The National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) emphasizes the integration of science and technology with humanities and society, as well as the cultivation of interdisciplinary talent through artistic creation using technology. This integration will bring even greater vitality and innovation to the cultural and creative industries. In light of these policy objectives, the National Center for High‑performance Computing (NCHC) of NARLabs and the Taiwan Contemporary Culture Lab (C-LAB) co-organized the -12th HPC NCHC Animation Challenge, announcing this year's winners on Oct. 26. In the 3D Animation category, first prize went to a competitor from National Taiwan University of Science and Technology, while first in the 2D Animation category went to a team from National Taiwan University of Arts. Top prize in the Innovative Media category was awarded to a competitor from National Taiwan University of Arts.
The winning piece of the 3D Animation category, "Eureka 尤里卡," uses a symbol of local Taiwanese food culture, the sausage, to convey the concept of parallel universes, and its animation special effects present a sense of time shattering and overlapping. In the 2D Animation category, winning work "泅 Set Sail" boasts excellent integration of narrative and visual art, and while delicate and gentle, conveys profound emotion. Finally, the first prize piece of the Innovative Media category, "Blumentanz," is a stop-motion animation that demonstrates unique visual aesthetics with a high degree of mastery of the source material and visual variation. The experimental work not only shows mature creative skills, but also a sense of artistic exploration. In addition, Character Development Potential Awards, provided by the Taiwan Character Brand Licensing Association, were offered this year for the first time. These awards spotlight animated character work with potential for licensing and extension, and this year were conferred to a National Taiwan University of Science and Technology team for their work, "DEAR," and a National Yunlin University of Science and Technology team for "HideOut 海盜熊貓."
NCHC continues to promote interdisciplinary applications of science and art, and has been organizing the HPC NCHC Animation Challenge, Taiwan's premier competition for animation and rendering, for 12 years. The competition aims to promote the development of rendering technology and rear outstanding creators, with more than 1,000 teams totaling over 4,500 competitors participating over the years.
To provide an even more diversified stage for local creators to tap into and cultivate their talent, NCHC and C-LAB, who also co-organize the HPC NCHC Animation Film Festival, will move the Festival to the Yes!Life shopping center (Xindian Yulong City) in Xindian next year. It is hoped that this venue will set a new milestone in connecting the community with high-performance computing and allow more people to see its infinite possibilities. Starting from November this year, the best works from previous competitions will also be broadcast publicly at shopping centers to build up excitement for next year's Film Festival at Xindian Yulong City.
Besides competition entries, the Film Festival will also showcase animation created with the NCHC Render Farm, which was independently developed by NCHC, as well as NCHC's Smart Point Cloud Technology, which won an R&D 100 Award in 2021. Through cooperation with the Ministry of Economic Affairs, the Ministry of Culture, and county and city governments, point cloud models of historical sites such as the Taiwan Literature Base and the former Imperial Japanese Navy's Sixth Fuel Factory in Hsinchu have come to fruition. Workshops and courses in cloud rendering and point cloud implementation will also be offered, allowing the creative imagination to travel through time and showcasing the digital preservation and revitalized use of historic sites.
The chief convener of the HPC NCHC Animation Challenge and curator of the HPC NCHC Animation Film Festival, Chia-Chen Kuo, explained that the purpose of organizing the competition and film festival is to use high-performance computing technology to promote emerging cultural creation, and through the introduction of cloud rendering farms and smart point cloud technology, to help expand and add value to local culture. By nurturing talent through competition and offering the cloud rendering classroom year-round, NCHC is helping to cultivate a new generation of creators who make good use of high-performance computing technology, furthering interdisciplinary science and art fields as a new form of national strength.
C-LAB Executive Director Tsui-Yu Hsieh stated that C-LAB has long been promoting technological R&D and interdisciplinary applications of arts and culture, creating innovative models for exhibition and performance, and actively cultivating creative talent. Since 2020, NCHC has been stationed at C-LAB, and in 2022, supported the establishment of the Taiwan Animation Creators' Base with its technology. It is hoped that the value-added application of technology will assist in industry transformation and create an interdisciplinary force of technology and culture for Taiwan.