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From: David Cuny
Subject: What is "Technical Merit"?
Date: 16 Feb 2005 04:45:01
Message: <web.42131435b78b3f4625e2bb070@news.povray.org>
I'm not sure "Technical Merit" this is intended in the sense of being
"geeky" sense, or a "skilled animator". I always assumed that it was credit
for a geeky sort of coding bit - for example, the animation of the vehicle
in "RTDR-1".

This time around, "deux" got special mention for technical merit, but I
can't figure out what specifically Matt did to get it. It's probably the
cool "portal" effect, but there's also a chance the judges were swayed by
his mentioning "Hamiltonian or Lagrangian mechanics" in the description.
The prize doesn't make it clear.

The "photons" submission made use of a Python script to generate the
animation, which gives it lots of geeky points in my book. But was ranked
far below "fish" and "nicholas", neither of which seem to require any
coding skills.

So what does technical mean, anyhow?

I'm not not arguing with any judgements here, I'm just trying to understand
what the category means, so I can maximize my score in the future! :-)


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From: Warp
Subject: Re: What is "Technical Merit"?
Date: 16 Feb 2005 06:49:40
Message: <42133354@news.povray.org>
David Cuny <dcu### [at] lansetcom> wrote:
> So what does technical mean, anyhow?

  It means nothing. It means whatever the judge happens to want it to mean
in that particular image. In some images it may mean the richness in
detail, in others it may mean the photorealism of the image, in some
images it means absolutely nothing. And the exact same principle applies
to the other two categories as well. (I'm still shaking my head about
a "wow! impressive! 20-20-20" type of comment in an image with a couple
of rocks and water which had lighting artifacts and was not really all
that original and innovative.)

-- 
plane{-x+y,-1pigment{bozo color_map{[0rgb x][1rgb x+y]}turbulence 1}}
sphere{0,2pigment{rgbt 1}interior{media{emission 1density{spherical
density_map{[0rgb 0][.5rgb<1,.5>][1rgb 1]}turbulence.9}}}scale
<1,1,3>hollow}text{ttf"timrom""Warp".1,0translate<-1,-.1,2>}//  - Warp -


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From: Sascha Ledinsky
Subject: Re: What is "Technical Merit"?
Date: 16 Feb 2005 07:19:08
Message: <42133a3c$1@news.povray.org>
Warp wrote:
>It means nothing.

But in that case, wouldn't it make sense to abandon the three-categories 
concept at all and let the judges simply submit a ranking list?

I have to admit, that's how I always do my ratings: By comparing two 
entries I decide which one is better (which is not alwasy easy), and 
thus I build a ranking list. But then I have to decide how to rate them 
in each individual category (which is even harder), and once I finish 
that I often find out that the new ranking list is almost top-down, or 
at least that my favorit image/animation suddenly has only got an 
average score and wouldn't even get a honorable mention. So I start 
fine-tuning the individual scores to get as close as possible to my 
original ranking list, while still trying to keep meaningful scores in 
each category.

I'm lucky, the last three times I entered it was in animations, because 
using this procedure for 50 or more stills entries would take weeks ;-)


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From: Tim Nikias
Subject: Re: What is "Technical Merit"?
Date: 16 Feb 2005 08:20:43
Message: <421348ab@news.povray.org>
There's artistic, technical, and concept. So just take the difference!

Artistic is really the artistical point, art vs reality. What is being said,
and how? Is it expressed with colors and contrasts, through objects?

Technical is the technical side, e.g. lighting, radiosity, scripting for
objects, modelling of objects, that kind of stuff. Maybe image-composition
as well (golden ratio comes to mind, and the use or lack there of). Lighting
artifacts, crude polygons on models, that kind of stuff comes to mind.
Sometimes the accompanying text tells a little more, like that the image was
raytraced with a home-built raytracer, or that some tweaks were implemented.
Depending on their use I sometimes take that into consideration as well.

And concept is, for me, the valve for those who wish to do better, but
simply are newbies in what they do. A 1-week old Pover will never be able to
achieve the same quality (unless with former knowledge from other apps) like
an old veteran. But maybe the concept, how the image was planned, what's
*meant* to be there, is great, just the execution lacks the skill. IMHO, you
can often tell if an image is supposed to *look like* newbie, or if it *is*
newbie. And then again, even if the image is great and from a veteran, the
concept may be great as well.

That's how I divide it. If you just look at one thing alone, it gets
difficult to define, but with these three broad spectrums, its quite easy to
distinguish.

As for the audio-issue: the IRTC clearly states that judges should focus on
the animation, so they might as well just switch it off to watch the movie,
and rate by that. Audio is just considered "ear-candy". Then again, if the
audio truly sucks, you wonder if the author wasn't able of knowing that by
himself. If it's full of static, you can't understand a thing, then why add
it? I for one wouldn't rate it harsher then, though it might get penalized
on the technical aspect (*technical* execution of audio = bad).

2 cents.

Regards,
Tim

-- 
"Tim Nikias v2.0"
Homepage: <http://www.nolights.de>


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From: Warp
Subject: Re: What is "Technical Merit"?
Date: 16 Feb 2005 08:38:07
Message: <42134cbf@news.povray.org>
Sascha Ledinsky <sas### [at] userssourceforgenet> wrote:
> But in that case, wouldn't it make sense to abandon the three-categories 
> concept at all and let the judges simply submit a ranking list?

  Yes.

-- 
#macro N(D)#if(D>99)cylinder{M()#local D=div(D,104);M().5,2pigment{rgb M()}}
N(D)#end#end#macro M()<mod(D,13)-6mod(div(D,13)8)-3,10>#end blob{
N(11117333955)N(4254934330)N(3900569407)N(7382340)N(3358)N(970)}//  - Warp -


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From: David Cuny
Subject: Re: What is "Technical Merit"?
Date: 16 Feb 2005 15:30:01
Message: <web.4213aad137a1cfb8043bb840@news.povray.org>
"Tim Nikias" <JUSTTHELOWERCASE:timISNOTnikias(at)gmx.netWARE> wrote:

> As for the audio-issue: the IRTC clearly states that judges should focus on
> the animation, so they might as well just switch it off to watch the movie,
> and rate by that.

Well, no. The rules say to "focus" on the animation. This clearly means that
it should be judged with the sound _on_. If the entry was intended to be
judged without sound, it would have been submitted without sound.

But the judges aren't complaining about the _animation_, but that the
_story_ is not understandable  without sound:

   "Baffling without sound."

One could argue similarly that the "rusty025" and "travel_lb" submissions
aren't understandable without being able to read the titles.

Further, another judge claimed the rules specifically instructed him to turn
off the sound:

   "The words may have been great but the guidelines are to judge without
sound."

But it says no such thing.


> Then again, if the audio truly sucks, you wonder if the
> author wasn't able of knowing that by himself.

That's not my problem at all. I happen to agree with the criticism of the
sound _quality_.

My concern is that judges apparently deducted points because the _story_
relied on audio, even though it's clearly allowed in the rules. I'm just
trying to clarify this now, so it's not an issue for judges in the future.

-- David Cuny


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From: Tim Nikias
Subject: Re: What is "Technical Merit"?
Date: 16 Feb 2005 21:17:37
Message: <4213fec1$1@news.povray.org>
> Well, no. The rules say to "focus" on the animation. This clearly means
that
> it should be judged with the sound _on_. If the entry was intended to be
> judged without sound, it would have been submitted without sound.

SNIP

> My concern is that judges apparently deducted points because the _story_
> relied on audio, even though it's clearly allowed in the rules. I'm just
> trying to clarify this now, so it's not an issue for judges in the future.

Ah, I get your point. Yes, if the movie doesn't tell itself without sound,
you're right that the sound has to be listened to. Then again, if you think
about it: IRTC's guidelines say that sound may not be available everywhere.
Hence there is this notion that you should try and make a movie *without*
sound, at least that's how I feel. It's difficult to say: "Don't reduce
points because of audio", because if someone can't listen to it, he won't
understand it, and then he *has* to deduct points because he couldn't
understand what the movie is about. It's a feedback loop, if you think about
it.

I'd judge case by case, and wouldn't give a decisive "Don't deduct points",
because if you rely too much on sound, when you're doing an *Animation*
contest, well, you're entering the wrong contest. :-) It's not a
"Short-Movie" contest, but "Animation", and there definitely is a difference
between the two.


-- 
"Tim Nikias v2.0"
Homepage: <http://www.nolights.de>


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From: Sascha Ledinsky
Subject: Re: What is "Technical Merit"?
Date: 17 Feb 2005 03:06:55
Message: <4214509f$1@news.povray.org>
Tim Nikias wrote:

> IRTC's guidelines say that sound may not be available everywhere.

Yes, but that's rather theoretical - I don't know anybody who has no 
soundcard and no speakers or headphones. (I don't think that the makers 
of this rule had the hearing impaired in mind).

I interpreted the rule about sound as: Not everybody has got expirence 
with sound mixing or has the hard- and software needed to record 
dialogs, compose/perform music, record sound-effects, etc. So it's not 
about being able to hear the soundtrack, but about being able to create 
a soundtrack. And as this contest is about animation, the judges should 
focus on the animation, i.e. not give an entry a better score just 
because it includes a soundtrack. That does IMHO not imply to penalize 
entries that do!

Some entrants/judges also seem to destinct between sound and spoken 
words. Take a look at the 1st and 2nd place winners of the January 2004 
round (finale and rpaz_teo). Both rely on the soundtrack, the first one 
on the piano playing, the second one on dialog. By reading the comments 
I got the impression that rpaz_teo was penalized because it had a 
dialog: "Concept:  Weakened by reliance on soundtrack." (John VanSickle)

> It's not a "Short-Movie" contest, but "Animation", and there
 > definitely is a difference between the two.

Well, if the difference is that a "Short-Movie" may include or rely on a 
spoken dialog but an "Animation" must not, then this should be 
explicitly mentioned in the rules, e.g. "The animation must not contain 
spoken words".

However, the rules say: 5.d "MPEG audio streams are allowed in the 
animation file, but not everyone will be able to hear them; also 
remember that judges are instructed to focus on the rendered animation. 
For the time being, audio streams will probably be just a waste of space."

To sanction a general "background" soundtrack, but penalize dialog seems 
a bit random to me.

If the distinction in fact is "dialog", then I don't understand John 
VanSickles comments: Most of his Rusty animations rely heavily on dialog 
(he uses this fancy LED-displays on the robots, which can be considered 
as subtitles) - [btw, I like his Rusty animations!]

Ok, lets come to the point: Do you think that, if a stroy relies on 
dialog, addind subtitles is ok (and will not lead to penalizing the 
entry), or do you think that a story that relies on dialog is generally 
weak (for an "Animation")?

-Sascha


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From: Tim Nikias
Subject: Re: What is "Technical Merit"?
Date: 17 Feb 2005 03:56:26
Message: <42145c3a$1@news.povray.org>
> Ok, lets come to the point: Do you think that, if a stroy relies on
> dialog, addind subtitles is ok (and will not lead to penalizing the
> entry), or do you think that a story that relies on dialog is generally
> weak (for an "Animation")?

I don't think that a story relying on dialog is generally weak. But when you
do have spoken words, and only with those you make the emotions clear (e.g.
shouting, crying), but the animation doesn't show this, you really "rely" on
the audio to show what you're incapable of animating, and that definitely is
not what an animation contest is about.

If the same mood can be acquired via subtitles, then it's fine and there's
no point in penalizing it because of the sound used. That's my take on it,
and others might see it different.

The piano animation for example is relying on the sound, but it's because
it's music that is being played, you can't subtitle "Nice and moody music".
But, like I already said, if the sounds take the place of what you should
animate, then you're entering the wrong contest.

-- 
"Tim Nikias v2.0"
Homepage: <http://www.nolights.de>


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From: Mike Raiford
Subject: Re: What is "Technical Merit"?
Date: 17 Feb 2005 07:50:11
Message: <42149303@news.povray.org>
>>Snipped all of the conversation<<

OK.. I have a relavent question:

If the animation has sound, and if that sound contains dialog, Would it 
necessarily be a bad thing to knock points off for poor lip sync at that 
point?

The addition of audio seems to really muddy the waters. It *shouldn't* 
affect Artistic, Concept, or Technical merits, but can. I think anyone 
who is willing to take the extra step of adding a dialog track to the 
animation must also be willing to take the extra step to ensure that 
dialog "looks" correct in the animation. Though, those who cannot hear 
the audio stream would then give the animation a higher rating.

-- 
~Mike

Things! Billions of them!


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