Eighteen 3D animators, teamed up in pairs, have 48 hours to bring to life Blueboy, the character that was chosen for them. Their work will be shown live at 3:00 pm, June 6, 2003.
Thursday, June 5 at 9:45 am Though it is sunny the room is completely dark with the only light coming from the 15 or so computers. The animators taking part in the 3D Jam competition that started the previous day are nearly all here, glued to their screens. The objective of the session is to make an animation of at least 40 seconds based on the character of Blueboy within 48 hours of (relentless) work. Blueboy a little robot from Mars was chosen by the organizers, the Cica, NVIDIA, the graphic cards company, and TeamcHmAn, a multimedia production company. "The character was modeled beforehand. The contestants were introduced to Blueboy a few days ago so that they could adapt it to the software theyre working on." says Nicolas Nithart, NVIDIA marketing and communication manager for Europe.
The selected animators are all students from European schools in France, Great Britain and Scandinavian countries. Less than 24 hours after the launch of the competition, the work seems to be well underway, even if whats going on is not always clear to the novice whos come to take a look at the event. One animator is concentrating on breaking down movements. Another has turned Blueboy upside down, just like for some hip-hop performance. Another one is working away on a dog wagging its tail, right next to a team working on a set with countryside feel.
The objective of these 3D animators is not only to prove theyre able to (literally) animate a character but also place it in a meaningful environment. "The jury will be looking at five or six details, such as graphic quality, rendering and storyline," Nithart explains.
The end of the event is this afternoon at 15:00. The nine teams will hardly have seen the light of day, but have eaten loads of gum, chocolate bars and other treats between meals, a rather optional break. However the organizers have made sure the competition the winning pair will receive a graphic station doesnt turn into an excessive marathon by closing the room from 10:00 pm to 9:30 am. This is a good time to allow the computers to process and render the work. The result of the competition will be announced today, and 40 seconds of each film will be shown at the closing ceremony tomorrow, June 7.
This article Virginie Sengès was first published on June 6, 2003 in LE QUOTIDIEN #5, a publication of the International Animated Film Centre, Annecy. For more information on this and other events at Annecy, go to www.annecy.org.