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  1. #1
    Member Len's Avatar
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    Mar 2007
    Cape Town, South Africa

    BLENDING LIFE 2 — Blender 3d realistic human portrait challenge [ENTRIES CLOSED]

    Important note: Please keep this thread clean. Feel free to discuss and ask questions about this contest at its Q&A, News & Discussion section at

    Blender 3d realistic human portrait challenge

    A year has passed since the first Blending Life, and after its success last time we are happy to present to you Blending Life 2! We received many entries during the first Blending Life, and were blown away by the Blender Community’s talent. All of last year’s entries may be viewed at the Blending Life Facebook group.

    This time round a couple of changes has been made. The previous Category B falls away completely, and more in-depth details are added to the previous Category A, which now forms the body of the challenge. Details for Blending Life 1 can be viewed here.

    Even if you feel you can’t quite reach the directions set out below, we still encourage anyone and everyone to enter this contest and to try your very best. In the spirit of this a lucky draw prize has been introduced as encouragement! One winner will be picked at random from all entries received.

    Good luck, and above all have some fun!


    The realistic human – portrait only. Your aim will be to create a 3d model of a human head, that looks like a real, live and breathing human being. The more lifelike, the better. Give it personality. Give it expression, whether it is subtle or more expressive is your choice. Think crazy detail in every aspect of what makes a person look real, especially skin texturing, eye texturing, lighting and shading. Give it that twinkle in the eye that says: "I'm alive!"

    • Everything must be done in Blender internal, modeling, hair, lighting, rendering, you name it.

    • The background may be a photo or any other image created by you, but final composition must be done in Blender.

    • Texturing can be done in external applications like Gimp or Photoshop. Only basic post-production, like simple colour and tone/level/gamma correction is allowed.

    Even though this is a stills contest the aim is also to create a completely textured, production–quality model that can be easily rigged and animated. The structure of the mesh is important, i.e. the correct placement of loops to make it easy to animate and with as few triangle faces as possible, preferably none. Have a look at the links at the bottom of this page for some tips and info on how to create a good mesh. A wireframe screenshot must be included with your entry that shows the mesh and loops clearly. Here is an example of a good clear screenshot:

    Note: The model does not need to be rigged, and as you may decide to manipulate your mesh into a facial expression for this contest, one would normally keep a backed-up version of the original for possible future rigging.

    While the main focus is on the character, final presentation and the overall polished and finished look of your submission is also very important. Make sure to have a look at the Judging Criteria section further down.

    In the spirit of sharing and in helping our community to learn, we encourage all participants to show their production files to the community. Especially your texture maps and even your full project files should you feel generous. This is a special request only, and not compulsory.


    • One year Premium membership to valued at 1290 EUR!
    • Complete Blender 2.5 Training Series by CG Cookie
    • 12 month membership to Citizen

    • 3 month membership to Citizen
    • Any one item from Blender's E-shop


    Bonus lucky-draw prize: Any one item from Blender's E-shop.
    The draw will take place at Angler Publications CC under the watchful eyes of multiple witnesses. Sadly, 1st to 3rd place winners won’t be included in this draw.

    TEXTURES AND REFERENCES SUPPLIED BY 3D.SK is supplying us with a package of seven different high quality portrait textures and references to choose from. Using them aren't mandatory – in other words you may use your own textures if you like – BUT, if you use the textures from your entry stand a very good chance to be showcased at the "User Works" Gallery, which will give your artwork further exposure. You can download them at

    Copyright note: These Images are provided for the Blending Life 2 contest and can be used for personal and/or non-commercial projects. All commercial use is strictly prohibited. All images are copyrighted. (c)


    All entries must be e-mailed to [email protected].
    You'll receive confirmation within 24 hours during a normal week day. If you don't receive confirmation please resend. If submitted over a weekend please wait until the following Monday to receive confirmation.

    • Image size:
    Submit your entry at minimum 1024px wide, regardless of aspect ratio and height.
    It's important to show as much detail as possible.

    Note: should you ever wish to submit your art to any print magazines like 3d World to show off your work then original resolution matters a great deal. For instance an A4 page for print would be 21cm x 29.7cm at 300 dpi (or 2480px wide x 3508px high).

    • Name your jpg files as:
    <your_username>.jpg (Final work)
    <your_username>_wire.jpg (Wireframe screenshot)
    <your_username>_alternate.jpg (Render from different angle)

    • Copyright "stamp" on all images.
    Please include the following info in a clear and unobtrusive way.

    - Title (if u have one)
    - Blending Life 2
    - © Real name + Username
    - E-mail address

    • Placeholder under this main contest thread:
    Please attach a forum friendly version of your final image at your created placeholder. This way the entire community can view all entries.
    Should you wish you can also include a link to your own created WIP thread. Be sure to include "BLENDING LIFE 2" in your WIP subject line.


    The contest will run for a period of nine weeks. As a guideline, three weeks each for modeling, texturing and lighting.
    OFFICIAL START DATE: Monday 25 January 2010
    CLOSING DEADLINE: Monday 29 March 2010, 23:00 PM (GMT)

    Continued below.

    Last edited by Len; 30-Mar-10 at 12:43.
    "Fall on your butt, not your face"

    - Billy Barr

  2. #2
    Member Len's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Cape Town, South Africa


    Judges will each select their top five entries which will form the top pool, the amount of which will depend on overlaps between the judges. Final judging will be done by both the judges and the community.

    Judges will allocate points according to the criteria specified and the community will then also vote for their one favorite via a forum poll. It is recommended that voters use the same criteria as used by judges as a guide.

    The results of each will then be added together which will give us the final total winning scores, consisting of 50% judges scores and 50% poll scores, revealing the top three winners for each category. In the event of a tie, judges will cast a revote on those tied and thereby decide the outcome.

    Judging criteria, forming a total of 60 points.

    Mesh topography: 10.0

    Character realism:
    Skin texturing and shading: 10.0
    Eyes texturing and shading: 10.0
    Hair*, including eyelashes (and facial hair if applicable) texture and shading: 10.0

    Character personality & lifelike expression: 10.0

    Overall presentation: 10.0
    This includes (but doesn’t consist only of) the background and the texture of clothing (if any).

    * Should your character be bald, the scalp’s skin texture will be taken into consideration.

    Judges are as follows:
    • Peter Levius (
    • Jonathan Williamson (CG Cookie &
    • Angela Guenette (PonderStudios and
    • Derek Marsh (BgDM at
    • Len Van Der Westhuizen (


    1. Single image texture/photo projection is strictly prohibited for the actual model's texture. One must be able to view your textured model from any angle.
    2. Modeling and rendering must be done in Blender internal. Texturing can be done in an external application like Gimp or Photoshop.
    3. A wireframe screenshot showing the mesh and facial loops clearly and a simple alternate render from a different camera angle must be included. The background/scene need not be included in this alternate render.
    4. Post render retouching – Only simple colour, tone/level/gamma retouching is allowed. A grayscale final image that resembles a black & white photograph will be allowed, but a colour version of the same must be included alongside the main entry.
    6. You are not allowed to enter previously created work. Only new material created specifically for this contest is allowed.
    7. If you entered the previous Blending Life contest, you may use your original model as a base mesh to sculpt from. However, your final character must be unrecognizable from the original.
    8. You are not allowed to use the same textures (modified or otherwise) as used in your previous Blending Life 1 entry.
    9. The judges decisions are final, and no correspondence will be entered into.
    10. Judges may request blend files if needed for further inspection.
    12. In the event that rules or contest details are amended you will be notified at the Q&A, News & Discussion thread here, or at the Blending Life Facebook group.


    1. Tutorials:
    Blender Cookie – This page reveals an awesome free 6-part head modeling series by Jonathan Williamson. – Jonathan Williamson has two brilliant modeling dvd's that's sure to make you an instant hit. Be sure to check his free tutorials.
    • Organic Modeling Tutorial – Realistic Portrait by Alt_ligury –
    • Multiple image-projection tutorial by Ben Dansie (original link outdated, but have a look at this recent post by Ben) –
    • Portrait UV unrapping made easy (a bit rough) – In this thread:
    • Blender Art Magazine ISSUE 16 Wow Factor – Skin Shading using multi-layered SSS –
    • Skin with multilayered sss experiments –
    • A cgtalk thread has a head with all the textures., on page 26.
    • 3D WORLD magazine, Issue 90, May 2007 – It includes excellent tips from well known artist Oliver Ponsonnet and others.
    • 3D WORLD magazine, Issue 108 – Great stuff on creating texture maps from images, among other things, plus images included on the enclosed DVD.

    2. Textures: – The best out there. They've got a wide variety of professional high resolution photos that can be used for both reference and textures.
    • Free Iris textures – Please note the copyright information, e-mail them for permission as indicated at Blendernation News.

    3. Blends:
    • Broken Shadows – Grunge themed portrait –
    • Saskia Portrait – Download and password upon request. –

    4. Very helpful info and links from last year’s winner Angela Guenette (Nyxia)

    (Art in top banner – from left to right by: Angela Guenette, Aleksander Sikuljak, L.Labede and Andre O. Richard)

    Last edited by Len; 26-Jan-10 at 15:31.
    "Fall on your butt, not your face"

    - Billy Barr

  3. #3
    Member Michael W's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Here's the final shots:

    Finished thread:

    Work in progress thread (what a journey!):
    Last edited by Michael W; 29-Mar-10 at 18:01. Reason: Final entry
    Mike Williamson

  4. #4
    Member ward7299's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Broken Arrow, OK
    Arnold Schwarzenegger, in all his Terminator 2 glory

    oh, and the WIP thread:
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    Last edited by ward7299; 17-Mar-10 at 08:44. Reason: Final Entry

  5. #5
    I'm gonna give it a shot...good luck to all

  6. #6
    Member REiKo Rhoemer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Czech Republic

    Pinhead by REiKo Rhoemer

    My entry for Blending Life 2 contest.
    It is Pinhead character from Clive Barker's Hellraiser movie.

    Entry image

    Alternate image

    Wireframe image
    Last edited by REiKo Rhoemer; 26-Mar-10 at 05:45.
    BWC 2009 entry: Europa // Blending Life 2 entry: Pinhead // BWC 2010 WIP: Angelika (nudity)

    My webpage (in Czech language):

  7. #7
    Member BenDansie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Adelaide, AUS
    (Edit) - For cleaning up this thread (yup, skimmed over the 'placeholders only' part) I have moved this post to the Q&A thread. Long story short, my listed tutorial is out of date and I added some other tutorial links I thought would be useful.
    Last edited by BenDansie; 23-Jan-10 at 14:53.

  8. #8
    Member Len's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Cape Town, South Africa
    @Ben: Edit: Tx Ben, and tx for the feedback.
    Last edited by Len; 23-Jan-10 at 17:04.
    "Fall on your butt, not your face"

    - Billy Barr

  9. #9
    Member Eggyolk's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Baton Rouge, LA
    "Time waits for no one." - 時をかける少女
    Artstation | Instagram | Facebook | Website | Demoreel

  10. #10
    Member JvIasterMind's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    North Branch, MN

  11. #11

  12. #12

  13. #13
    Member RedJay's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    A World of My Own
    Quite possible placeholder (especially if I don't get my work soon).

    Woohoo! Finished even though I had a ton of real work to do!
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    Last edited by RedJay; 27-Mar-10 at 14:21. Reason: entry
    -Becca (who almost never comes on here anymore due to college)

    Never verbal spar with RedJay or Moonflower. They are the champions of this game. -kbot
    Of all the things I've lost, I miss my mind the most.
    My biggest inspiration.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Wirral, United Kingdom

  15. #15
    Member tyrant monkey's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Windhoek, Namibia
    agh, my own little banana republic - Place Holder for the monkey's final render.
    I have 500 bad drawings in me before the good ones. And I have 289 to go, here they are.

  16. #16
    Member stivell's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Bordeaux, France
    Placeholder for my own try : please, pry for me ;-)

  17. #17
    Member Agent_AL's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Riga, Latvia

  18. #18
    Member Lancer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    New Zealand
    I suppose oversize files are okay for once, if I use thumbnails.

    WIP thread:

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    Last edited by Lancer; 29-Mar-10 at 03:31.

  19. #19
    Member jhultgre's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Ames, IA

  20. #20
    Placeholder. I'll see if I can make the time...
    ‎"We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars."
    ~Oscar Wilde

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