Updating the Rules

As has been discussed here, there seems to be some interest of revisiting the rules of the weekend challenge and update them. From my understanding, the main points that need changes are:

  • How to classify an entry as pure or open?
  • What file formats are allowed?
  • Are animations also allowed?

but feel free to suggest other changes. I’ll update the draft in this post as we make progress.

(I also apologize for breaking one of the rules by creating this thread, however since Helge did not complain I suppose it is fine. Otherwise, we could move this thread somewhere else.)

Change log:

  • 2018/02/23: Fixed some typos.
  • 2018/02/20: Removed file size limit and allowed any format that can be embedded on a post.

(Draft of new Rules)

Welcome to the Weekend Challenges

Welcome to the Weekend Challenge forum!

This forum is devoted to the weekly contests known as the Weekend Challenge.

There are two main goals for these contests: Fun and Glory.
Fun: You get only 4 days to create a cool image, based on the theme for the week.
Glory: After 2 days of voting, a winner is declared. The winner picks the theme for next week.

Forum Rules
As this is a very specialised forum, new threads can only be created by the contest organiser.
There are two threads created each week: one for entries and one for voting.
The entry thread starts each Thursday at 2300 GMT, with an announcement of the new theme, and any other relevant information. Entry messages (described in detail below) are to be posted here, until 2300 GMT on Moday.
The voting thread starts each Monday at 2300 GMT, with a list of all entries and a poll to decide the winner. Voting closes at 2300 GMT on Wednesday, with the winner announced shortly thereafter.
Comments are welcome in both threads.

Image Creation
An image created for these contests will fall into one of two classes: Pure and Open. A Pure image is made mostly using Blender, and mostly using new models. If an image isn’t Pure, then it’s Open.

If you can honestly say to yourself, “Yes, I mainly used Blender to make this”, then the entry is Pure.

Where a scene has a recognisable distinction between foreground and background, a Pure entry requires almost all of the foreground models to be new. If you can honestly say to yourself, “Yes, nearly all of the foreground models are new”, then the entry is Pure - it doesn’t matter how much of the background is new or recycled.

Where a scene has no foreground/background distinction, a Pure entry requires mostly new models. If you can honestly say to yourself, “Yes, most of the models are new”, then the entry is Pure.

Note that post-processing simply to add titles/captions does not affect Pure/Open classification.

Images can be presented in any format that can be embedded on a post in this forum. There is no fixed limit for the file size, however keep in mind that not everyone has a fast internet connection.

Entry Submissions
An entry is submitted by posting a message in the relevant Entry thread before closing time. An entry message contains up to four parts:

  • First, an optional one or two line description of the entry. This description will be shown in the list of entries at the start of voting. This can be used to describe how the entry relates to the theme, if necessary.

Second, an indication of whether the entry is Pure or Open. If it’s Open a one or two line description of non-Blender processes or heavy model re-use is required. This description may be given for Pure entries, but isn’t required. This will also be shown in the entry list at the start of voting.

Third, a link to the entry image. A link directly is preferred, although a link to a page containing only the entry image is permitted. A “copy and paste” warning should be given, is necessary. Optionally, a thumbnail may also be supplied. The link and optional thumbnail will appear in the entry list for voting.

Finally, some more optional comments. These will not appear in the list for voting.

Only one entry per person is allowed. If multiple images are submitted, only the most recent will be used for voting. When updating an entry, please give it a new file name to avoid confusion with older cached images.

For those using copy-paste-hosts: please try to take the time to make a page for your entries. It doesn’t have to be fancy, in fact it shouldn’t, but it will make life much simpler for the voters to see your image (and vote for it :wink: ). Also, skip the [img][/img] tags - they may work for you, but they won’t for anyone else. If you’ve linked to a page (not an image) and would like a thumbnail, mention this in your entry and one will be provided.

When submitting a link to a page instead of directly to an image, please ensure that the page contains just your entry image. An single extra, related picture is allowed, but the entry image must be clearly indicated.

People using [img][/img] tags are encouraged to use thumbnails instead of full size images. Remember that if present, a thumbnail will shown during voting, where a full size image won’t.
Entrants supplying thumbnails are strongly encouraged to keep the size of the thumbnails under 5kB, although sizes up to 15kB will be permitted.

Placeholder entries are a very good idea, as they give me some clue as to how many options we’re going to need for the voting poll. With an indication of the number of entries, we can have the maximum size of a poll increased beforehand, if necessary, and avoid running out of poll options.

Winning
Each week, a voting thread is created. In it will be a list of all entries posted before the entry closing time. A poll will be attached, listing all of the eligible entries. Voting is open to anyone who is normally allowed to vote in these forums (as far as I know, this should be all of you). Indecisive voters are asked to favour Pure entries over Open ones.

At the end of two days of voting, the entry with the highest number of votes wins. In the event of a tie, a Pure entry will win over an Open entry. In the event of a tie between Pure or Open entries, the earliest submitted entry will win - the submission time is taken as the last edited time of the submission message, or the message creation time if it hasn’t been edited.

Once a winner has been decided, a congratulatory message will be posted in the voting thread. They will be contacted via private message, with a request for the theme for the next week’s contest. If the winner doesn’t supply a theme before Thursday at 2230 GMT, the organiser will select the theme. Having selected the theme, the winner will not be elligible to enter that week. They may however still submit an image, but it won’t be included in voting.

When Things Go Wrong
If, due to unforeseen circumstances, a thread isn’t started at the appointed time, entries or voting will still close on time.

Timezone Conversions
To make this a little easier :slight_smile:
Let me know if you’d like to add your timezone here.

Thursday, 2230 GMT
= Australia Eastern Standard: Friday, 8:30am
= Internet: thursday @980
= pofoland: Friday, 12:30am
= US Pacific Daylight: Thursday, 3:30pm

Thursday, 2300 GMT
= Australia Eastern Standard: Friday, 9:00am
= Internet: friday @000
= pofoland: Friday, 1:00am
= US Pacific Daylight: Thursday, 4:00pm

Monday, 2300 GMT
= Australia Eastern Standard: Tuesday, 9:00am
= Internet: tuesday @000
= pofoland: Tuesday, 1:00am
= US Pacific Daylight: Monday, 4:00pm

Wednesday, 2300 GMT
= Australia Eastern Standard: Thursday, 9:00am
= Internet: thursday @000
= pofoland: Thursday, 1:00am
= US Pacific Daylight: Wednesday, 4:00pm

Regarding pure vs. open, I would classify an entry like this.

  • Was the entry created mostly using Blender?
  • Was the entry created mostly through your own effort (provided the standard tools that come with Blender)?
  • Was most of the work on the entry realized after the theme was announced?

If you can say yes to all three, then the entry is pure. Otherwise, how much would the entry suffer if you made it pure? How much time did you save by not making it pure? If you saved considerable time or if the quality of the entry would decrease noticeably without the impurities, then the entry is open.

So if you use ManuelBastioniLab just to get the proportions of a person, it should be pure, as you could’ve replaced the model with a much cruder version and the entry would still work. If, however, the entry needs that muscles look correct, then it should be open.

Probably a crazy idea, but do we really need to classify a piece as pure or open?

I think what most people are interested in is how the image was made. Would that be better accomplished by clarifying the rules about describing “non blender processes or model reuse”?

Something like: A one or two line description of how you made the image, clearly defining what portion was made by you, with blender, during time frame of the contest. As well as listing any components or post-processing done with 3rd party programs or plugins.

Nothing I’m set on, just random thoughts.

@Millani, if we keep the same categories, my input is if its “pure” make it pure. 100% only blender native add-ons and tools with all elements of the render made by the artist that week. We keep using subjective terminology for standards. Mostly is not an objective term. As we have seen everybody has an opinion. Mostly could mean 51% of something or 99%. Folks keep redefining the rules so they match what they believe “should be” the rules.

Anything else is open or non-competing. Pure takes on a special sense of accomplishment. My 2 cents.

Getting the proportions of an object right takes time. Blending is more than just blindly creating geometry. I sometimes have a feeling that there is a lack of respect for art in the community. Take this week’s voting results: what are people voting for?

Why would ‘pure’ mean not using free addons? I mean, a bought addon could give someone advantage over others who are not willing to buy it and that wouldn’t be fair, but all the addons available for free could be considered as a part of Blender, could they not? If I decided to compete in the challenge and I am used to working with some addons that do not come with Blender and use them heavily during my work, wouldn’t it be a ‘pure’ Blender creation? It kind of feels like it would. Addons are a kind of extension of the software and they are kind of a part of it too in my mind at least. Is it really not too limiting to call them not pure? I mean when you are telling your friend or a colleague about Blender don’t you tell them that Blender has loads and loads of free addons for so many things? It’s kind of a part of Blender. I see completely nothing wrong with ManuelBastioniLab as well. Blender comes with addons containing presets for trees, windows, pipe joints, bolts, gears, stairs, doors and so on. What’s so special about human body? Its something modeled again and again and again - there is nothing wrong with using presets or procedural modelling tools for that. You can always see when detail of a preset isn’t matching the detail of the rest of the work anyway. I think enough of extra work on top of what comes out of ManuelBastioniLab is needed for it to work in an image. I would consider artwork made using it still pure.

I think we do need to keep some sort of distinction between images that are made with Blender and images that are made using other software and none native Blender plugins. On many occasions I have seen image that that have had a fair bit of post pro work done in photoshop, images that use Manuel Bastioni models as the main focus, images that are using models which appear to have been made before the particular week’s challenge started and images that are using paid for plugins.

There is nothing wrong with using any of the stuff I mention, but it’s hardly a pure entry if they are used.

I think there should be a level playing field for folk who want to enter as a pure entry, if that means only allowing the tools that come with Blender as standard then so be it. Or, if that’s too strict then all pure entries should be required to write comments about the software, plugins and models used.

For me it’s just to level things up for the contestants.

Personally I will probably end up going Open most weeks if there is a rule change. The amount of image textures I use might well dictate this.

It depends on the addon. Does it come with other people’s meshes? As someone put it eloquently, If I use last week’s model, my entry is open. Seems the addon card that comes attached to MBL meshes gives it magical powers, yes, like Homer Simpson’s magic toothpick, that according to him, allowed him to eat anything at the supermarket.

I cannot say that I do not see the point you are making. It is indeed a nice idea, however, don’t you think the weekend challenge could be a lot more popular than it is now? I mean it is always there and a lot of nice works come out of it and I am not saying there is something wrong here, but the community is big and I think it could do even better. Maybe the amount of limiting rules has something to do with the popularity of the challenge. By that logic the less limits, the more popularity and more fun.

Man this is a tricky issue, and I can see everyone’s viewpoint. In the end I believe the easiest , least controversial, and welcoming to newcomers (each week) is to get rid of open/pure, and just have one rule:

‘Blender must be used at some point to enter artwork here’

And then just let the voters sort it out. If someone has leaned heavily on borrowed textures, backgrounds, models, or add-ons that obviously provided creative/art value it’s usually pretty obvious.

Making pure more restrictive is an interesting idea, specially since we have lots of pure entries that aren’t that pure. However, if I recycle a node group for vignetting, should my entry become open? That seems a bit too harsh to me.

I believe the idea is to give people that extra incentive to go pure. It is a psychological thing :wink:

Yes, I think the core paradox with MBL is this: If I use a model from BlendSwap, then my entry is open. However, if a free add-on generates the same model, the entry becomes pure. This makes the classification become simply bureaucratic. We need to somehow capture how much easier your life becomes by using an add-on. However, we cannot forget this: Things like smoke or fluid simulation (which come with blender) do a lot of work for us, and it would be unthinkable to achieve similar results without the aid of software. The usage of a computer to help us create art is essential for 3d art.

Blender Artists is full of forums where one can show off all sorts of awesomeness. This one here is called challenge for a reason. Challenge means difficult, challenge means learn.

I believe that greatest artists use whatever tools they can possibly get their hands on. The result is what matters, not how you get there. ‘Good artists borrow, great artists steal.’ saying is not without a reason. It’s just that you cannot take some off the shelf tool and call it great art because it’s never good enough. If everybody can atchieve that result you just got to make it better than that if you wish it to make an impact. Why bother forbiding that? That’s not going to work without idea and without skills anyway.

That is a good point, but isn’t using plugins made for Blender and available for everyone for free matching the requirements? They do not function without Blender. They are made for Blender. They are equally available for everybody free to use. What’s wrong with that? To me they are a part of Blender. I use plugins and scripts I have written all the time while working, would that make my work not pure? I think tools used in Blender should not be limited. Assets can be limited, but ManuelBastioniLab by my judgment is still a tool not an asset. I think nobody will be impressed by Suzanne’s head alone and nobody will be impressed by a standard mesh straight out of that plugin anyway, or will they? I also think that is a great tool worth learning and it does not make it any less of a challenge in my eyes. It does save time. Maybe that makes it possible to raise the quality of works possible to do during a weekend as well. I don’t know, maybe not, but I see no reason frowning upon the usage of it. Nobody would limit it ‘in the wild’ in the natural artist’s habitat and it could be argued that it is in a way a part of Blender anyway.

MBL is not an asset? I don’t understand how one can come to this conclusion. It’s an asset library… And if you wish to create an entry with MBL, just call it open. Use the opportunity to work on your animation skills maybe? But you should be judged on another level.

I have not used it myself, but I am aware of it’s origins in MakeHuman software and that is a procedural human body modeling tool. You have loads of parameters that can be adjusted to shape your character by deforming a human body mesh. I just downloaded it to double check if I am talking about the same thing, and indeed it still seems to be the case these days. https://s14.postimg.org/rtqrej8up/MBL.jpg

I see nothing special about it. I would argue that if one wishes to create a unique character a lot of work still needs to be done no matter if this is used or not. It’s just a tool. It’s good, the topology is very nice and thought trough, but it’s generic, does not necessarily match any interesting facial features for example and the shape, pose, idea, visual style, communication, story, design, context… There is nothing there done for you. I do not think people would value it if any assets available there were used as they are. Plus it is available for everybody equally free so rules are still the same for everybody. Human body is something modeled by everyone so many times and it is so common and there is so much material one can learn to do that from online there is absolutely nothing surprising in someones ability to model it to the generic level of detail in MBL at least in my opinion. It’s just saves time that is all. I don’t know. That’s just my point of view.

I meant what people are interested in when they vote, and I agree that people should have an incentive to create their own art. I’m not convinced “pure” is the best incentive. :slight_smile:

If I understand you, you feel like making an entry should be challenging. A challenge can also be an invitation to participate in a contest. Shouldn’t the focus of the challenge (why it’s challenging) be the other contestants, their art, and the constraints of the theme?
ie. If you make an awesome image then I’m challenged to make one as awesome.

I would have to agree with MartinZ as long as we are not using a set of premade models, as long as it is a free, blender addon(every one has equal access to it just like they all have access to Blender itself)I think that should be a legitimately Pure entry.

There were plenty of addons that you had to install before they were ever in blender. I don’t think anyone would have complained about a WEC entry using FilmicBlender before it was added to the official releases of blender.

I would assume in a class on character modeling, if a student turned in an assignment to make a human model, and all they did was download ManuelBastioni and turn a slider this way, and a slider that way, they would fail the assignment. Yes, the student turned in a human model. Yes it was sort of unique, in that they moved a couple sliders. But can you really say the student made that model? Did the student learn anything about modeling or topology while doing this? Yeah sure, maybe they can use that same addon later on for an art piece, or a movie or something, but what happens when they later have to work without it?

I’m not saying addons should be disallowed or even discouraged necessarily, but a pure entry means “I did all this from scratch for this weekend” and I wouldn’t consider something like ManuelBastioni making something from scratch.

This is something that is different from addon to addon. I wouldnt fault someone for considering their entry pure, even though they had NodeWrangler turned on. But if you used something like Archipack, or Sapling generator, something that is visible geometry in the render, mention that, and mark your entry as open, its not really a big deal.

This is all just my opinion, and you’re welcome to agree or disagree, but more than winning, I think the weekend challenge is about getting us out of our comfort zones, and making art about themes or topics we wouldnt normally think of. I wish i could actually participate more, but I always work during the weekends and just dont really have the time or energy.

It seems to be:

Option 1 - We get rid of the distinction, and describe what/how we created and addons used, leaving the distinction up to the voter.

Option 2 - Redefine pure vs open (taking into account paid mods, mesh generators for focal elements, external programs)

I see a huge problem with this. It seems to me this happens only in a class on character modeling. In a job of character modeling if an artist is given a task of modeling a character and he downloads MBL and then plays with the sliders and matches the characters looks to the concept design and then models all the clothes accessories and modifies the topology of the model as needed and repaints the textures on top of the ones that are there probably redoing the UV maps as well so that the model looks great and exactly the way he imagined he gets paid instead of failing the assignment and has time to do other stuff in life. It’s personal for everybody. If one sees it as an opportunity to learn modeling, then sure, it does not make sense to use MBL, but if someone with 10 years of experience in modelling wants to develop their concept design skills with this competition, why would they need to waste their time on modeling the same boring topology they see no challenge in when there are tools like this?.. I also think it’s good for the the ones in the class on character modeling to realize that there is no point in wasting their time on something that they can get done without work. And I don’t mean character design by this, because that is definitely not something that can be done without work.

I always imagined this as a challenge and not as learning experience for beginners only. Well, there seem to be a lot of beginners really enjoying the weekend challenge and this is really great and I am not suggesting to ruin the whole thing for them. Maybe there could be more categories for the competition. Just a thought. There is this question if that would work in the community of course. Maybe instead of(or in addition to) pure and open there could be beginner and advanced or something like that. I often wish to give my vote to the non-competing entries. Maybe they should compete just in another category…