Game Environment/Level Art (Real-Time) Winners Interview — Untamed: When Animals Ruled the World

1st place Untamed: When Animals Ruled the World – Game Environment/Level Art (Real-Time): Glen Fox


Today we’re continuing our Untamed: When Animals Ruled the World interview series with a look at the work and wisdom of the Game Environment/Level Art (Real-Time) winners: Glen Fox, Tuur Sangers, and Jonas Bauer. Find out what they have to say about taking on an ArtStation Community Challenge!


See all Game Environment/Level Art Submissions

2nd place Untamed: When Animals Ruled the World – Game Environment/Level Art (Real-Time): Tuur Sangers

Taking on the Challenge

One of the benefits of joining an ArtStation Challenge is the opportunity to hone in on skills improvement:

Glen: ArtStation Challenges are a great way to push yourself as an artist. Creating a single, fully-defined environment that you can reflect on reminds yourself where you are at with artistic development, what areas you struggle with, which areas you want to grow in or improve, and what aspects of development you excel in.

Jonas: I always love watching and participating in the Challenges. For me they are great for both inspiration and motivation, when I am struggling to decide on what to do next for my personal projects. Plus, having a deadline keeps me from spending too much time on unnecessary details.

Tuur: Over the last two years, I’ve been working on some personal projects that I never fully finished. I really wanted to push myself to complete something new. I hoped the deadline set by the Challenge and regularly posting updates would help me finish a new piece in time.

3rd place Untamed: When Animals Ruled the World – Game Environment/Level Art (Real-Time): Jonas Bauer

Behind the Submissions

ArtStation Challenges consist of two phases. First up are the Concept Art submission categories and their deadlines, followed by the Production categories. Production artists can base their submission on concept art created by artists in the Concept Art phase. This uniquely allows 3D Production artists to focus completely on the realization of the Concept Art submissions. All of this year’s Game Environment/Level Art winners took inspiration from some incredible Concept Art works:

Concept by Ilia Popov

Jonas: Sometimes you see a piece of concept art and tons of ideas immediately start popping into your head. For me that was Ilia Popov‘s submission. I’ve also been wanting to try my hand at a larger, more open scene, so this was the perfect opportunity.

Concept by Solène Michon

Glen: I was inspired by Solène Michon‘s concept. The colour palette and composition were gorgeous, and I could easily see that the concept would well with my style of 3D art. Her other artwork is also super lovely!

Concept by Paul Trochu

Tuur: After seeing the amazing concept by Paul Trochu, I was really sold by the atmosphere and details he was able to put in it. My goal was to see how well I could replicate it and how I could bring in some elements of my own.

When I started, I had done some beautiful autumn hikes and wanted to implement some of those elements. In the end I brought it back a bit to the original idea, but the scattered autumn leaves and algae are still there.

1st place Untamed: When Animals Ruled the World – Game Environment/Level Art (Real-Time): Glen Fox

Lessons Learned

Our interviewees told us that even if you’ve participated in an ArtStation Challenge before, there’s always something new to learn:

Glen: The most enjoyable thing (as with any ArtStation Challenge) was the feeling of community. Working towards a similar goal, sharing WIPs with each other, along with feedback and ideas. ArtStation’s culture shines during these events.

The most difficult part was holding myself accountable. I wanted to not only get the scene across the finish line, but also make sure that it represented where I am as an artist.

Tuur: The last time I participated I realized how tricky it can be to finish with only 3 to 4 hours of time after work, so this time I wanted to be better prepared and made a full plan to see how I could finish. This had really helped me get a good idea of how I could complete the project.

The most enjoyable part was balancing all the elements in Unreal. I went back and forth with the lighting and texturing many times to make sure everything worked well as a whole.

Jonas: Reading all the Challenge updates from other participants and sharing my own progress made working on my own a lot more fun.

Sculpting rocks was definitely a lot harder and took me a lot longer than I thought it would. Once I had achieved the goal I set for myself with the cliff rocks, I felt a drop in motivation for some time. Taking a few days off helped a lot for the final push.

2nd place Untamed: When Animals Ruled the World – Game Environment/Level Art (Real-Time): Tuur Sangers

Advice for Future Challengers

Tuur, Glen, and Jonas say that if you’re on the fence about participating in an ArtStation Challenge…just go for it!

Tuur: Have fun creating your scene and be in it to improve yourself.

When working on the project I was quite intimidated by the other submissions, especially from people who worked with the same concept. I had to tell myself to make the submission to improve myself and not to compete with others. This helped me find the fun in creating all the different elements.

Glen: The framing of each ArtStation Challenge gives a great way to plan, scope, and create a portfolio piece alongside your peers inside a concentrated microcosm. Make sure you use it as the valuable learning experience it is; engage with others, share and absorb feedback, and try to grow from the experience.

Jonas: Just participate (so I can learn from your posts as well)!

3rd place Untamed: When Animals Ruled the World – Game Environment/Level Art (Real-Time): Jonas Bauer

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