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Mascot Contest rules:

  • All entries must be at least 1440 x 1920 and keep the 3:4 aspect ratio.
  • The winner must summit a rendered image with no background of 480 x 640.
  • All entries are usable by Hash, Inc. and Animation Maser for promotional material.
  • All entries must be emailed to support@hash.com by midnight pst on 09/05/16
  • No offensive or pornographic material.
  • The winning image as voted by the Animation Master Community will be the new splash screen for v19.0.
  • Rules are subject to change without notice.(I do not plan on any changes but you all know I forget stuff all the time)


This has no bearing on the time frame till v19.0 is release so please lets not go down that path here.

Good Luck All!
Jason Simonds.

Edited by Jason Simonds
Extend the Deadline
  • ____ 5
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  • All entries must be at least 1440 x 1920 and keep the 3:4 aspect ratio.
  • The winner must summit a rendered image with no background of 480 x 640.





Are you calling for a "portrait" format rather than a "landscape" format?


That would work since most characters stand but I'm not sure which you mean.

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  • 2 weeks later...

We are right at the 4 week point folks!


I really need to get my act together and get a mascot done.

Once again I've started several and set aside each as not being what I want to enter.

Each time the mascot contest rolls around I have good intentions but need to get to the final stage of completing the thing.


I am definitely not a good finisher.

(Working on that!)


Perhaps I need to sketch out my idea on paper first and work until I capture that equivalent in A:M.


I will enter something!

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I just rendered my initial (backup) entry.although I'm about to markup a copy with suggestions for a few additions and fixes.

If I don't get anything else put together I'll enter it. :)


But... I plan to work several other ideas before the deadline hits.

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I was thinking here about this contest, would be more interesting if we work in a splash screen contest instead a mascot contest. This way we could create a magnificent structures, mechanical, sets, abstract forms...

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Sounds good Xtaz... but you know how hard it is to make change in Hash-land? I remember someone suggesting something like this about the mascot when Martin was around and his reply was something along the lines of...' start your own 3D software and do it any way you wish!'

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a splash screen contest instead a mascot contest


Now see... if you had said 'in addition to' rather than 'instead'...





I believe what we (and by 'we' I mainly mean 'you') need to do is demonstrate the power of the alpha channel with the mask that cuts into the splash image. Almost all splash images for A:M have had a black and white mask (either 100% transparent or 100% opaque) but splash images can really get interesting when that mask is greyscale allowing for shades of transparency. And it'd definitely be overkill but it wouldn't be impossible to have the splash screen be customize-able (and even animated). One way to get that (an animated splash screen) fielded might be to have the splash screen launcher display an image as a spritesheet. This would also allow for folks that need to turn the splash screen image off.

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I am in no way able to "start my own 3D software" but I think that since the software is for making animation... the splash screen (in this modern day) should be a loop/sequence/gif... and while I am at it... could we update the 'rendering' animations ever?

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I am in no way able to "start my own 3D software" but I think that since the software is for making animation... the splash screen (in this modern day) should be a loop/sequence/gif... and while I am at it... could we update the 'rendering' animations ever?



Hmmm... how bad do you want these.


There is how I would approach this and there is what Steffen would have to code.

The issue at hand might be... do we want Steffen to set aside his current efforts toward v19 to bring these visual enhancements to the fore.


Of note:

The replacement of the render animation is pretty straightforward. We just need folks to provide that animation.

I posted all of the current animated sequences elsewhere in hope that someone might take the bait on that one and produce some cool animation fit for watching as A:M launches a render.

Until now no one has produced any animation at that scale (mini resolution out of A:M).

BUT... that request is easily accomplished.


A customized splash screen is already possible. (Don't ask... I've been sworn to secrecy. And don't tell Marcos! He thinks we all see his anteater every time A:M launches!)

Unless there is an option I am unaware of... an animated splash sequence is a bit more complicated.
If you just want to make yourself happy though we can splash anything we want up in front of us as A:M launches.
On windows you could do the following:
Create a text file (batch file) that runs things prior to launching A:M and then use that shortcut instead of the one that directly launches A:M.
An example of this would be a batch file that basically states:
@echo off
This is where splashscreen.exe is a imagesequence/slideshow (an image or sequence of images in executable format). You can make one of those easily with a program like Irfanview.
The issue with this batchfile method is that we have to update the batch file with any new paths if and we ever install A:M to another location.
But you don't want any of that.
Put in a request via A:M Reports.... that's how new features get identified for inclusion and prioritized!
Some of this easy stuff might be a good change of pace from the more in depth coding Steffen does. :)
Edit: I was thinking the render animation was .gif but they are actually .AVI (sorry, faulty memory!)
This makes sense because at the time the .gif format would not have been ideal due to licensing/patent issues. (But note that those issue no longer apply)
If we render straight out of A:M at mini resolution to AVI format *I think* this is the same format as what Steffen will require to update the various render animations.
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We should make a list in a User Development forum of those things that can be changed cosmetically to enhance A:M.

This would free up Steffen to continue to work the bigger issues but would allow users to recognize that A:M has been updated in subtle yet useful ways.

Examples of this are many but one would be the change Robert made several years ago to the default Choreography (specifically the ground plane).

He made the update but then had Steffen include that in the source.

The tutorials splash that Fuchur created is another example. The image of Stian's cathedral model is awesome of course but could be easily replaced with another... signaling a change to users.


Most of these would be cosmetic but a few could delve deeper by considering the default resources that are available to users.

Things like the render animations and splash screen certainly fall into the cosmetic (look development) category.


Not long ago I brought back the default Welcome Choreography that use to accompany A:M all those many years ago.

That was fun time and despite that particular Chor being unnecessary to advanced users it was nice to feel welcome in the A:M Community every time we opened a new default Chor in A:M.

I'm not suggesting that return... just using that as an example of creative changes that easily fall into our purview.



I should note that if we go to far afield in this we might as well be talking third party enhancements to A:M which basically would mean having a product that customizes A:M in various ways as desired by users willing to support that effort. This falls into the realm of what the Hash Fellows were originally chartered for as well as a latter suggestion to provide a 'special edition' of A:M enhanced and customized in one or more flavors. This is very doable but there has never been enough interest to sustain such an effort.

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Here's a quick hack to demonstrate the process of launching A:M with a batchfile.

What the (current) batch file does is:


Launch the animated splash*

Launch A:M with a specific Project file as a target (in this case one named Default.prj)



*I've used a random sequence of images from a recent doodle for the splash animation. Nothing related to A:M Splash screens but I needed to grab something to splash.

This might almost as easily display the images that were recently rendered out of A:M or the images from a specific folder or all the images on a specific drive or those listed in a text file...


A few other notes:

In windows we can't assign a custom icon to a batch file but we can assign one to a shortcut so... after the batch file is created a shortcut is created from that and given a custom icon.

This allows for easy launching and easy editing of the batch file. For instance, customizing the dimensions of the splash animation.


There is a lag between splash animation and launching of A:M while A:M loads all of the various plugins.

At one time I had a second installation of A:M that didn't have any plugins installed and that launched almost immediately.

(The downside being that those plugins might actually be needed... but if not...rock on.)


Here's the entire contents of the batch file (all of which is not necessary):


@echo off
"C:\Program Files\Hash Inc\V18.0p plus\Master_64.exe" "C:\Program Files\Hash Inc\V18.0p plus\Default.prj"


Ha. I just (almost accidentally) created an installer for the program... and it works.

This might warrant some additional investigation


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That's very cool, Rodney. Could it be done with an alpha channel so the users desktop would be visible?


It kinda relates to my idea for an animated mascot... so imagine if you will the anteater would be doing some simple action... over and over. Could be as simple as replacing the .png file with alpha with a .gif file with alpha... but I imagine there is a lot more to it than that.


Along the lines of Rob's enhancements to the choreography... it would be nice to update the camera so it defaults to a 1280 X 720 resolution instead of the current D1 4X3 camera- just SCREAMS 1995 circa.

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At issue with the Mascot contest (I plan to participate!) is the matter of transparency. I know Hash Inc. wants the winning image to employ transparency cleverly so that the users desktop shows thru in the bootup process. However, there is no way to demonstrate in the voting phase where and how cool your transparency is... or even that you have any in mind at all. A possible solution would be to show a 2nd image with the Photoshop transparency grid comped behind the image so transparency can be shown and considered thruout the voting process...

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I see the "no background" rule to encourage you to design a mascot that can be attractive without an environment.


The transparency is more about the mask around the character rather than a see-through element.

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it would be nice to update the camera so it defaults to a 1280 X 720 resolution instead of the current D1 4X3 camera


I see that in A:M the setting for 1280x720 resolution is HD 720p.

That's easy enough to change as a default. We just set the desired settings and save the Choreography as Default.cho in the A:M installation directory.


Customizing things like resolution changes and making them stick would make for a nice introductory lesson in a 'Hacking A:M' series.

These topics would cover things that generally we might not want to have installed by default for everyone that uses A:M but might want to be able to do ourselves.


To keep this somewhat on topic...

Perhaps one of the requirements of this contest could be altered a little in light of a minor obstacle rendering directly out of A:M.

The thought being that entries for this contest should be (optimally and designed to be) rendered straight out of A:M.

The issue would be that of resolution... in that the target resolution is "1440 x 1920 and keep the 3:4 aspect ratio"

This bit of technicalese is a barrier to entering the contest in that it is a custom setting that can't be found in A:M's list of default resolutions.

Now of course, A:M can render to any resolution needed... just adjust as needed... but my point here is that if this requirement is routinely needed (i.e. for every contest) then it would be nice to see that option available as a resolution in A:M. This is an example a 'story driven' need. The story is set as the contest where the actors (users) bring their performances (characters) to the stage.


The second part of the contest's requirement is easy enough: "the winner must summit a rendered image with no background of 480 x 640"

That's the setting VGA out of A:M although... technically that'd be 640 x 480... which I assume is why Robert asked the question about portrait vs landscape (height vs width).

Here we run into an obstacle when faced with available render settings out of A:M. There is a default option for landscape but not for portrait.

So some customization of render settings is needed.

I suppose what I'm saying is that recurring contests should very likely target easy to access resolutions rendered directly out of A:M with no customization.

The alternative would be to make a requirment of the contest be 'Entrants must include the full project file' which I must assume would also be an obstacle against some folks entering.

I must say in the case of the mascot contest though that sharing of mascots with the community would very likely be a good thing.

I do recognize that some folks cannot share their characters for many different reasons.


The example of this could be that of the contest rule being amended to state:

"Entries should be rendered out to at least DV 720p and scaled x2 (or at a minimum 1440 x 1920 and keep the 3:4 aspect ratio) along with a second render at VGA resolution (640x480) with no background for potential use as A:M's splash screen."*


All of this should underline the fact that while A:M is capable of highly technical things most of that tech isn't required to be known or even considered by A:M users.

Of course, this all assumes that being able to figure out custom resolutions isn't loosely designed to raise the technical bar of quality for all entries.

*Can we see the difficultly in the requirement for rendering entries to 1440x1920 with 3:4 aspect ratio? I might be the only one but I really don't know what all of that means. The first time that requirement appeared I was a little confused and apparently after many years I'm still looking for that setting in A:M. :)
Sorry for the wall of text that will make this post harder to read!
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  • All entries must be at least 1440 x 1920 and keep the 3:4 aspect ratio.
  • The winner must summit a rendered image with no background of 480 x 640.


SO- the 1440 wide image will be the 'flattened' one with full color thruout (like a jpeg) that voters will see and vote on...

AND- the 480 wide should include transparency (like a png?) that would be used perchance upon winning.


I'm just wondering because I am ready to submit an image, and my dyslexic brain sees how this can be read both ways...

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...
I'm afraid I had too many details undone to submit mine :facepalm:


I'm not quite sure whether to be happy or sad.

Without an entry from you the rest of us stand a better chance of placing.

But... without an entry from you... um...


okay... color me sad.


Hope you'll share the results as you finalize it.

(Then I can be happy again)

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I couldn't get mine in neighter, which is bad given that we had that much time :(. But there was that much to do aside form that...
I am close to it, but still have to rig mine before I can really submit it... will of cause show the results when it is done ;).


See you


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Somebody bring me my time machine! :rolleyes:


My characters from 'Doodle Time' (Time Travelers) are hesitant to assist.

They think I might actually place in this contest if no one else has entered. :P


That was two of them in the car entry that I misplaced.

So... no Doodle Time entry made the cut... and THEY are timetravelers.

Go figure.

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