The Underground Society of Animators (USA)

2013 USA Award for Excellence in Animation

Official Rules

Version 2.1.13

This award is sponsored by FIRST Team 116 Epsilon Delta with support from many other teams in the FIRST community. We strive to encourage students to enjoy animation and cultivate skills in design and creation of animation, including but not limited to storytelling, creativity, use of computer software, and an understanding of different techniques and forms of animation. This event is open to all FRC and FTC teams.

About the Name

Originally, this award shared Team 116’s name, for lack of any other ideas. However, this award is the culmination of many different teams’ efforts, not just Epsilon Delta and we felt that the name should reflect that. Thus, we christen this award the Underground Society of Animators Award for Excellence in Animation. It’s quirky and fun, it’s perfect for the FIRST community.

The Challenge

Think back to your childhood, the tales of knights and dragons, wolves and forests, and
many more that filled your movies, television shows, and bedtime stories. Now you have
the opportunity to retell these stories through animation. Choose a fairy tale or fable and
add in a twist, be it in the characters, setting, or plot line, then create an animation of 60
seconds or less to tell this new tale. Elements of robotics in the story are an added plus
but are not required.


This award will be judged at the national level. We recognize that technical skill and
creative design are two separate characteristics of an animation, and therefore we honor
both aspects through two separate awards. The technical award will be judged by a panel
of professionals while the design award will be judged by those in the FIRST community.
The panel of judges will also be mindful of the creative aspect of each animation but will
focus more on technical execution. The FIRST community is expected to act similarly,
focusing primarily on design while being mindful of technique.Both parties should use these criteria as guidelines for judging:
  1. Mastery of Animation
    • Quality of Animation
    • Complexity and Presentation of Images
    • Expertise in Medium
  2. Ingenuity
    • Originality of ideas
    • Effectiveness and efficiency in execution
  3. Clarity
    • Comprehensibility and organization of ideas within the animation
    • Pacing
  4. Artistry
    • Aesthetic Appeal
    • Implementation of Artistic Elements
    • Use of Medium

Submission Requirements

The following are requirements that must be met for an animation to be submitted to
judges and displayed for other teams to watch and vote for.
  1. Animation of no more than 60 seconds.
    • Must be pertinent to the challenge presented
    • 60 seconds is only an upper limit. Teams may submit an animation of any length and its duration will have no impact on how it is scored.
  2. Capable of being played in QuickTime
    • MPEG-4 or H.264 codec
    • 1280 x 720 minimum resolution
  3. Thumbnail
    • .JPEG file of one scene that represents the animation
  4. Title Screen
    • 5 second duration followed by a one-second black slate
    • Will not be included in the total duration
    • Must include team number and name, school/organization, title of the animation and duration
  5. File name in teamxxxx format
    • e.g., team0116
  6. No use of copyrighted material that the team or team members do not own
    • This includes music, voices, and images, among others
    • If discovered, the offending team will be immediately disqualified
    • Many fairy tales and fables are old enough to be within the public domain
    • If the team possesses a license or document giving explicit permission from a copyright owner, then they may use the material
    • In the case of the previous bullet, the team must be able to produce the necessary documents when asked
    • Free, pre-made models can be used, but they should be credited to the site they are taken from within the animation
    • Our aim is to provide as much protection to teams as possible, so please bear with us
  7. Summary of Animation
    • One paragraph approximately
    • Lists the original story, the changes made to it, and a summary of the animation plot

Other Submission Information


  1. Storyboard
    • Optional
    • Done on paper and scanned in or on the computer through software
  2. Credits
    • Optional
    • Follows a one-second black slate at the end of the animation
    • Will not be included in the total duration
  3. All forms of animation are accepted, ranging from software such as Autodesk 3ds Max to two dimensional frame animation. Even claymation is available. However, no live footage or images featuring living objects can be included.

Submission Process

For this year, we ran into technical difficulties when trying to enable the upload of such large files to accomodate the video files.  So, please first upload your video to YouTube, then head over to our submission page to send us all the particulars, to include the URL of your YouTube submission.  Then, if you would like to send us the full version, please use something like YouSendIt to email it to us at


Thanks to Autodesk for providing the following material:

  1. Resources for M&E Students:
  2. Resources for M&E Educators:
  3. Character creation in Sketchbook and Maya:
  4. Autodesk Smoke for Macs:
  5. Animation Helpline, hosted by Team 250 1-4PM EST (If prompted for a password, type “team250”): Click Here
  6. Useful Links for Animation, CAD, and Graphics, compiled by Clayton from Team 2367:


There is no formal entry process, but all submissions must be completed and sent in by
11:59pm EST on Friday, March 1, 2013. Any entries submitted after the aforementioned
time will not be judged.

We experienced a delay in finalizing the submission process and there are some teams that have to attend competitions this weekend. As a result, we decided to extend the deadline to Monday, March 4, 2013 at 5:00pm EST.

Contact Us

If there are any questions, please feel free to contact us at Check back frequently for updates or check our


twitter account @ED_aniaward.

18 Responses

  1. Team 1504 is in. Thanks for stepping up and making this happen. It was a terrible disappointment to our students that the contest was cancelled at the 11th hour. This makes you guys heroes. Way to go!

    1. If they are royalty free, then it should be okay, though I encourage you to try your best to make your own. Please make sure to credit any such resources.

  2. I posted this comment on the Chief Dephi thread but I thought I would post it here as well just in case.

    I had a couple of questions. The first is a general question about copyright. I know that the rules state that we’re not to use copyrighted materials that the team or team members “do not own”. If we have a license to use the copyrighted materials, is that sufficient?

    On a related topic, and this might be better addressed to John Helfen, will Autodesk permit us to use the iikos? Obviously, the iiko is their intellectual property and since they are providing the challenge this year, if they don’t grant us a license, we can’t use them. I was hoping for some clarification on that score.

    Thanks, and thanks again Team 116. You’re winners in my book.

  3. Kathie Doyle

    TEAM 116 has inspired us so TEAM 250 will be operating a WebEx-based animation help line. Starting Jan 12 and every Saturday through Feb 16 from 1PM ET to 4PM we’ll be taking any and all questions about 3DS Max (sorry, Maya users) and the production process. We’ll be able to share desktops and exchange files. We expect to have a professional 3DS Max animator on-site so we should be able to answer most of your questions. To participate click on this link:…T=MiMxMQ%3D%3D
    If you’re asked for a password use “team250”. There’s no need to register, just click-and-ask. Check us out!

    -Dave Coveney/Jonathan Saulsbery

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