CgTalk:FXWars! The Big Freeze/Blizzard Challenge:7


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CgTalk:FXWars! The Big Freeze/Blizzard!
BY Roberto Ortiz


A blizzard is a severe weather condition characterized by low temperatures and strong winds (greater than 35 mph) bearing a great amount of snow, either falling or blowing.

Because the factors involving classification of winter storms are complex, there are many different definitions of blizzard. A major consensus is that in order to be classified as a blizzard, as opposed to merely a winter storm, the weather must meet several conditions. The storm must decrease visibility to a quarter of a mile for three consecutive hours, include snow or ice as precipitation, and have wind speeds of at least 32 mph (seven or more on the Beaufort Wind Scale).

Another standard, according to Environment Canada, is that the winter storm must have winds of 40 km/h or more, have snow or blowing snow, visibility less than 1 km, a wind chill of less than -25 degrees Celsius, and all of these conditions must last for 4 hours or more, before the storm can be properly called a blizzard.

When all of these conditions persist after snow has stopped falling, meteorologists refer to the storm as a ground blizzard.

Severe blizzards can occur in conjunction with arctic cyclones.

An extreme form of blizzard is a whiteout, when downdrafts coupled with snowfall become so severe that it is impossible to distinguish the ground from the air. People caught in a whiteout can quickly become disoriented, losing their sense of direction.

The word blizzard is of unknown origin, but may originate from the surname Blizzard. It was first widely used after the great American winter storm now known as the “Blizzard of 1880.” [1]

Certain types of blizzards in the northeastern United States are colloquially known as Nor’easters.


Simulate realistic extreme cold conditions. Think of the challenge this way, you have been tasked with doing the deleted scenes for the 2004 movie “The Day After Tomorrow” .

Since the topic is so broad, we have limited the scope to two mayor categories:
[li]Flash Freeze (A incredible drop in temperature that freezes like a falling wave. Imagine a room freezing, or a human being caught in the freezing wave )[/li][li]Frozen City / Environment (Imagine Paris under 25 feet if snow or Icebergs going down the Hudson River in New York)[/li][/ul]Since this is a composite war you NEED to add live action footage to at least one sequence. It might be a composite shot or a filmed sequence. because of the high level of dificulty, It is STRONGLY encouraged that this challenge be done in teams.

One of the key of the challenge, for all entry types, is to do believable shots of snow and or ice . No real shots of snow should be included. Also, realism is another big element of this challenge. Multiple techniques should be used to produce the shots (3D models, matte painting, live action, photographs etc) so good integration of composite elements is key. This is an excellent opportunity for compositors to try their skills.

At the end pf the challenge a finished entry that looks EXACTLY like either a snow scene we might see on a movie like The Day After Tomorrow (realistic) or in a fantasy movie ( fantasy). Since the contest of high difficulty you will have TWO months to do the challenge.

Frozen City / Environment (Difficulty Level HIGH)
Imagine you are driving
[li]More emphasis on shot creation and good VFX interaction[/li][li]More emphasis on editing, lighting and cinematography.[/li][li]The scenes in the entry require good flow and good camera work[/li][li]The interaction of individual and the environment must be realistic. Things like the cold breath ,“whiteout” Depth of Field ,snow foot prints, falling snow and maybe digital humans for long shots have to be simulated.[/li]

In cg It is very easy to do flying ships, but it is VERY HARD to do the whole thing getting the scene to look right.
[/ul]Flash Freeze Entry ( Difficulty Level HIGH)
Imagine you are driving
[li]More emphasis on good VFX interaction[/li][li]Things like refraction, snow breath and in some cases camera mapping have to be accounted for[/li][li]The scope of the scenes for this type of FX are more intimate, for example image a room slowly freezing and crystals forming along the walls.[/li][/ul]HYBRID ENTRY: (Difficulty Level VERY HIGH)
[li]It combines the required of both the Flash Freeze Entry (Difficulty Level HIGH)[/li]entry and the Frozen City / Environment entry.
[/ul]The best animation/short will be selected by an open vote
for these categories:
[li]Best Composite Work[/li][li]Best Animation[/li][li]Best Editing[/li][li]Best Visual Effects)[/li][li]Best Overall Entry[/li][/ul]The winner will get bragging rights and a small banner
designed by me.

DATELINE: Monday September 26th 12:00 PM

YOU HAVE Two months to do the challenge.

[li]No work taken DIRECTLY from an existing tutorial. You may use an existing tutorial only for reference.[/li][li]You may use a pre exiting models and filmed footage, as long as you have the rights to use them.[/li][li]You may provide a heavily edited animation with all the trimmings, as long a you provide a written shot sequence OR a storyboard of your work.[/li][li]Remember the key of the challenge if for you guys to brush up on your composite skills.[/li][/ul]GENERAL RULES:
[li]The animation and simulations (if any) must have been done AFTER the topic has been[/li]announced.
[li]WIP are encouraged if they are posted in ANOTHER[/li]thread. Please provide a link to them on this thread.
[li]WIP thread should be posted on the FXWARS Forum forum and should follow[/li]the following naming convention: FXWars! BIG Freeze!: MY NAME, TYPE OF ENTRY (Note: Group entries are allowed)
[li]It is Recommended that Final movies should be rendered at 320 x 240 or 640 x 480 in QuickTime* format (Sorenson Compression), but other resolutions and formats are allowed. * The animation format is open for discussion.[/li][li]The animation should follow the following naming convention:[/li]MYNAME_FXWARS(RESOLUTION).mov. And please add your name at the beginning and end of the animation, and if you can, also add a small non disruptive watermark during the animation.
[li]If for some reason, you can’t host movies, sequential images (Thumbnails size 160 x 120 ) are accepted.[/li][li]Please add a brief text description about your piece.[/li]The artist also has to post total length of time it took and program used.
[li]Collaborative pieces are accepted and encouraged, but Teams entries must have a identifying banner and a name. Shot lists should be included with the entry.[/li][li]Individuals participating in a team CAN have their own individual entries.[/li]The topics will be picked at random from the list on
this >>thread << (The author will be given credit). So
guys keep them coming.
[li]Post on this thread your link to your WIP thread and your FINAL piece.[/li][li]You can add multiple entries, as long as they have different WIP threads.[/li][li]Only participants who follow the rules and submit a final entry will be elegible for the voting process.[/li][li]Any piece caught breaking the rules will be taken[/li]off the thread.

Plain City Photos Plates

Reference: blizzard/snow.htm


[moyenne res.](http://javascript%3cb%3e%3c/b%3e:PopupCentrer(‘cinetv/cinetv3.php?IDfilm=1586&IDextrait=1647&typext=real&run=moyenne res.’,800,600,‘menubar=no,scrollbars=auto,resizable=1,statusbar=0’):wink: (5.03 Mb),2,9726.html

Good Luck



will have a go at the Frozen City / Environment, just ended up watching the last segment of A.I when New York is 2000 years in the future in the next ice age. Realistic snow effects and full environment will certainly be a lot of work, but up for the hard work.


Geez! Talk about work… Count me in again. Would like to do a team one but doesn’t look like anyone wants to team up. Think I might as well bite off more than I can chew again and go for the Hybrid entry.

This one sounds very cool :rolleyes: and I’m looking forward to seeing the cool work produced.


Yeah i might give it a go to:) good luck everyone.


I’m in this one! Good luck everyone!

This one is going to be very hard.


Count on me aswell! I’m in!


I’m going to try Flash Freeze. I make No promises! :smiley:

Should be fun though!

Good luck everybody, I look forward to seeing what you all come up with and hopefully I learn a lot.


Hmmm… well I AM in New York, would make sense to take part in this one, maybe I’ll finish this time…

Still not too thrilled about the topic… but… what can ya do right?


I know that realism is a big factor but would a 3D animated cartoon character be OK as long as it is just part of the story line and the effects are kept realistic?


Sorry but cartoon characters belong more to the 2M Filmclub.

You can find more info on it here:

Cinematography, Editing and Directing



I’m in … maybe I could team up with Roux …

Roberto if cartoon characters are “forbitten”, does this mean that realistic looking (3D) robot characters are not allowed? (just checking)

Good luck everyone …



Even Í could be participating this time! :eek: With súch a great subject, I think I can resist against the attracting power of After Effects, Digital Fusion, and 3DsMax! :twisted: :buttrock:

Cán’t wait to begin (shooting)! :slight_smile:


cool, im just watching for now what you guys are doing :slight_smile: i might participate next year or so.

hey Dutchman, fun to see you’re into compositing stuff as well (t’ zit vast in de genen :wink: )


I think I’m in…good luck to all!


Btw…why not give this a frontpage plug Roberto…it would help to gather more interest/entries!


Soon, I need first to plug the voting session of the 2minute film club.

I am fixing some glitches on that one.



You know, they DO actually create effects in animated features.


Working on the Frozen City/Environment Topic. Btw can we not include live action footage pls?



Hey Roberto: For those of us that aren’t in NYC, does the shot need to be NYC or can it be another city in the world like the scenes from Tokyo, UK, India?Just checking to see if its worth filming live footage from elsewhere.

Also how would you feel about a 50’ lego man with a propellor head as the main character? He would have to be photo realistic of course!:slight_smile:


There must be someplace we can get stock footage to use. I think we should all use the same stock footage. For example; Provide six shot video’s and people can pick from that collection only what they want to include, but they have to include at least one.

Then the quality is controlled.