Digital Animation Award sponsored by Aug. 12 2021| 0 KB

Content Type: FIRST Robotics Competition
Tags: Awards, Team

The FIRST Robotics Competition 2021 Digital Animation Award

Sponsored by: AutomationDirect

This award, sponsored by AutomationDirect, 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).


Automation Direct Logo


The 2021 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: Quarantine and/or Lockdown!

2021 will continue to present new challenges to FRC teams, but we have never let that stop us in the past!  So ... this year's theme “QUARANTINE and or LOCKDOWN” is your chance to share with everyone how you are dealing with it. You can interpret this theme however you wish. It could be about creative ways your team deals with Quarantine/Lockdown restrictions; An anecdote about something funny that happened to your team and how you dealt with it; A funny story about how robots deal with it; How your Team used or could use Robots to work around Quarantine/Lockdown, How you adjusted your outreach to work around Quarantines and or Lockdowns. It's completely up to you, But, we are hoping you to use this opportunity to help inspire other teams in these difficult times.

For this award, what you choose for a story is not nearly as important as the skill and expertise you use to tell the story. Animations that use the theme and provide a positive inspiring message will be prioritized over animations that don’t.

2021 Winner: Team 8592

Judges Comment: "Great lighting and rendering, really visually beautiful. Well done."


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


Theory Studios Logo

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 constructive critique along the way (These are team number order, not ranking order):

  • Team 0008: We like cats around here – good gag!
  • Team 1153: Cool characters!
  • Team 1317: Great character animation, pacing, and clear editing. Lighting and shading could use work.
  • Team 1405: Clever, unique play on the pandemic – loved the story!
  • Team 4804: Really impressive stop-motion animation. Great use of medium.
  • Team 5190: Beautiful assets, lighting, and shading.
  • Team 5436: Beautiful 2D animation – really needs sound to pull it together – and a little bit more clarity in the editing.
  • Team 5945: Loved the 2D hand drawn animation – real heart tugger.
  • Team 6004: We loved the adorable character design!
  • Team 7428: Adorable character – great lighting and shading. Composition and camera moves could use some work.
  • Team 8248: Funny and great character. Maybe a LITTLE bit too random.
  • Team 8592: Great lighting and rendering, really visually beautiful. Well done.



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.

  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. Animations must be submitted as QuickTime (*.mov) files. Animation must also meet the following requirements:
    1. Animations must use the MPEG-4 or H.264 codec.
    2. The animation must have a resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels (720p).
    3. The animation must be recorded at 30 frames per second.
    4. The submitted file must have a name in “Teamxxxx” format (e.g. “”).
  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.
    4. 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.
    5. Animation should be supportive of the FIRST Core Values.
  5. 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.
  6. Submit
    • Go here to submit your animation: Submit - up to 2 GB!
  7. **DEADLINE**
    • All submissions and uploads must be completed by 11:59 p.m. ET on Thursday, Feb 25, 2021. Any entries after this deadline will not be judged. Winners will be announced Mid-March.
  8. 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 the Safety Animation Award, please visit this page 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.