Art test suspicion

I was chosen to do an art test for a 3d scan startup, to retouch textures and remove glaring artifacts from the photogrammetry. After a day or two I realized that that might be exactly what would be needed to program a deep learning? I’m sort of vaguely aware from denoising experiments and volunteers rendering to help train the AI, and also deep fakes. These things are available for anyone with initiative. I spent about 8 hours altogether including rendering. There were other aspects, roughness maps, metal, normal maps, ao, etc. but the texture had an 8K size requirement. Do you think a company would do something unscrupulous like this? I’m reminded of captcha where for years I dutifully picked out all the stop signs or vehicles or jay walking pedestrians.

Probably a scam of some sort.

I’m pretty sure they must be trying to automate the texture projection fixup. I’m thinking now why would they even offer that as a job when these deep learning frameworks are available. I was really excited too and delivered it it on the next day 4th of july… Bastards!

Every time you “pick out those jay walking pedestrians” you are feeding a recognition algorithm on the back end. Google talks at length about what they’re doing with the data collected by millions of ReCaptcha responses per day.

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I just received a response from them thanking me for taking the test, but that I wasn’t a proper fit for the job, but that they would keep me in mind for future openings. The test was literally painting out areas that were occluded during the photogrammetry, which were given a “white” color. So the armpits, crevices, etc would have white artifacts on the model and texture. I’m not 100% certain but I believe this would be a low hanging fruit/textbook prime area for A.I. and IMHO it would be unscrupulous to dangle the possibility of some job to get training material, and this should be really frowned upon?

Do not do art tests, unless they pay you. It is their job to pick the right person by looking at your previous work and your resume. If they cant make up their mind based on your past work, then they do not know what they are looking at or they do not know what they are looking for.

I should have known better because I’ve heard negative things before about art tests, but it was sort of abstract in the moment as for the reason for the negativity. I was really excited to get it done in the next day of the email on the 4th of july to really impress, working late into the night on the 3rd downloading probably over a gigabyte of reference material. They had a five day deadline from the initial email which is also in retrospect… I can predict retopology ‘job offers’ and this sort from seemingly reputable businesses, who may justify it as a talent search, but it’s pretty nefarious.

Here’s the censored email which should be ok. I think there may be a theoretical job in the baking aspects, but the main purpose is to get samples of retouched textures to train A.I. . It seems very crazy, but something to look out for?

Thanks for applying for a position with CENSORED! Next steps inside…

Jul 3, 2019, 4:37 PM


Thank you for applying to our 3D Artist position! We’ve selected you as a potential candidate based on your work history and portfolio; however, we’d like to see what you’re capable of working on a sample model (real customer data) before we move forward with a phone interview.

The ideal candidate for this position is someone who is comfortable working with scan data from one of our full-body 3D scans, which are fully textured, high polycount models. In order to determine if your skillset is a good fit for the position, we would like you generate assets using a couple of our scans as an art test.
This is also an opportunity to get a feel for some of the work involved with the position.

Here is a link to a folder containing all the files you need:


For the first part of the test, we would like you to process a scan of a clothing article and generate a set of PBR texture assets that will accurately represent its real-life fabric and material qualities. You can find a turntable video of an example finished asset in the “Test_Garment” folder along with its final mesh and its original raw files. The scan we would like you to work on is named “Garment_Test”.

To complete the test you will need to generate and send us:
•Final mesh with appropriate UVs at 50k-60k triangles

•Base Color/Diffuse Map

•Normal Map

•Roughness Map

•Metallic Map

•(optional) Occlusion and/or Cavity map

•(optional but recommended) One or more renders of the completed garment asset

All texture maps should be at 4k resolution. For reference, please use images and information found here.

For the second part of the test, all we need you to do is to retouch the texture of one of our full-body 3D scans
that would be destined for full-color 3D printing. You can find a before-after example in the “Test_Figure” folder.
The file we would like you to work on is named “Figure_Test” with its reference photos in “Figure_Reference”.

The goals are to remove all texture abnormalities caused by occlusion during the scan, repair any misalignments of the texture,
and to normalize any hard value or color shifts. You must achieve this while maintaining texture quality and likeness of the subject.

For this test you only need to focus on the texture, however, you are allowed to re-UV if needed as long as texture quality is maintained.
Final submittable asset should be the mesh OBJ, MTL, and 8k resolution JPG texture compressed into a ZIP folder.

Please upload all completed assets to a shareable Google Drive/Dropbox folder (or some other file sharing app) and provide the link in a response on this form:

We would like you to complete this no later than 5 days after you receive this message.

Please feel free to reply to this e-mail if you have any questions or need clarification.

Thank you,


This is not a test, it is a fully finished task. They offloaded the work of using their brains to find the right candidate to you.

In any case, to anyone reading this post, please do not accept art tests unless you have just came out of college or you just started doing 3d. In my personal view, professional artists should not accept unpaid tests, as this is a form of questioning the integrity of their past work and their resume. If they are so keen on testing people for real, they should do it professionally. The money is not the issue at stake here, I feel like companies of such are “taking advantage” of people who are on the market, and their ulterial motivations are not always clear.

Not to be argumentative, but in my experience if you aren’t willing to take a test then then you might as well not bother applying.

I’ve been a hiring manager before and an art test can tell you a lot that a demo reel or portfolio can’t. I’ve seen plenty of great demo reels only to get back animation tests where the candidate can barely manage a simple walk cycle. You have no way of knowing from a demo reel how much of the final product is the result of the animator’s skill or heavy, heavy notes and direction from their director or even their teachers at school. The test shows you their creativity when there’s no director to give notes, how they approach and solve problems and what type of quality they can deliver under a deadline. And this is true for most art disciplines, not just animation.

If a candidate refused to take a test, and it did happen once or twice, we moved on to the next candidate. Simple as that. If a candidate wasn’t willing to put in that minimal effort then they must not have wanted the job that much.

Art tests are a standard industry practice whether you’re just getting out of school or have been in the business for a decade. So I’d be careful turning down tests on principle or you might be disappointed by how limited your opportunities can get.

Pacermike,That’s basically how I figured employers felt about art tests, I also figured I was “in” by how extensive it was. I wish I knew a little more of A.I., as it seems like ranting insanity, but I’m aware of a few within Blender community already. When I finished I also filled out a questionnaire about how difficult it was, how long it took etc., so I believe they are trying to assign a value to some photogrammetry auto texture cleanup utility :smiley: they seemed very well financed to me, I guess 90 cameras with a logo emblazoned booth.

Except that, the issue of testing comes out later during the process. I have yet to see anyone putting art testing in their listings.

The main issue is that you cant find out even with a testing is if the tested is a good fit for the team or not. The skill set is not always the most important part of forging a team.

Art tests are a standard industry practice whether you’re just getting out of school or have been in the business for a decade. So I’d be careful turning down tests on principle or you might be disappointed by how limited your opportunities can get.

Like I mentioned in my reply above, any company that needs art testing to find the right person for their team also should learn how to shell out money for the tested even in symbolic amounts. At least they can show that they are respecting the applicant’s time.

Because everyone else doing it is not a good logic. By introducing testing you might be scaring off more valuable people.

You’re right in that an art test isn’t usually part of the initial application.

The process is usually:

  1. Application
  2. Phone screen
  3. Art test
  4. In-person interview

You respect the applicant’s time by providing feedback to the test submission, thanking them for testing and letting them know why their test was or wasn’t what you were looking for.

If you were competing in an art contest would you expect to be paid just for participating, even if you didn’t win? It’s just a completely unrealistic position to take. I’m sorry man, this just isn’t how it works.

If you want a chance you have to be willing to show what you can do. This is normal and reasonable. And that’s why it’s standard practice.

@3dcgfx Yeah man, in your case in particular the way this was set up is pretty fishy sounding. Especially the questionnaire at the end. That doesn’t sound like the kind of thing I’m used to seeing.