I love it when you guys thank me for running these competitions. Sometimes it can be a pain, like when its time to setup the voting, but mostly it's pretty easy. However, some of you know that I have an ulterior motive for doing these competitions. So, I'm going to tell you the story of how these competitions got started, and at the end there will be a personal message from me to you.
Every now and then someone on the forums would make a remark referencing how great it would be if we had competitions, but they never came. I have often had the same thought. When I was merely a member of the community and an artist, albeit not very good at the time, I was always scanning the gallery and forums for new luxrender artwork, new pretty pictures. Even the user suppport and materials help forums yielded the occasional nugget of awesome. As time went on I ended up becoming one of the devs by improving and maintaining the blender 2.49 exporter. I have even thrown in the occasional nibblet in to the core. Still no competitions. I was always saying to myself, "Damn, I wish there were more lux awesomeness to look at." The more I thought about it, the more I saw it through a developers eyes, and that thought expanded to include driving development of LuxRender, showcasing new features, and finally the ultimate reason...to showcase the abilities of LuxRender itself. One day I saw Abel on IRC and asked how hard it would be to add a competition section to the forums. Abel responded with something to the effect of, "Are you volunteering to administer them?" So I said...Sure! We started with a post in the WIP forum, and when it was clear that there actually was interest we had the Competitions area created, as well as the Competition gallery area. After posting the second competition on blendernation, things started to pick up and we even got a bunch of new users to the community. At least, I think thats why they came over? From that posting, BlenderRenders.com offered up our first real prize for winning. Many thanks to Aaron from BlenderRenders.com for getting that ball rolling.
So you see, I am doing this for the good of the LuxRender project, but I also want to look at all the awesome renders you guys make. Every time I post these competitions I wonder if you guys are tired of doing them, are they too close together, should i wait longer so you have time to work on your other projects, will i get more participants if i do that... Sorry, I'm rambling. The Poetry in Motion competition yielded some great images, unfortunately this was the first of my own competitions that I missed out on. But, with a new baby, I just didnt have time to work on my own 2 possible entries that I started. The turnout was lower than I expected, but it was a difficult requirement, and even still you guys exceeded my expectations. Already the new Materials competition is looking to be awesome.
Every time I post a new competition you guys exceed my expectations. I want to personally thank you all for participating. I may be coordinating them, but without your submissions there wouldn't be any competitions. Thank you all, so very much for making these competitions a success.