Judges - Rookie Awards

Judges - Rookie Awards

Everything you need to know as a contest judge for our premiere event for 2024. Learn how to judge, important dates, social media items you can share and more.

Quick Links

  1. Key Dates
  2. Categories
  3. Account Setup
  4. Judge Types
  5. How to Review Entries
  6. Tips and Advice
  7. Communication - Discord Server
  8. Obligations - Social Media
  9. Obligations - Lead Judges
  10. Obligations - Finalist Judges
  11. FAQs

Contest Site

Rookie Awards is hosted at: https://www.therookies.co/

The contest is called Rookie Awards.
The contest is not called The Rookies or The Rookies Awards.

The correct terminology is "I'm a judge for Rookie Awards 2024!"

When sharing content online, please make sure to use the right terminology. There is often confusion based on our legacy which we would like to prevent.

The Rookies: This is the company name. It is also the name of our website.
Rookie Awards: This is the contest that you are a judge for.

Social Media & Hashtags

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

This is the official hashtag for the Rookie Awards 2024. To help us track engagement, please remember to include this in any posts or announcements.

Contest Overview

The Rookie Awards is the world's most distinguished competition for aspiring design and media entertainment artists. In 2023, the competition broke records with an astounding 5,517 entries from 106 countries, marking an impressive 25% increase in participation. The submissions showcased unparalleled talent across diverse creative industries, setting new standards for creativity and innovation.

The Rookie Awards features a diverse range of categories that celebrate the best in each major creative industry. The coveted "Rookie of the Year" recognises exceptional individual artists in ten creative fields, including 2D Animation, 3D Animation, Visual Effects, Concept Art, Game Development, Immersive Media, 3D Motion Graphics, Product Design, Architectural Visualization, and Virtual Fashion.

In addition to individual accolades, the "Film of the Year" category acknowledges the finest films crafted by both individuals and teams. This highly anticipated section includes outstanding works in Visual Effects, 2D Animation, and 3D Animation, showcasing exceptional storytelling and cinematic achievements.

The "Game of the Year" category celebrates the best games crafted by individuals and teams across multiple platforms, including PC and console, Mobile, and Immersive Media. These captivating gaming experiences captivated audiences worldwide with their innovation and technical prowess.

At the heart of the Rookie Awards' success lies the esteemed panel of 150+ judges - industry professionals who passionately contributed over 40,000 reviews.

As a judge, your invaluable critiques provide aspiring artists with insightful feedback, serving as a guiding light in their artistic journeys and encouraging their pursuit of excellence.

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.

Here is a link to the Judge's Webinar session. We will update this area with the session from 2024. Please view the session when you can, as it is a great opportunity to refresh yourself (if you are a returning judge) on the process, criteria, key dates, etc., and meet fellow judges!

March 7 - June 1

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 for each category.

June 30

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

July 9 - 15

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.

July 16

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.

Lead Judges: During March we see a small initial spike of entries being submitted, so it’s great to have everyone on the site getting comfortable with the process.

Lead Judges: We get the majority of our entries during the last two weeks leading up to the closing date. On the last two days before entries close we get a huge spike so it’s great to have hands on deck then.


Rookie of the Year

Categories are open to individual artists to showcase their skills.
2D Animation, 3D Animation, Visual Effects, Concept Art, Game Development, Immersive Media, Motion Graphics, Product Design, Graphic Design, Web & App Design, Architectural Visualisation, and Virtual Fashion.

Film of the Year

Team-based and speciality categories for extra opportunities.
2D Animation, 3D Animation, Visual Effects.

Game of the Year

Team-based and speciality categories for extra opportunities.
Immersive Media, Mobile, PC & Console.


Additional categories are open to younger audiences and schools.
School of the Year.

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 already provided us with your details to create a new account please add them to this form.

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

  1. Category Judge (Moderate Involvement): Category Judges play a pivotal role in evaluating entries within their specific contest category. They ensure adherence to contest criteria, facilitate discussions on category-specific entries during weekly check-ins, and provide valuable insights to help select finalists.
  2. Lead Judge (High Involvement): Lead Judges take on a substantial role by reviewing all entrants across all contest categories. They assist us in shortlisting and selecting finalists for each category. Please note that as a Lead Judge, your primary task is to filter the entries into categories like "good," "maybe," or "no," rather than conducting in-depth reviews. We will schedule a meeting to provide guidance on what we're looking for and how to score appropriately.
  3. Finalist Judge (Minimal Involvement): Finalist Judges are invited to participate for a shorter duration, specifically after the Finalists have been selected. Their role is to choose their Top 5 finalists from the already shortlisted entries.

We greatly appreciate any level of involvement from our judges, and even if your schedule changes and you can't fulfil your judging commitment, your support through social media and being a Rookies Ambassador is equally valued and appreciated.

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 which you have included a note. 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 and 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 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 are definitely on the right track, but very early in their training.

Still not sure, schedule a call that suits you, via this Calendly link.

Communication - Discord Server

Our primary source of communication and discussion is via Discord. There is no need to download anything to chat and get notifications, but it is advised to download the appropriate app for your computer for a better experience.

Server Invitation

Please use the following link to sign up to our server.

Join the The Rookies Discord Server!
Welcome to The Rookies, a community for aspiring artists who want to succeed in film, games, animation and more. | 11208 members

Contact Admins

Once registered to the server, please make sure to direct message one of our admin team. They will then be able to give you access to our private Judges channel.

You will find Admins listed top-right of the server by showing the list of members.

Joining Discord is one of the most important steps you can take, and it's a great way to meet other judges from around the world.

Inside the Server

As mentioned, everything happens here from live chat, tech support and a little bit of banter. We also share lots of updates with advice for Voting with clear examples of reasoning and recommended scores to help you fine-tune your judgements.

Obligations - Social Media

Please check back soon as new Social Media images will be updated with 2024 versions.

As a judge, we would love it if you'd help share announcements during the course of the contests. We can create your own individual judge's card if you're keen to share. We will be sending them to you via email a few weeks before the doors open.

To help make it easy for you, here is a schedule that lists 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 #rookieawards2024 with all social media posts. It helps us reply to comments and build engagement for everyone involved.

We also have a private channel set up on our Discord server for you to talk with other judges, discuss entries and ask questions. Once you have joined our server, please message Alwyn or Andrew to let them know who you are being the username and they will add you to the #judges channel - https://discord.gg/pMyCqCUUTd

Judge's Announcement

I'm a judge for this year's Rookie Awards and can't wait to see all the amazing entries. Lots of incredible opportunities & prizes. Open for entries on March 7th.
#rookieawards2024 #officialjudge

10th January - General Announcement

The Rookie Awards kick off in March and I'm super excited to be a judge for 2024. The contest is open to young creatives in visual effects, animation, games, virtual reality, motion graphics and 3d visualisation. There really is no better way to launch your career and start sharing your amazing work online.  #rookieawards2024

7th February - Important Dates

Before you do anything else, quickly open up your calendar and drop these dates in for the 10th Annual Rookie Awards. Proud to be supporting this amazing initiative designed to help encourage aspiring artists to share their creative media skills with the world. #rookieawards2024

February 21st - Official Categories

The official categories have been announced for the Rookie Awards. The contest is open to young creatives in visual effects, animation, games, virtual reality, motion graphics and 3d visualisation. There really is no better way to launch your career and start sharing your amazing work online. #rookieawards2024

March 7th - Open for Submissions

The 12th Annual Rookie Awards are open for submissions! The contest is open to young creatives in visual effects, animation, games, virtual reality, motion graphics and 3d visualisation. Proud to be a judge for this contest and can't wait to see the amazing work you have been creating. Entries close June 1st, but don't leave it until the last minute to enter otherwise you might miss out on this incredible opportunity. #rookieawards2024

June 30 - Finalists Announced

The finalists for the Rookie Awards 2024 have been announced! The suspense has been killing us and we can't believe how incredible the entries are across all categories. To find out if you are a Finalist, head directly to the contest main page right now - TBA #rookieawards2024

July 16 - Winners Announced

The official judging panel for the Annual Rookie Awards have been deliberating intensely behind closed doors for the last month now.  We are overwhelmed by the quality and diversity of entries this year. Congratulations to everyone who took a chance to share their work and got involved with the community. #rookieawards2024

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:

  • Rookie of the Year - Visual Effects
  • Film of the Year - Visual Effects
1) Review entrants

The goal of the lead judge team is to help review all entrants who 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 your Top 5

Once finalists have been announced (June 30th), 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.

Still not sure about the judging process, schedule a call to chat with us via this calendar link.

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 to help you create a preliminary sorting order.

2) Nominate your Top 5

Once you provide 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.


I can't login. I have an incorrect password or username.

The first thing to check here is that you are logging in from the correct page. Please use the following link and try again: https://www.therookies.co/judge

If that failed, please use the Forgot? link located next to the password input field.

How do I find the categories I am judging?

The quickest way to find your category in the Rookies Awards 2024 is to visit your dashboard: https://www.therookies.co/judge

How do I update my profile picture and bio?
You can update your profile picture and bio from your 'Profile Settings' - https://www.therookies.co/judge/settings

Please keep the image small and in black-and-white format.