Challenge #3 - NextGen Small Scene - Votes and Winners!

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Riki's picture
Posts: 1257

We are extremely pleased with the turnout and participation on the forums!

Below each judge has posted who they like best and why. This will hopefully give valuable feedback to help you grow as artists. All that was required was a 1st place, 2nd place, 3rd place, honorable mention, and of course why. 

The voting was done in points and the user with the most points wins. 1st place is worth 20 points, 2nd place is worth 15 points, 3rd place is worth 10 points and honorable mention is worth 5 points.

Don't be alarmed if some judges give completely contradictory feedback from another judge. Its important to understand diversity in art and why some would like one or the other. This also reflects hiring decision in game studios and so on. Thanks again for everyone's participation!! Smiling

Final Votes and Winners:  

Judges   Wildstyle Arsenal Barr Divi biano3d pixelgoat MrBlonde
Joe Berger   10 15     20   5
Marshall Womack   20   5 15   10  
Andy Davies   20 10 5 15      
Thomas Woods     20 15     5 10
Josh Ball   20   10 15   5  
Brad Lewis   15 10 20 5      
JP Self   20 15 5 10      
Riki Babington   20 10 15   5    
Total Points   125 80 75 60 25 20 15

Congratulations to Wildstyle for placing 1st, Arsenal for 2nd, Barr for 3rd, and the honorable mention goes to Divi. Each user will be contacted about the prizes in an email soon. :)


Riki's picture
Posts: 1257

This post is from Joe Berger - Sr. Environment Artist - NetherRealm Studios 


Riki's picture
Posts: 1257

This post is from Marshall Womack - Sr. Environment Artist - ID Software


1st Wildstyle:
The Good:
Excellent use of material diversity.  Also great scene composition to make the scene interesting from multiple angles.  Nice use of polygons to make shapes convincing yet manageable for game-like environments.  
The bad:
The only criticisms I have are with the snow drifts.  In some areas, the way the snow gathers (such as the base of the walls) it appears a little soft and artificial.  Snow generally would pile up with harder, less gradual edge to it.  Other than that small detail, the rest looks great!  Nice work!
2nd divi:
The Good:
The scene has excellent tonal contrast.  Nice use of color and material diversity.  The concrete is very nice, the stone/plastered wall is very nice as well.  The roof model is also very well done.  I like the subtle dirt in the cracks between the shingles and such.  Great job!
The Bad:
The only negative criticism I could offer is the discrepancy of damage between each surface.  The stone wall appears to be much more damaged in all areas than the other materials.  It would be more believable if some of the other surfaces had more noticeable wear/damage to match.
3rd pixelgoat:
The Good:
Great composition to make the scene interesting from all angles.  Good balance of material contrast.  Love the extra effects to the scene as well.
The Bad:
The only criticism I have, would be to add more structural detail to the castle wall.   The walls appear very flat (architecturally speaking) so it would have been nice to break of that flatness with additional stone accents.  Other than that, nice scene!
4th barr:
The Good:
Great scene composition!  The arrangement of the props and elements  bring the scene interest from all angles.  Nice choice of lighting, and excellent modeling.  
The Bad:
The tree and stone materials need more distinction.  It feels as though they are both made from the same material.  


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This post is from Thomas Woods - Lead Environment Artist - Timegate Studios


1. Arsenal
This scene instantly gets my imagination going. A skull, a treasure chest, and other interesting items that have mystery to them. I like the renders of the individual items. I think the rock foundation shapes could have been more interesting. Also, the skull looks a bit blurry.
2. barr
Like the scene above, this also gets my imagination going, I like the shape of the tree, especially when you see it better in the video. I think the shield, being one of the things that draws your eye, should have been better, it looks a bit flat and the texture work could have been better. Nice lighting, I like the warmer to cooler transition in the video.
3. MrBlonde
Love the look of this. It has a nice mix of things going on.  
4. Pixelgoat
Love the scene. The mix of colors and foliage is great.


Riki's picture
Posts: 1257

This post is from Josh Ball - Sr. Environment Artist - ID Software


#1  WildStyle - Nice little scene, I really like how all the pieces blend with and are settled into the ground. The weathering where the snow drifts up and settles onto the corners of objects really pull all the elements together and make the environment believable. One of the few crits I have for this one are that in some places the edges of the red paint don't look as much like it's worn off from time and erosion but more like smeary lipstick.
#2 Divi - The texturing on this and the stylization is superb. I really dig the thick layer of plaster and the broken bricks peeking out, it really gives a nice contrast. The only things that stopped me from making it my top choice was that the lighting feels very generic. More interesting lighting could have been rigged up that would be more indicative of the character that your pieces have. It's also lacking a few more elements that would make it feel like an actual scene. 
#3 Barr - Great composition on this scene from pretty much every angle. The lighting works really well too. Texture-wise the cavity mapping is very distracting, there's too much black in the diffuse and it's making your textures over all just a little too noisy. Also, all off the elements in this scene feel like they're made of the same material. I would like the shield to feel more metallic for instance. Right now it seems like it's made of the same stuff as the tree and the rock.
#4 PixelGoat - You breathed fantastic life into this environment. Although the texturing doesn't stand out compared to a few others I really really like how well everything came together as a whole. 


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Posts: 1257

This post is from Brad Lewis - Sr. VFX Artist - Bioware


1st Barr - Hands down, the winner for me is the hollow tree by barr. 
The concept of the piece is great, the subject matter is interesting, original and well executed.
The rendering of the scene itself offers a good mix of lighting, and mood.  I love the cool moonlit side in contrast with the warm lantern lit side.
The details such as the way the cobwebs catch the light from the lantern, and how the subtle glows give a feeling of atmosphere are very well done.  I want to play a game that has this scene in it, and explore what's inside that tree.  This whole scene draws me in.
2nd Wildstyle - My second place choice would be wildstyle's snowy scene.  I love the mood this represents, the snow texture is done very well, the footprints are convincing, and the weathering on the stucco, wood and stone is well done.  I like the partially concealed interest points such as the map on the wall, supply crates, etc.  What I didn't like so much is the way the hanging laundry/cloth pieces are so static.  If it's impossible to pull this kind of effect off to the quality of the art around it, I'd ditch it and use the polys and texture space for something that can be done to the high level of quality the rest of the piece exhibits.
3rd Arsenal - My third choice is a toss-up between Arsenal's pirate themed room and Divi's scene.
Arsenal's scene is pretty cool, I like the subtle spiderweb in the window.  The whole piece has flavor and style which stands unique against the rest of the entries.  However, I feel that the shape of the rock surrounding this interesting scene isn't too believable, I am not sure if it's part of a cave, or what really is the reason these rocks are shaped this way.  If they are stalactites, I'd like to see more of a roof on the scene, or some visible reason they are shaped as they are.
4th Divi - Divi's scene is beautifully textured, except that the hanging lanterns seem too "new."  The rest of the scene is very well done, though.


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This post is from JP Self - Animator - Xaviant Games

1. Wildstyle (snow base)
I really enjoy the “story” this piece is telling. It’s a scene that is very busy and has many different
elements coming together to make a consistent scene. The overall piece is reflective to what I would
expect from a professional environmental artist working on a AAA game.
I enjoy how the artist filled that corner up with some “goodies”, such as the containers, table, and bags.
Making sure that the scene doesn’t suffer from any negative space. The flags hanging from the bell to
the doorway were a great idea to bring the piece together in unity. The footsteps in the snow were a
great way to convey the fact that someone was just there. The footprints gave that added life to the
scene, and tells us the story that someone was just there. Without relying on additional assets like
I liked the lighting in this piece; it is very subtle and not over powering at all. The shadows are nice and
soft, but lacking in some areas where I would expect them to be darker or more dominant. The area
under the boxes and the bags is where I should see more dominant shadows.
Overall the piece comes together very well. The pieces used to put this scene together are well placed
and consistent to the rest of the scene. The texture quality and modeling quality is what I would expect
from a professional already in the gaming business.
This scene makes me want to put a coat on and build a fire to keep warm.
2. Arsenal (pirate cave)
I really love this piece because of the stylized direction the artist took with the overall look. I love the
color scheme that was chosen, and I love the art assets that were used to comprise this murky pirate’s
The artist did a great job obtaining a texture style that resembles more of an artist painting, than direct
referencing of real life surface types. All the separate set pieces complement each other very well,
with no individual asset overwhelming another. I love the attention to detail the artist used for all his
separate set pieces.
The lighting illuminates the scene very well, not overpowering or dominant in any way. Nor is it to
underwhelming, it is the perfect balance to get the idea out that this is a dark cavern.
My only major critique is that I wish the artist spent more time on the cave rock surface. To me, the
surface resembles more of a melted candle than a cavern. The rock is too consistent with its smoothness
and needs some variety of rough and sharp edges.
3. Divi (Asian double door)
I really loved this piece the most because of the style. All the pieces such as the shingles, concrete
sidewalk, lamps, and crumbled wall look to scale compared to each other.
I like how the artist made it seem like he painted his textures, making it stand apart from other pieces
that go for the more “realistic” approach. I really love the attention to detail on the rocks and stucco on
the wall edges, where it is broken down.
The added moss is a great touch to get that “dirty” layer. I can see the moss heavily in some areas and
scarce in others, a nice balance.
The piece stands alone pretty nicely. But it could have been nice to see a light source added into the
scene so the artist can play with the different surface types. Everything looks like the same surface type,
resembling clay. Would been nice to see the moss reflect as a wet surface, or maybe the lamps glow
from the little flames inside. Basically add a specular map.
4. Barr (hollow tree)
This is a nice completed piece. I love the subject matter, and it tells me a story that I can understand.
The modeling is pretty good and well put together.
The textures are pretty good, but I wish it was higher res in more appropriate areas. I think that if the
artist used his texture space a little more wisely, he could get more quality out of the tree and rock
surfaces. It would seem like this artist is not senior level but seasoned enough to create a great piece,
but doesn’t know all the “tricks of the trade”. Things that would have helped him consolidate his texture
space more efficiently.
The lighting in this piece is very overpowering, and to dominant. Its good lighting that could have been
awesome, but it’s just too….Yellow.
Overall the concept is nice, but suffers from a couple minor issues. The lighting is overpowering the
scene. Textures seem to be high res in areas that are out of line of sight, and textures are low res when
in line of sight. The fabric hanging on the tombstone doesn’t “look” like fabric.


metalliandy's picture
Posts: 3188

This post contains the results and reasoning for me "Andy Davies" Eye-wink

I hope everyone finds my comments and critiques helpful Smiling



1st Place - Wildstyle
Well, well, well!
Here we are again with Wildstyle hitting another home run!
I thought your entry was absolutely fantastic and it pretty much checked all the boxes I was looking for Smiling
The silhouette is great, the scene is original and the textures are very clean and well made.
There are a few smoothing issues which could be fixed with hard edges, so perhaps that is something to you may wish to fix later on.
I was impressed by how much you used the allocated budget with almost all of the geometry and texture space being used. Awesome job Smiling

Nice, clean sharp, colourful textures Smiling (with coloured spec! Laughing out loud)
Great material definitions.
Great use of colour, which is great to see.

I think perhaps the brick/paint transition could have been a little sharper.
The rock/brick normals could have been pushed a little more so the cracks and recesses would have really popped.
It would have been great to see the flags move around in the wind! (not really a crit though, just a suggestion for next time maybe?)



2nd Place - divi
Awesome...Just awesome!
Your entry was one of the competition highlights for me and I thoroughly enjoyed watching your progress in the thread.
You have made a great scene that is very well executed and has a good use of the allotted budget.
The silhouette is visually distinctive, which will read well from a distance and the sculpting is extremely detailed and gives everything that extra polish that makes a good asset that much better.

Nice, clean sharp textures Smiling (with coloured spec! ^^)
Great sculpting.
Great looking bake.

You could have saved a few tris that could have been used elsewhere, by intersecting the door knockers into the door, rather than making the one contiguous piece.
It would have been nice to see some emissive on the lanterns...though the scene is in the day, maybe a night shot would have been cool also. It just seems a bit of a shame that you didn’t use them.
I think you could have pushed the normal map a little more, which would have given the asset a little more beef.



3rd Place - Arsenal
The first thing that impressed me with your entry was the quality of the sculpting!
You have achieved a great balance between detail and form which has given everything a nice professional sheen.
The rocks were done really well and I loved the book and broken ships wheel especially Smiling
Almost perfect usage of the polybudget was also nice to see, though it would have been great to see you use some more of the texture space.
Your normal bake pretty perfect as well, though it is hard to see if you used any edge padding. You can never pad too much!
The lighting was well done and I love how the candle gives focus to the whole piece, without becoming distracting.
Awesome job with should be proud Laughing out loud

Fantastic sculpting!
Great normal bake.
Good use of geometry budget.

I think you could have used more texture space Smiling



Honourable Mention - barr
I loved the stylisation of your entry Laughing out loud
You have shown a really good understanding of efficient topology usage and have a great silhouette which looks awesome and distinctive from a distance

The sculpting is great, especially on the bark which really pops Smiling
I think perhaps the yellow light is a little over bright and over saturated, but this is something that can always be toned down with a few minutes work.

It would have been nice to see a coloured specular map as there isn’t really any need to use greyscale when the budget is so high or when an asset is for a folio shot, so that is something to keep in mind for your future work Smiling
Awesome job though! I’m impressed!

Awesome bark!
Good use of topology.

A coloured specular map would have pushed this a little more.
The lamp is a little over saturated.
The shield looks a little carefully placed.



I liked the idea behind your entry and I think that you did a good job in getting the right mood for the final shot Smiling
I would have liked it if you had used more of the allocated texture budget though and included colour specular and normal information for all the assets.
Coloured specular maps are essential when defining materials and can do wonders within a scene Smiling

The front area shows some shading errors which can be fixed by using smoothing groups/hard edges, which can have a dramatic effect on the quality of an asset (for the better).
I cant wait to see what else you come up with in the future!
nice job Laughing out loud


I like this scene!
Its well thought out and interesting to look at with a nice silhouette and clean lighting.

The HP sculpt is very well done with some nice cracks and the broken concrete goes well with the bent metal of the container.
Your scene is generally well made and clean though it does have a few smoothing issues that could be resolved by smoothing groups/hard edges and it is perhaps a little messy toward the bottom with the material definitions becoming less clear.
The barbed wire could have had a little more geometry as you were under budget and could have used some of those extra tris to make it a little more circular.
It would have been nice to see more updates in your thread but that is something you can resolve in the future Smiling
Cant wait to see what you come up with next time Smiling


Great job with this scene!
I love the Sci-fi feel and its great to see someone using CryEngine Smiling
Awesome idea with the holographic area around the bottom...they are very visually distinctive and are a great addiction to the scene.
Coloured specular is especially important when defining metal so it would have been nice to see this but its something you could work on later if you wanted.
The lighting is perhaps a little dark really and brightening it up and maybe adding a few different colours would have helped push this a little further.
Good job though! Makes me want to make Sci-fi Laughing out loud


Your entry was a very original design and not one that expected to see..Which is good!
Overall I think the scene is good but it would have been helped by a coloured spec. and everything is a little over saturated.
The water is a nice touch and gives a little life to the scene but the reflections look a little repetitive so it would be an idea to break them up a little more.
Your normal map has turned out well but it looks like you didn’t add edge padding which is important to stop mip errors.
Keep up the good work! I cant wait to see what you come up with next time Smiling


I thought the concept of your scene was great and you did a nice job at getting a good mood.
I think that your distribution of geometry through out the scene is perhaps to biased toward the props which makes the rock suffer and cave entrance could have done with more polys to smooth out the silhouette which would have made a big difference in the scenes first impression.
A coloured specular map would have helped define the different materials too, so that definitely something to keep in mind for the future Smiling

Keep it up though! will be interesting to see what you come up with for the next challenge Smiling


I thought your concept was visually appealing and original Smiling

A coloured specular map would have helped define the different materials better, which helps them read in game more successfully.
The HP work has a solid feel, which translates to the LP mesh well (especially the tracks and tarp).
Overall, I felt that the scene was a little over saturated but generally I though your entry was nice and with a few tweaks would be a great folio piece Smiling


Nice idea!
I love this type of scene as it really makes you focus on the details that are present.
The bricks are done very well and tile with no visible repetition (which is always a distracting eye sore)
You have done a great job with the bin, though the scenes textures could have been a little shaper and less saturated.
Also, a coloured specular map would have helped push this to the next level, so that may be something you would want to do later on.
With some tweaks here and there, I'm sure this will make this a great folio shot Laughing out loud


I thought your entry was excellent!
Its a great scene that has been executed very well and use the allotted polygon budget perfectly with a nice even distribution of geometry across all the individual assets, though it would have been nice if you had used more of the allotted texture budget and a coloured specular map.
I thought the lighting was a little soft and it would have been cool to see some more defined shadows across the stone, which I think would have added a little more contrast to the scene.
Great job though! This will make a very nice folio piece Smiling


Your entry intrigued me as I found the concept to be very visually appealing Smiling
The mixture of organic and hard surface objects was nice to see and I thought you did a great job with both the HP and sculpting work.
The LP was done well and you made good use of the allotted budget,though perhaps the saturation of the textures could have been toned down a little.
Also, A coloured spec would have been nice to see Smiling
With a few tweaks this will be a good piece for your portfolio I think! Smiling


Interesting scene!
I loved the randomness of the items within the asset and thought that you managed to get the different materials integrated well.
One of my main critiques would be that the chain links are separated, which is a little distracting but it should be a reasonably quick fix Smiling
Overall, I thought the scene was a little dark and also a little blurry and it would have been nice to have the lamp bloom a bunch more but that wouldn’t take long if you wanted to push this a little further.
Good job!


I thought your entry has a awesome silhouette that would read perfectly from a distance Smiling
I was very impressed that you managed to use the  full 10k geometry budget, though I think perhaps you were a over cautious when it came to using the texture space Eye-wink
That being said the textures were very clean and crisp and generally well made, as was the rest of the model. It would have been nice if you would have used coloured specular to defines the materials a little more, but perhaps this is a limitation of the BitSquid Engine?
The vegetation was nice but from some angles the leaves looked a little flat and obviously LP...I sure with some tweaking you could set them up a little differently to reduce this issue.
Its hard to put my finger on but some of the castle ruin looks a little doughy in places (where the brick is actually broken around the top for example) but this is a probably a quick fix with smoothing groups and a rebake.
I thought the particle fx were a nice touch Smiling
Great job with this...I cant wait for your next challenge entry!


I was instantly very impressed with your entry Smiling
It has a distinctive silhouette  and the textures are clean and crisp. It would have been nice to see a larger use of the texture budget and specular maps though.
Overall great job! This will make a great piece for your portfolio Smiling


I thought your entry was a really good effort on your behalf and its obvious that you really pushed yourself, which is great! Smiling
Generally the textures seemed to be very over saturated and there are some smoothing issues on the LP but the HP sculpt was good, though it could have used hardening up a little Smiling
I think it would have been nice to see you use the full 4k texture budget though and coloured specular maps too but you could always go back and fix these up before add it to your portfolio.
Keep it up! I cant wait to see what you come up with in the next challenge Smiling

Riki's picture
Posts: 1257

This post is from me Riki Babington - Eat 3D President / Sr. Environment Artist:

1st Wildstyle: This piece is amazing and earned my 1st place pick. The textures are superbly done! An area of improvement would have been to have a clear center of focus to appreciate. Its hard to find something interesting to look at although its all well crafted. Also it may have helped to break up the snow more and possibly add rocks or some sort of plants.
2nd Barr Hollow_tree: I loved this piece so much! The silhouette is broken up very nice and the mood is great. The texels seem to fall apart at the base of the tree and also the rocks. I would have looked into setting the textures to the UI group to make sure they stayed sharp in UDK. Also the other material types don't seem different enough, like the shield and stone, etc. Time could have been spent really making the metal look better.
3rd Arsenal: Great idea on this one! I like the center of focus and the theme a lot. I really like the attention to detail with thespiderweb. The texels on the rocks seem a bit off in many places so I would check that.
4th Biano: I really like the theme and composition of this. The barbwire on top seems very low poly and should be improved and overall the spec seems very hot on the trash and trash can. I also wish more of the process was discussed and posted as you created it. This piece does remind me of the NGT Scene quite a bit Smiling
MrBlonde: Its great to see how much you were able to fit into the budget. The textures are great and the mood is very pleasant. I think what hurts this the most is there is nothing particularly interesting to look at. You could have also attempted to bring more contrast out with the lighting also. Great job!


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Posts: 1257

This post is from Joe Berger - Sr. Environment Artist - NetherRealm Studios:

1st - Biano
- Very distinctive different materials.  Organics and metal have a different feel than the concrete.
- Great detail throughout the piece in the textures.  Its not as many objects as the other entries, but the objects are done well.
- This submission seems to fit the spirit of the contest the most.  A few well done pieces with very different materials.  These assets look like they could go in a current gen game.
- Subtle touches with the sculpt and texturing do a good job to show detail.
- Lighting and ambience needs some work.  Focus the lighting on the organics and tube.  Let the rest of the objects in the same frame those as they are the most interesting.
- Contrast of the organic pieces and the hard surface stuff works well.
- Overall, the best (IMO) put together small scene, with the most polish to the textures and materials.
2nd - Arsenal – Pirate cove
- Good consistent hand painted style throughout.
- Lighting fits the scene well.  Could use some better contrast around the book and bottle to pop them out in the scene more.
- Consistent level of detail in the texturing and quality of texturing.
- Spec maps are good but need to push the differentiation of the materials.
- Texture work feels polished and well thought out.
- Scene has a good construction and composition.  No elements feel out of place.  The objects and the rock structure feel tied together in the same universe.
- A few more saturated colors could have helped make some of the objects pop.
3rd - WildStyle – Snow scene
- Good use of color to separate the different elements of the scene.
- Normal maps are consistent with the materials they are trying to portray.
- Detail is consistent in all of the scene elements.
- Good separation of hard surface wood and concrete against the softer snow.  This comes through in the modeling as well as the textures.
- Lighting fits the scene well.
4th - Mr. Blonde – Moon Gate
- All the elements of the scene fit nicely together.  Nothing seems out of place.
- Good lighting.
- Plants have good contrast against the rock.
- Consistent resolution to the pieces in the scene.
- Wall concrete separates itself from the stone with the additional grime.
- Spec  maps need to better portray the interaction of light with the materials.
Other - 
GrimMoroe – Machine
- Good use of normal to add detail however there is too much noise throughout most of the maps.
- Spec could use some color.
- Detail stays consistent from top to bottom.  Need to dial down the grime in some spots.
- All the different materials have a good separation.
- Good use of color I the diffuse maps.
- Lighting adds good contrast to the scene.  The dark areas make it feel industrial or out of a mine.  It gives the machine some realism.


aamirhussain's picture
Posts: 52

Congratulation  to winners

metalliandy's picture
Posts: 3188

Hey all,

Everyone who submitted a qualifying entry in the challenge should have received an email asking which tutorial they would like for their 1-month complementary streaming.

If you finished the contest but didn't place within the top 4 and qualify for the streaming but have not received an email from Eat3d regarding this, please check your spam folders and then contact support and we will get you set up Smiling


Also, we decided to give everyone who didn't place in the top 4 an additional 1-time 30% off coupon to show our appreciation for all the hard work.



shyamsagars's picture
Posts: 140

congrats all winnrers. and all contestants...