View Full Version : March/April 2003 Official VFX Challenge Guidelines - Mar 15th - Apr 30th

03 March 2003, 05:56 AM
Welcome once again to the CGTalk challenges. First off I must say the Jan/Feb challenges were a HUGE success, and because of that we have some very very happening things in the mix that will sure to keep a smile on your faces for the rest of the year :). That out of the way let's get to what you all really want... The next challenge topic.

Welcome to our 3rd WIP VFX challenge...

This month's Challenge is entitled "Outpost"

GNOMON School of Visual Effects

Visual Effects Challenge, March/April 2003: Outpost

Since the early days of the cinema, the creation of sets has been a multi-disciplined arena. This process has included the use of full-scale contruction, miniatures, matte paintings and, increasingly over the past decade, digital sets. Depending on the requirements of a shot (camera movement, actor interaction, effects and so on), a VFX supervisor will work with the director to determine which combination of techniques will be employed.

For this challenge, a digital set must be integrated into a live-action still image.

An alien civilization has sent a research colony to the earth to collect soil and atmospheric samples. An outpost has been built to house 250 scientists in one of Earth's deep canyons. Built into the walls of the canyon, structures perform a variety of functions: air/soil sample collection, research laboratories, lodging, craft landing platforms and docking bays.

Shoot your own still image plate or find one from the web/a book/etc. The image must be at least 1k using a 1.85 aspect ratio (1000x540 pixels). Any canyon will do, (grand canyon, bryce canyon, arches national park and so on).

Design and integrate the alien colony into the canyon. Create subtle animation to bring the still image to life. Example animation can include flying birds, landing spacecraft, rising steam, blinking lights, operating machinery and so on.

Final delivery will be a 5 second Quicktime movie and a still image.
The still image should be full resolution, 1000x540 pixels.
The Quicktime movie must be compressed using Sorenson at a res. of 500x270.

Process Outline:

1) Select Backplate, crop to 1.85 aspect ratio
2) Clean plate (clone/paint out any manmade structures, if any)
3) Design Outpost by sketching directly on to backplate in Photoshop/Painter
4) Model canyon elements which must cast/receive shadows onto CG elements
5) Build reflection model/maps if set has any reflective surfaces
6) Model/Texture/Light/Animate Digital Set
7) Render elements in passes (diffuse, specular, shadow, reflection, fog)
8) Composite

There is a lot of inspiration out there to draw ideas from, but an amazing collection of work is the recently published book 'Concept Design' by featuring Gnomon production design instructors Neville Page and Mark Goerner.

Of course, other examples of amazing digital set work include films such as Minority Report, The Fifth Element, Bicentennial Man, Gladiator, Mystery Men, Lord of the Rings, Final Fantasy, and the Matrix.

In regards to canyon imagery, here are some example canyons from National Geographic magazine. NG produces a CDROM collection with every page from the last 100 years: If all else fails, there is always the Google image search!

Good Luck! We look forward to seeing your WIP and Entries.

Alex Alvarez
Director, Gnomon School of VFX.

The Challenge starts Mar 15th, 2003 and will run until April 30th, 2003 Midnight GMT

An excellent idea was suggested last month to have a countdown timer located on the cgchallenge site. This will be implemented shortly after. You will never be guessing when the challenge is nearing its end! (providing you check the cgchallenge site ;))

additional notes:

- Please provide some form of a storyboard, doodles are fine.
Remember that this is a WIP challenge, so it is a requirement to show the steps you used, and help out as much as you can, of course you're not obligated to, but it will help those that need it greatly.

There are however some restrictions to prevent unnecessary issues:

Animations cannot be uploaded at this time to the new challenge site, so you must use the forum,

If you wish to show a larger animation do so by linking it from your site.
Keep in mind filesizes. . .this is to help those people with slow connections.



When you begin a new thread please use the following syntax

Outpost - VFX Challenge - [your name]

so for example

Outpost - VFX Challenge - lildragon

And that's it,

03 March 2003, 06:00 AM
Challenge issues are resolved here

good luck everyone