I believe that most of these issues are simply due confusions because the submission page is many years out of date and has not been updated to reflect the new standards.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