Aug/Sept 2003 Official VFX Challenge Guidelines - Aug 26th - Sept 30th


From Alex A. and myself we wanted to first apologize for the length of time this challenge topic took to surface, I’ve adjusted the time to the end of Sept, but it may very well spill over if more time is needed. We would’nt really like it to spill into Oct, but if demand is there we’ll have to. Anyhoo with that said below is what you’re all waiting for.

This month’s Challenge is entitled “How do Dreams become Nightmares?”

GNOMON School of Visual Effects

VFX Challenge, August 2003: How do Dreams become Nightmares?

The Story:

In late summer, when the days are long and children’s imaginations are in full bloom, we can see in their eyes visions of the fantastic. We hear it in their stories, we see it in their games, we experience it through their songs and their stories. There is an endless longing for wonder and an excitement in the unexpected.

Traveling slowly through space, a caravan has finally passed the moon, making its way towards the small village of Glee. Nestled in the foothills of a great green valley, the inhabitants lie cozily dreaming in bed. Smiles on their faces, the children are dreaming of their days ahead… of running through the meadows, of chasing each other in glorious games and hilarious competition.

It is 4am and the moon is shining brightly in the clear night sky. A warm breeze moves across the starlit grass and makes its way across the tops of the forest trees. But the breeze turns cooler now. Children begin to toss and turn. Smiles turn to grimaces and sheets begin to dampen with sweat. Dreams have gone black, with only a faint melody that plays in unison within every child’s mind. It is the sound of the caravan.

The carnival is coming to town.

The Shot:

Early morning. Just before sunrise.
The caravan lands in a forest clearing. Ten ships touch down. The ships are small. No more than 5 feet in length. Slowly they begin to swell in size until they suddenly begin to transform themselves into all the forms we associate with a small town carnival.

Your job:

Locate or shoot a photograph of a forest clearing. You can merge multiple photos together to create a digital matte, in order to create a plate that works with the story. Give yourself extra room in the plate so that you can add, if you want, camera shake/pan/zoom.

Design, model, texture, animate, light, render, composite the carnival construction. The carnival design can be contemporary, historic or somewhat alien, but must be recognizable.

This challenge is a rigging/animation intensive job as you will need to focus your design not just on the final look of the carnival, but more so on how it builds itself.

Final delivery will be a 5-20 second Quicktime movie with a 1.77 aspect ratio (HD).
The Quicktime movie must be compressed using Sorensen at a res. of 550x310.

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

Alex Alvarez
Director, Gnomon School of Visual Effects

The Challenge starts Aug 26th, 2003 and will run until Septh 30, 2003 Midnight GMT
An excellent idea was suggested last month to have a countdown timer located on the cgchallenge site. This will be now implemented for every challenge

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:

[li] 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.
[/li][li]Keep in mind filesizes. . .this is to help those people with slow connections.

When you begin a new thread please use the following syntax

Carnival - VFX Challenge - [your name]

so for example

Carnival - VFX Challenge - lildragon

And that’s it,



Challenges issues are resolved in the following thread.

Good luck and have lots of fun.