POV-Ray : Newsgroups : irtc.stills : IRTC Proposal... : Re: IRTC Proposal... Server Time
25 Feb 2024 06:39:32 EST (-0500)
  Re: IRTC Proposal...  
From: Jim Charter
Date: 11 Feb 2004 19:58:17
Message: <402acfa9$1@news.povray.org>
St. wrote:

>  Seeing as everything is getting more advanced with computers and
> PoV-Ray now, is it possible that the IRTC stills competition can be
> every three months instead of two months?
>     Four comps a year instead of five? More time, better images? From
> more people?
>     Seriously - just a thought/suggestion. Please debate with your
> views.
>     I don't mind two months, but it sure gets tricky towards the
> end...  ;)

My present situation certainly makes want to throw in with you on this 
one.  Again I find that I have already committed a lot of time, blood, 
and guts to an entry, only to find now that to have any chance of 
completing it, I would need to make an almost singular commitment of 
time in the remaining three weeks.  But, similar to last round, it took 
almost a month to settle on an idea and get started.  And "mythology" 
jazzed me from the start.  Furthermore, because I'd started late on the 
  previous round, and failed to complete my entry despite a big effort, 
I made an concerted attempt to motivate myself early this time.  There 
were lots of ideas to choose from, but it still took awhile to isolate 
one that I could stand behind artistically.

I must treat my problems with suspicion however.  In the past, I 
completed one of my most skilled entries ("Sea" round) in a short two 
weeks, while I was on vacation.  I coded it almost entirely on paper 
without access to a computer then transferred it to my machine for 
testing when I returned just a few days before the deadline.  In another 
round ("Warfare" round) I had the idea very early in the entry period. 
While it still took a week or two to commit to and research it, I did 
get an adequate start. It carried a big emotional load for me and 
basically I ran short on technical ability and vision before I ran short 
on time.  So because of these two examples I have always felt that if 
the circumstances all come together for you, two months is in fact 
enough time.  I am suspicious that while now it seems to take me 3 weeks 
to a month to settle on a concept, if the entry period were extended to 
three months I would use up two of them getting started.

Also, extending the period might lead to a vicious cycle, entries would 
become even more ambitious so that competitive entries would still 
require a huge time commitment.  However, as you point out, with the 
increased capacity of POV-Ray alone, perhaps greater ambition should be 
accommodated.  Early release of the topic was experimented with in the 
"Horror" round.  As I recall the results were mixed, and the experiment 
was never repeated.  Personally I thought that was a shame.  I thought 
the idea had potential and didn't really understand why it was so easily 
dismissed. I think it was because it didn't seem to make much 
difference. It really didn't result in the better images everyone was 
hoping for. I didn't participate in the debate much I'll admit.  At that 
time my skill level was so low that the issue was largely irrelevant to me.

But not only has POV-Ray and other tools become more powerful and offer 
more potential for expression, it is often at the cost of time.  Chris 
Hormann's isosurface landscapes are an example. Sophisticated use of 
media is often laborious in a short entry period.  Mesh modelling is 
also now possible in the freeware space and opens up further expressive 
possibilities.  It may also be true that some participants have reached 
a skill level where greater ambition may be required to engage their 
interest.  While time management strategies are a significant aspect and 
measure of skill level, it is not the only one.

I started out with the believe that I would conclude against your idea 
only to find I have talked myself into it!  Or at least some version of 
it.  Perhaps more experimenting.  Early release of topics, or of 
selected topics during the year, or of topics for additional longer term 
contests? Perhaps a long/short cycle, three months followed by one month 
in any given four month period? It may in fact be time to consider if 
there is a next level we can get to.

Thanks for raising the discussion Steve.


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