Grand Space Opera Challenge FAQ / Questions / Answers


For questions/answers, please post here…

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  1. Please help us to answer questions. If you see a question already answered, please refer the person to that answer so that we don’t keep repeating ourselves.

               [b]Technical Support[/b]

For all registration errors, or technical errors while using the Challenge site, please PM Robert Mibus, our technical officer - username: mibus.

               [b]Frequently Asked Questions (last update: 23/10)[/b]

[b]- Concepts and Ideas -

[/b]Q: Can I do [insert concept here]? or What exactly do you want?
[color=White] A: Whatever is iconic and directly related to the Grand Space Opera genre - which is already very broad. Please be imaginative and surprise us. We will not be giving anyone specifics. It needs to be iconic and epic - imagine that the image is to be used on a book novel cover.

Refer to the following:

Ask yourself - how is my concept related to the space opera theme?

[/color]Q: If we send our concepts early, what guarantee do we have that other people could not “steal” our idea?
A: Your guarantee is that there are 115,000 other members on CGTalk, many whom respect originality as it is in their best interest as artists. If someone has the gall to ‘steal’ your concept, and it is made known to the public, that person will get such a bad rap from the community that he/she will not want to come back. This has happened several times on CGTalk already with plagiarism made known to the public. However, in the history of the Challenge (all 15 of them), no-one has ever ‘stolen’ another person’s concept. Also bear in mind that Phase 1 judging is public voting.

Q: What happens if I change concept half way and want to do something totally different?
A: No problem, but you have to submit all the necessary milestones for that new concept, to qualify.

          [b]Q: Can the initial sketch be a 3D sketch as opposed to pencil and paper? Can't draw worth a sh*t I'm afraid.[/b]
   A: Yes, this is fine; the sketch is supposed to show what you have in mind and where you are headed. Drawing is preferred.

Q: I am currently working on another space opera-theme project (commercial/non-commercial/whatever). Can I make my image for this contest based on the other project?
A: Be original and imaginative please. Create a unique image.

- Challenge-Specific -
Q: How early do I have to start submitting milestones?
A: As early as possible. Although there is no due date earlier than the final closing date, part of the final judging vote puts 25% weight on Community Interaction, which means that people who ‘hold back’ their work in progress till the last minute can be penalized.

Q: Can we work in teams? What about pairs?
A: No, this is not a team challenge.

            [b]   Q: I'm using a new email but the challenge keeps sending stuff to my old one. How do I fix that?[/b]
               A: You go into CGTalk's UserCP (User Control Panel) and change your email address there.

Q: What if I am a winner and I want a different prize? E.g. What if I win the Grand Prize but I want the Runner Up prize instead?
A: You can contact the other winner with the prize that you want, and ask if they want to do an exchange. What you guys do with your prizes is up to you, and we’re not going to be involved in it.
[/color]Q: How do I actually enter the 3D competition?
A: Go to the challenge site here and then to Enter The Challenge. Upload your pictures through the challenge site submission (“Submit Your Entry”).

          [b]Q: Do I tag every concept sketch uploaded as a milestone, or just THE final concept sketch. [/b]
          A: Everything is a milestone until you do the final image.

[/color]Q: How i can get out of this challenge?
A: Just stop submitting.

Q: Can I have multiple entries?
A: No. As stated in the guidelines, no multiple entries although it’s possible to enter both the 2D and 3D challenges as long as the two are vastly different in concept.

Q: Can I upload my WIP images to my own server? Is that counted?
A: No. Please use the Challenge site facility to upload your Work-In-Progress. The purpose of the image hosting on the Challenge site is to give everyone the equal opportunity to post their work-in-progress, and have it hosted. At the conclusion of the Challenge, you will undoubtedly remove any Work-In-Progress images from your personal website and generate broken links all over CGTalk - so please use the Challenge upload facility.

- Technical[color=White] -

  [/color][b]Q: Are random or parametric terrain and foliage/plant generation software (Bryce/Vue/Terragen) allowed?[/b]

A: No. This has been a legacy of the last 15 Challenges. The whole purpose of the Challenge is to learn. We challenge artists with a concept/theme and rules/boundaries by which people have to work with. What’s the challenge in pressing a few buttons and getting an automatic scene or terrain out of that? There’s no challenge!

We regard the Challenge like a triathlon, where athletes are given a goal and a route to go through to get to the goal. You don’t see athletes jumping in cars to beat their competitors, and drug cheats almost certainly face banning, prosecution and public humiliation. Similarly, we give boundaries to the Challenge, and we challenge artists to better themselves through this.

  [b]Q: Can I use Poser to make different people (because they will not be the main purpose of the scene)? [/b]
            A: No prefabs, if your characters are tiny it won't take you much effort to model some lowpoly humans.
[b]Q: Can I use a trial version of a software?[/b]
            A: Yes. We don't care. The final image must not have watermarks on it.
          [b]Q: The guidelines in the instructions says that the resolution for the final image should be at least 2657 pixels wide and/or 3636 high, 300 DPI (portrait). Why do you need such a high resolution for?[/b]

A: We want to train people to create artwork for print. Therefore, things such as detailed textures and meshes become important in the creation of your artwork. The final image needs to be prepared for print, and we want everyone to work towards producing work that is print quality by habit.

          [b]Q: What resolution do you want the final image to be exactly? What about if we make the image a different aspect ratio and orientation?[/b]

A: Your final image aspect ratio and orientation will dictate your final resolution. We want images that will print at 300dpi on a 22 x 30cm page (whatever orientation). Please do your research and work this out yourselves. Your final image will need to be rendered at enough resolution to print and hold up detail.

Q: Because of hardware limitations, is it ok to render a part and use it as a background, or render in “layers” and composite it all togueder later?

A: All post trickery is allowed and encouraged.

          [b]Q: Any problems if I do it with a student license of Maya?[/b]
         A: If it is watermarked then yes. Otherwise, no.
         [b]Q: Is it ok to use vray for rendering?[/b]
         A: Why wouldn't it be? (yes)
         [b]Q: While I know its ok to use 2D textures in this 3D it going to be ok to use a 2D element as a back drop? Like a a matte painting?[/b]
         A: It's OK as long as it's not a stock plate. 
           [b]Q: Is it allowed to use web downloaded textures?[/b]

A: Yes, but they will have to be modified to suit your image. If stock textures are recognised there may be a penalty by the community and the judges, consciously or unconsciously.



Ok, same question another topic (sry for the first one…)

Can i choose a well known galaxy (like Star Wars) or
must i invent a whole new galaxy from scratch?


I think it’s smarter to take a ‘new’ galaxy (should give you more of a chance on the prizes :])


New galaxy! Entries must have original concepts.


One question please: Can there be Bot Machine like beings (I assume so) as well as Humonoids? Thanks.Good luck to all.


It can be anything as long as it fits the theme.


Ok. This is interesting, but before I decide to enter, I need to know exaclywaht is expected and, since English is not my native language, sometimes I have difficulty understanding everithing I read, specially some concept, so I would like to ask if someone would be so kind that could explain in simple words what “Grand Space Opera” means please.
So that you see that i’m not joking, the first time I read the topic and what to do, I thought you wanted us to create something like an alien Opera stage of epic proportions or something like that :shrug:

So, after I read it 2 or 3 times, I realized it is nothing of that, but couldn’t get the concept behind what is wanted.

Thank you.

Best regards


Hey, I have a question,

I want to get a iconic moment from our history, then transplant it into a space scene. Is this an ok thing to do?


maximus it sounds pretty okay as long as the theme is correct
don’t get me wrong tho, I’m not a mod :wink:
mods: flame at will (if I’m wrong, that is)


Yeh, gonna change it to huge ass spaceships!!! yay!


can’t go wrong with a couple of those, yeah !



Star Wars is categorized in the Space Operas because it assembles many elements of a traditionnal play(Japan Jidai and Celtic Myths in this case) in a futuristic setting.


Hmmm, thank you StephanD.

That helps a little, but is not enough for me; I still can’t judge if the ideas I have are on or off topic.
Thanks anyway.

Best regards.


Just wanted to say the sub-banner at the start of the challenge entries page is a great
idea…the idea could really add some pazzaz to some of the other thread start sections too…it would kind of indivdualize them a bit.


i have a small problem leonard

the contest entry has been sent to an older email wich i dont have acces to anymore
can this be solved ?
with regards,


Ask a mod in private so you don’t give it away to us rest.


Hey that’s a great idea! Havn’t thought of that. Thank you :thumbsup:

Best regards.


Thanks A LOT timothyD, that was of great help.

Best regards.


Any problems if I do it with a student license of Maya?


One question is it ok to use vray for rendering.