suggesting. Again, it was very well done, and it does deserve recognition. However, I think that it's extremely discouraging to the vast majority of animators to see an entry that required almost no expertise in 3D animation winning the national prize.

Autodesk suggested that animation was the best way to go in their directions in the manual. They continually refer to entries as "animations" and only say one short phrase suggesting that live video is even acceptable. Even if they do say that live video can be used, it seems to indicate that having students use autodesk products is their main purpose for even having the competition.
The information about the award in the manual specifically says things like:
"Content communication - Distinction in the use of animation to illustrate and communicate a specific aspect of what FIRST means to your team"
"Compelling Creativity - Distinction in the use of animation to generate excitement about your teamís experience with FIRST."
"The challenge is to demonstrate how skillfully you use specific Autodesk products."

Finally, I remind you that team 967's entry was very well done, and I have nothing against it. The real problem is with autodesk and their inconsistencies between what they say and how they judge.
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Last edited by EugeneMarinelli : 04-14-2003 at 07:48 PM.
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Unread 04-14-2003, 02:57 AM
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The way it went this year with autodesk make me want to womit!

I am not an animator. But I do know how much work goes into the Animation! On my old team we have a separate team to do the animation, you can ether do the robot or the animation. Its like a full time job!

First and formost i think that the opinion of 20-50 people at the regionals counts more than that of those 5 or so people at autodesk. Some of the animations won at more than 1 regional which says alot about them. Means people that dont even know that team think that thier animation is supperb to the others.

Did you nothice how autodesk added 2 more animations per a regional in like the 4th week! So now the top 5 teams at each regional we running for the championship. Hmmm well that was nice for all of those teams that were now in. Makes me wonder did autodesk do this because the same animations kept winning (and getting 2nd and 3rd) at the different regionals.

Or maybe they did it because someone they wanted to win didn't win at the regional level and wouldn't advance. I looked hard and it seems to me that 967 was not on any regionals top 3 animations. You would think that it would be one of the regional winners like 1182 WON fair and square 2 regionals. they totaly deserve thier award.

I pretty much think at this point that autodesk is currupt to the max

I am glad i never paid any money for thier software. And I NEVER will.

i think there are teams that deserve the award more: such as 103, 192, 343, 1182, 74, 75. Those teams in public are THE BEST!

I have seen many animations, and there are many that I haven't seen. But I trust the people that voted those animations at more than 1 regional to be the best in thier opinions.

That said GO SolidWorks!

If your oppinion is not the same as mine on this issue and you have a problem with my opinion, i care not!

Last edited by Dima : 04-14-2003 at 03:00 AM.
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Unread 04-14-2003, 08:18 AM
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I am not one of the members on the movie team, but I am very close to all of them. We were (obviously) all ecstatic that we won. Was it fair that we did? I am going to go out on a limb and say that it probably was not. The almost complete lack of cg art was the reason that we did not win at regionals, and we made it into nationals because we were selected by a panel of judges who thought that the movie was worthy.
As a rookie member, I'm not completely up on what usually wins the award that we recieved, however it seemed to me that they were looking for a movie that effectively and beautifully used multimedia to convey the message of FIRST. To this extent, I think that we did a very good job, but the work we did was not equivilant to the amount of work that is needed for good 3ds max animation.
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Unread 04-14-2003, 09:13 AM
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It just occurred to me that it would have been reasonably fair if 967 had won the Honorable Mention for Content Communication. If, of course, such an award still existed.

Remember last year when someone asked Ted if we could use Maya? Or something like that. And he said you could, but the judges would be able to tell you hadn't used Max.
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Unread 04-14-2003, 09:29 AM
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I've had a little time to think before I posted, so that I didn't say someting I regret. Personally, I didn't think ours was the best, I kept on thinking that 103 or 192 was going to beat us, because both were very excellent. 103, I believed told a similar story but was done much better.

So, with this said, I believe autodesk has just shot itself in the foot. Why? Simple. Look at the trends of the year before, and how the animation turns out the next year. Verybody always tries to a take a piece of the winning animation and incorpoate it into theirs, we kinda did this year. It's the concept of the year before that people try to come as close to copying, without making it look to obvious. AT least when brainstorming that happened with us.

So next year, when some rookie teams and 1st or 2nd year animation teams see this one, they'll believe that they have a good chance with live video. If a live video one can win this year, why couldn't it win next year, and it would be pretty easy to copy the winning one. I mean if I was around next year, I'd be looking into something with live video. SOoooo, this competition is about to go spiralling downward because it will be less about computer animation and more about everything else.

Let me have some feedback, to see if what I'm saying makes any sense.
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Unread 04-14-2003, 10:18 AM
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Well just to clear the air... (Forgive the long post- I could type much more here)

Paragraph 6.1 on page 17 of THE AWARDS DOCUMENT states that the award is given for a submission using 3ds Max.

Paragraph 6.2 states that the award recognizes a 30 SEC Student ANIMATION- Not MOVIE or VIDEO. (Oh and notice the STUDENT part- some teams have trouble with this one too!)

The further description of the entry guidelines does state that you can use video. However if you don't have 30sec of animation then you technically are following the rules.

For those of you that think this to be a discrepancy in the rules- let me clarify. You can achieve both by incorporating live footage into the and other wise 3D Scene. or you can incorporate 3D into an otherwise Live Footage Scene.

One of the Honorable Mentions last year- Sunny Thumper I think (which I also believe is from the Gila Monsters on the West Coast, but don't hold me to that) Used a technique that he described in a post- in the post 2002 threads last year. He used live bg footage and used advanced 3DS techniques to map the footage and have the proper camera angles and perspectives. Other than the Instant Reality that is achieved- It is actually much harder to do this- especially if there are moving cameras.

There is nothing wrong about using Live footage- as long as it follows the rules.

That all said- I agree with everyones conclusion. I am an animation mentor and I work very hard to help the students achieve their final result. As you may have read in the second post above- We used a live actor (student on our team) and we set up a green screen shoot and recorded a chest up shot of him going through the monolog. then we composited him into a space suite as he floated above the earth (we were vying for a spacewalk from NASA but our teams budget didnt allow for it!). There was 30sec of animation because we never left the CG created environment. This is an example of how to follow the rules.

I believe our animation to be close to or some place within the top 10 of the ones I saw. Unfortunately I didnt have the winner anyplace near that. A couple of posts above me talked about the fact that because of the lack of winners they advanced the top 5 animations- Even with that there were only 43 teams (before the final week of competition. There is no excuse for the best teams to be over looked by professional judges. I can understand when there were over 200 submissions, but not 43.

This year the judges went down hill. I'm not trying to insult the team that won, it wasn't any wrong doing on your part. I don't know where the previous post gets off talking about collusion with autodesk. Thats just plain not right. But adding live action this way isn't anything new and wasn't especially creative- many animations have done it in the past that only difference is they didn't win. So content communication would really be the only high score that was possible for this type of animation.

All I know is the second it was over one of our team advisors who also teaches media communications in the HS turned to me and said "What was that?" He also doesn't mean to insult any one and would never make a comment like that if he was watching them all play and that was just in the mix. But he saw many of the animations and he teaches video and media communications in the school and when this was played as the winner- He was shocked- and I dint have to say a thing. Then without any prompting from me- because I was too pissed to even bring it up- every engineer and teach at some point or another asked me why that entry won. Unfortunately I have no answer.

Just to finish off a long post with a question- How did they make it to the Championships anyway. Some of you must have voted for them to some degree. So before this was an issue of Autodesk Judges, you must look at yourselves (at least those that were in the concerned conferences).

All and all I think there was a great job done by many many teams and the rookie entries that Ted showed on Thurs were great animations in general and not just good rookie animations.

Regardless of the results, be proud of what you all did and strive forward to step up and separate yourself from the pack.

Great Job to All!

Last edited by stevek : 04-14-2003 at 10:57 AM.
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Unread 04-14-2003, 10:23 AM
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The winning animation looked like it was supposed to be the losing animation. I don't care who I am offending but there were many much better looking and creative animations out there than this excuse for one. More than half of it was video-taped footage with a narrator explaining what first means (when you were supposed to ANIMATE what it meant). And if you look at the only 3d-animated bits that they showed, well.. they were pretty bad too. In those few seconds I noticed the lack of materials and proper motion. I don't know what Autodesk or whoever judged used to judge those animations, but it wasn't their brains.

( I bet they threw darts for each animation and the highest score won)

In conclusion, I am mad.
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