FRC Blog

May the Avatars be with you, too

Jan 10, 2020 Written by Danny Diaz, FIRST Robotics Competition Senior System Engineer.

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The symbol of the Rebel Alliance in Star Wars is known as the Rebel Alliance Starbird, and was adorned on helmets and uniforms of the rebels. The Rebel Alliance Starbird was chosen as the symbol of the Alliance by Princess Leia because her people needed, “a flag … a symbol of hope.” The Rebel Alliance Starbird is an interpretation of a very ancient symbol, the Phoenix, as it symbolized the main goal of the Alliance to restore the Republic. FIRST teams often use existing symbology to create new and innovative interpretations for logos and imagery to represent their teams.

 

For the 2020 FIRST Robotics Competition season, teams will once again be able to submit a Team Avatar to represent their team on the INFINITE RECHARGE Audience Displays and on their online frc-events.firstinspires.org team pages. In INFINITE RECHARGE, the Avatar will once again be displayed alongside other identifying information for a team to represent themselves in the Alliance – the Avatar is a third means of identifying the team alongside the team’s number and nickname. This Avatar can be a team logo, an image teams will use to express their team identity, or one of five authorized Star Wars avatar images that teams can select from within the Avatar Submission Portal. Below is what each of the five authorized Star Wars images looks like with their respective backgrounds.

2020 Avatar Choices FIRST Robotics Competition

 

IMPORTANT NOTE: Teams may upload your own team-created images, or select from one of the five authorized Star Wars images from the library within the Avatar Submission Portal. Teams are NOT allowed to use other Star Wars, Disney/LucasFilm, or any other intellectual property assets in their Team Avatars that they do not have a specific license or approval/permission to use. Uploaded images based on the authorized Star Wars images will not be approved.

 

The Team Avatar is completely optional. There is no element of INFINITE RECHARGE you won’t be able to play if you don’t create a Team Avatar. However, Avatars submitted and used during any previous season will not be migrated to this upcoming season; teams will need to resubmit or choose new Team Avatars for the 2020 FIRST Robotics Competition season. Team Avatars submitted and approved or selected from the library of authorized Star Wars Avatars will be used consistently throughout the event. Teams who do not create and submit a Team Avatar will be randomly assigned an Avatar from the authorized Star Wars Avatars each match.

 

Full 2020 Team Avatar specs are provided here, and for further inspiration here’s a great list of Avatars submitted last season provided by The Blue Alliance. It’s important to note that unlike your team’s nickname, teams will not be allowed unlimited changes to their Team Avatar. Each time a Team Avatar is submitted, it will be reviewed by a team member on the FIRST Robotics Competition staff – because of this, teams will only be allowed one (1) submission plus one (1) update. Design a Team Avatar that you will be proud of for the entire season!

 

The Team Avatar Submission Portal is also NOW OPEN! Through this submission system teams can submit new Team Avatars for consideration, choose one of the five authorized Star Wars Avatars, delete existing Team Avatars, or review the status of a pending Team Avatar. Remember, Team Avatars from previous seasons will NOT roll over to 2020, teams must submit an Avatar for use for 2020. Team Avatars will be accepted through March 31, 2020.

 

It's important to note that the Team Avatar submission system is unique to FIRST Robotics Competition, and as such it is not managed through the Team Dashboard. Because of this, for privacy reasons, the Team Avatar submission system does not have the capability of emailing teams to notify them of status changes to their Team Avatars. It is the responsibility of Team Avatar submitters to check back on the status of their Team Avatar in order to receive timely status updates – it may take up to five (5) days to review a Team Avatar, but typically this is done well within 24-48 hours.

 

To successfully submit a Team Avatar for consideration, teams must gather these three items:

  1. Team Number - Hopefully the team number is obvious. If not, ask your team.
  2. Team Avatar - This is the PNG image you will submit that will represent your team, according to the Team Avatar specifications. Please be sure to follow the Avatar Content Rules carefully! Or, alternatively, you can choose to select one of the five authorized Star Wars Avatars from our library of Avatars within the submission portal.
  3. Avatar Access Code - This is your team's Team Avatar access code that your Lead Coach/Mentors 1 or 2 can retrieve from the Team Registration System (similar to retrieving your team's Q&A Authorization Code). In the Team Dashboard, go to the `Team Options' section and click on `Payment & Product.' Then click on `Passwords/Voucher Codes' and you will find the 10 character code listed under FIRST/Avatar Key.

 

Once all three items have been collected, a team's official representative can go to the following address:

 

On that page, official team representatives must enter their Team Number and their Avatar Key Access Code, check the box to agree to the terms, and click the Continue button. The official team representative can then upload a Team Avatar for consideration or choose from one of the five authorized Star Wars Avatars from our library of Avatars, check the pending status of a submitted Team Avatar, or delete any existing Team Avatar.

 

Once a Team Avatar is accepted, the pending status will be updated within the Team Avatar submission system, and the Team Avatar will appear on the team's 2020 team page - for example, the 2020 team page for team 2486 is located here (note: there won’t be a Team Avatar showing until they submit one, nudge nudge):

https://frc-events.firstinspires.org/2020/team/2486

 

If a Team Avatar is rejected for any reason, the Team Avatar submission system will be updated and a message will indicate why the Team Avatar was rejected and what steps need to be taken to resolve the issues. Please remember, Team Avatars can be rejected for a number of reasons – if you need to contact FIRST to provide documentation or have issues with submitting your Team Avatar, please contact us at firstroboticscompetition@firstinspires.org and provide your team number and a brief description of the issue.

 

We can’t wait to see your Team Avatars! Have a GREAT season!

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Comments

hi! 40x40 pixels is really hard to draw on... and I was wondering why we were stuck in this size when the given official starwars ones don't look like they are ... if they trully are 40x40 pixels I'm sorry I was just really wondering

Depending on your zoom factor being used on your browser, the height of the sample images provided might or might not be 40 pixels - however, if you were to download the image and look at its properties, you'd see it was 40 pixels tall (there's a little buffer between each image, so the total width of the grouping is 600 pixels). Drawing on a 40x40 canvas is indeed difficult - I know that I don't have the artistry necessary to do it. However, back in POWER UP we released some tutorials made by some talented artists (Jasmine Florentine and Valerie Shum) in our Downloadable Content packs that might help you create your Avatars - here's a link to the Making8BitArt.zip file that contained the tutorials and sample files. Good luck!

Are we allowed to modify the authorized Star Wars images?   For example, could we put our team number in the empty space above the X-Wing or would that be considered modifying their IP and not allowed?   Thanks!

 

Thanks for the question! The last sentence in the paragraph under the images reads, “Uploaded images based on the authorized Star Wars images will not be approved.” I apologize if this was not clear in its intent - the authorized Star Wars images are intended to be used as-is with no customizations or modifications; they cannot be submitted in whole or in part via the team image upload mechanism, which is why we created the Selectable Avatar Library within the Submission Portal. Never fear - your team number will be INCREDIBLY close to your avatar on the Audience Display, no reasonably astute observer should question which Avatar is being used to represent your team!

My team made a logo where the animal on our original logo is wearing a helmet that looks like a Rebel Fighter helmet. Is this ok to submit?

Thanks for asking this question, similar instances have been cropping up in the Avatar Submission Portal and this gives me an opportunity to address them to a larger audience. In general, we will not approve any Avatars that contain copyrighted material. Some specific copyrighted material we've seen so far being submitted is "Baby Yoda", "BB-8", the "Rebel Alliance Starbird" image, the "Millennial Falcon", and various on other related franchise logos. I know we're all excited about the theme and sponsor of this year's game, but the massive team of lawyers required to review and help 4,000 teams come into compliance with copyright issues with custom Team Avatars would be too much. Therefore, we ask that all teams stick to the Team Avatar specifications laid out in the specification document and do not use any copyrighted images in your Team Avatar.

To answer your specific question, however, a giraffe wearing a Vietnam-era US APH-6B pilot helmet without the oxygen mask would be okay, so long as there are no copyrighted images on the helmet (no Rebel Alliance Starbirds or other Star Wars insignias).

Hi! I am the media for my team and I am curious if we submit an image where it isn't fully transparent, would it work? I am NOT asking if there can be a subject with no background (I've seen it before and it toggles between the two alliance colors), I mean 50% transparency on an image. I'm assuming the answer is no but there is no harm in making sure!

Hey Mason - as Frank said in the INFINITE RECHARGE kickoff video, "Now's not the time to be a Danny Downer!" Of course you can do variable transparency in your Team Avatar! One of my favorite examples is Team 4450's Avatar in the FIRST POWER UP season (and you can click on their Avatar on their Blue Alliance Page and see how it reacts to the different backgrounds). If you're using Photoshop, variable transparency is controlled via the "Opacity" control - there's a great tutorial on this here. If you're using other tools, a quick Google search should be able to find results using "semi transparent PNG background" terms along with your tool name.

I haven't seen anything about this but are you able to pull some clipart off the internet or use images that aren't copyrighted in order to make our avatar?

That's a great question, Zach. Copyright law is really tricky, and the general internet makes a complicated set of rules virtually impossible to navigate. Copyright recognizes and upholds a creator's exclusive right to produce, sell, publish, or perform an original creative work, unless a creator licenses usage of a creative work or formally signs away copyright. Copyright further states that copyright is automatically issued without formal registration with a copyright agency - so whether or not an image states it's copyrighted or not, it's copyrighted unless you have a specific letter or waiver from the author themselves. And that's where the general internet makes things complicated, with "free clipart" websites especially - anyone can upload clipart, whether they own the rights to it or not. And just because you got the clipart from one of these "free clipart" sites doesn't protect you from being in legal hot water for using an image that someone illegally uploaded to the site. Proving that an image is released to (CC0) Creative Commons or Public Domain can be difficult, but will be required if there are any questions from the Avatar reviewers - so either be prepared, or don't take the chance.

 

TLDR - The short answer is that it's probably not worth it. I personally would contact a team that already has a sweet avatar and ask them to help you out.

I know this is not regarding the avatars but are we allowed to name our robot after a Star Wars character? If I could know asap that would be awesome! Thanks a lot!

 

Hello Team 6193!

Teams may name their robots as they choose, as long as those names are in the spirit of FIRST.

Thanks!

Jamee Luce

Team Advocate, FIRST Robotics Competition

Awesome thanks for the reply!

 

 

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