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Vaitalla

Painting Competition Comments and Discussion

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Valloa, if it was Saturday then, the judges didn't _know_ they were judging till _after_ all the entries were in. They were a last-minute choice. So, at the time you heard two people talking about the judging for Sophies, they weren't judges. I'd feel really weird if nobody is allowed to comment about the models at all until after the contest, but that would be the only way to ensure misunderstandings like you heard didn't happen.

 

No, I heard what I heard when I heard it and they were two judges.

 

Saturday morning at 11am both my father and I were in the same room as the Chicago painters and one of the female judges asked Derek how late he was up Friday night judging and Derek answered that he was up until 11pm. Obviously this is before entries closed at 12. So obviously, judging was done before all the entries were in since the deadline was 12. Now, even if they judged in different batches, the Sophies were STILL decided before 12 noon. Damage control at my expense is a bit late at this point. There was no misunderstandings and YES what I heard did happen both times. I could have asked about this in a crowded room (which was everywhere saturday). That would surely have made a public relations nightmare for Reaper. Personally, I think most of the staff at Reaper are stellar people and it is my favorite miniature company, but there are aspects of ReaperCon that were just plain wrong.

 

Don't you dare try to "explain" away something that actually happened when you were not there at the expense of my reputation. I would not have brought this up here, except Anne said in her first post to discuss anything here, she shouldn't have asked if all she wanted was fuzzy cuddly comments and should not have opened the door to suggesting by complainers should have accepted everything that happened. After her post, there was no reason to have things like this in private PMs because guess what... The same things will keep happening that way.

 

Sometimes those in charge see only see what they want to see and are blind to other things, especially when those things come at them in the form of complaints. They actually are baffled as to why people don't see events like they do. That is the time when they have to stand back and say, "If this many people are saying the same thing, the I am not looking at this correctly because something must be wrong and I'm not seeing it." That is the time that they need to listen closely to the people who spend money at events like ReaperCon because they can go somewhere else. If they can't be objective, then they need to step aside and have someone else look at it. Just because they think a concept, rule or contest structure is good, doesn't mean the majority will if there are problems. They need not take it personally and fix the problem. If its the format, fix it. If its the judges, fix it. If it is the prize structure, fix it. If its the person in charge, fix it.

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Or even people who don't paint. You don't have to paint to appreciate good paint jobs.

 

I will agree that you don't need to be able to win the very top painting competitions to be able to judge painting competitions. That said, if you aren't a pretty good painter (or a very experienced judge) you will not be able to see what the painter did that's good and what the painter did that's not good. That's true regardless of style. I know that I'm a much better judge now than I was five years ago, and it's as a result both of experience judging and skill at painting.

 

Further, if you don't want the same style to always win, the last thing you want is naive judges. There are a very limited number of styles that will attract the attention of the neophyte (I listen to comments by passersby quite a bit when I'm in the room with competition figures) and if you don't paint in one of those styles, you'll lose.

 

As to whether particular styles always win with experienced judges? I've voted in trophy competitions (FWIW, I've never been to ReaperCon) for pieces whose themes I dislike, whose painting styles I dislike, whose colors I dislike, whose sculpting I despise, and pieces that have all of the above. There are people who frequent this board regularly who have heard me say during judging, "I really kind of hate that piece, but it's the best in the category", and then vote for it to win. I've voted to give some of those pieces golds in open competitions, too.

 

All that said, I've seen pieces downgraded in competition when some judges thought that it was a good piece, but "s/he could have done better." FWIW, I think that's a real problem.

 

We try not to begin by looking for flaws in the Open System judging. Shep Paine (who created the system, of course) and Doug Cohen were very explicit in explaining to myself and others about the change of mindset in the judging. You place the models on a shelf in your mind: gold level, silver, bronze, certificate, by looking at what is well-done with the model. For myself, flaws come into play when dealing with a model on the verge of one rating or another, though the rule is to always give the painter the benefit of the doubt where possible. The point behind the Open System is to reward, not to censor. We do look at both well-done sections and flaws when an entry might do better in another category, in order to decide whether to re-place it. That said, yes, I agree that in our end of the mini-painting competition world, it is hard to get out of the "look for flaws" mindset because we've been judging in that manner for so long. ::):

 

FWIW, I not only agree with you, I think I had your current side of that argument with you when you were up in Denver a few years ago for GenghisCon. :poke: I have long felt (and have argued at tedious length) that miniatures painting should be judged as art, not just as craft. I also firmly believe that artistic vision is both more important and harder to acquire than near-flawless technique, and I've voted that way in both sorts of competition as a judge.

 

In one case, we had a diorama in which the figures were black-primed and partially dry-brushed, but the diorama told several related stories very well and the ground work was excellent. I gave it a Silver+ on my judging form, because I thought that what was done well was done so well as to outweigh what was not.

 

So I guess the best way to look at Open System would be, "What has this painter executed best? How does their best measure up to the standards set by gold, silver, bronze, certificate--is their best solid, but could they have done better? Or can we not imagine a better example of their work than this?"

 

As I noted above, I have a real problem with this statement. Had you said, "... can we not imagine a better rendition of this piece of art?", I would agree with the sentiment (though that is, I think, too harsh a standard -- and at the most recent GenghisCon I was one of the harsher graders in the Open comp). But when you are judging against a standard, that standard should never vary based on who is being measured.

 

Often when I try to explain how we score I give a scale like I did in another thread: Gold is a fantastic model with no flaws or small flaws, for example. I explain it that way because it's easier to describe, but it's not really the way Shep describes how you really want to judge with the Open System.

 

There will always be an element of that, though, and I think there should be. I might put my own position as, "A Gold is a fantastic model with no flaws that materially detract from the piece and that has elements that just blow me away." If it's only one or the other, I'll rate it as a Silver or a Bronze, depending on what the details of the piece are.

 

Finally, while I'll give a bit of extra credit for something that I know is hard to execute that is done well, I'll give as much credit for something that might be easy to execute (my best guess) that I've never seen before. Replace the cast-plastic pieces of a model with milled carbon fiber (as one modeler has done at the last couple of Denver shows) in a way that just blows my mind and I'll vote Gold even though it requires no painting skill at all. Use fairly simple techniques with an airbrush to dramatically enhance the overall appearance of a model? Same thing. (Assuming in both cases that the rest of the presentation works as well, of course.) But do a pretty good job with OSL, NMM, and freehand all on the same piece? Silver or Bronze, because it's the overall presentation that matters to me, not how hard it was to get there.

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Let me take a moderator moment and remind the participants of this discussion of two things:

 

1. Discussion of the issues at hand is good and encouraged.

2. Personal attacks are NOT, regardless of how they are couched.

 

Thank you.

</Moderator>

 

nazi

:blues:

Also, invoking Godwin's Law to end a conversation automatically disqualifies the attempt.

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Saturday morning at 11am both my father and I were in the same room as the Chicago painters and one of the female judges asked Derek how late he was up Friday night judging and Derek answered that he was up until 11pm. Obviously this is before entries closed at 12. So obviously, judging was done before all the entries were in since the deadline was 12. Now, even if they judged in different batches, the Sophies were STILL decided before 12 noon.

 

I'm certainly not going to say that you didn't hear what you heard, but I think this has to be some sort of misunderstanding.

 

The official rules state:

 

Initial deadline for entries will be Friday evening at 6 p.m. For any convention attendees who cannot attend until Saturday, some entries may continue to be accepted Saturday morning, but only as space permits. This is to ensure that most of the judging can be done Friday night, leaving plenty of time on Saturday for everyone to view the models and for any additional Saturday entries to be quickly judged, scores totaled, and special award winners chosen.

 

So, it's no big surprise that most of the judging was done Friday night, and All Terrain Monkey has stated that the trophy judges weren't even selected until after all of the entries were received on Saturday. I don't doubt that you heard what you claim to have heard, but it's very possible that whoever (whomever?) it was that you heard was simply spouting off.

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Also, invoking Godwin's Law to end a conversation automatically disqualifies the attempt.

 

How about using Benford's Law of Controversy to establish the merits of the debate, as opposed to simply trying to end it..8)

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For the sake of transparency and demystification...

 

Saturday morning at 11am both my father and I were in the same room as the Chicago painters and one of the female judges asked Derek how late he was up Friday night judging and Derek answered that he was up until 11pm. Obviously this is before entries closed at 12.

 

This is true: the 5-judge team was judging on Friday from 8pm-11pm, but only to decide the "certificate or bronze/silver/gold medal" placement. We looked over all the entries in a category to get a feel for what would merit gold, what silver, etc., and then we gave each entry a rating. (On my entry, an alternate judge made the rating in my place. The same went for Laszlo's, Doug's, and Kris's entries.) An assistant compiled the five ratings and determined the final result for each entry.

 

For my part, I didn't think about which entries would win Sophie Trophies, because it was moot: I had my own entry in the contest, so I wasn't going to decide on the trophies anyway.

 

So obviously, judging was done before all the entries were in since the deadline was 12.

 

True, in part: judging for the certificates and medals was done before all entries were in.

On Saturday morning, a few more entries came in, and a subset of the judge team rated them (certificate or medals), using the same standards as from Friday night. I suppose that the hypothetical Saturday entries could have been so much better than any others that they would have skewed the gold standards, so we shouldn't have judged anything on Friday night, but the contest already included plenty of excellent work by Friday night; any unprecedentedly stellar entries on Saturday would simply also have merited gold.

 

Now, even if they judged in different batches, the Sophies were STILL decided before 12 noon.

 

This is not true.

On Saturday afternoon, it was time to decide which entries would win Sophie Trophies. From the first cut in Open -- basically the gold- and silver-medal entries -- Laszlo and I helped make a second cut of six entries. Two of those second-cut entries happened to be Laszlo's and mine (I thought his was worthy, he thought mine was), so then we recused ourselves and two other judges stepped in. I didn't have anything further to do with awarding the trophies. As far as I know, neither of the two new judges knew in advance that they would be asked to judge.

 

 

I hope that clears up what "judging" happened each time: Friday night (medals), Saturday morning (medals), and Saturday afternoon (trophies).

 

Derek

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Valloa-

 

Looking at the first four winners on the 09 painting contest I think that Noel's and Lazlo's have similar styles, but Jeremie's and Doug's are vastly different from the other three.Linky With those as examples I'm not understanding your argument on painting styles. You mentioned a style seen with GW models where the edges are starkly highlighted. IMO this is tabletop vs display rather than style as you can see transitions once you get the mini close. I also haven't seen a mini with this "syle" entered in the Reaper contests, so I can't say if that would truly do better or worse than other syles.

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I heard what I heard, if they didn't end up judging they sure as heck felt they were and there is no leyway for misinterpreting what was said, who said it and when it was said.

 

That said, you did illustrate exactly one of my most important points with "Laszlo and I helped make a second cut of six entries. Two of those second-cut entries happened to be Laszlo's and mine (I thought his was worthy, he thought mine was), so then we reclused ourselves and two other judges stepped in." Neither of you should have been making any judging cuts at that point. You shouldn't even have been a judge at that point, if you were a contestant. That illustrates exactly my point and why people were complaining about unfairness. From what you just wrote it sounds like "I scratched his back, he scratched mine" and we both passed our miniatures through. Perception is everything.

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Also, invoking Godwin's Law to end a conversation automatically disqualifies the attempt.

 

How about using Benford's Law of Controversy to establish the merits of the debate, as opposed to simply trying to end it..8)

 

This one may require Pascal's Wager.

 

Ed for the win.

 

On the " I could have asked about this in a crowded room (which was everywhere saturday). That would surely have made a public relations nightmare for Reaper." comment...

 

Or it could have been disregarded as a single disgruntled contestant poised to "take this fight to the forums." You made a previous comment about politics but I'm noticing an overwhelming majority of opposing opinions and recollections. It's curious how I spent a lot of time at ReaperCon and never once felt uncomfortable or witnessed any drama, which is far-and-wide completely different from other cons. But who knows, maybe it is a big conspiracy. Maybe I am blind from being fodder for Games Workshop for so many years. To find a company that is welcoming, with friendly staff who's first action does not involve trying to pull you into another game, who's top honcho calls me a "nazi" and gets the joke, who put on paint clubs to help rather than sell (yes I know it helps promote the brand but it's presented completely differently). In that case, I say ignorance is bliss, and I'll gladly resign to be a master of the shadows on the cave wall.

 

I personally think you should have made a scene. 1) because I believe that people are honor bound to voice concern when they feel it's warranted, and 2) I'm an old drama major and love a good scene to witness and discuss like I was a member of some ancient Roman court. I'm a master of overacting when it comes to scandal.

 

oh and, 3) believe far too few people have the pleasure of being called "knave" these days.

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