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  • the ESCAPE: a Polycount Challenge.

    Finally! We are extremely happy to announce to you our next video game art challenge here at Polycount: the Escape

    In many ways this challenge will be an experiment for us; Usually we have very tight-knit rules & specifications for our contests and a very specific theme. This time around we wanted to offer you guys a challenge that was all about the fun of making in-engine/real-time video game art; all while maintaining your own personal restraints.

    For this challenge, we wanted to make it open.

    Open to as many video game artist types as possible.

    Open to as many art style & direction as possible.

    Open to as many interpretations as possible.

    this contest is for any and all areas of video game art environment + character + vehicle + weapon + fx + concept are all welcome to enter.

    team up or go solo your entry must contain either an environment or a character or a vehicle (or a combination of those three). weapon, concept and FX artists who want to enter this contest must collaborate with either or both an environment artist or a character artist or a vehicle artist (or create any of those themselves). teams may consist of up to 5 artists combined. (Important: your entry will be disqualified if more than 5 artists worked on it.)

    you will be creating a creative depiction of an escape this is entirely up to your own imagination with what this could mean. no idea is too risky or bold; be creative!

    2 or more beauty shots, 1 or more idle/tech shots for this challenge you will be submitting multiple images of your depiction. these images must either be 1920×1080 or 1280×720 resolution, landscape or portrait.

    A beauty shot is the final artistic submission for this contest and will be where the majority of people form their opinions from when judging your submission. as the team or individual creating your entry from scratch, you have full control over its art direction, style, presentation and design. beauty shots are your chance to show that.

    An idle/tech shot is an image used for technical reviews of your submissions: t-poses, wire frames, scene breakdown images, lighting setups, and so on. we suggest you show 1 tech shot per major asset (environment, hero piece, character, vehicles, weapons, etc.) Idle/tech shots is also where any or all concepts for your final piece can be shown.

    You may do video of your entry as well, but this is not a requirement.

    a single sheet breakdown shot of your materials used this image can just be your diffuse maps laid out to show you understood the texture limitations and worked within them

    shown in a real-time solution UDK, CryEngine, Source, Toolbag and so on. this is a video game art contest; do not show straight 3D app renders.

    there is no texture limitation while we have cited no hard limits, you will need to challenge your own restraint when it comes to texture budgeting. you can’t be going crazy with 8192×8192 textures for heads or car wheel’s. think smart!

    challenge yourself and be efficient.

    the entire Polycount Community are the judges for this challenge, consider that when making your technical decisions when it comes to texturing. if you are unsure of what would make for the most efficient use of your textures — ask the community!

    there is no triangle limitation but that doesn’t mean you can go buck-wild with your geometry! be smart with your modeling! you’re creating in-engine/real-time videogame artwork, now is the time to show your efficiency while still creating something mind-blowing. if you are unsure of what would make for the most efficient use of geometry — ask the community!

    and no, you cannot submit zsculpts, mudbox sculpts, or “highpoly” hardsurface geometry that you’d normally use to bake normal maps from.

    no post-processing allowed outside of what your real-time solution is capable of the only thing you can do to your beauty or idle/tech shots with photoshop is to add your name/your teams name, the title of your entry, the URL to the Escape contest page and the Escape Logo.

    For the logo, you can either use the one we’ve created or you can create your own logo. Your custom logo must be for the title, ‘the Escape’ and must stlil contain the sponsor logos and “sponsored by” as seen in the reference PSD.

    IMPORTANT: the Escape is a Polycount Challenge about creating optimized, beautiful, ‘in-engine’ videogame art. it is not a challenge for sculpting or highpoly abilities specifically this is very important for you to understand. we did not get rid of triangle & texture limitations so that you can submit painted zbrush sculpts or highpoly hard-surface models. (we’re not really sure how well those things would look in UDK/Crysis/Source and so on anyhow, but you never know!) this is a challenge all about your ability to create beautiful, ‘in-engine’, optimized video game art. so while you need to sculpt or build highpoly artwork for your in-engine art (normal maps, etc.), you will not be judged solely on those things. your beauty shots will not be of sculpts or highpoly geometry, they will be of in-engine/real-time videogame art. if you submit those things as your beauty shots for this contest to be judged your entry will be disqualified. however, they would be nice to see as a part of your tech/idle shots.

    Solo entries You must create a thread in the contest forum. You will use this thread to show your WIP (work-in-progress) as you go. The polycount community must be able to look back on your progress of this entry for it to be judged.

    Collaborative entries You and your team must create a single thread for your teams entry in the contest forum. Your team will use this thread to show your WIP (work-in-progress) as you go. The polycount community must be able to look back on your progress of this entry for it to be judged.

    Creating your thread Please use the following naming convention for your thread title: ESCAPE – [your entry title] – [your name/your team name]. For example, ESCAPE – Stealing a Break – Greentooth

    Submitting your entry There will be a thread for final submissions. When your entry is finished, your beauty & idle/tech shots must be posted here. Please include a link to your entries thread on the forum as well. If you are submitting as a team, only 1 person from your team needs to post all required assets for this contest.

    voting the Polycount Community will be judging the submissions to this challenge and casting their votes for their top 3 favourite submissions. this will also be done through a third-party survey tool like surveymonkey or Google Docs. This is TBD and will be announced closer to the submission deadline. If you or your team submitted an entry for this challenge you may also vote.

    there is only one category of judging for this contest: “Best Overall”. Characters will not be judged separately from environments, or other types of video game artwork (vehicles, weapons, FX, and so on). Judging will simply be of the final submissions you or your team submit for this challenge.

    prizes will be rewarded to all participants for the Top 3 winning entries. handplane, Marmoset, and Quixel will be offering licences to each participant of the winning team of their respective software (3 Top winning entries, up to 5 artists per team, and 4 tools altogether means there will be up to 60 licences awarded in total once the Escape entries have been judged. Incredible!)

    For now, what Valve will be offering the participants of the winning entries will remain a secret and will be announced some time during the duration of the challenge.

    you have 10 weeks + 2 days this contest will end on May 12th, 2013 @ 23:59 EST, no exceptions.