Winter Stories - (Judges)

What are you imagining, when you think of Winter? We want to see your interpretation of Winter - A mood, a feeling, a vibe, or maybe a setting?

Winter Stories - (Judges)

Winter Stories  - A Lighting Rendering Challenge

Design Brief

What are you imagining, when you think of Winter? We want to see your interpretation of Winter - A mood, a feeling, a vibe, or maybe a setting?

Social Media & Hashtags

Facebook: therookiesco
Twitter: therookiesco
Instagram: therookiesco
YouTube: therookiesco
LinkedIn: therookiesco

Official contest hashtag: #winterstories

#chaos #wacom #houdini #creativelighting #designconnected #surfaceimperfections #adobe #therookiesco #axyz #sinisoftware #anima

Key Dates

As a judge, we will need your help to select the finalists for each category. These are the dates that you should put in your calendar.

December 27 - February 26

Lead Judging (Submissions Open): Eligible entrants are asked to create an entry page and upload their best work for the judges to review. During this time Lead Judges help select finalists.

March 5

Finalists Announced: Finalists are the top entries in the category as selected by the judging panel. A Category can have anywhere between 10-40 finalists depending on their size and complexity.

March 4 - 9

Finalist Judging: At this point, our judging panel is asked to review all the finalists for each category. Once reviewed, the judges nominate their Top 5 entrants. This data is used to help us determine the overall winners.

March 17, 2021

Winners Announced: Category winners are announced and publicly shared. At this point, sponsors are required to help send out prizes and arrange Internship details. Our team will be on hand to make sure you are fully aware of the next steps and what is needed.


Lighting & Rendering

This category is open to individual artists to showcase their skills.

Judges Account Setup

All judges are invite-only industry experts. We will send you your login details from there you can then generate a new password. If you haven't yet received it please check your spam folder for [email protected] and if you're still unable to login please contact us.

Once you've logged in there will be a dropdown menu under your avatar (top right) with a link to your judge's dashboard. Click on 'Judge' to access your dashboard.

The contest won't show up until they are in the different states of judging, so don't be alarmed if you don't see anything, to begin with.

If you would like to update your profile picture or personal bio then go into 'Profile Settings'.

Judge Types

We have 2 different types of judges for all contests at The Rookies. It's completely up to you about how involved you are.

Don't worry if your schedule changes and you can't honour your judging commitment. Any support you can offer via social media and being a Rookies Ambassador is equally appreciated.

Lead Judge (High involvement)

These judges are responsible for reviewing all entrants across all contest categories. These judges help us shortlist and select all finalists for each category.

Finalist Judge (Minimal involvement)

These judges are invited for a shorter period of time once Finalists have been selected. These judges are asked to select their Top 5 finalists only.

How to Review Entries

To start judging, please follow these steps to visit your dashboard and select a contest to start reviewing and scoring entries.

Open your Judge Dashboard. On this page, you will see a list of all the Contests that you have been associated with.

The table will include relevant information about the contest and let you know what the status is. There is also a column that has some emojis. These indicate how you are going compared to other judges. Select a contest name and get going!

How to add a Score

This video will run you through the process of reviewing and scoring entries as a Lead Judge.

Pending Reviews

This tab is where all the judging takes place. On the left column, you will see a single contest entry. On the right column, you will see the judging panel which includes the following fields:

  • Score - Provide a score from 0.5 - 10.
  • Badge - If you come across an amazing entry, please feel empowered to award a badge eg: Excellence Award.
  • Internal note - Notes are an optional field. So only use this if they will help your process.
  • Submit - Commit your review to the system.
  • Skip - Move to the next entry and drop the current one to the bottom of the list.
  • Report an Entry - Notify admin about an entry

Make sure to report any entries that include professional work, have inappropriate content or are clearly not meant to be in the category you are reviewing.

Previously Reviewed

This tab will show a list of all entries that you have judged. Every time you add a score to an entry it will move here. This tab will show you all your scores and also allow you to edit an existing score.

Notes Added

This tab shows entries that you have included a note with. These notes are internal notes for your viewing only. Use notes for entries that you'd like to come back to, or include comments to back up your initial thought. Notes are not a required field. So only use this if they will help your process.

Tips & Advice

Industry Readiness
When judging for big contests like the Rookie Awards, keep in mind that we are trying to find the artist who is the most employable based on creative skills, technical skills and presentation. The question you should be asking yourself is "Would I hire this person?".

Use the full range of the star system.
Our voting algorithm is smart enough to handle dealing with heavy voters and light voters, but it's helpful for you to use the full range. So please make sure to score entries from 0.5 all the way to 10.

General mindset for scores
Everyone will have a slightly different way to review entrants, but as I guide I try to group entrants into 3 buckets to get started.

8 - 10: Impressive demonstration of 3 or more skills. Great creative and technical knowledge. Solid presentation. I would consider interviewing for an entry-level role.
4 - 7: Starting to demonstrate some good skills. Shows potential and a good range of core capabilities but not enough examples of high-quality work to consider hiring just yet.
< 4: Skills not developed. Some good knowledge and definitely on the right track, but very early in their training.

Obligations - Social Media

As a judge, we would love it if you'd help share announcements during the course of the contests. To help make it easy for you, here is a schedule that lists out some of the key milestones. Each announcement below links to an official image you can use as part of your posts. You can also download them all directly from here.

Tip: Please make sure to use the official hashtag #winterchallenge with all social media posts. It really helps us reply to comments and build engagement for everyone involved.

December 22nd- General Announcement
The Winter Stories Challenge is open to young creatives in visual effects, animation, games, virtual reality, motion graphics and 3d visualisation -

#winterstories #chaos #wacom #houdini #creativelighting #designconnected #surfaceimperfections #adobe #therookiesco #axyz #sinisoftware #anima

December 27th - Open for Submissions
The contest is now open for submissions.  Entries close February 24th, but don't leave it until the last minute to enter otherwise you might miss out on this incredible opportunity -

#winterstories #chaos #wacom #houdini #creativelighting #designconnected #surfaceimperfections #adobe #therookiesco #axyz #sinisoftware #anima

February 101th - 5 Days to Enter
Time flies when you are trying to create an entry for the #winterstories challenge. With only 5 days remaining to get your entry submitted to the judging panel, it's time to take things to the next level. We have been amazed at the quality of submissions so far and know there is plenty of amazing work left to come -

#winterstories #chaos #wacom #houdini #creativelighting #designconnected #surfaceimperfections #adobe #therookiesco #axyz #sinisoftware #anima

February 15rd - 10 Days to Enter
We hope you don't have too much left to render and that you've allowed enough time to focus on the presentation. With only ten days to go, we really are down to the wire now. For those of you who are intimidated by all the other amazing entries, don't give up. There are countless success stories from people just like you who previously entered and triggered a career-changing chain of reactions -

#winterstories #chaos #wacom #houdini #creativelighting #designconnected #surfaceimperfections #adobe #therookiesco #axyz #sinisoftware #anima

February 26th - Submissions Close
The is officially closed and lead judges have been notified to start the final judging

#winterstories #chaos #wacom #houdini #creativelighting #designconnected #surfaceimperfections #adobe #therookiesco #axyz #sinisoftware #anima

March 5th - Finalists Announced
The finalists for the #winterstories challenge have been announced! The suspense has been killing us and we can't believe how incredible the entries are. To find out if you are a Finalist, head directly to the contest main page right now.

#winterstories #chaos #wacom #houdini #creativelighting #designconnected #surfaceimperfections #adobe #therookiesco #axyz #sinisoftware #anima

March 17th - Winners Announced
The official judging panel for the #winterstories Challenge have been deliberating intensely behind closed doors. As a sponsor of the awards, we are overwhelmed by the quality and diversity of entries. Congratulations to everyone who took a chance to share their work and get involved with the community.

#winterstories #chaos #wacom #houdini #creativelighting #designconnected #surfaceimperfections #adobe #therookiesco #axyz #sinisoftware #anima

Obligations - Lead Judges

As a Lead Judge, we need your help to review entrants based on your area of expertise. For example, if you are a Visual Effects artist, we will assign you to:

1) Review entrants

The goal of the lead judge team is to help review all entrants that enter the contest. We don't require detailed feedback or anything complicated. What we are trying to do is help sort entrants into a rough order of talent.

2) Nominate Top 5

Once finalists have been announced, you will be asked to nominate your Top 5 entries in order of preference. At this point, you are also able to add some feedback and general comments to share if time permits.

Obligations - Finalist Judges

As a Finals Judge, we need your help to review finalists based on the categories you have nominated.

1) Review Finalists

All the heavy lifting has been done by the Lead Judges in terms of selecting finalists for each category. For each category that you are assigned, you will see a list of finalists. The first step of judging is to add a score for each entrant in order to help you create a preliminary sorting order.

2) Nominate Top 5

Once you provided each entrant with a score, you will then be asked to select your Top 5 entries. Based on your previous scores, you will be presented with a page listing all entries from highest to lowest score. This will help you review and lock in your final selection. At this point, you can also add some public comments to share with entrants.

Press Kit


Social Media Posts


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How do I find the categories I am judging?

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