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Old 04-08-2012, 12:31 AM   #1
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The unspoken CGTalk Gallery standards

Over the past couple years the standards have changed and I see a lot more people complaining in the forums about rejected works. I've seen a lot of artists getting their feelings hurt and felt unwelcome in the community. I've seen moderators taking a lot of flack from annoyed artists, and I've seen moderators wasting a lot of time explaining their decisions. I've also wasted a lot of my time trying to console or explain to artists what they might need to do differently.

I believe that most of these issues are simply due confusions because the submission page is many years out of date and has not been updated to reflect the new standards. The submission guidelines are currently as follows:

Quote:
CGSociety reserves the right to not display artwork that is unfinished, that is not up to reasonable standards or is of an offensive nature.

Members are welcome to post their work in the WIP forums and host their own images if their work is not accepted in this hosted gallery.


  • This is for finished work only. Work in Progress art should be posted in the CGSociety Work in Progress (WIP) forums for critique. Any obviously unfinished work uploaded is unacceptable.



  • This is for quality work that you feel proud to share with the community. Please do a self assessment of your work prior to submitting it. Do not post any "This is my first 3D render" or "This is my first test of xyz software".
In other words, a new artist will see these guidelines:
- no offensive content (obligatory)
- no "obviously incomplete" work (obligatory)
- artist must be proud of their work (not, "This is my first 3D render")

Great, according to this, practically everything should be acceptable! A new artist may not even realize that their work is being judged from an artistic point of view (a lot of people seem to think that only the CG Choice Gallery is being seriously judged). So, they submit their work, get a rejection, and are confused: they know it's not offensive, they are done with it so it can't be "obviously incomplete", and it's not their first work ever...so it satisfies all three requirements. The only criteria with any leeway is the last one, which means essentially that if their work is rejected, they think the judges considered it to be on the level of "the first piece of art this person has ever done," which is very insulting.

As an example of completeness, there is this example:



There was a time when the photo on the left would be considered "finished." Today it would almost certainly be rejected as an "unfinished" image -- the textures are not detailed enough, and it's just a model quickly juxtaposed into a scene. This image should really be updated to reflect current standards.

Quote:
When submitting work based on photographs, the original photographic reference should be submitted along with the artwork for consideration. Work that is suspected to be based on photographs may be rejected along with a request for additional reference materials.


This quote makes it sound like its acceptable to simply paint a photograph and submit that (with refs). That's not the case anymore, because there's an unspoken standard for creativity and originality that would not be met by simply copying a photograph. Moreover, if they do not meet this standard, they are not going receive "a request for additional reference materials" as it says. More likely, they will receive a vague form-rejection letter with no explanation saying it "wasn't good enough".

Before you get to the submission page, their is a graphic that says: "Your artwork will be reviewed by CG society gallery judges. Only works meeting their quality standards will be accepted into the showcase gallery." This is the only place where it says anything about "judging" although many users may not notice it, or after reading the minimalistic quality standards, brush this comment aside.

Let's talk about the actual submission process. My hope is that by bringing some transparency to the system, artists can better learn how to create content that is likely to be acceptable. I'm not a judge or a moderator, so I don't really know how things work, but here is what I have gathered:

1) The judges are forum moderators.

2) Individual pieces are not rated by a panel of judges (as in an art contest), but rather each judge has the ability or accept or reject incoming submissions.

3) There seems to be no specific agreed upon standard between judges as to what is acceptable and what is not. As a result, you might find your piece rejected, and then look into the gallery and see a piece that most people would agree is worse than yours that was accepted. That's simply how it is. If you feel this way, don't point out those pieces and make direct comparisons saying how yours is better -- that's not a good way to make friends.

4) If your piece is rejected, you will receive a form letter that has nothing to do with your specific piece. I think there is only 1 form letter, so whatever reason you were rejected for, you will get the same letter, which means that you shouldn't read too much into the reasons given in the letter.

5) There are certain unspoken standards that I have noticed:

Originality/Creativity - The moderators are mostly bored of cliches and simple classical portraits. Don't just copy a photograph, it won't won't be accepted even if it's well done. You must show some creative interpretation to make it your own.

Completeness - Pay equal attention to subject and background. If it's a 2D drawing, it's not enough to simply paint the foreground subject -- you need to paint a whole scene. If it's a 3D character with no attention to the background or lighting, it probably won't be accepted. Your chances are better if you at least pose it on a "stand", and much better if its part of a full scene.


Impact factor - It's not enough to just have technical skill. If the image is boring to look at, it's probably going to be rejected. If the image doesn't make logical sense, it's probably going to be rejected. Example: a medieval sword sitting on a table. Doesn't matter if the sword is well made, because it's got no emotional impact.

Suggestions to the artists:
I hope this helps to adjust your mind set: you are not uploading pictures to your Facebook photo gallery to share with your friends. Your works are being judged even though it's not the CG Choice Gallery, so consider it an art contest. Don't put too much weight into rejections, because it's literally just one person who made the call.

Suggestions to CG Society moderators:


1) There will always be some disagreement when it comes to aesthetic interpretation of a piece, but there should be a clear cut standard when it comes to what is complete or not. It would be great if cg society could come to an agreement about exactly what is considered a "complete" work in regards to bot 2D and 3D works. Be clear in specifying this on the submission guidelines page, and provide an updated example image that actually meets these conditions.

2) Be more clear about explaining in the submission guidelines page that artwork is being judged on creativity, originality and emotional impact factor, much like an art contest -- as this isn't clear at the moment.

3) When rejecting a work, there should be a specialized form letter for the reason of rejection, or no form letter at all. In other words, there should be separate form letters to reject a work based on: a) incomplete, b) suspected copying of a photograph, c) technical details not up to par, and d) not enough creativity or originality. Selecting one of these 4 things isn't much extra work for the judge (especially if it's just a radial button selector), but would make a huge different to the artists who are often confused and are not sure what to work on before resubmitting.

Last edited by Lunatique : 02-23-2014 at 02:08 AM.
 
Old 04-08-2012, 06:20 AM   #2
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Smile

Remember my work was rejected to CGTalk gallery first time,I feel sad.
But I not complain to moderators,because I know myself have many defect need to progress--no matter knowledge or technology.

Today I can enter gallery,but still post my work when I submit picture to reviewed , just because want to learn some more and more progress next works.

In short, I'm think the attitude is most important thing.


And I think your suggestions to CGtalk judge is very well.
If it can come true,they will helpful to many artist include me =D

Thank you post this thread .
 
Old 04-08-2012, 09:41 AM   #3
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I'm pretty new here and just had an image rejected from the "3D Stills" gallery, so this was encouraging to read
 
Old 04-09-2012, 03:34 PM   #4
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Originality/Creativity - The moderators are mostly bored of cliches and simple classical portraits. Don't just copy a photograph, it won't won't be accepted even if it's well done. You must show some creative interpretation to make it your own.

Completeness - Pay equal attention to subject and background. If it's a 2D drawing, it's not enough to simply paint the foreground subject -- you need to paint a whole scene. If it's a 3D character with no attention to the background or lighting, it probably won't be accepted. Your chances are better if you at least pose it on a "stand", and much better if its part of a full scene.


Impact factor - It's not enough to just have technical skill. If the image is boring to look at, it's probably going to be rejected. If the image doesn't make logical sense, it's probably going to be rejected. Example: a medieval sword sitting on a table. Doesn't matter if the sword is well made, because it's got no emotional impact.


RIGHT ON!

I have belonged to several art sites over the years. They all have critique forums and I must say this is the only site that I have experienced where some of the ones doing the critics, actual have the portfolio that show they know what they're talking about.

Bravo CGS for having this and also for raising the bar.


Side note: It would be nice if some of the other big guns would chimme in once and a while
 
Old 04-10-2012, 03:29 AM   #5
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We actually do have separate rejection notes for different categories like incompleteness, no name given, no description for image, copyright violation, etc. The rejection based on quality deals specifically with the quality of the artwork.

It's untrue that creativity, originality, and emotional impact are important to all the judges. Some judges are more focused on technical achievements. Unfortunately, only a small fraction of the judges offer critiques in the WIP forums like I do, so you don't get to hear about their preferences. I cannot speak for why they accept or reject images, because the judges sometimes don't agree among themselves. Some images they reject I would accept, and they've accepted images I thought was poor in quality. They don't always agree with my choices either. Right now, it takes 2 votes to accept or reject an image. Sometimes an image will stay in the cue in a tug-of-war between the judges, voting it up and down, until it finally gets one more vote required to reject or accept it.

I'm currently working on creating a sticky thread for the WIP forums, so that all the answers are contained in it. This is what I have so far, and you guys can make suggestions for what else you'd like to see in it. I don't have moderator powers in the WIP forums (I only give critiques here), but I can try to get whoever has mod powers here to put it up as a sticky. And if you like to see this replace the form rejection note instead, maybe that would be possible as well.

Sticky thread title:
"Showcase Gallery rejections: please read"

Post content:
If you have work that has been rejected for the Showcase Gallery, please take a moment and read this post before posting a rant about it.

Here's how the Showcase Gallery judging works:

-We get literary hundreds of submissions constantly, and there's no way we can give specific critiques to each and every piece, so the rejection notice you got was a form one that everybody gets. It is not meant for your image specifically, but simply telling you what MIGHT be the problems seen in the typical rejected images we often come across. If you want specific and detailed critique for your work to help you improve it, then you must post it in the WIP forums and then the community will help you troubleshoot your work and figure out how to make it better.

-Please do not post indignant rants about how your work is better than some of the "crap" that's been accepted into the Showcase Gallery. You can't compare different styles and use the same metering stick to judge them. For example, you don't judge cartoony comic book drawing the same way you judge a photorealistic render of a building interior, or an epic sci-fi space battle, or an abstract painting, or a surrealistic painting, or a technical product render, or concept art for pre-production. When judging a piece of artwork, one has to judge it within the context of the stylistic choice, and whether the piece is effective in that stylistic context. So by taking a cartoony or abstract piece from the Showcase Gallery and proclaiming that your photorealistic render is superior and should have been accepted, is not only missing the point, but also inappropriate.

Being indignant and insulting to others is not going to help you become a better artist. Being receptive to constructive criticism and trying to understand how other people see your work differently from you, is what will help you excel as an artist.

-Some rejected pieces aren't "bad," and don't actually "suck"--it's simply not quite strong enough, often missing just a little bit of polish, or have some jarring technical/artistic issues in an otherwise good image, or it's simply not very interesting, despite being artistically and technically sound.

-If your work is a borderline case that's straddling the fence, then depending on which judges voted on your image, it could either get accepted or rejected. Keep in mind that the judges don't always agree with each other (some judges prize technical achievement more, some judges care more about artistic sensibility and uniqueness, while others might be more strict about composition or anatomy or execution), and which judges vote on your work is purely by chance, since those judges just happen to be the ones that were online when your submission was in the cue.

If your image is a borderline case, and you post your rejected image in the WIP forums for help, it is very likely that after receiving critiques and improving your image, you will get accepted the next time you submit the image. But the key here is you must be receptive to critiques and really do make an effort in improving your image. If you make some token minor changes, it's not going to make much of a difference, and might in fact, get rejected again for looking not much different from the previously submitted version.

-Try not to think that "If my work had been voted by other judges, it would have been accepted." While it's true that each judge might have different judging priorities, we do collectively try to be as objective as possible. In fact, we often debate with each other about whether a piece should be accepted or rejected--this happens more often than you guys realize.

The fact of the matter is this: if your work was truly strong enough, then you would have won over all the judges; even those who might not care for your subject matter, stylistic choice, or artistic sensibility, would have to objectively agree that your work is artistically and technically sound, and the idea/presentation interesting.

-Whether your work has won awards elsewhere, been featured elsewhere, have made your clients/bosses very happy, is irrelevant to the judging panel. We judge the images strictly on what we see, and the piece must stand on its own, presented as a standalone image.

If you have a piece that is a screen-capture/still taken from a video, or a product render for a client, or an orthographic viewport render, then you must make sure the image truly is strong as a standalone image meant to be in a showcase gallery, presented as a piece of artwork. You might have to choose a better angle, use a different composition, make the lighting more artistic and interesting, and so on, in order to turn the piece into one with a strong presentation.
 
Old 04-10-2012, 10:07 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lunatique
I'm currently working on creating a sticky thread for the WIP forums, so that all the answers are contained in it. This is what I have so far, and you guys can make suggestions for what else you'd like to see in it.

Thanks for the insight into the validation process! Youíre doing a great job here at this 2d section! Your involvement is a major reason why people are posting here.

Iím relatively new here at this 2D WIP section but nonetheless some suggestions concerning your text:

- As iíve seen here, there are not a few people who simply copy photographs found on the Web, be it traced or not is without iportance. I believe that the issue is a major one, not only because of copyright reasons, but also concerning the artistic value. Such works are lowering the acceptation of 2D as art generally. So iíd emphasise the problem since itís a large percentage of the reason for a rejection - even if the work is looking brilliant at first glance.

- An other one concerns the part in your text about following suggestions in the WIP forum. Feedback given here is obviously not always pro (not talking about the many valuable inputs), being sometimes also rather subjective. Your statement ďWhen judging a piece of artwork, one has to judge it within the context of the stylistic choice, and whether the piece is effective in that stylistic context.Ē is many times not the case also with comments, which is fine and self-evident in a forum, but suggesting to follow each input at online WIP forums might lower the credibility of the judgement in the eyes of professionals, even if they understand the attempt to promote the WIP section. Suggesting to try to get feedback at the WIP forum would be enough imo.

Generally iíd keep the text short and prosy, addressing not only amateurs and art students but also pros with a lot of experience - with focus on answering possible questions, and less about ranting.

Hope itís useful.
Cheers
z
 
Old 04-13-2012, 05:15 AM   #7
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I think it's important to remember that it's not CGSociety's duty to make sure each rejected image gets a professional critique. If someone takes their work to a gallery or a museum or submit them to a magazine and get rejected, they don't get professional, detailed critiques following the rejection notice either. It's up to the artist to find ways to improve their work, then try again in the future.

Getting critiques in a public forum will always mean that you might get critiques you disagree with, or have "armchair quarterbacks" give you advice. That's the inherent nature of a public forum. While we point people to the WIP forums to get feedback, we cannot guarantee that they get only quality feedback. I try my best to provide that here, and we have a few advanced artists here helping out too, but we're all volunteering our precious time, so we can't provide that for every single image that's posted--we'd end up doing nothing but give critiques all day long.

As for emphasizing that copying photos is a bad idea, that's kind of a double-edged sword. On one hand, artists need proper reference to produce quality work--especially if it's a more realistic style, but at the same time, too many uncreative artists simply take photos and copy them, making minimum creative decisions. We can't always get the artist to show their references, because what if it's erotic in nature, and the reference is the artist's girlfriend or wife (or the artist him/herself)? We do have a rejection form for violation of copyrighted photos of celebrities, but it's more complicated when it comes to other types of photo references. I try to educate others on how to properly use photo references as creative tools instead of something to slavishly copy, but I don't know if making it a "rule" is appropriate. For one, it's too complicated to judge the various ways an artist is using reference.
 
Old 04-13-2012, 09:16 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lunatique
As for emphasizing that copying photos is a bad idea, that's kind of a double-edged sword. On one hand, artists need proper reference to produce quality work--especially if it's a more realistic style, but at the same time, too many uncreative artists simply take photos and copy them, making minimum creative decisions. We can't always get the artist to show their references, because what if it's erotic in nature, and the reference is the artist's girlfriend or wife (or the artist him/herself)? We do have a rejection form for violation of copyrighted photos of celebrities, but it's more complicated when it comes to other types of photo references. I try to educate others on how to properly use photo references as creative tools instead of something to slavishly copy, but I don't know if making it a "rule" is appropriate. For one, it's too complicated to judge the various ways an artist is using reference.

I can see the double-edged nature of the issue with copying photos. But the amount of works in the portfolio gallery showing for example an obviously photographed head simply overpainted made me to suggest to mention at least one edge of the sword.

The other reason was my belief that 2DCG would be far more accepted by the general public as art when all these copy-pasting would be more Ďostracisedí also by CG sites with an artistic claim. Iím not talking about some kind of quick professional work where using photographs is part of the daily stressed job, using this advantage of CG as a matter of course, knowing that one isnít producing art, but earning money. But a completely different thing is what an art gallery owner would hang up on his walls in the hope to sell the piece as artwork.

Well, just my opinion, trying to contribute something to your query - whether useful or not is up to you.

Cheers
z
 
Old 04-14-2012, 04:45 PM   #9
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I think the sticky is a good idea. It'd certainly be easier to be able to refer someone to one post than explain to them the way things work on the forums.

The WIP forums, especially the 2D one, have gotten quieter over the years, and its notable that many of the images that go on to appear in the showcase or choice galleries never appear in the WIP threads first. Which is fine and understandable but its a bit of a shame that less experienced artists don't get to see the evolution of an image and why certain decisions were made to push the image as far as it could go. With too many of the WIP thread images, you can tell that the artist has taken some photo reference, started to copy it verbatim and hasn't in any way considered changing composition, lighting, environment etc. What you end up commenting on is literally the first attempt at that image, so if you do criticise it, artists sometimes become discouraged because they have spent so long on it, and it's not right, whereas an hour or so of loose exploration at the beginning would've made all the difference.

I guess what I'm trying to get at is that by emphasising the opportunity that the WIP forum presents, as you are doing, hopefully the standard of work being posted there will rise, and everyone would benefit from that.

Perhaps, additionally, every now and again, when an image is given a choice award, the judges could give very brief bullet point reasons why that image is so good.

Wow I really can waffle on about not a lot. In short Lunatique and Stuh: I agree!
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Old 05-07-2012, 03:43 AM   #10
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I've gone ahead and made this thread a sticky, as a temporary solution. Until the "official version" is agreed upon, this thread will at least be visible and members can refer to it to answer some of their questions.
 
Old 06-22-2012, 04:19 PM   #11
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I totally understand the problem with the ammount of images the staff gotta work with, yet I am really bitter and sad that on my first time uploading a work for the cgtalk I have followed every tip from this topic in vain: my image was rejected, then I made a WIP topic just to see it getting closed after 12 months due to no responses from either the staff / comunity.

This is the second time I dare to upload a image here and it is rejected just so I see the whole thing happen again and get the feeling that my work isn't even worth getting some criticism.
 
Old 06-22-2012, 04:33 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Profeta
I totally understand the problem with the ammount of images the staff gotta work with, yet I am really bitter and sad that on my first time uploading a work for the cgtalk I have followed every tip from this topic in vain: my image was rejected, then I made a WIP topic just to see it getting closed after 12 months due to no responses from either the staff / comunity.

This is the second time I dare to upload a image here and it is rejected just so I see the whole thing happen again and get the feeling that my work isn't even worth getting some criticism.


It's kind of hard to predict which images will get feedback and which ones won't. Sometimes, an image with lots of problems by a total beginner would get some helpful feedback, while other times it might have zero feedback because any kind of critique would end up becoming art lessons, since the person is so inexperienced in art. Then there are times when the image is pretty good, but have a few obvious problems, and it might get some helpful feedback, but other times, it also can go ignored, because the image simply isn't interesting enough to comment on.

It's hard to know which ones will elicit a reaction or the desire to offer a critique. Usually, it's the really bland images that tend to get ignored (bland in subject matter, style, composition, narrative, etc), or the ones that have so many problems and the artist is obviously a total beginner.

For me personally, I try to offer critiques to any image that I think can use the help. But I can only do it in my free time, and I live a fairly busy life. Ever since I started giving critiques here, I've noticed that often I'm the only one offering critiques to images that others ignored. If you have images you want me to offer critiques to, just send me the links via PM, and I'll be happy to help you.
 
Old 07-25-2012, 04:33 PM   #13
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Solution?

Whats even weirder to understand is they say to trouble shoot your piece (which is already complete) to must put up under the Wips and ask for viewpoints. but unless your already well known, no one cares to comment,lol.

What is an unknown to do?
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Old 07-25-2012, 08:54 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RDOWN
Whats even weirder to understand is they say to trouble shoot your piece (which is already complete) to must put up under the Wips and ask for viewpoints. but unless your already well known, no one cares to comment,lol.

What is an unknown to do?


A lot of times, people posting in the WIP section don't give any useful information at all. They simply post an image and say something vague about "feedback welcomed."

What would be much more helpful, is if the person actually talked about the image, what's he's struggling with and unhappy with, what his intentions are for the image, what it'll be used for, etc.

Here's a fictional example of what would be really helpful:

"Hi, here's my latest WIP. It's currently about 70% finished. The background is more or less done, but I'm really unhappy with the colors--it looks too cartoony to me. The figures in the foreground are still kind of sketchy, and the poses look too stiff to me. I tried using photo references but I can't seem to get the poses right. I've posted the reference photos below for you to see.

I'm not too sure about the composition--it feels boring, like I don't have a focal point.

This image is supposed to be for a story I wrote, and it's a dramatic scene where the protagonists are gearing up and getting ready to fight the final battle. I'd like it to feel cinematic, with moody lighting, but my lighting just looks flat and boring. I want them to look like they are solemn and apprehensive, but also determined. It's supposed to feel like the classic "quiet before the storm" where the climax of the story is about to take place."

If you provide that kind of helpful information about your WIP, it'll make it much easier for others to cater their critiques and comments to your needs.

With that said, I think it's also important to be realistic in your own self-awareness and expectations.

If the person's a beginner, then chances are, he's not going to get much replies, because there are so many things wrong with his work that the only kind of reply what would really help him, is the kind that advises him to simply buckle down and study the essential foundations of visual art such as composition, lighting/values, colors, perspective, anatomy/figure, etc, and stop trying to construct images on his own for the time being. There's no way to give a detailed feedback because EVERYTHING about the image is so wrong that it would basically be like giving the person an art crash-course, which would end up being a very, very long post.

Another thing I see a lot, is people dumping a lot of images into the thread and then simply asks for comments. Nobody has the time to give thorough critiques for so many images at once. If you're asking for a portfolio review for a specific job title, then that's a different story, but that's not what we usually see. What we see is just a bunch of images dumped into a thread and then "Comments, please." There's no mention of what goal of the artist is, if he's just a hobbyist or what kind of career he's aiming for, what he wants to improve on the most, what he thinks his weaknesses are, and so on.

Last edited by Lunatique : 07-26-2012 at 01:33 AM.
 
Old 08-02-2012, 07:51 PM   #15
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You really should look over your voting system as some artworks being posted are really not up to standard, feels like a bad joke when your own artwork gets declined and you see something far worse in the finished gallery accepted.... seems to me you are only voting based upon brushstrokes and polished for no reason, polished does not always makes an artwork better...
This does not usually get to me but now I have had 3 finished pieces declined in a row so I removed all of my work.
Maybe I will post my 3d work, I am not sure of that anymore though.
 
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