Digital Animation Award sponsored by Feb. 6 2023| 0 KB

Content Type: FIRST Robotics Competition
Tags: Awards, Team

The FIRST Robotics Competition 2023 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 2022 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.

This Year's Theme: Charged Up!!

Everybody "Charges Up" their devices: phones, computers, & cars. People get "Charged Up" about topics they care about: politics, sports, robotics, etc. 

2023 challenge: Create a "Charged Up" solution to solve an everyday problem.

That can be anything you want:

  • Charge Up your cell phone in a few seconds...
  • Charge Up an electric car in two minutes... 
  • Charge Up your community to recycle...
  • 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

2023 Winner, Team 836: The RoboBees

Judge Comments: Really great work telling a story through a cohesive visual style with fun characters, colors, and textures. The whole project felt very polished, and we were especially impressed by the shot compositions and camera movements. We'd recommend learning how to bake lighting and shadows in environments as occasionally we'd see the real time AO/lighting fade on edges in the fast camera moves. Overall fantastic work!

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 3341, Option 16
    • Absolutely stunning visual style! We were impressed with the expressive line work, figure drawing, and beautiful color palette. We'd recommend working towards smoothing out and making the character motions more natural.
  • 3rd: Team 1197, TorBots
    • We loved the expressive robot character, the cohesive story, and the beautiful transitions between shots all set to custom music. Really well done on this one! We'd recommend adding more visual contrast in some scenes for visual interest - especially in the middle where it feels mostly gray.

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 along the wat (these are team number order, not ranking order:

  • Team 867: We loved the really cool concept with the phone characters - and the attention to detail making the teacher an old Nokia was hilarious. We were also a big fan of the mixed media style. We'd recommend working towards smoothing out some of the more stiff character movements and working on making some of the shot transitions feel a bit less abrupt.
  • Team 2583: Great work on the shot composition and alyout! Also great attention to detail - we loved how the color temperature appropriately changed throughout the different times of day. Also, great work with the lively squash and stretch on the robot. We would've loved to see a voice recording as opposed to the text line, and we'd recommend working towards smoothing out some of the character movements!
  • Team 6004: We loved the funny infomercial style for this one - great writing! We were also impressed with the movement of the fox character - the follow-through wiggle you gave the robot really gave it some charm. We'd recommend working towards making some of the intro text more read-able and cutting down on the amount of the animation occupied by just text.
  • Team 6647: Fantastic work with the stunning visuals! We're huge fans of the expressive painterly style and attention to detail, and the character designs were great! We'd recommend working towards making some of the movements less stiff and adding some secondary motion to make the characters feel more alive.
  • Team 8005: Really great cohesive visual style with cute characters and solid compositions! We'd suggest playing around with the visual contrast to make the subjects stand out more and working towards smoothing out some of the character motions.
  • Team 8248: Fantastic job with the camera work, compositions, lighting, and funny story! (We loved the "NOT AGAIN" line at the end). We were also impressed by the effects (like the smoke at 0:17) We'd recommend working on making the visual style more cohesive between all of the elements and working towards making the character's movement more natural.
  • Team 8717: This one was hilarious! The compositions were easily read, and the comedic timing was spot on. Well done! Even though it's part of the humor, we'd recommend working towards a more cohesive style for all of the characters.


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 LAST 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 including credits (does not include title screen). 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
    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.
  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. Credits
    1. Credits should follow a one-second black slate at the end of the animation.
    2. Make sure to include team members, mentors, software used, list of public domain sources, and licensed sources in credits.
  7. Submit
    • Upload the animation to YouTube (or a similar public online repository) by 11:59 p.m. ET on Thursday, Jan 19, 2023THEN 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.
    • 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 public video 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.
  8. **DEADLINE**
    • All video uploads AND the email submission must be completed by 11:59 p.m. ET on Thursday, Jan 19, 2023. Any entries after this deadline will not be judged. Winners will be announced Mid-February.
  9. Public Viewing - Videos will be published for public viewing approximately one to two weeks after the submission deadline. 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.