#1 02-14-2011 7:07 pm

MattJ
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Resurrecting the old mini-challenges

After some time I have thought about resurrecting these old mini-challenges.  I have spoken to Camaro and Aja about starting these up and wanted to get others input on ideas to get the excitement and people showing up for these.

If I get some buy-in with people wanting to start these up again, then I will kick them off starting February 28th (Monday).

Love to hear your thoughts.

Matt -


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#2 02-14-2011 9:20 pm

Kreator
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Re: Resurrecting the old mini-challenges

Best of luck getting people to participate. That's the whole reason I stopped doing it in the first place. You'll have to come up with a great idea to keep people's interest.

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#3 02-14-2011 9:50 pm

MattJ
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Re: Resurrecting the old mini-challenges

Thanks man.  I do hope people see this as a means to further the principles and basic fundamentals of animation and story telling.  That is why I want to be a part of it - for my own practice.

Matt -


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#4 02-14-2011 10:03 pm

robo88
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Re: Resurrecting the old mini-challenges

i'm in too mates!

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#5 02-14-2011 10:06 pm

GarrettG
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Re: Resurrecting the old mini-challenges

I'd be willing to participate if I have the time, AM keeps me busy. tongue

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#6 02-14-2011 11:08 pm

unclemark45
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Re: Resurrecting the old mini-challenges

I'm interested.  Please tell me more.

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#7 02-15-2011 12:03 am

cosmicfool
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Re: Resurrecting the old mini-challenges

I think its a good idea.
I think where it went wrong before it was a little too vague as to what people wanted to do with an exercise.
One thought for making it a bit more exciting, would be to have some restrictions put down for each exercise.
Things like, this is the rig being used. This is the amount of frames to be used. Maybe even post a screen shot of the camera angle even. If people were gonna be willing to do them, i'd even go to the trouble of putting together a basic scene file for download with a locked in camera and a basic stage. We could make an open dropbox folder to include all the necessary items for that weeks assignment. Would be cool to see how different people's ideas are with-in the restrictions of each exercise.


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#8 02-15-2011 12:57 am

Kreator
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Re: Resurrecting the old mini-challenges

I think cosmic has the right mindset with this, and I completely agree. The last challenges were a bit vague, I think setting up basic scenes would be a great place to start.

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#9 02-15-2011 1:39 am

robcat2075
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Re: Resurrecting the old mini-challenges

Once you start specifying a scene file and "rig" you're excluding everyone who doesn't use the software that can use those.

Keep it small and accessible...

1) any character you want
2) the topic generally doesn't require a prop or scenery
3) the topic has to be something a person might typically do in an evening or a day.  Not a dramatic scene, just a gesture. If they're spending a whole week polishing on it they're not going to be coming back every week.

The thing you probably need to do most is find a way to get more feedback going.  If you work on something, post it and get no response there's really no reason to keep doing them.  I can animate anything you want at home for zero response.

I'd also like to see a ban on any claim of how desperately short a time was spent on the entry. wink  It doesn't change the way it looks to the viewer.


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#10 02-15-2011 1:59 am

MattJ
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Re: Resurrecting the old mini-challenges

Some good ideas guys.  I am all for having a scene already established, but like robcat mentioned.  It needs ot be something simple that can be done in a day or two. 

I also agree the rig should net be defined if someone is doing this in 2D, or a different software than the rig is made in.

Feedback will be a big thing with me.  Hopefully others will help out as well.  everyone excels with feedback.

Keep the ideas coming!  Thanks.

matt -


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#11 02-15-2011 2:00 am

cosmicfool
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Re: Resurrecting the old mini-challenges

Just an observation I don't think too many people would be being excluded if a scene file was whipped up in maya. Looking at the majority of people who are searching for crits and learning animation on this site, I am struggling to remember the last thread I opened and saw someone using a program like blender or xsi. Which they could still set up their own scene resembling the one everyone else will be using.
If someone is planning on doing a 2d entry than go nuts, we can post a pic of what it looks like everyone will be doing and you can have it from there.
Looking at some of the exercises that would take someone a night or two, the ball bounce, the walk, the run, the obstacle course, the jump, the diving board, the flour sac etc.... I think it would be great to see what 10 or whatever people could do with the exact same obstacle course and time restrictions. Or how someone interprets a specific personality walk or run. Or a lipsynch test to a certain dialogue.
They would merely have to open the dropbox, drag the scene file in and start working.
Heck if there were people willing to do the tests, i'd definitely be willing to participate as well.


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#12 02-15-2011 2:05 am

cosmicfool
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Re: Resurrecting the old mini-challenges

I think it would be great to see what other people are capable of doing with the same rig on a certain exercise. I find students a lot of the time allow themselves to be limited by the rig they are using. Also they tend to get overly comfortable with a specific looking character and a specific style of rig. It would be a great learning opportunity to use different style rigs, and different looking characters also. Just my 2 cents though. More importantly would be having people regularly participating in the exercises.


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#13 02-15-2011 2:56 am

robcat2075
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Re: Resurrecting the old mini-challenges

cosmicfool wrote:

Just an observation I don't think too many people would be being excluded if a scene file was whipped up in maya.

that would exclude me.  You're saying only Maya users need apply because they're the only serious animators.

If you want to make a contest about learning new rigs, OK, but I doubt you'll be able to keep that going long.


I'll say it again.  Keep it simple.

1) any character.
2) small animation goal
3) simple setting (no or next to no props)

example topic: "Jump over a box"

example result:

Direct Link



If you actually get flooded with entries then you can start thinking about ways to thin it out, but that's not going to happen.


"3D animators have pencil envy" - Robert Holmén
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This is only a... my gallery of CG tests
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#14 02-15-2011 3:18 am

Kreator
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Re: Resurrecting the old mini-challenges

robcat2075 wrote:

cosmicfool wrote:

Just an observation I don't think too many people would be being excluded if a scene file was whipped up in maya.

that would exclude me.  You're saying only Maya users need apply because they're the only serious animators..

He's not saying that at all. He's saying that you could easily make an equivalent scene in your software of choice. But for the majority of people here, they would be able to use the Maya scene file provided. In any case it doesn't even have to be a .ma or .mb file, it could be a simple OBJ, which any 3D program would be really ignorant not to support.

Your 3 point idea is basically what I did before, and it lasted for a couple weeks before dying out. Hopefully I don't have to quote Einstein here; we obviously need to try something new and different to at least see if it works. If MattJ really wants to get this off the ground, he would be smart to do a bit of trial and error as far as the format goes. Perhaps do a slightly different format each week and see which one has the most participation.

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#15 02-15-2011 4:20 am

cosmicfool
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Re: Resurrecting the old mini-challenges

Just really trying to think of a way to make the idea have some appeal with my suggestions.
I remember when it was going on before the exercises people were submitting were all over the place. I think finding a way to ground it could be really useful to its success.
A thing as simple as "jump over a box", becomes, run........ leap......... trip on box......... fall over.......get up.......look at box..........done poorly cause people just wanna go nuts with all this stuff, and the exercise loses its meaning. Even just a small thing like jump over a box in 40 frames in my mind would ground it a lot more. Personally I think some limitations/restrictions make for more creative work anyways.
I think if we can find a way to ground it a bit, even with a small amount of people (3+)it could work well, and attract more attention.
It is a great idea, and if people were gonna do it, I would love to help out in some way.


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#16 02-15-2011 4:52 am

sudipto1990@gmail.com
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Re: Resurrecting the old mini-challenges

hi...
count me in..
although i am a total newbie in this field of animation still i will try to post my part of the shot as much as i can...


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#17 02-15-2011 6:55 am

robcat2075
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Re: Resurrecting the old mini-challenges

He's saying that you could easily make an equivalent scene in your software of choice. But for the majority of people here, they would be able to use the Maya scene file provided. In any case it doesn't even have to be a .ma or .mb file, it could be a simple OBJ, which any 3D program would be really ignorant not to support.

I use Animation:Master.  It's a 100% spline modeling environment. It works great.  I can import an OBJ but it's exceedingly rare that people making OBJs make them properly for conversion to splines.

What sort of set are you proposing to make anyway?  And you're going to make a new one every week?  You're going to get tired of that real fast.



Your 3 point idea is basically what I did before, and it lasted for a couple weeks before dying out.

It died out because

-you stopped posting topics
-they were vague ambiguous topics.  This was the last one:

What to do: Animate two or more characters interacting in some way, i.e. a fight or they work together to reach a goal of some sort, etc.

that was not anything like what I'm proposing.


The biggest reason it died out was that almost no one was giving any feed back.  If someone wants to animate and get no feedback they've got that at home 24/7

Why make time to get something done on a deadline for no reaction?  People need to get something for their effort if they are going to put aside their ideas for one evening and work on your idea.

Last edited by robcat2075 (02-15-2011 6:56 am)


"3D animators have pencil envy" - Robert Holmén
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This is only a... my gallery of CG tests
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#18 02-15-2011 7:11 am

Kreator
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Re: Resurrecting the old mini-challenges

I stopped posting topics because the participation was dwindling. And I obviously admitted they were vague, point taken. The last one I posted is not the best one to quote because a) I was running out of ideas and b) I had no inspiration or motivation to come up with good ideas because of c) the dwindling participation.

If you're so confident in your proposal, I encourage you to take it over and just start it up again. Hell, MattJ doesn't have to be the one to do it. I'll be the first one to participate if it works out, take that to the bank.

As for the feedback issue: I do not disagree with you there. I think a simple solution would be that everyone who posts an animation has to first post feedback to the person before them. A simple sentence or two saying what they liked and what can be improved.

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#19 02-15-2011 7:49 am

cosmicfool
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Re: Resurrecting the old mini-challenges

I think the only way it could really work is to have a group of people willing to work within the dead lines, and willing to maybe get together and discuss the exercise after its completion. The challenges, what was learnt, what worked, what didn't etc.... If the people involved are doing it to improve in their animation and are dedicated at all, I can't see it being that big of issue to have a skype meeting, or a facebook group or whatever would work. The biggest most enticing thing about this to me is somehow creating an environment where people aren't completely alone working on a shot from home. It would be great to make a facebook group or something that people could sign up to, where everyone deciding to enter that competition for the week or bi weekly or whatever could discuss and post there shot for the rest to see. Heck I like that idea so much i'll even make the group the minute two or more people agree they would use it.
In response to Rob, my idea was that a project for the week could be worked out, say Jumping over a box. You will get a scene file or a screen shot or whatever works based on the medium you are doing.
This will contain your locked down scene camera the box and the amount of frames to be used for the exercise. Takes 2 minutes to do that. The rest is up to you. No hard core set or models or anything like that. The focus from there is purely on animation.


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#20 02-15-2011 3:35 pm

MattJ
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Re: Resurrecting the old mini-challenges

I don;t really see a need for a facebook group or anything like that when people can just post on here with comments or their W.I.P's.

I don't mind making simple scenes for each challenge and can easily do obj's, fbx's or even Maya or 3D max versions (have both 3d Max and Maya at work).

My biggest worry is getting buy-in from the community and people really sticking around..but that's always the case with things like these.

Would like to hear from Aja and Bog on any ideas.  Maybe something with AM Alumni feedback instead of mentors, or maybe a badge or icon below their avatar?

Would like to hear from you guys on prizes as well?  I can see doing something for winners, but it couldn;t be per challenge, but maybe overall results after a few months or a year - then do something pretty big.  I am all up for providing the award, but I can't shell out $50 a week on a prize. tongue

Matt -


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#21 02-15-2011 6:35 pm

cosmicfool
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Re: Resurrecting the old mini-challenges

Thats kinda why I was thinking a facebook group, as it provides an opportunity for the people competing to get to know eachother a little better and at times chat a little more intimately. Which definitely will help people get a more rewarding crit on their work from eachother. I did some small animation projects on facebook with random people before and made some good friends/contacts at the same time.
Most people on here, myself included, struggle to even give feedback and vote on all the entries now as there are so many more than before. Nevermind givng consistent good feedback on small exercises. Which is why I think that doing it openly outside of this community would be far more efficient. Even more rewarding as you can have bragging rights over the people you know when you win the challenge.


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#22 02-16-2011 7:00 am

JSim
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Re: Resurrecting the old mini-challenges

I'd do them.

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#23 02-16-2011 7:52 am

cosmicfool
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Re: Resurrecting the old mini-challenges

I figured I would try setting up a facebook group just to see if the idea could at all work.
Basically I set it up under 11sc animation mini challenges if you search it on facebook you will find it.
Some cool things about it are:
-the opportunity to add new friends who can offer feedback and encouragement.
-Chat in live time with group members when they are online.
-Upload directly to facebook server from your comp without having to load your video to vimeo or youtube or whatever you use.
-An event start time and end time date, so when youre wasting time on facebook you are reminded of how much time you have left to finish the challenge.
-Dedicated threads for that week's challenges, so no clutter.
-A like system for the videos. So basically whoever has the most likes is declared the winner for that week's challenge.
So no crazy hard voting tallies need be implemented.
-Maybe something like the winner of that weeks challenge can decide what the next challenge will be? And has the honor of setting up the staging for it or something like this. That way no one in particular has to be the head control person. Also everyone who joins the group and competes can have admin status so it could be a self sustaining environment in which the pressure to run falls on no one individuals shoulders.
-Anyone can join the group so you have the potential for a wide variety of comments from people. Also being facebook is a great opportunity to meet other animators outside of this site.

I took the liberty of posting a challenge on it just to see what it looks like, and made a basic obstacle course for a ball to work its way through however someone would want. Just to see if the format would be ok for the idea.
Check it out, join if you like. If people don't think it will work, I'll delete the group and we can try and make it work over here.

Cheers

- Sidenote I am by no means trying to take over this thing. I just want to see it work, and would also like to participate.
And to be honest I 100% don't see it working at all if it is gonna happen somewhere in the archives of this site. As I said above I think it would be great if the challenges could grow to be a self sustaining thing, that noone is in charge of. As there are so many students of animation out there who could benefit from this if it is done right.

Last edited by cosmicfool (02-16-2011 8:04 am)


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#24 02-16-2011 2:46 pm

unclemark45
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Re: Resurrecting the old mini-challenges

Where did you post the challenge?  Facebook?  Link?

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#25 02-16-2011 3:19 pm

unclemark45
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Re: Resurrecting the old mini-challenges

Thanks - I just clicked the join button too.

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