The 'Official' TrekBBS Calendar Project

Discussion in 'Fan Art' started by Ptrope, Nov 9, 2005.

  1. Ptrope

    Ptrope Agitator Admiral

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    Okay, since I took the mantle upon myself, I guess I'll fire up the fishing expedition.

    It's been suggested that, in lieu of Pocket Books bowing to our experience and expertise in product planning ( :wtf: ), and because we feel that Strange New Worlds discriminates against an entire and large segment of Trek's creative community (this is what we agree upon, isn't it? ;)), we will satisfy our urges by stepping boldly over the commercial landmines and setting our easels and digital tablets up right here, to create the first 'official' TrekBBS calendar.

    To begin with, we'll need to establish some ground rules. I've volunteered to coordinate this project, so I'm going to say that allows me to throw out the first ball, but I'm only going to lob some guidelines over the plate for now, and try to avoid any curves this early in the game.

    Firstly, I think it is a good idea to do this on a monthly basis, rather than creating a complete set of 12 images at once for a single calendar, especially since it's most likely that we will be offering this as an online wallpaper-style of calendar (my first suggestion, actually). As such, I'd say that, in addition to our regular monthly challenges by and for the membership, the calendar project should be an ongoing contest, with the winning image being chosen and formatted for the following month's calendar page. With me so far?

    Secondly, since November is already well underway, I also suggest that the calendar 'auditions' begin next month, giving us the rest of November to hash out suggestions and details, then December for the first round of submissions, with selection to be one week before the end of the month and the final calendar art itself to be available on - tada!! - January 1, 2006!

    Thirdly, do we wish to base the selections upon general membership votes, or upon a jury, possibly with acknowledged professional members of the TrekBBS (by their own choice, of course!)? This part will definitely depend upon the graciousness of our membership, as this project will be gratis.

    It's almost like a plan, huh?

    We have a few things to decide in the meantime. Should each month be a unique theme, or should we make the entire year a theme (as with the Ships of the Line calendars, etc.)? Do we want to do this individually, or do people want to partner up, maybe contributing different aspects of the final images based upon their strengths (say, a person strong in 3D modeling may want to work with someone else strong in concept design, or a Poser artist may add people to someone else's bridge scene, etc.)? What about wholly-original designs (such as Vektor's Grandeur or Vanguard), or do we wish to limit it to recognizable designs already within the franchise (though extended to such things as the New Frontiers series or even the fan video series such as Exeter and others)?

    Keep in mind, this is not only for us, but can also be a visual demonstration of the imagination, skill and initiative of the TrekBBS (and Trek fan artists in general); perhaps we can show TPTB what we can do better than we can simply tell them. One thing I'd like to throw into the mix at this point is that we should be as original and complete as possible - not just Photoshop work on existing images, but completely original compositions (even if the elements, such as 3D meshes, may not have been created originally for the calendar image - and everything like this will require accurate credit given to the original creators).

    The floor ... is open :thumbsup:
     
  2. B.J.

    B.J. Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    WOO! Someone actually used my suggestion for once! I originally was thinking about one massive release for the year, but I eventually voted for once a month. That way we'd be able to evolve the concept over time.

    As for the single vs multiple image thing, a good way to use multiple images would be to include some 2D designs as filler, with the main image being the nice rendered one. That way, the non-3D artists (like myself) might have a better chance. I'll have to find an example of what I mean about the layout.

    I'll have to think about the rest some before I comment further.

    B.J.
     
  3. ThomastheCat

    ThomastheCat Captain Captain

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    I'm of a mind to have this be presented as professional and original. I think we should take the best of the best regardless of theme or media.

    Also, I think we should encourage work that is more in the lines of "original" Trek concepts...not that it should totally piss on established traditions, but the Trek universe is a big place, and I want to keep seeing new, plausible additions to the tapestry of the franchise. These past couple art contests have been a great example of how much room there is to explore.

    Also, as much as 3D seems the popular thing around here, so long as an image is superbly executed, I'd encourage the Calendar open to all media.
     
  4. BorgMan

    BorgMan Captain Captain

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    Will it be allowed to submit handdrawn stuff too? I mean, I suck at rendering, but I can give you some excellent paper and pencil artwork
     
  5. Ptrope

    Ptrope Agitator Admiral

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    Of course hand-drawn work would be allowed - any medium that can be represented in an online image would be acceptable, even photos of physical models. Obviously, one would want the very best presentation possible, so I wouldn't suggest sketching on lined notebook paper ;), and I would strongly advise that anyone submitting drawn artwork use the best possible scan available.

    3D is immensely popular, both here and in visual entertainment in general, but it's not the only visual medium, and it's certainly not the "best" by default. I'll take a sketch out of Michael Whelan's rejects over an average 3D rendering that lacks composition, lighting or adequate detail.

    Something to think about: if the monthly calendar wallpaper contains multiple images, it could easily have a mix of media, and as far as I'm concerned, only the quality of the image should determine what takes center stage, not how it was created.
     
  6. BolianAuthor

    BolianAuthor Writer, Battlestar Urantia Rear Admiral

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    I think it's an awesome idea!!! All I would suggest, is that perhaps each month, we post a survey, asking what kinds of images we'd perhaps like to see for a given month. Or perhaps, there could be a yearly "centerfold competition", to present and vote on what will be a spectacular centerfold image.

    In any case, this is a grand idea... I hope it takes off!
     
  7. USS Jack Riley

    USS Jack Riley Captain Captain

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    I and turned "other" regarding the question of "existing" or "current" Star Tracked concepts, I need to explain what I mean. I will admit, however, that I'm not sure I understood what you're asking for on this one.

    By "existing" I am assuming that you mean only those items that are "canon" while "current" may mean something that exists only in "fandom." If I am are wrong on this, I apologize. Why can't a calendar include canonical items, such as the San Francisco yards and noncanonical items, such as and "Area 51" type yard dedicated to developing new technologies?

    Again, if I misunderstood the issue, I apologize.
     
  8. Blamo

    Blamo Commodore Commodore

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    Love the idea. :thumbsup:

    I think perhaps a theme per month would be best. While an over-arching theme would be quite cool, it may feel to some a bit too repetitive, even if the art is great (which I sure it will be). It also I suppose depends on the theme. An annual mirror universe theme would work great if you ask me (again though, it may put of the anti-mirrors). Hmm... What about a theme per season?

    I'm all for wholly original. That is of course, aslong as it's recognizably Star Trek, not two unknown alien races fighting each other. An unknown alien race fighting a known one (like a Klingon Bird of Prey bullying some unknown cruiser), I have absolutely no problem with.
     
  9. Vektor

    Vektor Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    As you know, Ptrope, this is a project I had hoped to undertake myself back in the day, using the monthly contests as source material for the calendar. Unfortunately, as with so many other things, I just couldn't find the time to tackle it. I think it's great that you have decided to go forward with it.

    I think the membership vote just like the one we already have for the monthly contests is the way to go, though it's probably a good idea to decide whether or not voting for multiple entries is a good idea in this case.

    I voted in favor of one image per month for a variety of reasons. For one, I think the winner should be a winner, not just one of the people who made it that month. For another, I think you're in for a hard time trying to get multiple entries to co-exist artfully in a single composition, especially if we opt out of monthly theme for the submissions.

    Speaking of themes, my first thought was to avoid them altogether for this project, but it might depend on whether or not you intend to continue the current monthly contest as a separate competition. On further consideration, I think the best approach would be evolve the current contest into the new one and keep the monthly themes as a creative inspiration. What about putting each month's theme or topic up to a vote as well? Maybe we could have a separate pinned thread for theme suggestions and selections to gather more input and make the process easier.

    As for what format the calendar should take, my own original thought was to simply compile the winners of all the previous year's monthly contests with calendar pages in between and make them available in PDF format for people to download and print out on their own. I think you could also go month-to-month in the form of a desktop wallpaper calendar, the kind with the calendar itself overlaid in one corner. I suppose you could even do both.

    Finally, I think the content question goes beyond a simple decision between existing or original concepts. Most of what we see here in Trek Art are starships, or sometimes starship interiors. Not that there's anything wrong with that, especially when they have been my own stock-in-trade, but for something like this I think we all really need to think outside the box. I'd love to see more stuff like character portraits, alien landscapes or architectural renderings. If they must be starships then show us starships in true presentational style, not just WIP images and generic beauty shots. I'm not saying that everything has to be totally original, but at least show us stuf in ways that we haven't seen before.

    One last thing before I go: You may want to consider finding somebody to administer this whole thing, someone to collect each month's entries, verify that they came in on time, post and monitor the voting thread, host the images for it, then convert the winning entry into whatever its final presentation format winds up to be. In fact, I would tentatively be willing to volunteer for the last item on that list, especially if we opt for something like a monthly desktop wallpaper calendar. I think it would be fun to participate and it would be something I could do without having to devote a massive amount of time each month.

    Food for thought.
     
  10. Ptrope

    Ptrope Agitator Admiral

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    ^^

    See why this guy was the mod here? ;)

    Great suggestions, Vektor. I was thinking, too, that having concurrent challenges, one by the membership and one for the calendar, might be a handful, and might dilute the entries to either, simply because there are only so many hours in anyone's day, which could force them to choose between one or the other.

    Good point, too, about a running suggestion thread for concepts or themes; doing that, though, might protract the process to around two months, if it were poll-based - one month to come up with a theme, then a month for entries. It really makes the monthly challenges seem more appealing, by making each month's winner an entry for the calendar, as well.

    I agree that it would be good to see a mix of canon and non-canon artwork. Since the idea is to create something to really showcase fan art, I think it should showcase not only the craftsmanship, but also the imagination of the fans; maybe an alternating theme. To tell the truth, I think the monthly challenges have done a great job of addressing this.

    And after seeing what you achieved with the commemorative print of your Connie, I don't think anyone would have any question about your ability to create the final presentation of the art! :D
     
  11. The Axeman

    The Axeman Commodore Commodore

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    I remember talking with Vektor about this some time ago, I wondered if he'd bring up the previous ideas and I'm glad to see he has. I too would back morphing the monthly contest into the calendar project, there's not enough activity and artists to support both at this time and we definitely need something to motivate people to create.

    As for content, I think the catch-all title of 'Star Trek' is enough of an over-arching theme for us. Concentrating on Mirror Universe or characters or starships alone would instantly cut down on entries and leave the project crippled before it's started. I'm with Vektor in backing some slightly different thinking for this one, looking for art that both looks good and shows us things we've either never seen or shows us familiar things in new and interesting ways.

    The one thing that troubles me about the project is the monthly aspect. We might get better end results if instead we had a pool of art created over the course of the year, taking however long each piece takes, and then getting the punters to vote for the ones worthy of inclusion in the final product. It might be harder to keep people motivated without a monthly prod however, but maybe someone can come up with a way around that. Submissions of work in progress might be the way to keep things rolling, or soliciting ideas from the general board population for stuff they've never seen and yet would love to see. Just my 2p worth anyway, I cant say much since my 3D time has been drastically cut by real life right now, although hopefully that'll change for the better soon.
     
  12. chrisis1033

    chrisis1033 Captain Captain

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    I am not an artist myself... but you guys do some awesome work...

    Bring it on! I can hardly wait!! :thumbsup:
     
  13. Kail

    Kail Commodore Commodore

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    Just in case anyone is interested, I create a TAS calendar every year for my website.

    November's calendar

    December's calendar

    I have alot of fun making these and they seem to be fairly popular.
     
  14. BorgMan

    BorgMan Captain Captain

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    Well, with a regular Internet connection and spare time, I wouldn't mind to help you out with this PTrope, if you need my help just give a ring :)
     
  15. Forbin

    Forbin Admiral Admiral

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    I said out, dammit!
  16. Santaman

    Santaman Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Hey, those are pretty nice Forbin. :cool:
     
  17. Klaus

    Klaus Vice Admiral Admiral

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    ...cool! :thumbsup:
     
  18. Bernard Guignard

    Bernard Guignard Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Very nice work there on all counts :thumbsup:
     
  19. USS Jack Riley

    USS Jack Riley Captain Captain

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    Nice going there Forbin. Very well done. Hope to see more soon! :thumbsup:
     
  20. Temis the Vorta

    Temis the Vorta Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Just thinking of the kind of Trek Art calendar I would buy:

    - I'd want a variety of styles and subject matter. Some CGI ships and doodads, some "matte painting" style images of cities or worlds, some action sequences of characters (again in various styles, ranging from cartoon-style to photorealistic). I'd want all the series to be represented: TOS, TNG, DS9, VOY, ENT without heavy favoritism being apparent. Maybe some things from books or TAS as well. And vary the color. I don't want to see one image after another that is predominantly dark.

    -Make the images relate to the month. This is less important, but it would be nice to have the "snowy" scense in winter, etc. To whatever extent this can be done.