Dust off your prehistoric reference photography! This month’s CGPortfolio mini-challenge asks you to texture a piece of the past.
So about a month ago at CGSociety, we had some pretty amazing people contact us. The team at the Idaho Virtualization Laboratory have been hard at work over the last ten years scanning fossils, artefacts, and comparative vertebrate skeletons with their incredible 3D scanner (accurate to a couple of microns) and turning the fossil scans into research tools and printable 3D models. The Idaho Virtualization Lab are a scientific not-for-profit, but they want to see the broader CG community discover their models. They hope the models can be useful for more than just their digital accuracy - they’re hoping their models can occasionally be used for something more creative.
And that’s where we all come in. The Lab have donated us two scientifically accurate models of a prehistoric shark (a Helicoprion ) and it’s shellfish prey, the Nautiloid. The Helicoprion is an incredible looking fish. It has evolved an idiosyncratic “whorled-jaw”, with teeth spiralling outward and into its lower jaw. It is believed that this adaptation gave these sharks the ability to efficiently remove the fleshy bits of nautiloids from their shells.
Your challenge is to texture these historically accurate extinct marine creatures. As they’re no longer around, we can’t know exactly what colour they were or the texture of their skins and shells. Here you have some creative license.
The Lab’s Jesse Pruitt says, “I would like to see the contestants make the models their own, by that I mean pose them anyway they want, modify the meshes as they see fit, pretty much just have fun! From the fossil evidence these sharks were social and seemed to congregate in large groups, as did the nautiloids. In fact we find hundreds of the nautiloids for every shark, so there were lots of them swimming around back then.”
Judges for this competition are Image Engine’s Lead Texture Painter Justin Holt , MPC’s Texture Painter (and our forum manager) Leigh Van Der Byl and the Idaho Virutalization Laboratory’s Nick Clement. Nick has an MA in archeology and a MFA in art. Justin and Leigh also teach with us - Justin teaches our online CGWorkshop “Realistic Character Skin Texture Painting in Mari”, and Leigh teaches “Environmental Texturing .” So if you feel you want to learn more before you submit your entry, we suggest you sign up!
We asked Justin and Leigh what they’re specifically looking for in judging the entries. Leigh said, “I guess what I’d be looking for is an eye for detail, particularly details that feel motivated (ie purposeful) which gives the creatures a sense of believability in the world. I’d also be looking for realism here, not stylisation.”
Justin agreed. “The texture work needs to be catered towards realism over stylisation,” he said.
(above - model of whorled-jaw resting inside the mouth of the Helicoprion)
HOW TO ENTER.
Our judges are looking for:
- One final beauty render for showcase purposes (not for primary judging)
- Orthographic screengrabs of the textures in flat shaded and shaded views (no need for full shading) of all maps being painted for the final look/render (these are the images that are ultimately going to be judged)
- 3-5 close up selected screengrabs out of Mari, Photoshop or whichever program you’re using (flat shaded and shaded) to showcase fine detail work. Be sure to also screengrab the secondary maps from these close up selects as well.
Please upload your completed model to your CGPortfolio , and tag it “textureminichallenge”. This will slowly build a gallery of entries - we’ll link it later as it builds. Add the other required elements (the screen grabs) to the same project within your CGPortfolio.
Just to clarify, you can enter by texturing and uploading EITHER model, or you can complete BOTH and upload them TOGETHER IN A SCENE.
PRIZE CATEGORIES AS FOLLOWS:
- Best Helicoprion
- Best Nautiloid
- Best scene using both Helicoprion and Nautiloid.
The winner in each category will win a CGWorkshop of their choice, and a years’ free CGSConnect membership. They will also win a free model of their choice from the Idaho Virtualization Laboratory’s huge collection of scans.
The OVERALL WINNER will receive a full colour 3D print of their fully-textured model, courtesy of the Idaho Virutalization Laboratory.
Additional high-res files here
Please post questions in the thread below, we’ll do our best to answer them for you asap. Feel free also to post links to your uploaded entries in your CGPortfolio as you upload.
(Please note that judges have the final decision over the finalists and winning entries, and no correspondence will be entered into.)