Grand Space Opera: Light Age
Film/VFX Character Art (Rendered) Winners Interview

1st Place Grand Space Opera: Light Age – Film/VFX Character Art (rendered): Ellie Dupont

Close to 4,000 artists took up the ArtStation Grand Space Opera: Light Age Community Challenge to imagine the human race’s future in space. Submissions across all categories approached the levels of quality you’d expect in game or film projects, with hosts and fellow entrants providing the encouragement and feedback to push artists to create their best work. The challenge winners each receive a virtual ArtStation Challenge trophy. 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Place winners also receive a free 12-month ArtStation Pro subscription.

See all the Film/VFX Character Art (Rendered) entries

In this interview, Ellie DupontReinaldo García, and Amany Ragab tell us how they created their winning Film/VFX Character Art (rendered) submissions and share advice for future challengers.


Tell us about the concept for your submission and how you selected it.

Ellie: The concept was a beautiful piece by the very talented Simona Brioschi, from the concept phase of the challenge. I was drawn to the overall concept and found it to be very charming. I also liked the color scheme of red, yellow, and blue. My focus for this challenge was to develop my understanding of fabrics as well as my anatomical skillset, so this concept was an obvious choice in that respect.

Reinaldo: I’ve been wanting to create my own character concept for a while now and I figured that the challenge would be a good opportunity to enhance my artistic abilities and explore new and creative ways to design a character. So I started to do some sketching in Photoshop. I struggled a lot with proportions in 2D (plus getting a good result with my limited drawing abilities wasn’t easy) but in the end, after some days of sketching and remaking some parts, I ended up with a concept I liked.

Amany: I did not have any idea what I wanted to make, so I spent three days collecting a lot of great concepts, waiting for the one that would call to me. I found a great concept by Félix Donadio so I decided to make it. I fell in love with the colors and character.

How did you keep yourself on target throughout the challenge?

Ellie: I have completed a few ArtStation challenges now so I have a general idea of where I need to be at what point in the challenge, which helps. My main goal is always to give myself plenty of time for look dev and textures. I think people have a tendency to hang in the modeling phase for a long time and as my area of experience professionally is texturing and look dev, I am always excited to get to this part! I like to give myself plenty of time for R&D for look dev.

Reinaldo: I’ve been doing personal projects in my free time for a few years now and I have a lot of experience on how to approach a character, keeping consistency through the whole challenge, and maintaining the inspiration (which is key). I’ve found that every time I get to a new part of the process (for example when I end the block mesh and start with the high res), I get a rush of inspiration that really helps me stay focused on finishing the piece and not get distracted. Also seeing the other participant’s works inspires me to keep up with the level of quality that they are putting into their works.

Amany: Very early I made a schedule for my progress. I knew my weak point and gave it more time and space; everything did not go easy of course, but I try to make it right at the end. There was a week for “plan B” if I needed it.

2nd Place Grand Space Opera: Light Age – Film/VFX Character Art (rendered): Reinaldo García

What was the most rewarding part of participating in this challenge for you and why?

Ellie: The most rewarding part for me is when (hopefully!) everything comes together at the end. I usually find by the end I can’t look at the final submission for a day or two as I have been working on it so intensely it becomes hard to see if I’m pleased or not with it. After a couple of days, I take a look again and go over what I would have done differently to improve and figure out what useful things I learned through the process. The learning experience is definitely the most rewarding aspect for me!

Reinaldo: I think the most rewarding thing is finishing with a complete piece. Doing a whole character with limited time while competing with industry professionals is definitely a nerve-wracking process. It is not an easy thing to do but the feeling of accomplishment you get when you make it through to the end is worth it.

Amany: The most rewarding part for me is sticking to my plan, doing something new, learning a new workflow: and I did that.

3rd Place Grand Space Opera: Light Age – Film/VFX Character Art (rendered): Amany Ragab

What advice do you have for future challengers?

Ellie: Try to focus on what you really want to get out of the challenge at the start, and do it for yourself only. Don’t force yourself to do something just because you think people will want to see it… you won’t enjoy it as much and it will show in the final result. Try not to stay in modeling for too long: look dev and the final image are also really important! Don’t worry about your performance or comparing yourself to others, just enjoy the learning experience and the chance for great, authentic feedback on your work from the wonderful ArtStation community. Finally: have fun!

Reinaldo: I would say that challenges are a great way to motivate you to get a piece for your portfolio, so regardless of whether you win or not, you will get a lot of knowledge and experience – and that is something worth the work that a challenge needs. Plus it’s a lot of fun!

Amany: You can treat the challenge as a fun opportunity to learn something new and improve your skills in a different area, that will be your reward to yourself.

1st Place Grand Space Opera: Light Age – Film/VFX Character Art (rendered): Ellie Dupont

See more Film/VFX Character Art (Rendered) entries from the Grand Space Opera: Light Age Challenge > 


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