June/July 2003 Official VFX Challenge Guidelines - June 5th - July14th


Wow that was a bit of a hiatus wasn’t it? Yes sorry about that but due to the numerous activities that happened last month it was a bit difficult to setup and run our monthly challenges.
With that said welcome once again to the CGTalk challenges. First off I must say the Animation and VFX challenges really took off in our previous challenges, this is a great thing, it means we know now there’s a greater interest in these sections than we imagined, so that means more more more. So let’s get to what you all are waiting for,

Welcome to our 4th WIP VFX challenge…

This month’s Challenge is entitled “What Lies Beneath”

GNOMON School of Visual Effects

VFX Challenge, June 2003: What Lies Beneath

There is something inheritly creepy about dimly lit places. You never know what might be lurking within the shadows. So of course things would improve if you turned on a light. No?

The scene:

He was told it was risky, to go searching for it in the undergound passage. Perhaps that’s where they would have hidden it, but if so, they had the right idea. Its creepy down there.

During the exploration, weak lantern in hand, he notices what looks like a light switch. Hoping for a clearer path, he turns on the light… only to reveal the horrors of the deep.

Your job:

Shoot live-action video, with a locked down camera, of an actor in an ‘underground’ location who finds a ‘light switch’ and turns it on. This can be a sewer, mine, boiler room, subway tunnel, basement, designed set and so on. It is up to you to direct the performance and composition.

The initial light cast by the subject’s lantern should be extremely dim, so that only his head and upper torso are illuminated, with perhaps minimal specular reflections of the lantern on certain set elements.

When the light is turned on, the actor’s performance must indicate a reaction to what is revealed. It is up to you to design and integrate that which he sees. Criteria: revealed elements can include static objects, but there must be some movement. Examples include crawling insects, churning pools of liquid, rising steam, slithering snakes, wandering zombies, flying ears, blood oozing walls and so on.

Final delivery will be a 5-10 second Quicktime movie.

The Quicktime movie must be compressed using Sorensen at a res. of 550x

The steps:

1) Design and storyboard performance and CG elements
2) Shoot video with a locked down camera
3) Record survey data of set (focal length, film back, set measurements, etc)
4) Digitize Footage
5) Import footage into 3D software
6) Align CG camera
7) Model a virtual set to match backplate (used to catch/cast shadows, reflections, occlude CG elements, etc).
8) Light CG elements to match dim plate and illuminated plate, keyframe lights
9) Render in passes (diffuse, specular, reflection, shadow)
10) Composite

Here are some example locations you could use:

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

Alex Alvarez
Director, Gnomon School of VFX.

The Challenge starts June 5th, 2003 and will run until July 14th, 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

What Lies Beneath - VFX Challenge - [your name]

so for example

What Lies Beneath - VFX Challenge - lildragon

And that’s it,



challenge issues are now resolved here http://www.cgtalk.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=67532