Final Major Project 2 Brief: The 11 Second Club

The 11 Second Club is a monthly competition based around character animation. On the 1st of every month, a new 11 second long piece of audio is released which participants must interpret and animate.

Entering the competition:

1. What are the dates of the competition?
The competition runs from 12:01 am New York time on the 1st of each month until midnight New York time on the last day of the same month.
The Voting period runs from the 1st to the 5th of each month.

2. Can I edit the audio file? Add some sound effects?
To keep the playing field level, we do not allow edited versions of our audio files into the dialogue competition. If you want to add silence before or after the clip, that’s acceptable. But we feel that modifying the audio clip will muddle the playing field and take away from precious animation time. After all, animation is the focus here.
Entries with audio that has been edited in any way other than adding silence to the beginning and/or end will be disqualified.

3. Can I add extra props and scenery to my shot?
You can, but be sure to manage your time well. We feel that spending a lot of time modeling and texturing extra bits for your scene will take away from the time needed for animation.
Keep in mind that people looking at your entry (and your reel, for that matter) will be focusing on your character animation skills; everything else is not as important, and may even distract from your animation. Consider using simple shapes if you absolutely need props: a chair can be replaced by a simple gray box, a glass of water can be represented by a cylinder, and a baseball… well, you can probably figure out what simple shape a baseball is.

4. What if you guys choose a clip that I’ve already animated?
Well, first off, if we happen to choose a clip that you’ve already used for an animation test, we apologize. We know it sucks to lose some of the “uniqueness” of your piece. However, as long as you are able to follow the rest of the rules (no editing the sound clip, not offensive, etc.), you’re welcome to enter it into the competition. We figure it’s a small consolation for having your piece end up on everyone else’s demo reels. :\

Submitting you work:

1. Does my submission have to be a fully-rendered shot? You see, I’m not that good at lighting, and….
Nope! This is an animation club. Well-rendered shots may look great, but the focus here is your animation. It is perfectly acceptable to upload unrendered previews or playblasts from your 3D software. As long as we can see your acting choices clearly, that’s all that matters.
If you render it anyhow, that’s your choice, but voters are discouraged from giving extra points for it. We prefer movies that are captured from your viewport, with no special lighting or shadows or anything else that would take up precious time.
If you’re really determined to have a beautifully-rendered piece, we suggest that you spend the entire month animating, and then concentrate on lighting and rendering once the month’s competition is over. You can even ask a friend who knows about lighting to help you out.

2. What format should my video be in? Is there a limit on the filesize?
Movie files in .mov, .avi, and .flv should be fine, as long as you’re not using a particularly unusual codec. (typical codecs tend to be Sorenson 3 and H.264)
Animation entries must be 10mb or less, and in widescreen (16:9) resolution. Entries larger than 10mb will be rejected by the system.
See our Helpful Hints for encoding your animation to see how we encode animations for uploading.
If you are unsure about the format of your movie file, remember that you can test out the submission form before the end of the month, since only the newest upload will count as your entry. If you can see it working in the “My Entry” view, then it should be working for everyone.

3. How about framerates? What framerate should I animate with?
The most common framerates for animators are:

24fps = Film

25fps = PAL video–television in many European countries, for example.

30fps = NTSC video–television in the United States and Canada. Many computer games are also animated at 30fps.

We recommend that you choose one of these framerates, as they are likely to be what you will be animating at when you are employed by a studio, whether they are working in television commercials, film, or games.
The 11 Second Club entry system will accept entries in any frame rate.

4. What format should my thumbnail be?
Thumbnail images for the entries should also be 560×316 pixels, in JPEG format. The site will automatically scale them down as needed.

5. Can I submit an entry, then replace it with an updated submission before the voting starts?
Yep! You can re-submit your entry and change the thumbnail and text as many times as you want until the submission period ends. In fact, we encourage you to try a test submission a few days before the end of the competition, to make sure the process goes smoothly when you’re ready to submit your final entry.

 

I am excited to start this brief as it will be a good excuse to practice my animation skills and may in turn lead to a nice piece for my portfolio. I find I often get caught up in the pre-production of animation projects but the quick turnaround of this brief will force me to work fast and sacrifice some of the attention I usually give to the aesthetics in favour of a well animated final piece. The fact that the brief specifically calls for a character animation will also help me to not get distracted by smaller details and really focus on developing my skills as an animator.

Having said that, there will of course still be need of research and development as I interpret the audio clip and build my own narrative around it, as well as character design and manufacture.

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