Frequently Asked Questions
What is all this?
The 11 Second Club is a monthly character animation competition. Animators from all over the world participate, animating a character speaking a line of dialogue provided by the club. Throughout the competition, participants can share their progress with each other and critique each other's work. At the end of the month, everyone votes for whose submission they consider the best for that month. The idea is to give animators a chance to practice their skills in a fun, challenging environment.
How do I enter?
To participate, the first thing you'll need to do is to download this month's audio file. Then, use the month to animate a character performing the line, using whatever acting you feel interprets the audio best.
Finally, upload your movie to the site before the end of the competition. To get the most out of the club, use the "Work in Progress" forum throughout the month to get feedback on your work. The feedback you get from your peers will make your work that much stronger!
What are the dates of each competition?
The competition runs from 12:01 am New York time on the 1st of each month until midnight New York time on the last day of the month.
The Voting period runs from the 1st to the 5th of each month. The winner will be announced on the 5th of each month.
But I don't know anything about modeling or rigging! How can I participate without my own character???
Relax! No one said anything about modeling or rigging your own character. There are plenty of characters available online for you to animate with. Have a look in our "Resources" section to find expressive and ready-to-animate rigs for most popular 3D programs.
Listen, I don't go in for all of this CG razzamatazz. Can I still enter the competition if I'm a paper-and-pencil animator, or if I use stop-motion puppets?
Of course! Animation is animation. However you feel most comfortable animating your entry, then that's how you should approach it. All that's really required is that you are able to upload a quicktime movie of your work to the site by the end of the month. The style and the medium is absolutely up to you!
How do I know you guys aren't going to get tired of running this and disappear before I can submit my work?
We know how frustrating it is to put a lot of time and effort into a contest, only to find out that there's nowhere to submit your work when you're done. We've had this in mind since this club was in the planning stages, and have done everything we can to make the site secure and easy to maintain. We've even anticipated the current round of admins becoming too busy to run the club, so we've made the administration of the site streamlined and easy to pass on to future admins. So while we can't predict the future, please know that we're doing everything in our power to ensure that every competition that starts on this site will end with a winner, no matter what. :)
Did you say "future admins"? How can I get involved with that?
As the club grows and requires more moderation, future admins will be invited to help administer the site based on their participation in the club. So if you're interested in taking a leadership position on this site, the best way to do it is to be active, helpful, and professional in the forum and competitions.
Sounds like a great contest! What do I get if I win?
We're very excited to announce that, starting with the October 2007 competition, the winning entry will receive a professional mentor eCritique from our generous sponsor, AnimationMentor.com! Animation Mentor is the top school for training future character animators, and now our members will get a taste of how awesome it is to have a top studio animator critiquing one lucky winner's entry!
Do I win anything for coming in second or third place?
Yes! Kenny Roy is giving away free 3-month subscriptions to his animation training site, www.kennyroy.com to the second and third place entries. You will have three months of free access to the @sk Videomails (weekly video tutorials based on member questions), as well as the extremely in-depth monthly Lectures. Find out more about www.kennyroy.com by reading his FAQ: http://www.kennyroy.com/public/FAQ.cfm
If I win, can I ask the eCritique mentor questions? Send them more of my work, or my demo reel?
No. When the voting round ends and the winner has been chosen by the 11 Second Club members, each winning entry will automatically be uploaded to AnimationMentor's site for critique from one of their top studio mentors. No other materials or questions will be uploaded. For weekly critiques and discussions with your own personal mentor, consider enrolling at AnimationMentor.com! :)
If I win, can I request a specific mentor, or a particular studio?
No, each month's mentor will be chosen by Animation Mentor. To see a list of current mentors, visit the AnimationMentor.com website and click "Mentors".
What if I don't want my work picked apart and posted for everyone to see?
If you're troubled by the thought of having a professional animator pointing out areas of your work that need improvement, you can decline the prize by unchecking the box on the entry submission page at any time before voting starts. In the event that you win, the eCritique prize will go to the next highest rated entry.
That said, the experience of having someone much better than you point out your mistakes in front of a crowd of your peers is a daily one for a working animator (in sessions called "dailies" or "sweatbox"), and it's one of the best ways you can improve your work.
Wow, I really want to win! What are the things that will disqualify my entry and prevent me from winning?
Glad you asked! Here are the rules you need to be sure to follow to avoid having your entry disqualified and ineligible for voting or winning:
- • Don't edit the sound file (beyond adding silence before/after if needed).
- • Don't put your name or contact info anywhere on the actual video (this makes voting unfair).
- • Don't try to upload files more than 10MB (the server will automatically reject it).
- • Don't use anything overtly offensive (this is not the place for crude sexual humor).
- • Don't try to cheat. You can give your own entry a high rating if you think it deserves it, but you are not allowed to organize groups of friends to give your entry unfairly high ratings. Our system is set up to check for suspicious voting activity, and if we find you've been cheating, consequences can include entry disqualification, account suspension, or a permanent ban from the site.
Is there anything else I should know?
Here's our terms and conditions!
What are the dates of the competition?
The competition runs from 12:01 am New York time on the 1st of each month until midnight New York time on the last day of the same month.
The Voting period runs from the 1st to the 5th of each month.
Can I edit the audio file? Add some sound effects?
To keep the playing field level, we do not allow edited versions of our audio files into the dialogue competition. If you want to add silence before or after the clip, that's acceptable. But we feel that modifying the audio clip will muddle the playing field and take away from precious animation time. After all, animation is the focus here.
Entries with audio that has been edited in any way other than adding silence to the beginning and/or end will be disqualified.
Can I add extra props and scenery to my shot?
You can, but be sure to manage your time well. We feel that spending a lot of time modeling and texturing extra bits for your scene will take away from the time needed for animation.
Keep in mind that people looking at your entry (and your reel, for that matter) will be focusing on your character animation skills; everything else is not as important, and may even distract from your animation. Consider using simple shapes if you absolutely need props: a chair can be replaced by a simple gray box, a glass of water can be represented by a cylinder, and a baseball... well, you can probably figure out what simple shape a baseball is.
What if you guys choose a clip that I've already animated?
Well, first off, if we happen to choose a clip that you've already used for an animation test, we apologize. We know it sucks to lose some of the "uniqueness" of your piece. However, as long as you are able to follow the rest of the rules (no editing the sound clip, not offensive, etc.), you're welcome to enter it into the competition. We figure it's a small consolation for having your piece end up on everyone else's demo reels. :\
Does my submission have to be a fully-rendered shot? You see, I'm not that good at lighting, and....
Nope! This is an animation club. Well-rendered shots may look great, but the focus here is your animation. It is perfectly acceptable to upload unrendered previews or playblasts from your 3D software. As long as we can see your acting choices clearly, that's all that matters.
If you render it anyhow, that's your choice, but voters are discouraged from giving extra points for it. We prefer movies that are captured from your viewport, with no special lighting or shadows or anything else that would take up precious time.
If you're really determined to have a beautifully-rendered piece, we suggest that you spend the entire month animating, and then concentrate on lighting and rendering once the month's competition is over. You can even ask a friend who knows about lighting to help you out.
What format should my video be in? Is there a limit on the filesize?
Movie files in .mov, .avi, and .flv should be fine, as long as you're not using a particularly unusual codec. (typical codecs tend to be Sorenson 3 and H.264)
Animation entries must be 10mb or less, and in widescreen (16:9) resolution. Entries larger than 10mb will be rejected by the system.
See our Helpful Hints for encoding your animation to see how we encode animations for uploading.
If you are unsure about the format of your movie file, remember that you can test out the submission form before the end of the month, since only the newest upload will count as your entry. If you can see it working in the "My Entry" view, then it should be working for everyone.
How about framerates? What framerate should I animate with?
The most common framerates for animators are:
- 24fps = Film 25fps = PAL video--television in many European countries, for example.
- 30fps = NTSC video--television in the United States and Canada. Many computer games are also animated at 30fps.
What format should my thumbnail be?
Thumbnail images for the entries should also be 560x316 pixels, in JPEG format. The site will automatically scale them down as needed.
Can I submit an entry, then replace it with an updated submission before the voting starts?
Yep! You can re-submit your entry and change the thumbnail and text as many times as you want until the submission period ends. In fact, we encourage you to try a test submission a few days before the end of the competition, to make sure the process goes smoothly when you're ready to submit your final entry.
We recommend that you choose one of these framerates, as they are likely to be what you will be animating at when you are employed by a studio, whether they are working in television commercials, film, or games.
The 11 Second Club entry system will accept entries in any frame rate.
Do I have to be registered in order to vote?
Yes, you must be registered with the 11 Second Club in order to vote and leave comments. But it's quick, and it's free, so what are you waiting for?
How many stars should I give an entry?
Since animation is such a subjective art form, it will be up to you to decide what criteria you'd like to use when you're grading each entry. Keep in mind, however, that you are only voting for the animation. Other criteria such as modeling, rendering, lighting, etc., should not be taken into account in your final score.
When deciding how many stars to rate an entry with, we suggest using this grading system:
- 1 - 2 stars -- Poor.
- 3 - 4 stars -- Decent.
- 5 - 6 stars -- Good.
- 7 - 8 stars -- Great!
- 9 - 10 stars -- Excellent!
- 11 stars -- I'll never wash my eyes again.
Do I have to provide a comment? What should I write?
Leaving a comment is not required, but commenting on other animator's work is a great way to join in the community (and to build up your Karmojo!).
It is acceptable to leave comments such as "Nice work!" or "This is funny," but we encourage you to provide constructive feedback saying what you like about the piece, or what you feel could be improved. An example of a great piece of feedback would be something like: "This is great work! The only thing I could say is that some of your acting choices don't quite ring true with the dialogue. For example, when she drops her hand, screws up eyebrows and turns her head from frame 170-190, this didn't seem to fit with was the audio was saying. There's also a small IK arm pop at frame 73. But other than that its very nice work, good job!"
Can I choose which entry I want to vote for?
Unfortunately, no. In order to be fair, we've arranged for our voting system to offer you random entries to vote on. This eliminates the possibility of voters voting only for their on certain entries and leaving others unwatched and un-voted.
As a side note to anyone as interested in fairness as we are, the order in which entries are displayed isn't actually "random"... entries are presented in order of least-viewed to most-viewed. So if, for example, there are 10 entries in a competition, and the first person goes in and rates 5 of them, the second person to vote will see the other 5 unrated entries first. This means that all entries get an equal number of views and ratings throughout the voting process, and none are "left behind".
Oh no! I want to change my vote for a certain entry. Is there a way I can go back?
Yes, when you finish voting on the last entry, you'll be presented with a list of all entries for the month in the order you ranked them. You can use this list to go back and change your votes.
People are telling me I should include a frame counter with my shot. How do I do that?
Frame counters are an essential tool when asking people to critique your animation. They are the best way to point to a specific frame, or range of frames for detailed comments. Depending on which software you are using (if you are animating in 3D), there are different ways to include a frame counter with your animation. Have a look at this topic in the 11 Second Club forum to find a number of methods for adding a frame counter to your animation.
Can I upload my Work In Progress to the 11 Second Club's web site?
Unfortunately, the 11 Second Club is not currently able to provide server space for uploading works in progress.
I don't have a web host. Where can I upload my work in progress so everyone can see it?
The ideal solution for showing your work is to upload a quicktime video to your web host or the web host of a friend who is willing to let you borrow some space.
Quicktime movies work the best for critiquing animation because the user can step through the video one frame at a time.
There are websites such as www.zshare.net and www.vimeo.com that allow you to place files on their servers for free, in order to allow users to download the files later. This is a good alternate solution for allowing other club members to view your work and frame through it.
There are also free sites such as www.youtube.com, www.dailymotion.com, and video.google.com that allow users to upload their own videos. These sites convert your uploaded video to streaming flash, which is viewable at real-time speed. However, these sites make it difficult to view the animation one frame at a time, and therefore are not as conducive to detailed critiques.
What exactly is 'Karmojo'?
Karmojo is meant to be a fun number to encourage participation during the rating process. If you've registered with the 11 Second Club, your Karmojo score appears under your avatar in the forums.
Your Karmojo is represented as a number between 0 and 100. We can't tell you exactly how Karmojo is calculated, but it is a healthy mixture of how often you post in the Work In Progress forum, how active you are with voting, and how often you leave comments on each month's entries during voting.
Note that giving people overly high ratings in the voting round won't improve your Karmojo at all. Karmojo checks to see how well you're able to give a good entry high stars, and a poor entry low stars. But if you take the rating seriously and have a decent eye for animation, then your Karmojo should improve.
For added fun, Karmojo also determines your forum user title.