Frequently Asked Questions

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  10 October 2003
Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Do "life forms" include plants? / What exactly is supposed to be in the image? / I want to create an image with xyz lifeform, can I? / Are unborn eggs ok? / Can I create a Terminator-like mecha creature? What's OK and not? - Semantic questions
A. Artistic liberty is given to you to create and amaze us. Use your initiative, as we do not wish to give too many guidelines or restrictions.

Q. Why are mods not allowed to enter this challenge?
A. Due to the large prize, and to keep judging unbiased (selected mods will be asked to judge the final entries), we are making a general rule - no mods allowed.

Q. Are collaborations (2 or more artists working on one entry) allowed?
A. No. Collaborations are not allowed as it completely changes the dynamics of the challenge. If teamwork is allowed, it would give larger teams an advantage.

Q. Can people with educational licenses, or trial/exp versions enter?
A. Yes. There is no restriction on whether you use educational or fully licensed software.

Q. Can people with pirated software enter this challenge?
A. If you are using pirated software, you are only continuing to do so at your own legal risk. Neither Alienware, CGNetworks nor any of the contest sponsors endorses the use of pirated software and anyone silly enough to admit to using pirated software will have their entry removed from the challenge promptly, with risk of legal action from the respective copyright holders.

Q. Will this be the only challenge or will the regular ones such as an animation challenge/2D challenge during this one?
A. There are currently no plans to run other challenges during the Alienware Challenge (subject to change). The reason for this is due to the high attrition rate when running too many challenges at the same time. We want everyone to focus on one challenge, for three months, do a good job and most importantly, finish it.

Q. Is post processing in non 3D applications (e.g. Photoshop) all right?
A. Absolutely. We believe that in order to get the best image quality and results, you will need to perform post-work in an image processing application. Your image, however, must be predominantly 3D. How you want to construct your image (multiple 3D elements composited, or full 3D render), is at your discretion.

Q. How much 2D is allowed over the 3D? Do things like dust, fire, and all other effects have to be achieved within the 3D app or can they be painted on afterwards? Would even things like paint-overs be allowed?
A. The image needs to be predominantly 3D, or give the effect of being three-dimensional. The purpose of this challenge is to facilitate the creation of art. Use your discretion, artistic license and initiative in creating the art.

Q. On the main CGnetworks competition area do you just want 1 finished milestone pic, i.e. 1 final concept, 1 finished modeling, 1 finished textured etc. and leave all the inbetweens to cgtalk or shove every single created picture in CGnetworks?
A. Submit images that you want to be considered for judging. You will need at least one per milestone. You do not need to submit all WIP shots via the CGNetworks challenge system as you may like to host them and directly plug them in-line on posts. This is at your discretion.

Q. Is there a set image aspect ratio we have to work to?
A. No, but you may like to consider working in a 'portrait' layout as it will be easier to use the image in a promotional poster setting, or print in a book such as EXPOSE' 2. This is at your discretion, but are valid consideration points.

Q. Does your first Concept Sketch have to be done in pencil or is a painter/photoshop drawing OK?
A. You can use Photoshop, Painter or any other drawing application to do your concept sketches. These do not need to be done in traditional media.

Q. Does the final winning image need to be of a certain size at 300dpi?
- Image dimensions should be print resolution (as large as you can possibly render). Do not send in a low-resolution placeholder and ask us to get back to you, as we won't.
- A guideline is 2657 pixels wide and/or 3636 high, 300 DPI.
- DO NOT upsample your images to achieve higher resolution. If you cannot reach the desired full-page resolution, just send in what you have.
Final submission information will be made available in January 2004. All contestants will be emailed with secure FTP information only in January 2004.

Q. Do artists need to sign over usage rights for Alienware or whoever to use i.e. will the winning images be used commercially?
A. All artwork submitted for the Alienware CG Challenge, including WIP's are automatically given rights for Alienware and CGNetworks to use for marketing purposes. This is documented in the terms and conditions presented during the challenge entry and submission process.

Q. The rules state to avoid well known sci-fi franchises but what about a lesser known sci-fi concept?
A. The sole purpose of avoiding well known sci-fi franchises is to prevent any possible infringement of copyrights, intellectual property, and to promote originality. While you can be inspired by existing material, it is good artistic practise to avoid blatant copying of existing designs.

Q. May I submit more than one entry?
A. No. Each individual is restricted to one entry.

Q. Wondering if the challenge is limited to still pictures. If a short camera move or atmospheric (lightning, rain, etc..) effects can be used in a short clip and included with a still image for consideration when judging?
A. This challenge is limited to still images. While you can create animations for your own edification, judging will only be limited to stills.

Q. Can the milestones that you upload be updated or are you bound to the one you upload first? In other words, are the uploads you use with the CGNetworks system final?
A. You can upload multiple entries for the same milestone - e.g. you may have 2 or more concept sketches that you wish to upload for consideration.

Q. Can I enter the challenge using digital matte painting using predominantly Photoshop or Painter?
A. While there is nothing stopping you from entering the challenge, the milestones are clearly catered to 3D image creation, and you will be unable to meet these milestones. Quick answer is 'no'. Long answer is 'yes', but you probably won't meet the requirements to be considered for judging.

Q. Are Work In Progress (WIP) going to be judged?
A. No. But you need to submit work in progress shots (screengrabs, sketches, test renders, etc) in order to meet the requirements of this challenge. We will not be judging the quality of the WIP's submitted, but they need to be submitted, for the overall entry to be considered for judging.

Q. Are terrain generators allowed?
A. Yes. As long as it is not the prominent feature of the artwork, it is allowed. E.g. backdrop mountain vistas... you cannot use terrain generators or other parametric software model generators to create the primary subject matters.

Q. Are there deadlines on the work in progress milestones?
A. No. However, one of the judging criteria is "community interaction" - artists who 'hold back' their milestones and submit all at the last minute will not score well in this category.

Q. So what ARE the judging criteria?
A. Full judging criteria and panel of judges will be announced in January 2004. Before then, we will not disclose or discuss the judging process or criteria.

If you have a question, please reply to this thread. I will answer, then delete the post so that this thread does not blow out.
Questions that have already been answered here, or in the instructions at, will not be answered.
  10 October 2003
From Alienware: Detailed clarification of terms and conditions

Alienware/CG Contest.

Open letter to everyone on this forum and entering the Alienware/CG Networks contest:

I'll write a more detailed clarification of the rules a bit later but I just wanted to assure everyone of a few things:

- No artwork will be used in any fashion without credit given to the artist.

- No artwork will knowingly be sold, in whole or in part, by Alienware

- It is not Alienware's intention to keep ANY of the artwork other than for purposes of deciding a winner and longer than the length of this contest.

- The "marketing purposes" in the rules and regulations does not mean we are incorporating the artwork in any official advertising or a physical product, like a silk-screen on the side of a chassis. Artwork could be used for marketing purposes like the promotion of this contest, promotion of future contests, or to showcase the creativity of digital artists.

- The artist will be asked permission for the use of their artwork if outside of the scope of the contest or the above mentioned purpose(s).

As Leonard mentioned, the idea of the contest is to have fun, show other people how creative you are, and to try and win something cool in the process. We specifically did not create a lengthy rules and regulations page because we wanted everyone to participate and for the artists to get some props from the community.

Bottom line is that Alienware and CG Networks want this contest to be interesting, challenging, and above all, FUN!

Cheers and good luck to everyone!
Erik Cubbage
Director, Workstation Platforms
Alienware Corporation
  11 November 2003

a small, yet essential question for me; the term "inexistent" is a bit unclear to me. Does it mean 'does not exist at the moment' or 'does not and has never existed at all'? I'm thinking about "alien-fossile"-like subjects in my scene, and want to know if it's ok if it shows that there has been some kind of life in that particular world.

  11 November 2003
do i understand right? sort of a machine?

im fighting with my concept scetches and after re-reading the rules im quite confused. the rules say that 'there was some creation' and i dont know what you mean by that. is there to be some buildings which are sorta machines, factory, halls etc.?

so the surroundings i show needs to implicate that it was built up by some intelligent lifeform but has to be empty/not in use, the work is paused, nobody there...? an empty city or so?

it is not supposed to create just a landscape with uncommon things?

please help me, im stuck with those issues!

btw. has there been some wipeout of inactive contestants? i cannot find my thread here but have joined the challenge via the cgnetworks page (my thread used to be here some day). i have been busy so i havent started to work.

thanks in advance!
greetings - sad | | |
Space Opera
  11 November 2003
hmm... it says "The location seems unpopulated, but not necessarily abandoned or neglected, nor rusting or decaying, but life forms are inexistent."

i think this sentence gives a LOT of artisitic freedom - "not necessarily" in particular. from that im assuming that buildings are ok but just no lifeforms... but the difficulty is making in look like it is abandoned etc... hmm... i dunno but i might take part in this competition to try and win a coffee mug.

btw way im new here. HI!!!
  11 November 2003
reward delivery question

one thing surprises me... some time ago i've posted a question in this FAQ and there's still no reply, so i'll just repeat it:

who is responsible for the delivery of the main reward?
i mean: if the winner lives in Japan, New Zeland, South Africa or Poland, then who will pay for transporting this beautiful workstatnion?
  12 December 2003
Alienware will take care of the delivery, but you may have to pay any taxes (e.g. in Australia we have to pay for Goods and Services tax which is 10%). This is outside of Alienware's control.

  12 December 2003

Hi, I get the impression that the artist's interpritation of the concept can be quite open, but I was wondering if it is acceptable to create an alien landscape which contains buildings.
  12 December 2003

Hello All!

Just curious about somthing!

Are the milstones judged for the final score?

Concept Sketch - JPG (online)
Modeling - JPG (online)
Texturing - JPG (online)
Lighting - JPG (online)
Rendering - JPG (online)
Post Effects and Compositing, JPG (online)
Final Image - JPG (online) AND TIF (FTP)

I just wanted to know how much of a percentage of the final score each milestone consists of?

Are they judging each piece submited? I did not spend alot of time on my concept art work, so I could just focus on the final piece.

Are the artists that did matte paintings going to do better on the final score?

  12 December 2003

Judging will only be on the final image. The milestones are required as this challenge is a Work in Progress challenge, where contestants must provide their work in progress shots so that others can learn, critique or share ideas. This is not a deathmatch tournament, it's meant to facilitate learning and building up the community.

As mentioned before, a significant component of judging will be "community interaction", so artists who hold their work in progress shots till just before the deadline will be penalized there.

Hope that answers the question. Apologies if it takes a while for me to get onto the FAQ as we're all on break right now.



  12 December 2003
Will we be allowed to submit our Alienware entries for Expose 2 consideration?
  12 December 2003
While I understand that this is a "WIP"contest BUT, there is a 6000 prise at the end of the tunnel. How can we be sure that our images and ideas arent ripped off? Afterall this is a contest. I say let the people who want to benefit from the WIP to do so after the contest has been decided. Personaly I just found out about htis contest , so regretably I doubt I'll be able to post anything soon. The other thing is that there seems to be some contradiction here. If we are being judged for the final image...then why should tghe WIP matter for judging? Reguardless I would love to have someone answer this. Thanks!!
  12 December 2003
mrman... to answer your questions.

"how can we be sure that our images and ideas arent ripped off?"

You cant. You never can be sure. People could be ripping stuff off now that isn't even part of the contest. You just need to make sure you do better than everyone. Of course, if everyone tries that strategy than only one person will succeed.

"I say let the people who want to benefit from the WIP to do so after the contest has been decided"

That defeates the purpose. That would be a "this is how I did this". Work in progress is great. People can offer you ideas and suguestions, C & C. I have been given tonnes of helpful words by other cg artists on this contest. nobody has been misleading so they themselves could win.
Besides... as mentioned before somewhere... people who don't enter until the last minute (if they were alowed) would have an unfair advantage over the people that are doing the right thing.

"If we are being judged for the final image...then why should tghe WIP matter for judging?"

Leonard answered that a a couple of posts ago.... "The milestones are required as this challenge is a Work in Progress challenge"

I hope this helps.
__________________ | CGPortfolio
  12 December 2003
Is there a minimum age limit for this competition?

You say about the community interaction, say for example, someone who entered the competiton from the 20th october, will there be much difference in points as to someone who entered now?

How late could you leave it without being penalized hugely?

Thanks for your time
  01 January 2004
Hi all,

Happy holidays!

1. Will we be allowed to enter the entries for EXPOSE' 2 consideration?
Absolutely - yes, please do.

2. Is there a minimum age for entering?

3. How late can you leave your entries without being penalized?
You can enter as late as you want, but you will be disadvantaged due to time constraints.

4. Ripping off and Work-in-Progress requirements.
Cullen's response was on the mark.
The primary purpose of this Challenge is to have a bit of fun, learn in the process and giveaway some cool prizes as an incentive.



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