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From: John VanSickle
Subject: Looks like a real round this time
Date: 17 Jan 2007 22:17:50
Message: <45aee6de@news.povray.org>
11 entries (not counting what look like replacement entries).

We haven't had this many since July of 2005.

Regards,
John


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From: Markus Altendorff
Subject: Re: Looks like a real round this time
Date: 18 Jan 2007 05:13:15
Message: <45af483b$1@news.povray.org>
John VanSickle wrote:
> 11 entries (not counting what look like replacement entries).
> 
> We haven't had this many since July of 2005.

Indeed! I can hardly wait to see what's been sent in. And, for the first 
time in quite some time, i found an insane amount of fun in working with 
3D - may be the new software, or some of the how-to books i actually 
read through and remembered, i don't know. It seemed much easier this 
time to get the effects i wanted, or to at least understand why things 
did *not* work out how i wanted, and to make the computer do some things 
  by itself, not by tedious click-drag-click-point-click-click ;)

I also had a real learning experience yesterday - i put my previous 
contributions into a playlist and watched them end-to-end.

Yuck. Ewww. I did that hideous stuff, and it's OUT IN PUBLIC? Uh oh... ;)
In hindsight, i'd diagnose myself with a severe case of 
look-what-i-built-Disease, i.e. neglecting a video's timing because 
"hey, this was so hard to create, let's show it like an exhibit, not 
like a prop in a movie"...

Did anyone already tell me this, and was i just not listening? ;)

-Markus


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From: dbott
Subject: Re: Looks like a real round this time
Date: 18 Jan 2007 23:00:59
Message: <45b0427b$1@news.povray.org>
When do we start viewing.....? First time submitting.
I don't expect to place, I am just curious.
Also, I never received a confirmation email,
but my animation is there. Is that normal......?
dbott


"John VanSickle" <evi### [at] hotmailcom> wrote in message
news:45aee6de@news.povray.org...
> 11 entries (not counting what look like replacement entries).
>
> We haven't had this many since July of 2005.
>
> Regards,
> John


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From: dbott
Subject: Re: Looks like a real round this time
Date: 18 Jan 2007 23:01:00
Message: <45b0427c$1@news.povray.org>
When do we start viewing.....? First time submitting.
I don't expect to place, I am just curious.
Also, I never received a confirmation email,
but my animation is there. Is that normal......?
dbott


"John VanSickle" <evi### [at] hotmailcom> wrote in message
news:45aee6de@news.povray.org...
> 11 entries (not counting what look like replacement entries).
>
> We haven't had this many since July of 2005.
>
> Regards,
> John


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From: Markus Altendorff
Subject: Re: Looks like a real round this time
Date: 19 Jan 2007 07:02:12
Message: <45b0b344$1@news.povray.org>
dbott schrieb:
> When do we start viewing.....? First time submitting.
> I don't expect to place, I am just curious.
> Also, I never received a confirmation email,
> but my animation is there. Is that normal......?

"Sort of".

If my memory servers right, back in the old days { ca. 2003 ;) }, the 
server ran on automatic, checking the entries and sending out 
confirmation mails as the movies came in. Even then, there was a certain 
delay, often days, until the web pages were updated. The FTP and 
download files were usually available rather soon.
Since there's this sort-of transitional phase now going on (with new 
programming, new admins, admins being busy, etc.), the check-and-confirm 
is launched by hand -> admin no time = no confirmation.
Don't ask for the web pages :)

I guess it's going to take a few days (fingers crossed...) until things 
start moving...

Yo, admins: new topic? Pretty please?

-Markus


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From: i need a unique name
Subject: Re: Looks like a real round this time
Date: 19 Jan 2007 10:45:01
Message: <web.45b0e6a648a177e0c3e0e7940@news.povray.org>
> Yuck. Ewww. I did that hideous stuff, and it's OUT IN PUBLIC? Uh oh... ;)

Bet mines more yucky than yours.

So what was on your reading list? I think I'm sorley in need of some
education (especially regards to 3D maths).

Why is it that the IRTC animation comp always seems so under-entered but the
stills typically has loads of entries?


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From: dbott
Subject: Re: Looks like a real round this time
Date: 19 Jan 2007 16:00:33
Message: <45b13171$1@news.povray.org>
A great book is Beginning Math and Physics for Game
Programmers...by Wendy Stahler. You don't have to a
Astrophysicist to understand it. I'm a newbe, but I will
start competing regularly. This is my third animation I've completed and I
seem to getting better with each one.
But I guess you'll be the judge of  that. ()^()...........
--NEED A NEW TOPIC--
dbott


"i_need_a_unique_name" <ine### [at] gmailcom> wrote in message
news:web.45b0e6a648a177e0c3e0e7940@news.povray.org...
> > Yuck. Ewww. I did that hideous stuff, and it's OUT IN PUBLIC? Uh oh...
;)
>
> Bet mines more yucky than yours.
>
> So what was on your reading list? I think I'm sorley in need of some
> education (especially regards to 3D maths).
>
> Why is it that the IRTC animation comp always seems so under-entered but
the
> stills typically has loads of entries?
>
>
>


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From: David Cuny
Subject: Re: Looks like a real round this time
Date: 19 Jan 2007 17:25:00
Message: <web.45b130f948a177e0f3706d9d0@news.povray.org>
> Why is it that the IRTC animation comp always seems so under-entered but the
> stills typically has loads of entries?

I can think of a lot of reasons that have very little to do with the
competition itself:

* Animation is hard. Good animation is harder.
* POV doesn't have a GUI for animation.
* POV doesn't render MPEG files automatically.
* More models have to be made, for multiple scenes.
* Models have to be articulated for animation, or they break in nasty ways.
* Animation needs a story with a beginning, middle and end.
* Render times are much higher, because you need 24 frames for one second.

Additionally:

* There aren't many free animation programs.
* Animation programs have a large learning curve.
* It's hard to compete against professional animation packages.

Now, John VanSickle scored all the animation rounds last year using "pure"
POV-Ray, even against Markus Altendorff's excellent animations, which used
Maxxon 3D. So take three with a grain of salt.

On the other hand, there were a number of submissions I was surprised to
find didn't even make Honorable Mention:

   - Leroy Whetstone/October-January 2006
   - M.A.c.v./October-January 2006
   - Nimish Ajmani/July-October 2006

So why didn't these get Honorable Mentions? It's because the scoring doesn't
actually follow the above guidelines. The Animation Rules page says the
competition is "run by and for amateurs with cheap tools":

> The competition is not about winning. You do not have to be a professional,
> or even any good! Experts are welcome, but the contest is run by and for
> amateurs with cheap tools. Those lucky enough to have more impressive skills
> and equipment are asked to share their wisdom, but we are more impressed by
> someone who can be creative with what they have, than someone who has
> everything.

Finding the actual guidelines is a bit difficult:

   - They aren't on the Animation Rules page
   - They aren't on the Animation Voting Rules page
   - They aren't on the Animation FAQ page

Instead, it's buried in the Stills FAQ page, and specifically references
IMAGES, not animation (emphasis added):

> [5.1] How are the winners selected?
>    By a vote among the other entrants and IRTC Panel Judges. Once the ratings
> are in for all the IMAGES, each IMAGE has an "overall" rating calculated, as
> the mean of its artistic, technical, and concept ratings. The three IMAGES
> with the highest overall ratings are selected as the first, second, and third
> place winners.

> [5.2] What is Honorable Mention?
>    Sometimes one or more IMAGES have higher ratings in one or two categories
> than some or all of the winners. To honor such IMAGES we developed the
> "Honorable Mention" designation. We select the three IMAGES which had the
> highest rating in a single category, exclusive of winners and other Honorably
> Mentioned IMAGES. An IMAGE designated for Honorable Mention may or may not
> receive a prize, depending on availability and the discretion of the IRTC
> admins.

All the submissions I referenced are on low-submission rounds, and the pages
say "Due to low turnout this round, no Honorable Mentions were awarded."
I've read through the rules, and I'm not sure where the "low turnout" rule
is mentioned.

It's particularly ironic in that prize winning submissions actually benefit
from less submissions, but "amateur" submissions suffer.

Animations can also score in:

> Notable for: [ ]Texture [ ]Lighting [ ]Modelling [ ]Composition [ ]Originality

These are the same as the Still Images - no animation-specific scoring (such
as lipsync, etc.). If these are factored into scores, I don't see it
documented anywhere.

Anyway, my suspicion is that the scoring system actually ends up
discouraging "amateurs with cheap tools". A POV-Ray user might get extra
points in the "Technical" category, but how about a user of Art of
Illusion, Anim8or, or Blender? What if (like John VanSickle and his
LionSnake modeler) you've actually written your own modeler or animator?
Should you get extra points for that?

Making Honorable Mention a bit easier to get into might help (i.e. adding a
"cheap tool" or "newbie" bonus), but that's awfully subjective.

Anyway, these can be factors in discouraging someone who submitted from
submitting again. But I'm guessing the biggest barrier to people submitting
animations in the first place is still my first point: Animation is Hard.


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From: Markus Altendorff
Subject: Re: Looks like a real round this time
Date: 19 Jan 2007 18:10:34
Message: <45b14fea@news.povray.org>
dbott wrote:
> A great book is Beginning Math and Physics for Game
> Programmers...by Wendy Stahler. You don't have to a
> Astrophysicist to understand it. I'm a newbe, but I will
> start competing regularly. This is my third animation I've completed and I
> seem to getting better with each one.
> But I guess you'll be the judge of  that. ()^()...........

We'd all like to, i guess (to the admins: hint, hint, nudge, 
nudge ;)

> --NEED A NEW TOPIC--
> dbott
> 
> 
> "i_need_a_unique_name" <ine### [at] gmailcom> wrote in message
> news:web.45b0e6a648a177e0c3e0e7940@news.povray.org...
>>> Yuck. Ewww. I did that hideous stuff, and it's OUT IN PUBLIC? Uh oh...
> ;)
>> Bet mines more yucky than yours.
>>
>> So what was on your reading list? I think I'm sorley in need of some
>> education (especially regards to 3D maths).

Uh, sorry, i'm more of the mouse-pushing type, and less 
competent when it comes to the actual math behind it... 
(though i once wrote a 3-D drawing routine on my ZX Spectrum 
48 kByte, and a spinning 3-D map for a never-to-be 
roleplaying game on my Amiga 2000 - am i a fossil or what? ;)

Well, a book that really inspired was Arndt von 
Koenigsmarck's "Femme Digitale" (Addison-Wesley), though 
i've not even started yet to build more of his sculpting 
hints into my models - except for the design guides to build 
eyes from separate layers instead of textured sphere 
primitives. It's geared towards the 
Maya/3Ds/Cinema/Blender/etc. users, though, not those that 
enjoy coding by TextPad ;)
At least i've learned that mixing triangles and quads in a 
mesh isn't the brightest thing to do, and that there's much 
to learn when shaping hands and feet :)

There's another one, sneakily also called "Femme Digitale", 
by Michael Burns. I'd NOT recommend that one, because it's 
trying to do too much in too little space. Nice pictures, 
nice screenshots, but - trying to explaind modelling AND 
texturing of a complete human figure on six pages doesn't 
really teach you anything. It covers everything and then 
some, from Photoshop to Poser to Max to Featured Artists, 
but it doesn't do anything really in depth. Where AvK takes 
a dozen pages for the do's and dont's of the fingers alone, 
with MB it's more like "hey, pick a Poser preset, run 
Photoshop across and be done with it." I was lucky as it was 
on sale when i ordered it at a well-known internet book 
retailer whose name vaguely reminds of a tropical river ;), 
because i wouldn't spend more than the 5 $ on it - if i want 
pictures to make me green with envy, i'd get a high-gloss 
Royo, Sorayama or Vallejo collection for 9,95 $ ;)

The other was Koenigsmark's "Cinema 4D v.9" workshop book 
(published by Addison-Wesley, too), which i got for an 
incredible 3 Euros at an electronics store (with v.10 out, 
they were clearing their stock), without which i wouldn't 
have started to save time by animating using "intelligent" 
objects (like e.g. mechanical devices that are operated by a 
single keyframed input which internally calculates/affects 
various angles/positions - i've built a robot arm that has 
an attached user data slider which not only opens/closes the 
"fingers" but also drives the angle of the corresponding 
worm gear in a convincing manner; a four-layer door with 
bolts that makes use of a similar logic, and warning beacons 
spinning and flashing all by themselves (and a timer) ;)

Also, this time, the arms of my humanoid models don't use 
inverse kinematics for positioning, but instead a set of 
multiple 2-axis remote-control input boxes cross-connected 
to multiple bones, including mapping input/output values to 
avoid unnatural poses:
- Shoulder X/Y translates the angle of the shoulder bone
- Upper Arm X/Y has "up/down +/- 100 degrees" on the Y axis, 
and "forward/back +/- 100 degrees" on the X axis
- Lower Arm X/Y has "Heading Straight 0 / folded on + 170" 
for the Lower Arm on the X, and "Rotate Upper Arm Bone +/- 
90 degrees" on the Y axis
- Hand X/Y has a wiring to the Tilt and Roll of the hand 
bone, instead of the heading/tilt.

When i animate, i animate the controllers instead of the 
actual bones, which looks a bit different compared to 
keyframing the bones' angles themselves, but the tweening is 
less artificial than IK can sometimes be.

There are a few "broken by design" points i still need to 
address, like the problem of the upper arm mesh rolling at 
the shoulder joint (it shouldn't, because the twist of 
tissue extends across the whole upper arm - need to create a 
chain of "helper bones" that maintain the shoulder at null 
twist and accumulate the twist down the upper arm). Another 
mess is that once the arm tilt approaches 90 degrees (arm 
down/up), the result of heading and roll axis collapse into 
one. A null bone for the heading/tilt, and an additional one 
for the roll would solve that.
And don't get me started about the hip bone, which i failed 
to de-couple from the standard orientation, so any swaying 
left/right runs through a 0/360 border - it's OK if you 
keyframe it, but once you decide to re-work the motion 
curves, it tends to do lower-back-breaking because the any 
little shifting of H/P/R angles wreaks havoc on the 
orientation...

>> Why is it that the IRTC animation comp always seems so under-entered but
> the
>> stills typically has loads of entries?

Well, unless you're doing an incredibly detailed still 
scene, animating may be even more time-consuming than 
building a still picture? (did i write that out loud? 
Ooops... anyone from the stills crowd here? Nobody? Whew... ;)

-Markus


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From: Hildur K 
Subject: Re: Looks like a real round this time
Date: 19 Jan 2007 18:45:01
Message: <web.45b1575e48a177e0505d35150@news.povray.org>
> Well, unless you're doing an incredibly detailed still
> scene, animating may be even more time-consuming than
> building a still picture? (did i write that out loud?
> Ooops... anyone from the stills crowd here? Nobody? Whew... ;)
>
> -Markus



Of course we know that making animations is more time assuming than stills.



Anyway, it seems like we have one problem in common. The IRTC server has

though the stills round deadline ended on the 31st of December, a new topic


either.

ever.
Just wanted to make you aware of this, and perhaps to drag you into the
discussion :-)

Hildur (one of those many stills submitters).


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