What are you looking for in a Blender challenge?

We just finished our first big challenge, ‘Make a Splash in Amsterdam’, and we’re getting messages from interested parties to sponsor a new challenge.

Before we dive in, I’d like to get a better sense of what our community on Blender Artists would be most interested in. What did you like about ‘Make a Splash’, and what didn’t you like? What would your perfect Blender challenge look like, in terms of the task (theme, subject matter, …), prizes (hardware? cash? software?) and timeline.

I’d love to have an open discussion about that here so we can create an even better new challenge for you. Thanks!


I liked the challenge because the rules weren’t as strict as they can be in terms of what you make. Now I wasn’t the one entering, but I do think that people can be a little more eased out when the overall theme isn’t a narrow one. People work on different subject matters and so getting common ground at the same time is difficult. There might be people who’d say they’d entered if this challenge was a month ago, or maybe they were going to get into it in the future. To match a majority of people, I think a “make whatever you want” definition of what the project should be about would benefit.
(But then again intentionally narrowing the gap for a specific topic is a way to do it, I think in terms of skill comparison, but maybe not so much in terms of creativity.)


I really enjoyed following the Make a Splash contest, but for me, the prize wasn’t something I was able to use, so I couldn’t enter. I would love to see more large scale competitions on this forum though, perhaps bringing back old classics like the F1 Challenge, which I know there is interest in.

As for prizes and such - I think that more broad prizes would certainly appeal to more people. Getting sponsors for hardware (Tablets, and the like) is probable something that can be done, I’d imagine. Not sure about broader hardware, like Graphics Cards and stuff, but it might be worth taking a shot. Cash is also always good, if nothing else.

I think overall, the theme of the contest is the most important thing. If you can’t get excited about the thing you’re being asked to create, then it’s going to be difficult to get people to enter, regardless of prizes.


I think going with cash prizes are best , You would be attracting a lot more People to your contest .
Reason: If the contest’s prizes are hardwares or softwares , there is a good chance some might not need those and that’s where you lost an contestant but if there is cash , that means the freedom to purchase what they want ( not to mention due to currency conversion the money gets handsomely converted for lots of international contestants) .

So having cash prize is a very promising hook for potential contestants ! That’s my opinion regarding the prizes.


I liked the ‘Make a splash’ challenge because though it encouraged creativity, there were go-bys/examples to use as a starting point.

I would like to see something in a similar vein i.e. a common theme (character, scene, activity…) and have artists interpret it in their own way. Themes could match the season, e.g. Halloween for October, Xmas for December OR interpretation of a childrens story e.g. jack and the beanstalk OR interpretation of a tv/movie scene OR …

I think prizes should include cash i.e. cash +/- hardware/software. That way, sponsored items can be gifted and winners will also have money towards buying whatever they need.

Timeline should at a minimum be 2 weeks long. Anything less, may leave amateurs at a disadvantage.

A non-user of the site, I didn’t like that the ‘make a splash’ challenge output had to be on Sketchfab. I didn’t have time to learn how to use it beforehand. That being said, I now see the benefits esp the 360 model view feature.


This is already done in Artwork: Finished Projects:wink: make what you want and take your time… the rewards are constructive critics… (and no comments are sometimes also some hint)… okay this wasn’t serious…

Getting sponsors is easy (:thinking: well i think so; because for example a 2000$ graphics card doesn’t cost the manufactorer 2000$ and also is advertisment)… but to be honest most of this prices are nothing for me because i have already this or that or just don’t want that or this… (sometimes it wouldn’t even fit in my computer).

Well this was fast :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: … That is something a can relate with…

To get serious: a challenge/competition does interest me if i can relate to the topic or i think that this is a challenge i could learn something (even if i may not finishd it in time)… And some of them where real eye opener even if i didn’t published anything (because it was sooo bad or the others sooo much faster… :crying_cat_face: or they fought about the better workflow/technic/software :scream_cat:)

One kind of price i would work my ass of would be a donation to the Blender Foundation (see footnote) … mentioning the 2000$ graphics card above as an example →

Blender.org Breaking News: 2000$ donation to the Blender Foundation made possible by the winner XY of the challenge YZ at BlenderArtists.org

…and a little note about the sponsor behind this price.

Well… someone can dream… :heart_eyes_cat: .

(footnote: sponsoring BA this way may be problematic…? except mentioning it in the BF news ??)

I’m glad to hear that the Make a Splash in Amsterdam challenge brought attention to Blender Artists!

What I found the most interesting at the start was the prompt. To me, it was the perfect combination of inspiring and challenging. It wasn’t a technical job were the most skilled get the prize, you had plenty of room to decide the scope of your concept and play with your strengths.

Regarding the prizes, the chance to go to the Blender conference was a big thing for me. Although, I must note that I was lucky the Blender Conference caught me just between finishing my bachelor’s degree and starting on a new job, so I guess it was exclusive to those who just couldn’t attend or program a trip on such relative short notice. I understand how people would really value hardware or cash prizes.

Another thing I found interesting was the WIP sharing. I found the pressure of seeing everybody competing so closely to be both super thrilling and a bit taxing on the enthusiasm. Maybe it’s just how I handle things, although I remember @Carson_Barrs mentioning it too. I will certainly remember my mood oscillating frequently between “I really have a shot” and “I’m wasting my time here”. I don’t know If I would change it, though… As I said, those weren’t bad feelings, just intense ones.

Some element that could have been more exciting would have been a shorter span between publishing the rules and the deadline. Perhaps that’s just me.

Thanks for giving us space to share our thoughts!


For me, the sketchfab intergration was what made me quit. Sketchfab is a skill on its own to make things look good, and I find it limiting for how I like my things to look.

Big prizes aare always nice, but smaller prizes are great too (Be it smaller contest or runner-ups) . As for time, I find a month is fair for a major contest


I think an ideal challenge should last about a month and have either cash prizes or a wide selection of hardware.

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My two cents as a participant of the latest challenge:

  • I found the way the theme was formulated to be extremely good, as it let a lot of freedom to each artist (as you could see from the variety of entries). Having a wide enough theme is great for everyone to participate.
  • the WIP posts are great for community and engagement. I’d make them a hard requirement! If this is a public challenge, then the WIPs make everyone feel part of it. The artists get to know each other, and those who aren’t participating also get to somehow have a space to express their opinions. Not only that, but with challenges (like for example ArtStation’s latest) I often get to see the workflow of artists I admire. It’s also an educational experience! I also see how they increase the pressure: they did, for me. But at the same time, I also remember having moments in which I was feeling pretty tired, and then I opened the forum and saw that also other fellow artists were going through the same. It made the challenge less lonely.
  • I was about to write as a point that having rules about tools (i.e. Sketchfab in the latest challenge) is quite limiting. But you know what? Actually that’s fine. The real world is limiting. If you’re making a game, you have so many limitations. If you’re creating a commission, same. I think artistic talent is also getting the best out of a given set of technical limits. So, as long as they’re not excessively harsh, I think technical limits are fine.
  • I thought it was cool that the latest challenge wasn’t restricted geographically, as I remember, the possibility of travelling being the main requirement. I’d keep that. As a European, it has happened to me often to stumble upon challenges that were limited to the USA/Canada. It’s nice this wasn’t the case here!
  • perhaps, if you’re going to make many challenges in the future, think about dividing them also in different technical categories? For example, a prize for the best character, one for the best environment, and so on and so forth.

The Make a Splash challenge was quite enjoyable for me. I didn’t participate publicly, primarily because I am not competent enough with Blender yet (I did pick a splash and developed and blocked a scene, which was fun; I’ll return to that when I can actually do what I envisioned).

I don’t think there was anything I didn’t like about that challenge. Getting the work up on SketchFab was a bit unusual, but didn’t strike me as onerous. The only issue was possibly the prize, because that didn’t work at all for people who can’t travel. On the other hand it might have attracted people who might otherwise not have cared; I have no way of knowing. It was a pretty cool prize if one could travel.

The wide open subject matter was appealing. Finding a good theme is probably quite a difficult aspect to tackle for organizers, and the more open it is the harder it might become to judge. Still, I’d prefer it to be more open than tightly defined.

I enjoyed seeing all the WiPs; that was the best part for me. I love seeing the process other people go through; I learn so much from that. It really gets the community at large involved in the challenge as well. I’d be tempted to make that a requirement.

Whether I enter a challenge or not is mainly decided by my skill level and the time I have, not by what I can win. I wouldn’t have entered this challenge if I had been competent enough because I can’t travel and wouldn’t want to take that particular prize from somebody who can. That’s a whole lot easier to handle if the prize is cash – I can donate that to the Blender Foundation (or any worthy cause) if I don’t need the money – or hardware, which I could sell if I don’t need it. Prizes I personally would really like would be educational, a choice of a good commercial course in some advanced subject, for example, but I have no idea how attractive that would be to others. I suspect most people would rather have cash than anything else, with hardware second.

Time matters. 2 weeks is short from my point of view; 4 weeks is probably best.


Prizes: I would personally like to see prizes bounce between cash and other prizes that are more expensive than a realistic cash prize, if that makes sense. Doing a competition for a non-cash prize that one could buy with a typical cash prize is less efficient. Doing cash would draw more people. But, doing a non-cash prize for something more expensive than the typical cash prize is a great prize.ALSO TRAVEL BASED PRIZES, like Make a Splash. There are a lot of people that want to travel but lack the funds. Winning trips to different countries is awesome!
(Note: Obviously I have no idea how sponsorships or gettings funds for cash prizes works)

Timeline: the timeline for Make a Splash was tight for me. I would have liked it to be a week or two longer, I was really rushing my submission at the end

I agree with @scopelma on the point about WIP posts. Honestly, that was the best part of the whole thing for me. That’s what stood out. Definitely a hard requirement for all the same reasons, especially making it less lonley. As @homspau said, there were moments when having the WIPs felt pretty bad, but I wouldn’t change it. In the end, that element pushed me but because the community around it was so positive! That’s really the key. If it was just everyone posting their cold isolated WIPs that wouldn’t be fun. But with everyone commenting and the general supportiveness (with real advice/criticism in there), it was worth the occasional bad moment. Also, given this was my first competition idk how I’d manage to create my submission in isolation. How could I know where I stand? If I should push myself harder? Less? revamp my idea? Do I have a shot or am I kidding myself? Make a Splash might have ruined me for other competition formats lol. My brain will be way meaner to me with unknowns than reality ever could lol. ( i realized I just kind of contradicted myself – I’m not sure if cold WIPs would be better than no WIPs. But warm WIPs are definitely a win!)

Theme: I think bouncing between creatively free-er and technical challenges would be good. Some modelers are more “creative” in terms of ideas than others. Most of my 3D experience is being given something to replicate and replicating it (mostly historic buildings). So, technically I’m good but I haven’t exercised the idea-generation part of my creativity much yet and I have no experience in storyboarding, look-dev, building full cohesive scenes, I don’t know color theory properly, etc, etc and I think that showed in my submission. So there is something to be said for technically minded challenges as well. I like doing both though! But there should be a clear demarcation between them in the judgment criteria – If this is a challenge that is graded more on creativity or more on technical skill. And the vast majority of the time I would like to see it fall harder on one end than the other.


In the vein of educational prizes, It might be interesting to do amateur/intermediate only competitions with course prizes attached to them :thinking:. Like “sculpt your first character” with a sculting course prize. That would help newer 3D artists learn and get them in to competitions sooner/more comfortably

There could also be a judgement criteria that a submission can’t be “too good”. If it’s TOO good you loose a few points up to disqualification. I know that could get dicey cause it’s subjective, but I’m just spit balling. Would probably only be used for submissions that are clearly a step above the rest.

Ideally the course would be related to the theme. They would have to operate on the honor system to some degree, but also why would a pro need a course on something they’re a pro at?


I really liked the challenge splash to Amsterdam and wish to have more like these in the future to Amsterdam.
Also, to attract an artist, u may consider offering jobs maybe?? So that more people will come and interestingly participate.

Also, it would be helpful if there was a notification system for keeping up with competitions as they come out. Like a thread we can watch that always gets updated when a new prize based competition starts.


Hey everyone, thanks for the great feedback so far! I went through it all and tried to summarize your input below. Let me know if you think I missed anything, or if this list sparks some new ideas :slight_smile:


  • Keep it ‘region-free’, do not lock out certain countries
  • Add subcategories. For example, a prize for the best character, one for the best environment, and so on and so forth
  • Do amateur/intermediate only challenges (although hard to judge someone’s level objectively)


  • Hardware
  • Cash (3)
  • Blender Foundation donations (2)
  • Travel as a prize can stop people from participating, but some find it awesome too.
  • Add smaller prizes (smaller contest or runners-up)
  • Educational prizes / courses (related to the theme? - although if you win the theme, you probably do not need the course anymore)
  • Jobs (I don’t think this is realistic, and companies cannot commit to guarantee to hire the winner as a job depends on so many other factors too)


  • Revive the F1 Challenge
  • Provide a good starting point for participants (reference art, examples)
  • Find a good mix of inspiring and challenging
  • Do not make the rules too strict, leave enough freedom to the artists. Wide-open subject matter is appealing to artists
  • Switch between creatively-free, and technical challenges


  • 4 weeks sounds about right (3)
  • Some people suggest shorter might be better as it adds pressure & excitement


  • Having to publish on another platform like Sketchfab is a detractor
  • WIP sharing adds to the ‘not feeling alone’, enthusiasm and thrill of seeing what your competitors are up to. It also adds educational value (3)

Ooh boy! :smiley:

What’s the F1 challenge ?