2024 Digital Animation Award

This FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) award, sponsored by AutomationDirect, celebrates the art of digital animation and its close relationship to STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics).

The 2024 Digital Animation Award is offered to help encourage students to cultivate skills in design and creation of animation including, but not limited to: storytelling, creativity, use of computer software, and an understanding of different techniques and forms of animation. This award is open to all FIRST Robotics Competition teams.

This Year’s Theme: Crescendo

Be they musical, personal, or triumph in other endeavors, we all reach many crescendos as we go through life. The 2024 challenge: Create an animation of “Crescendo” that celebrates your FIRST experience.

You can interpret “crescendo” in any way you wish:

  • Reaching for new heights
  • Conquering your own personal challenges
  • Celebrating success
  • Finding a new peak experience
  • Etc.

What you choose isn’t nearly as important as how you use your Digital Animation skills to show your innovative concept.


  • Animations that use the theme and provide a positive inspiring message will be prioritized over animations that don’t.
  • Animations that use humor tend to do better.
  • Keep it simple! A well-executed, simple animation will perform better than the alternative.


Judging is purely subjective. We are looking for excellence in animation skills and in the use of animation to tell a story. The Judges will be a diverse panel of Technical Marketing, Visual Effects and Animation experts from around the world from Theory Animation. We will be specifically looking for:

  1. Mastery of Animation
    • Quality of Animation
    • Complexity and Presentation of Images
    • Expertise in Medium
  2. Ingenuity
    • Originality of ideas
    • Effectiveness and efficiency in execution
    • Use of original 3D models and modeling technique
  3. Clarity
    • Comprehensibility and organization of ideas within the animation
    • Pacing
  4. Artistry
    • Aesthetic Appeal
    • Implementation of Artistic Elements
    • Use of Medium


Official FIRST Trophy will be sent to the winner from FIRST.


The following requirements must be met for an animation to be submitted to the judges and displayed for other teams to watch. THERE ARE SIGNIFICANT CHANGES VS THE PREVIOUS YEAR’S REQUIREMENTS.

  1. A single animation may be submitted by any registered FIRST Robotics Competition team. Submissions may be 2D, 3D, mixed media, stop motion or any other animation technique you can use to animate a story.
  2. The submitted animation must be no more than 30 seconds long (does not include title screen or credits). Animations more than 30 seconds long will not be judged.
    • It must be relevant to the Challenge presented.
    • 30 seconds is only an upper limit. Teams may submit an animation of any length up to that limit, and the duration will have no impact on how the animation is scored.
  3. It is recommended that animations be submitted with:
    • Format: H.264 codec in mp4 file
    • Resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels (720p) minimum. 1920 x 1080 (1080p) is optimal.
    • Frame Rate: 24 frames per second.
    • But any format and resolution that has been uploaded to YouTube (or similar public online repository) by the deadline below will be accepted.
  4. Title Screen & Credits
    • The animation must begin with a title screen displayed for a 2-second duration followed by a one-second black slate, leading into the primary work.
    • The title screen display will not be included in the total duration limit.
    • The title screen must include your team number, team name, school/organization, title of the animation, and animation duration.
    • Credits should follow a one-second black slate at the end of the animation and be no longer than 5 seconds total in length. Length of the credits will not be included in the total duration limit.
    • Make sure to include team members, mentors, software used, list of public domain sources, and licensed sources in credits.
    • Total length of work should be no longer than: 2 second title screen + 1 second black slate + (up to) 30 second animation + 1 second black slate + (up to) 5 seconds credits = 39 seconds total (max length).
  5. Content
    • The animation should be supportive of the FIRST Core Values.
    • The animation must be free of copyright issues. Do not use copyrighted characters, music, or other elements, unless you have the legal right to do so.
  6. Submission
    Upload the animation to YouTube (or a similar video streaming service) by 11:59 p.m. ET on Thursday, Jan 18, 2024. THEN YOU MUST ALSO SEND A LINK to the video to AnimationAwardSubmission@AutomationDirect.com – by that same deadline. If the email is not sent – the video will NOT be entered into the contest. DO NOT use a file transfer service (ie Dropbox, etc) – the video should be viewable on the streaming platform without prior download. YouTube is strongly preferred.

    You are welcome/encouraged to upload the video early and to set the video to “unlisted” until the deadline. The video must be viewable by anyone with the link by the deadline shown above.

    NOTE: if you chose a public video streaming platform other than YouTube for posting your video – please consider providing a “download link” and permission to repost your video on YouTube. While not required (and will NOT affect judging), this may give your video increased publicity when the playlist is published.

  7. ** DEADLINE**
    All video uploads AND the email submission must be completed by 11:59 p.m. ET on Thursday, Jan 18, 2024. Any entries after this deadline will not be judged. Winners will be announced in early February 2024.

  8. Public Viewing – A play list of all the videos will be published for public viewing when the winners are announced. Keep an eye on official FIRST channels as well as unofficial channels such as Chief Delphi for the announcement. 

If there are any questions, please feel free to contact us at

Need some inspiration? Check past winners and submissions!

2023 Winner (Team 836) — All 2023 Submissions

Screen Capture from 2023 Winner (Team 836)

Screen Capture from 2023 Winner (Team 836)

2022 Winner (Team 8334 ) – – All 2022 Submissions

Screen Capture from 2022 Winner (Team 8334 )

2021 Winner (Team 8592 ) – – All 2021 Submissions

Screen Capture from 2021 Winner Team 8592

2020 Winner (Team 1317 ) – – All 2020 Submissions

Screen Capture from the 2020 Winner Team 1317

2019 Winner (Team 846) – – All 2019 Submissions

Screen Capture from the 2019 Winner Team 846

2018 Winner (Team 1317) – – All 2018 Submissions

Screen Capture from 2018 Winner: Team 1317

2017 Winner (Team 1317) – – All 2017 Submissions

Screen Capture from the 2017 Winner – Team 1317