Digital Animation Award sponsored by Feb. 12 2024| 0 KB

Content Type: FIRST Robotics Competition
Tags: Awards, Team

The FIRST Robotics Competition 2024 Digital Animation Award

Sponsored by:

This award, sponsored by, celebrates the art of digital animation and its close relationship to STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics).This award celebrates the art of digital animation and its close relationship to STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics).


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The Digital Animation Award is offered to help encourage students to 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 award is open to all FIRST Robotics Competition teams and is optional.

This Year's Theme: Crescendo

Be they musical, personal, or triumph in other endeavors, we all reach many crescendos as we go through life. 

2024 challenge: Create an animation of “crescendo” that celebrates your FIRST experience.  

You can interpret “crescendo” in any way you wish:

  •        Reaching for new heights
  •        Conquering your own personal challenges
  •        Celebrating success
  •        Finding a new peak experience
  •        Etc.

What you choose isn’t nearly as important as how you use your Digital Animation skills to show your innovative concept.


  • Animations that use the theme and provide a positive inspiring message will be prioritized over animations that don’t.
  • Animations that use Humor tend to do better
  • Keep it simple! A well-executed, simple animation will perform better than the alternative.

2024 Winner, Team 3100: Lightning Turtles

Judge Comments: We were honestly blown away across the board - extremely well done. We loved the cohesive visual style, design, smooth animation, camera movements, everything

Special thanks to Theory Studios for doing the judging again this year!
Theory is an international team of animators and special effects artists.

This year, we would also like to recognize our 2nd and 3rd placed teams:

  • 2nd: Team 1197, Torbots
    • Judge Comments: We loved the cute, clever story, cohesive style, and solid character animation. Also, great use of depth of field to direct the viewer's focus
  • 3rd: Team 122, NASA Knights 
    • Judge Comments: Great set building, lighting, and camera movement - and we LOVED the very on-the-nose story.


The judges asked us to pass the following comments along for some of their favorite animations because they all started where you are and remember how much they valued contstructive critique (these are team number order, not ranking order):

  • Team 75: Awesome style, color palette, and very well done with the painterly 2d animation
  • Team 1086: Great character style, good use of smear frames in the animation, and we loved the cheese puns
  • Team 2554: Well done telling a cohesive story, and great job with the lighting and rendering
  • Team 3341: Great storytelling, foreshadowing, and follow-through with the story through composition. Also, well done on the cute style
  • Team 4717: Very cool animation - we loved the style with the 2d face animation on the 3d characters, and the robot dragon was awesome!
  • Team 7459: Great job with the motion design, interesting 2d style, and the story
  • Team 9175: Well done telling a tight story with beautiful style and lighting



Judging is purely subjective. We are looking for excellence in animation skills and in the use of animation to tell a story. The Judges will be a diverse panel of Technical Marketing, Visual Effects and Animation experts from around the world from Theory Animation. We will be specifically looking for:

  1. Mastery of Animation
    1. Quality of Animation
    2. Complexity and Presentation of Images
    3. Expertise in Medium
  2. Ingenuity
    1. Originality of ideas
    2. Effectiveness and efficiency in execution
    3. Use of original 3D models and modeling technique
  3. Clarity
    1. Comprehensibility and organization of ideas within the animation
    2. Pacing
  4. Artistry
    1. Aesthetic Appeal
    2. Implementation of Artistic Elements
    3. Use of Medium



Official FIRST Trophy will be sent to the winner from FIRST.




The following requirements must be met for an animation to be submitted to the judges and displayed for other teams to watch. THERE ARE SIGNIFICANT CHANGES VS PREVIOUS YEAR'S REQUIREMENTS.

  1. A single animation may be submitted by any registered FIRST Robotics Competition team. Submissions may be 2D, 3D, mixed media, stop motion or anything else you can use to animate a story.
  2. The submitted animation must be no more than 30 seconds long (does not include title screen or credits). Animations more than 30 seconds long will not be judged.
    1. It must be relevant to the Challenge stated above.
    2. 30 seconds is only an upper limit. Teams may submit an animation of any length up to that limit, and the duration will have no impact on how the animation is scored.
  3. It is recommended that animations be submitted with:
    1. Format: H.264 codec in mp4 file
    2. Resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels (720p) minimum. 1920 x 1080 (1080p) is optimal.
    3. Frame Rate: 24 frames per second.
    4. But any format and resolution that has been uploaded to YouTube (or similar public online repository) by the deadline below will be accepted.
  4. Title Screen & Credits
    1. The animation must begin with a title screen displayed for a 2-second duration followed by a one-second black slate, leading into the primary work.
    2. The title screen display will not be included in the total duration limit.
    3. The title screen must include your team number, team name, school/organization, title of the animation, and animation duration.
    4. Credits should follow a one-second black slate at the end of the animation and be no longer than 5 seconds total in length. Length of the credits will not be included in the total duration limit.
    5. Make sure to include team members, mentors, software used, list of public domain sources, and licensed sources in credits.
    6. Total length of work should be no longer than: 2 second title screen + 1 second black slate + (up to) 30 second animation + 1 second black slate + (up to) 5 seconds credits = 39 seconds total (max length). 
  5. Content
    1. Animation should be supportive of the FIRST Core Values.
    2. Animation must be free of copyright issues. Do not use copyrighted characters, music, or other elements, unless you have the legal right to do so.
  6. Submission
    • Upload the animation to YouTube (or a similar video streaming service) by 11:59 p.m. ET on Thursday, Jan 18, 2024THEN YOU MUST ALSO SEND A LINK to the video to – by that same deadline. If the email is not sent – the video will NOT be entered into the contest. DO NOT use a file transfer service (ie Dropbox, etc) – the video should be viewable on the platform without prior download. YouTube is strongly preferred.
    • You are welcome/encouraged to upload the video early and to set the video to “unlisted” until the deadline. The video must be viewable by anyone with the link by the deadline shown above.
    • NOTE: if you chose a streaming platform other than YouTube for posting your video – please consider providing a “download link” and permission to repost your video on YouTube. While not required (and will NOT affect judging), this may give your video increased publicity when the playlist is published.
  7. **DEADLINE**
    • All video uploads AND the email submission must be completed by 11:59 p.m. ET on Thursday, Jan 18, 2024. Any entries after this deadline will not be judged. Winners will be announced Mid-February.
  8. Public Viewing - A playlist of all the videos will be published for public viewing when the winners are announced. Keep an eye on official FIRST channels as well as unofficial channels such as Chief Delphi for the announcement. 

If there are any questions, please feel free to contact us at


Please Note: If you are looking for Information for the Safety Animation Award, please visit the safety webpage for submission information. 



  • Behind the Scenes Game Animation - In this video, will take you behind the scenes and show how the FIRST Robotics Competition Game Animations are made, start to finish, in partnership with




By making a submission, the Submitter irrevocably grants to FIRST and FIRST's designees the right to use any or all of the submission in any and all media for the purpose of describing the submission, describing the Award, and/or otherwise promoting FIRST and FIRST's programs.