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A frame from The Force Unleashed; the winner of the first BiM Animation Challenge

The Bricks in Motion Animation Challenge is a series of animation contests held on Bricks in Motion, each based around a specific prompt. The goal is to encourage advancement in LEGO animation, and entries are judged only on quality of animation. Entries usually take the form of rough animation tests, though sometimes people submit short films as entries. The person who wins each challenge becomes the next host and picks the next theme and winner/s. Each challenge usually lasts a week or two. The challenge was hosted on the Bricks in Motion forums from 2009 to 2020, and was moved to the Bricks in Motion Discord chat at the beginning of 2021.

Mini-Contest (2006 - 2008)[]

A precursor to the Bricks in Motion Animation Challenge was a series of challenges referred to as Mini-Contests hosted on the Brickfilms.com forums, but not as official contests of the site. In August 2006, a thread was posted by "brick mania" asking "What will the next contest be?", and offering some theme suggestions. The user "NanoMan" replied "I think it would be a good idea to make a mini contest thread, the first person comes up with a tiny contest, for example "Best walk cycle, best fight, best backflip, etc.". Then he descides who wins; then the winner makes the next contest. And so on. Kind of like the "Name that Frame" topic."

This idea was positively received by Freddy "MB" Vinehill-Cliffe, and NanoMan encouraged him to start the thread. MB subsequently posted the Mini-Contest Thread, listing the rules and posting the first theme. The subsequent Mini-Contests were all hosted within this same thread. The last Mini-Contest theme was posted in March 2008, and shortly afterwards, the community members that were active on Brickfilms.com at the time began departing in favor of the site that would become Bricks in Motion, amid tensions with new owners of Brickfilms.com.

Details

  • Date: August 27 - September 3, 2006
  • Theme: Best 30 Second Fight Scene
  • Host: Freddy "MB" Vinehill-Cliffe
  • Maximum time limit: 0:30
  • Number of entries: 5
  • Date: September 3 - December 3, 2006
  • Theme: The Best Way to Narrowly Escape Death
  • Host: Zach Macias
  • Maximum time limit: 0:45
  • Number of entries: 2
  • Date: December 4, 2006 - January 14, 2007
  • Theme: The best way to hunt for a wild animal
  • Host: Jeremy Wisoff
  • Time limit: 0:15 - 1:00
  • Number of entries: 4
  • Date: January 15 - February 1, 2007
  • Theme: Chase, or a Fight, or both
  • Host: Judah Frank
  • Maximum time limit: 2:00
  • Number of entries: 6
  • Date: February 1 - April 22, 2007
  • Theme: The best way to show one of the following emotions:
    -Hate
    -Grief/mourning
    -Depression
  • Host: Daniel Holmes
  • Number of entries: 1
  • Date: April 22, 2007
  • Theme: Recreate a moment from one of your favourite Brickfilms
  • Host: Rich Petty
  • Number of entries: 0
  • Date: December 13 - December 22, 2007
  • Theme: Best Vehicular Crash
  • Host: Nathan Wells
  • Number of entries: 1
  1. Plane Crash X - Mitchell "Whittleberry" Connolly
  • Date: December 22, 2007 - January 17, 2008
  • Theme: Vertigo shot
  • Host: Mitchell "Whittleberry" Connolly
  • Number of entries: 3
  1. Untitled X - Felix C.
  2. Untitled - Zach Macias
  3. Untitled - Tyler "Relyt" Julka
  • Date: January 29 - February 29, 2008
  • Theme: The Thriller Contest
  • Host: Garry Moore
  • Number of entries: 1
  1. Facial Animation Test X - Jordan Harris
  • Date: March 1, 2008
  • Theme: Plot twist
  • Host: Jeremy Wisoff
  • Minimum time limit: 0:20
  • Number of entries: 0

Bricks in Motion forums era (2009 - 2020)[]

In November 2009, Jordan "Fancy Pants" Johnson posted "The Animation Challenge" thread on the Bricks in Motion forums. He introduced the challenge by writing:[1][2]

"The purpose of this thread is to identify particular movements, characters, and situations that are difficult to animate and then figuring out new ways to overcome those challenges.

How does it work?

Once a theme has been chosen, the community has a set amount of time to make an entry (usually a week). Once the deadline has passed, the member who chose the theme will judge the entries and decide which of the entries matched up to the challenge the best. The winner will then choose the new theme, and the cycle continues."
- Jordan Johnson; November 7, 2009

The Animation Challenge became a popular fixture on Bricks in Motion for the next few years, with this thread receiving over 10,000 posts. The early years saw a trend of people occasionally making polished films of a couple of minutes in length as entries, rather than just making animation tests (most notably Johnson's own The Force Unleashed, as well as Ham On Set by Spencer Katz and Sharks and Clowns by Harrison Allen). The Animation Challenge sometimes generated LEGO animation considered among the most technically accomplished of the early 2010s, such as The Force Unleashed by Jordan Johnson, Animation Challenge: Climbing - TwickABrick's Entry by Garry Moore, and Comprende, Compadre? by Jay Silver.

By 2015, participation had become diminished compared to what it once was, and it wasn't uncommon for challenges to be won by default by a sole entrant. Nathan Wells, who was involved as BiM site staff primarily as a contest host at this point, attempted to revitalize the challenge by posting a new thread for it, thinking that the previous 500+ page thread had become too large and unwieldy, and didn't give off the impression of being "current".[3] This new thread made it to over 1,500 posts, but participation fluctuated over the years, and dwindled off to very little by the time this thread was closed in January 2021, upon the Animation Challenge being moved to Discord and becoming revitalized.

Themes and winners:

Bricks in Motion Discord era (2021 - Present)[]

The Bricks in Motion Discord chat had been opened in 2017 as a replacement for the BiM IRC chat, but over the years, it had become clear that the Discord was also replacing the forums as the main hub of community activity. In January 2021, BiM administrator Chris Wynn rebooted the Animation Challenge on the Discord instead of the forums, and added a new Discord channel specifically for the challenge. This served to greatly revitalize interest and participation in the challenge.[4] Detailed records of the information for 2021 and 2022 have been compiled by Bert Loos. "SPECIAL CHALLENGE" indicates that the winning animations were added as Stickers in the Bricks in Motion Discord server.

Themes and winners:

References[]

Official Bricks in Motion competitions (2008 - Present)
Technical Excellence Competition · Space, Time, and Reality · Avant-Garde · Septemberfest 2010 · Tales of Yore · Kitchen Sink · Bricks in Motion Celebration · Darkness and Light · Septemberfest: The Citizen of the Year LIVES · Sight & Sound · Spirit of Adventure · Movie Magic · Past and Future · Fright and Fear · Septemberfest 2020 · MANiFEST · MANiiFEST · The Genre Games · Musical World

Twenty-four Hour Animation Contest · Brickfilm Rapidly All Week Long · BiM Awards · Animation Challenge · EASTER

See also: Official Brickfilms.com competitions (2001 - 2008) · AniExer-size · Contrast
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