November 2002 Visual F/X Challenge Official Guidelines - Through Nov 4th - Dec 2nd


Hi all, with the new CGChallenge site running, we can now bring you more challenges, so with that said, in an effort to keep the first Visual F/X Challenge simple, here are the rules:

Gnomon project for CGTalk’s WIP VFX Challenge

The title for this challenge is called “Earthquake”

Here are the rules

1) Must include Live Action.
2) Shoot video of a street with a locked down camera (on a tripod, no camera movement).
3) Street can be residential, commercial, intersection, etc
4) End result will be a 5 second shot of a crack forming in the middle of the street, which quickly grows into a large fissure that continues to move down the street. At least one CG prop needs to react to the fissure. For example, a CG car could be parked on the street, the fissure could open near a back tire, and the car could tilt back and hang a bit over the edge. You can also add effects elements such as dust, smoke or flames to the opening fissure.
5) The fissure should be confined to the street pavement. You may choose to do a full CG replacement of the street to simplify the process.
6) During the video shoot, you could have some friends walking on the sidewalk who begin to react to an earthquake (must be well directed so their movements are coordinated)…
7) Camera shake must be added in post via a 2D pan.
8) To avoid server bandwith issues please keep your test animations below the 150K anything above this is problematic (this of course applies only to those people that will be uploading their WIP to our servers)


1) 320x240 Movies compressed using Sorenson2.
2) movie of original footage
3) movie of completed shot


1) shoot, digitize, prepare footage: (Your life will be made much easier if you can get a hold of a high-quality DV camera. (Canon XL-S, for example). You will have better control over exposure, plus the image will have less grain.)
2) Video will need to be digitized and converted to numbered frames with square pixels before importing into your 3D software. ( For example, DV NTSC video is
720x480 with a .9 pixel aspect ratio. Convert this to 720x540 at 1.0 pixel aspect ratio. DV PAL video is 720x576 at a 1.067 pixel aspect ratio.)
3) Footage prep may also include color correction or retiming (i.e. magic bullet:

import footage
align CG camera with liveaction camera
lockdown CG camera
model street geometry.
Camera Projection onto street geometry
Convert projection to UV, fix/add textures
shape animation.
integrate CG prop
animate prop reacting to fissure.
add effects (dust, smoke, etc)
render in passes
color correct CG
blur CG
tweak CG shadows
add grain to CG
add 2D camera shake
render movie

                                 Alex Alvarez
                              Founder, Director
                  Gnomon - School of Visual Effects

The Challenge starts November 4th, 2002 and will run until December 2nd, 2002 Midnight GMT

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

When you begin a new thread please use the following syntax

Earthquake - VFX Challenge - [your name]

so for example

Earthquake - VFX Challenge - lildragon

And that’s it,

Now on with the show :slight_smile:


Challenge issues are now resolved here in order to keep this guidelines thread clean…