2013 CG Society Digital Matte Painting Challenge: Winners


Dear all,

Please accept our apologies for taking our time with the final decision on this competition! Since you all put lots of effort into your entries, we wanted to make sure we properly analyze all the beautiful and very interesting finalists from the top 11 shortlist.
When judging this DMP challenge, we looked for strong composition, lighting, creativity within the given boundaries and photo-realistic execution in respect to the plate-based brief, while staying in the world of Kreola.

I was honored to be one of the judges for this contest and would like to thank CG Society for organizing this awesome event. Congratulations to all the artists who participated. We truly hope you’ll find our feedback helpful.

Keep up the good work everybody; and hope to see you on the forum.

AND please join me in congratulating the winners:

1st Place: Somnath Patra
Beautiful atmosphere in here, with use of the original plate clearly on the left hand side, repeating on the cliffs just like in the Kreola story. This has a nice photoreal quality to it and some nice light and shadow shapes for composition.

2nd Place: Bryan Sola
This one is a really fantastic interpretation of Kreola. Nice bright day light and very sharp canvases across the bridges with great design. Love the huge bustling buildings below with the river flowing. The parked ship on the far right has some great futuristic steam punk infusions in it.

3rd Place: Torsten Wolber
You can really feel the height in this one. The 200m drop below according to the Kreola story is realized quite well here. The saturated yellows and oranges really bring up the exotic and ethnic feel in this piece. I think the only thing to improve here is the shadow consistency in the river from the mountain cliffs to the left.


Sue Jang
Sue demonstrates an extensive proficiency in creative problem solving by surpassing the perspective limitations of the plate with the help of new harsh angles throughout the composition. With her entry she actually achieved a real Matte Painting feel with proper textural quality throughout the image. Leaving one side in complete shadow was a good artistic decision while she obviously put enough thought into playing with the light hits on the opposite side. This Matte Painting also managed to retain the narrow composition from the plate, while successfully expanding the environment into the distance. Generally, the appearance of the image might have gone a tint too dark and dangerous though, rather portraying an industrial living space where one does not wish to stay, instead of the welcoming ambiance presented in the plate. Depending on the artists intention, this might have been exactly the goal, as the cold brick, metal piping and strong straight lines directly aim to create an unfriendly and unwelcoming space. It communicates very strong emotions and is mostly well executed.

Eddie Smith
Eddie has embraced the brief in its purest form and created an outstandingly strong vision of the plate-based environment. Definitely the strongest piece in respect to the steam-punk premiss, the image is merely 2 steps away from a photo-realistic Matte Painting. His visual continuity of the green copper with the eroded look very nicely ties the styleframe together. Technically, some of the perspective is unfortunately off and especially noticeable in the foreground. In order to aesthetically move forward, the artist will have to utilize more specific Matte Painting techniques to paint over the rendered 3D elements. In general however, a really successful entry that is almost there.

Akim Fimin
Akim has impressively pulled of the enormous scale he decided to establish from the beginning on. His 3D implementation with the 2D elements and the plate is well executed. One thing that requires additional attention is the lighting in the scene. It is important to take more cues from the given plate. Especially the amount of bounce light throughout the image, as well as the cast shadows of the additional objects. Overall the entire Matte Painting is very well balanced and the only thing in this image that absolutely needs more attention is that light pole on screen right. The artist shows a good understanding of depth perception, composition and colour balance. Very strong entry.

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Congrats you guys!! Such great imagery in this competition. Have some Happy Holidays coming up for those who celebrate it, to each their own! Proud of you all.


Congratulations to the winners! great selection from the judges. My personal favorite was Torsten’s entry.


Congrats guys, well deserved! I hadn’t seen Torsten’s entry until just now, very nice colors!


Just so that you all know, I pulled out of the Competition after receiving this message from Milan…Sorry guys but I do not want any part in silly games or favoritism.

Quote: “I appreciate you taking this challenge seriously James but please understand that if we stuck to the rules 100% we’d have to disqualify all competitors other than you. We have not abandoned all the guidelines but without loosening them up a bit we were afraid not to have enough final entries.”

  [i]"I do not want airships, cars, gondolas or spacecrafts in this clean matte.."[/i]

Well done Torsten, I think yours should have been the winner.


James, please don’t derail this thread with your personal grievances.


Yaay Congratulations!
You should be proud of yourself for your diligence and for your professionalism.
Let the positive creative energy flow and happy matte painting!



Leigh, I am assuming you are part of CG Society, but I have no idea who you are other than that. I live here in Adelaide and plan to drop in on Friday to lodge a complaint about this competition.

Now let me be absolutely blunt…

Firstly, my comments are NOT directed at people’s artwork that they entered for this competition, I think everyone did amazing work.

My grievances are with CG Society and the Judges for not following and enforcing the rules and guidelines of this Competition properly and for having one set of rules for some people, and another for everyone else.

  1. Your own rules state clearly that a WIP thread is REQUIRED to enter this comp. One of the finalists never had one at all.

  2. The AIM of this competition was to bring Milan’s STORY to life, which is a STEAMPUNK tale. Where is the Steampunk in the winning entry or in some of the others? The aim of something is the whole purpose, if you look it up in a dictionary.

  3. The brief is also for it to be PHOTO REAL.

  4. Your own rules state that ALL TEXTURES MUST BE CREDITED, otherwise the entry will be disqualified. Show me who credited their textures.

  5. In a private message from Milan, I was told that the rules had to be changed otherwise they would have to disqualify every entry except for mine. How do you think I felt about that?

  6. On my WIP thread, I was told NO AIRSHIPS, NO BALLOONS, NO ANIMATED ELEMENTS (I.E Steam, etc) In fact I was told by Milan to hold off on the Steam…

  7. We are also supposed to keep 50% of the original plate recognisable…

So don’t talk to me about derailing this thread, this competition was derailed when CG Society and the Judges decided to throw the rules out the window.

And that is why I why I pulled out, even though I was one of the 11 finalists, because this is such a shameful display.

If you want to speak to me further, I will be in on Friday in your office…otherwise I have no more to say.


Oh, stop being such a drama llama. It seems you’re intent on derailing any discussion to focus attention on you, and at first it was tiring, but now it’s no longer acceptable.

Take your complaint directly to Ballistic if that makes you happy, but I’m not going to sit back and allow you to ruin yet another thread with your jeremiads. The irony being that your own entry doesn’t even meet all the supposed rules that you keep copying and pasting everywhere. Speaking from my own experience in helping to run various contests and challenges on this site for the past decade, contest outlines often need to be loosened or even discarded later in the game in order to cater to the work being submitted (just as indeed actual job briefs often evolve within a production as it progresses), otherwise you may end up in a situation where pretty much everything doesn’t qualify, which renders the challenge fruitless. This was one such occasion, and I’m standing by the judges’ decision. At the end of the day, the winners are all fine examples of matte painting, which is ultimately what this contest was about.


Dear James Colmer,

Please allow me to respond to you openly before you decide to share scrambled up bits and pieces of my personal message to you again.

My contact details are publicly available, as I am an individual representing only myself. As such, I personally find it unnecessary for you to contact the senior staff at the professional VFX studio I am employed at, including supervisors, production leads and the president of the company. In fact, I have been advised to point out to you that you are on the brink of breaching the law by doing so, and legal action will be necessary if you continue with your actions.

Furthermore, please rest assured that you have achieved your goal of making a name for yourself in this global industry.

Sadly, there are only so many different ways I can try to explain to you that you are the one who has unfortunately misinterpreted the spirit of this competition. Since you have revoked your entry I recommend you stop attacking the other competitors, judges and Ballistic Media employees (especially on the phone) about your disagreement with our choice of winners.

Please let the members of this forum enjoy a constructive and fun environment in which everybody can share their Matte Painting work and discuss the art form in a peaceful manner.



Congratulation to the winners! You all did really great piece of art and you should be proud of yourself! :slight_smile:



James, I’m really not happy to write this, especially in public, but I can’t leave, just like that, what you did (in public also). And… what you did is really a shame. I don’t agree with you about your understanding rules and spirit of this competition (and I expressed it many times - in public and via PM), but I respected you and your right to your own opinion. I respected also your decision about leaving this competition (however I see it as a… well… a bit strange behavior), but… why couldn’t you leave it with a dignity and with good memories about you?

It’s really sad to me write it all, because regardless of our differences I liked you and I enjoyed our conversations… But what you did at the end in so many threads… This is definitely not what I meant when I wrote, that we are all brothers in art. Well… It looks like you will not be a part of my good memories about this contest…



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Hello guys !
Congratulations for all the finalists.
Great pieces of art for sure… i would like to had more time to finish my entry, but thats it no worries. next time maybe.

Also great to see the solid and commited feedback given by judges and other great artists in almost all threads. I’ve learned so much, just watching, even without a final entry.

and Somnath, congratz my friend. I knew your image would be a great one when i saw your first concept.

about competition:
I’ve been competing in professional/high level sport here in my country for 20 years. Also went to the army for 1 year. And next week i did an admission test for the university with a density of 20 guys per vacancy in my course…
One thing i’ve learned from al this crap is that competition sucks. Competition in the market, in your job, between neighborhoods, between countryes, or between children at school, it sucks.
People tend to think that competition rises the level of all. It doesn’t.
What rises levels are training, practice, focus and will. And you can have all of it without defeating anyone. Without being ‘on top’ of anyone.

That’s why is great to call this a ‘Challenge’ and not a competition.
Sit back, take off your shoes, grab your pen, relax, try to have fun and put YOUR level high.

Hope the forum keep alive.



yey congrats to everyone!!! :smiley:

@jamescolmer - peace man! let there be peeaaaace on earth lol >_< there is more to life than this challenge dude. Just focus your attention to your family. they are your greatest trophies afterall :wink:


Congratulations to everybody who participated and made this challenge worthwhile.

And of course best wishes to Somnath and Bryan. I think your prices are richly deserved, very well done and inspiring. :bowdown:

This was a wonderful opportunity to dive into the world of matte painting, and i can tell you it won´t be my last cannonball into it :smiley:

As for James: I know it´s easy to point fingers at someone. And i agree that he crossed a line or two, thus making it far to easy to do so.
But consider this: Not one of you reading this put that much effort in his plate, let alone working on it literally night and day to pull this thing off. And he did that because he trusted the given guidelines, knowing sooner or later all contestants would have to make the same commitment.
Then these rules slowly dissolved within the challenge. Which is fine, i think Milan and the others did the right thing to allow more playfulness to work with after seeing some wonderful new and unexpected approaches.

Still, i don´t know about you, but after putting so much effort into it, i would be pissed.

At that point it would´ve helped to be more precise and clear about the rule change , i myself thought it was a little wishy washy sry
James imO simply kept insisting of clearing things up.
I agree that he kept doing so after things were cleared up.
But “passive aggressive”? Hardly.

I´m not blaming anybody nor do i take anyones side. I just think that what happened is just human and banning someone will not help us to deal with issues, that are coming from us as a community as well.

Looking forward to the next matte painting challenge ( 2015? Dunno…), if time allows i will be sooo in :wavy:


Hi Norberto. I hope you didn’t mean that we are all suckers because we took a part in this ;). But seriously - I agree that it is great to call this a ‘Challenge’ not a competition. However I believe, that competitions have a value too if we will not see it as defeating others. For me competing gives extra motivation and excitement, helps cross my own limits and borders. Of course I don’t need competition to do it in general, but during this time everything is more intense and… I simply like it! :slight_smile:

In my opinion the most important value in competitions is self-development. Good fun is right after that. Competing seems to stand in opposite to it… but I believe it all can coexist and in fact support each other, if everything is based on respect. If everyone respect each other, then there’s no shame in not taking place on the podium and it has an extra value if you reach it.

When we decide to join here, we become a part of CGSociety and we are all responsible for making this portal a place, where we would like to meet again. By the way - I hope it will be sooner than in 2015 and (if the time will allow me) you can count on me then. And… the next prize will be mine! :buttrock: :smiley: You don’t believe me? Then come and try to take it from me! But don’t forget to take positive approach and good sense of humor with you (you can bring beer too if you want :beer: ) - let’s make good mood here! :slight_smile:

Best regards to all of you


Norbertoidiart … Thank you Very Much. :thumbsup:

Congratulations :thumbsup: for all of top 11 Finalist and My friends Bryan Sola and Torsten Wolber … :thumbsup: Grate Matte Painting …

Its really grate experience …

I would like take this opportunity to thank the judges for their feedback throughout the WIP process which helped me a lot. I would extend my gratitude to all of the judges.


It was a fun challenge. I didn’t quite see the results of this contest the way the judges did, but I respect their decision and appreciate their feedback. I still like Brian Sola’s the best and would have picked his as the winner. I would have liked to place in the top three of course. Hopefully next time I’ll get there. Not sure how I could have made my piece more photo realistic. I guess when you stare at the same painting for weeks/months you lose perspective (literally lol) on it.

Speaking of perspective, James lacks it completely. For a long time took me a lot not to respond in an irritable manner. I wanted to tell him to f— off and instead of spending all this time picking my work (and others) apart making perspective diagrams and “redmarking” it to death – that would have been better time well spent completing his own work.

I can’t stand blowhards/nitpickers/pettiness (putting others work down to influence judges) / and disingenuous behavior (pretending to offer constructive crit when you’re just being an a–hole) and I’m so glad you all put him in his place - saving me the trouble of stooping to his level by cursing him out.

Anyhow, I’m glad to have at least been mentioned in the final announcements. However I’d be lying if I made anyone think for one second that I’m not extremely disappointed (kinda discouraged considering I thought mine was photorealistic) right now. :cry:

But in all, I thought this was a cool experience and can’t wait for the next challenge. :buttrock:

Thanks Milan for putting on the challenge. :slight_smile: :beer:


After the great participation on this amazing mattepainting contest
the CG Society is now running monthly Digital Matte Painting Challenges on CGTalk
with some awesome prices: http://forums.cgsociety.org/forumdisplay.php?f=370
Make sure to check it out!!