Weekend Challenge...for animation?

Does anyone know of a weekend challenge for animation? The WC we have here for stills is absolutely killer and some really great work has come out of it. I’d really like to try my hand at doing the same friendly competition for animation. I think it’d really kickstart a lot of people into using the bounty of the tools we’ve got with blender.

Does anyone know of one that exists already? If not, I have a few ideas:

  1. Start with a mesh, provided by the previous week’s winner
  2. Start with a sound file
  3. Do it like the stills WC and have it based on a theme

Anyone else have ideas? This idea has been buzzing around in my head for a while, and I think it’d be pretty awesome considering the talent we have around here.

Other ideas:
Length: 5, 10, 20 seconds?
Size: 320x240 max?
Format: mpeg? divx? avi (straight out of the blender render)?
Other: Restrict any editing to the Sequencer and its plugins? Require a frame for posting?

Needless to say, I’d be more than happy to help run it if there were people interested.

Personnally, I think a week end is a bit too short for an animation (especially character animation). A bi-weekly challenge would be nice (lets say 10 days of work from friday to the monday after the next, voting time until the friday).

I have a automated script to generate the voting thread for the WC, so whoever becomes responsible of the animation contest could use that too to keep a known look to it. It could even be in the WC forum if the thread are identified differently.

Martin

There was a competition called Monkeyframers a while back, but it died long before my start in Blender. It was basically the same idea as the 10 Second Club.

Someone recently asked about it, and the question was raised about restarting it. Maybe search for the thread and reply to it.

I would be interested it that could be started up again. Someone just needs to get it going.

Hmm, ok. There was this thread on Monkeyframers recently:
http://www.elysiun.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=29679&highlight=monkeyframers

And the old (dead) link is here:
http://monkeyframers.weirdhat.com/current/

I’d be cool taking on the responsibility of running a new WC Animation thread in the challenges section. Theeth, would I need permissions or anything else to get your script going or to generally run the contest? Would it be untoward for me to enter if I was running it, too?

I agree that two weeks might be better. Maybe 10 days to blend and 4 to vote?

fakeplastic. do you know how the old contests worked? Did they base it on the sound file idea? I saw hints of that from the old posts.

Good idea, but I think a month is more realistic for a character animation contest; like they do over at http://www.10secondclub.net/

Hmm, true, but it’d be cool to keep the entries as simple as possible. They wouldn’t necessarily have to be character animation, but really employ as much of the blender kit as is possible. If we used sound files, they wouldn’t necessarily have to be dialogue, maybe sound effects, background noises, etc.

For me, part of the fun of the WC is the mad scramble to get something done. Plus, the more contests, the more entries people get to do in a year, and the better our collective skills get. I think even a really well-done bouncing-ball test would make a good entry. I’ve done decent simple stuff in a weekend–10 days would’ve made it even better. I dunno, though…I’m still noodling with the parameters, so any ideas and criticisms are welcome.

It does seem, though, that 320x240 is a pretty standard size for these things. Ten seconds is probably a good time limit, too. Does anyone have a notion, off the top of their head, of the file size of your average blender AVI JPEG render at 300 frames (assuming 30 fps)?

More ideas?

You’ll need me to send you the script, and if needed, one of the admins will need to set you as moderator of the WC forum (AFAIK, I don’t think that’s absolutely needed, but it would be useful).

Martin

Cool! I guess it should be called the “Fortnight Challenge”, eh? I’ll message you my email address.

Well, like I said, it was long gone when I came onto the scene, but from what I read on the old site, it was very similar to 10secondclub, with a sound file each contest to animate to.

Anyways, I hope you get something going. Maybe even resurrect Monkeyframers… :smiley:

But a new contest would be cool too.

I look forward to competing. 8)

This sounds like a really great idea I was hoping someone would implement this into the site, that would make the site more fun
after all Blender animation tools are so intuitive and easy to use. :smiley:

Cool! There seems to be a good amount of interest in the contest. Here are some ideas for rules thus far:

Size: 320x240

Length: 10 seconds (should this be flexible? I kind of like having this as a hard parameter)

Filesize: Max 2mb? 3mb? Anyone know of good file space for folks who don’t have their own?

Format: Blender Avi JPG (seems like the most fair thing to do, since not everyone has access to compression utilities, but I’m open to ideas)

Per-Contest parameters: I was thinking the previous winner could submit either a sound file, a rigged mesh, or a theme idea. That way, there’s a lot of variation in the contests. I might also suggest that the sound files tend toward non-dialogue, since lip sync can be the hardest part of animating. We’ll play it be ear, though–if everyone suddenly gets to be wizards at syncing, then we shouldn’t worry about it.

I also thought it would be cool to start amassing a collection of stock rigged meshes that people can feel free to use in any contest. That way people with shaky modelling skills can still have fun with their animating skills. I’m going to make and rig one this weekend for starters and see how the idea plays out.

Anyone have more suggestions, ideas, rules, etc.? I’m pretty stoked about all this.

yep i agree it shouldn’t just be sound files like the 10 second club,
i mean to me some of the coolest animations aRe those silent ones,
like the old classics where all you hear is good ambience , and orchestral sounds you know Loony Tunes,Tom and Jerry.


When ever i see commercial anime
–can’t help but think Chuck Jones
–must be spinnig in his grave–

As promised, I made a stock character, Belinda, that people can play with. The WIP thread is here:
http://www.elysiun.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=30497

Feel free to try it out. I’d really like to know if she’s easy to control and what, if anything, can be done to make her more user-friendly. I think it’d be good to give people a basic rigged setup to work with so they can focus on what’s cool with animating and not have to worry so much about modeling.

Let me know what you think! The response so far to the “Fortnight Challenge” idea has been very positive, so I’m excited about starting it up in the not-too-distant future.

I think if we have an anim contest, ( which is a cool idea ) we should agree on a codec, that will be common to all entries. Blenders native DivX would be my choice.

Blender has a native DivX implementation? Since when?

Martin

Blender has an AVI render, but it’s not Divx. AVI is just a container format that can hold many different types of codecs. The one used by Blender is based on JPEGs.

That said, I think using the built-in AVI is probably the best bet, since everyone is guaranteed to have it. I would recommend, though, that quality be set to 75% (as opposed to 95%, which I think is the default). Rendering a 10 second (300 frame @ 30 fps) clip of Belinda, I get about 1.8 MB, which seems reasonable. Any higher gets pretty bulky without that much more of an improvement in perceptible quality.

Based on that, I’d recommend the standard be 10 seconds at 30 frames per second using AVI Jpeg at 75% quality. Does that sound good? Would people recommend a higher quality based on their own experience?

Also, any objection to doing 30 fps versus something else? I’m a North American, so I favor a framerate close to NTSC. Plus, it’s easier to step down to PAL framerate than up to NTSC. Opposing views?

I find that with quality set blow 85, and with such a low res, it becomes hard to make out stuff. Just a quick question: Are you going to provide hosting for the animations, or do we have to host it our selves?

/d_m

as long as the files are kept low there are many places that offer 50 megs of linkable storage, i could set one up and pretty well host the thing, I’m also i’m looking at building a file server for myself soon that would be accessable without many problems.

Just tossing in my 2 cents worth. another nice idea would be a week long picture challenge, yeah the WC is nice but soem of the stuff that can be put out in a week is just plain great.

I’d also suggest using the DivX 5.1 codec, since itll get a half decent compression and good resolution for under a couple megs. its also easy for people to get at www.divx.com

MacBlender

Good question. Unfortunately, I’m not set up to host all the animations, so people are on their own for hosting. I might be able to host a Hall of Fame, though.

Along those lines, what do people know about free or reduced price hosting, at least for a few megabytes? I’ve seen some movies online at a couple of blender image hosting sites, but they weren’t large.

I bumped up my test render from 75% quality to 85%. The filesize went from 1.8 to 2.6 MB, which seems okay to me. So, 85% AVI Jpeg, 10 sec. @ 30 fps, 320 x 240? Opinions?

That’s good news with the storage!

I’m a little concerned about divx, only because I’ve run into trouble before with different encoders and decoders on various platforms. I know I’ve encoded things that’ve worked fine on my linux and Win machines, but don’t play right out of the box on a Mac, for example. Not that they couldn’t, given the right plugins, etc., but I worry that good animations will suffer in the voting because of viewing problems, and I’d like to eliminate that as a variable.

I’m also considering recommending, though not requiring, that entrants post a thumbnail of a frame from the movie, which seems to help with the WC voting.

Are there other opinions on the encoding issue? My main concern is with equality of entries, but I’m taking all views on the issue.