Anycubic I3 Mega

Yes, I finally took the leap to get my own 3D printer. After quite a bit of webby research I landed on the Anycubic I3 Mega as hitting the sweetspot for price, quality and features.

There is quite an array of  options on the market these days and it can be quite hard to weigh up the relative value of all the different aspects that go into making the final choice. They key differentiators for me were: Price (there is a big range here), Build Volume (small is easy, larger not so common), Reliability (how much trouble they give people), Quality (how nice are those prints going to be and Extras (what other features might shine on the various models). The other 3D Printers I was checking out closely included the models from Prusa, Flashforge, Creality and Ultimaker but the Anycubic I3 Mega just seems so well regarded, esp at this pricepoint (Direct through Ebay). Note I am also tempted by the gorgeous smaller prints that might come from something like the Anycubic Photon - but that is for another day.

Why am I getting one - I really like the idea of being able to bring the digital work into the world and am keen to do so for things like: tabletop gaming including x-wing, roleplaying minis, promotional models, custom pots, jewellery pieces, household bits and bobs, design prototypes and figurines. First cab off the rank will be some custom laptop wedges for my Razer Blade Pro (which runs pretty hot esp. when gaming).

Ok, so here are some pics showing the unboxing, assembly and printing of the sample owls. Things went together very easily indeed with just a few screws and cable connections (note that the red connector is there, it is just tucked away). Bed levelling was simple enough and you can see how well the first print adhered to the nice build plate. The prints took 1hr23mins and are really very good. The pics are zoomed in pretty close and the lighting accentuates the layer lines more than they feel to the eye. They are definitely there and are a real aspect of FDM prints that I am going to want to handle either with sanding, printing at higher res or other forms of finishing/smoothing.

I installed the Ultimaker Cura Slicer which has a profile for the printer and now I feel setup and ready to go. I will post more on the Anycubic I3 Mega once I have done more than a single test print :)

Enjoy the pics:


Spire Campaign Pic

With our Spire RPG Campaign now wrapped up I wanted to create a full image to represent the characters and hint at some of the events that flavoured our fun. For those who dont know the second thing about Spire it is a relatively new Tabletop RPG from the creative brain of Grant Howitt along with Mary Hamilton and Chris Taylor. You can see more on their Rowan Rook and Decard site as well as the original Kickstarter page. While I didnt end up emulating Adirian Stone 's art for the pic, I did stick to a few colours, lots of straight lines and such to keep it at least reminiscent.

The whole thing was done in Photoshop using my Wacom Intuos Pro with the Razer Blade Pro providing the horsepower. The main characters were Yirick'e the Azurite (bottom left), Varyth aer Princess the Carrion Priest (mid left), Welvayas the Firebrand turned Lahjan, Kippax the Vermissian Sage (top right), Sir Eventide Knight of the Questing Cocks (mid right) and finally Yolent her new squire who was a PC for a bit following Varyth's death. Several of these characters were sprinkled with abilities from other sources be that the Crimson Vigil, Demonology, Blood Witchery, the Grey Manor or the Steel Boned. Plus that is Sir Lionsmane in the centre there, an NPC who linked up in various ways with our campaign quite regularly - poor guy got the rough end of things over and over and over.

The intent now is to get T-Shirts made up with this on the front and our character names on the back (GM for Mik). I am also thinking of including a big block of keyword text like a tour t-shirt. Can serve as an extra reminder of the fun - maybe something like:

Spire RPG Campaign 2018/2019
World (Mik), Kippax (Tob), Sir Eventide (Cyb)
Welvayas Mlezzrr (Mar), Yirick'e Stellen (Jak)
Varyth aer Princess (Gra) and Yolent
Eiddolon Sky, Blood and Dust, The Ministry
The Vigil, Sunlight Collective, The Steel Boned
Red Row, The Hungry Deep, The Vermissian
Azurites, Carrion Priests, Firebrand, Lahjan
Temples, Soup Kitchens, Bars, Gods, Mistresses
Questing Cock Knights, Blood Witches, Demons
Gangs, Paladins, Rats, Gnolls, Dragons, Debts
Scheming, Kidnapping, Quests, Duels, Deals
Romance, Death, The Swan, Lionsmane, Kresh
Junkett, Veronique, Jeffex, Krolis, Greylor
Hides from Rainbows, Juasha, Mourns the 200
Jessamin, Cricket, Sonder, Kurtz, Drynn, Kraxl,
Theodosia and so much more.


RPGing back into 13th Age

Our 13th Age game has leapt way into the future following the demise of the previous party at the hands of some Illithid magic. This new party are all young again and struggling to get through Adventuring school and the special events being run for the benefit of various guilds and organisations looking for new recruits.

My new character is Sierra a chirpy Dwarven Wizard who has a shard of a now ancient living spell as her familiar. This old spell dates back several campaigns now in the same 'world' and was a horrific union of Fire, Death and Void which claimed the lives of the casters and was created without much thought for the collateral either. To reflect this I have been noodling away at some mechanics for it, not wanting to make things too complicated but still introducing it as a real threat/benefit/concern that flavours each fight. Here is the current version for those interested:

Ancient Shard of Apocalypse - Familiar bound to Sierra, lured in by Sorra's old Ring
When the ESC Die hits 3, at the start of Sierra's turn the Living Spell shoots out 3 beams of arcane wrath.
One will target a random nearby ally, the other two random nearby foes.
Randomly choose which one will strike an ally (including Sierra), note a random enemy could be hit twice.
----------------
Fire: Lev*D8 Fire damage + Lev ongoing Fire damage. (lev2 = 9 + 2ong dam)
Death: Lev*D6 damage and if the target was already staggered then the damage is a crit (lev2 = 7 or 14 dam)
Void: Lev*D4 damage and target loses Lev*3 initiative (Lev2 = 5 dam and -6 init)
----------------
Adventurer Feat: Arcane Binding: Sierra now counts as 2 allies when randomising, if she is hit then the next spell she casts goes off at one rank higher than prepared.

Finally here are some sketched of Sierra from the mini sketchbook combo'd together in photoshop. I need to work more on making her cuteness, power and dwarfiness come through equally and in a nice way - maybe time to start a digital painting...


RPG FATE Game and Characters

I have posted a few times regarding the FATE game I ran for one of my TTRPG groups for a few months. I have such fond memories of the game now, overflowing as it was with 80s references. We had our climactic encounter with the Wraith Witches (the Bangles) and the Nostradamus Cult of the Eye they were part of- had a real blast. The party were an up-and-coming Aussie Rock/Pop sensation which drew in all the 80s music and other references as we went along. There we battles in the misty Muse-powered 'Eclipse' - a strange world of swirling mists which boosted their creative prowess and battles closer to home with family, friends and other complications.

I know I could have run the FATE mechanics better, but they certainly let/helped us weave a great little story centred around these cool characters. To celebrate those characters here is a quick sketch of (L-R) Leela, Steev, Jarman, Brock and Linke - collectively known by their band name Underdarq! The sketches are in my little sketchbook actually, so this pic is me assembling them together onto some dot-matrix paper and adding the band name:


Succulents and Lionhearts

With my little niece now walking around merrily I thought a custom succulent to mark the occasion was in order. Nothing toooo unique here but it does show that the theme can adapt while still being very strongly succulent-centric to tell slightly different stories.

I have also been noodling away at some pics for my various TTRPG games. I have a larger one going with all our SPIRE characters which is taking a while. So I quickly did this simpler one for the campaign featuring Sir Lionsmane a very notable NPC (insert long story here)


Star Wars Identities

The wandering exhibition of Star Wars props, costumes, info and such is right here in Sydney at the moment and it was pretty wizard as they say. Star Wars Identities is on at our own Powerhouse Museum until June, so plenty of time to see all the cool stuff plus have fun creating your own character.

Let's start with that bit then, through a series of 10 choices from your species and mentor to the events that shaped your life you mould a character for yourself in the SW universe. I went with 3 other people and here is a pic of us all standing proudly by our suspect choices at the end:

While that was lotsa fun and gives people another angle to engage with the material, the exhibition itself if full of priceless pieces of Star Wars history. We actually wondered how much some of these things might be worth if they were on the market - the mind boggles. How much would you pay for the original Han Solo frozen in Carbonite???

Along with all of this there were lots of original pieces of story boards, concept art and snippets of information regarding the development of the iconic characters. I love this view of the creative process, iterating on and merging ideas until the characters we know and love come into being.

Anyhow, I really loved it - might go again with other friends even...


Magical Land of Yeld

I jut got my gorgeous new copy of the Magical Land of Yeld tabletop/tabletalk RPG by Nick Smith and Jake Richmond. I was hoping it would be pretty, but it is far beyond that, the paper and print quality has all the superb illustrations leaping off the page. The PDF is handy but I just love having the physical book for these sorts of things.

I got a piece of original Jake Richmond art as well (the Shepherd pic from the title page)! WOOT.

I haven't had a chance to read through things yet and am not sure when I will get to play yet either, but it is wonderful to see an RPG like this, aimed at younger audiences perhaps, but still oozing with appeal for anyone. The classes/professions, the friend types, monsters, adventure logic and more all have aspects I would love to see play out on the table.

Anyhow, I just wanted to show off the book and encourage people interested to look at grabbing a copy of the main book or the expansion 'Towns and Territories'.
You can get the PDF via DriveThroughRPG and the expansion over at gofundme. I am not sure how/if you can get the book outside of the kickstarter, maybe there will be a print on demand option at some point?


Tangentially to this I am currently enjoying two RPG games a week, one as a player in our Spire game and one as GM for our FATE Core game. We have also played Shadows of the Demon Lord and D&D 5E in the last few months so we change it up in both groups which is cool.

Right now I am inspired by this enough to really try and squeeze more art out myself related to our RPG gaming - so stay tuned.


Trellorising Projects and Life

Yep, it feels like the right time to dive into some better task/todo management for myself as well as some key projects I am hurling more energy into. There are sooo many techniques and tools out there to help with such things - but after a little researching I decided to give Trello a go.

I had used Trello a little bit before but hadnt done the setup or been driving things along. I like the Atlassian gang and Trello has some really nice drag'n'drop casualness to it that is really appealing. Trello is super flexible in how you want to use it for tracking tasks. I would go as far as saying it is too flexible - I recreated the logic for tracking the Startup MM project and my Oinkfrog work along with all my Home bits several times in different ways because of this. I think it is probably still a strength, the logic for how you want to use Trello is this very personal to you - just have the bits you really want and dont worry about the rest.

So, in the hopes that this config might be helpful to others I thought I would share my setup and experiences so far. If what I have continues to work I will publish a template for everyone to use - that seems sensible.

My Trello Logic

So the top level of Trello is Teams, just include everyone who you are collaborating with right in there - that's simple enough. Then I am using a Board, I like having more than one thing per Board - so I have one for everything Oinkfrog and Home related and another for the MM Startup as it has other collaborators. Then I setup Lists (columns) as per the image = Streams, Future Tasks, Upcoming Tasks, Active Tasks, Priority Tasks, Repeating & Ongoing Tasks and Finally Completed Tasks. The Cards move from L-R from Future through various levels of activity and urgency right to the completed List at the end. We also have the more important ones at the top.

The other key thing then is the Labels setup which matches one for one the Streams List. Essentially the Streams are the categories of work and we then tag each Card with the relevant Label matching the Stream - simple. This then makes it simple to filter by Streams and/or users (which you should attach to Cards in group Boards)

I created templates for things like the Daily tasks which just have a simple checklist inside with the numbers from 1 to 31. Then just use the other Trello features like due dates, Checklists, Comments and so forth to add just enough detail to keep things moving along but not so much that you spend all day inside Trello!!!

I am also looking at Clickify (with Trello integration) and we also have Slack for communication too.


Presentulents

Ok all, here s a succulent inspired pic just n the nick of time for the festive season we are plunging into. I am enjoying this more painterly drawing in Photoshop, rather than the linework with colour beneath. It takes more time, but does have a more 'finished' feel too it.

I quite like noodling away at pics like this while having Twitch art or Youtube fun happening on the other monitor. I am slowly working my way through Critical Role interspersed with some Gold Squadron X-Wing too. I should really have been capturing the process as I went along - could even narrate over the top etc...

I would have finished this pic a bit earlier except for the lure of Dont Starve - loving this game atm...


FATE RPG Bits

I have had the privilege through several ongoing gaming groups of being able to try my hand at a variety of tabletop roleplaying game systems now. One that I have a real soft spot for is FATE from Evil Hat Games which brings together some wonderful narrative systems and is also quite malleable allowing it to run games for any genre and in a suite of styles to suit your gaming group and desires.

One of our groups is running FATE at the moment with the players being an 80s rock band that is discovering there is something dark about the place/power they have been drawing inspiration from. We are loving the rewind back to the 80s with all the cameos and music to draw upon.

I have had fun creating a suite of material for the game itself. Reference sheets and game packs and such. I used lots of artwork from the internet to lend extra 80s flavour to these so I dont feel comfortable sharing them - but just to give you an idea of what can be made for a game here is a spread.

One thing I can share is the revised character sheet! This one handles the variation on the rules for stress and consequences we are using and just fits in nicely with everything else we have going. The graphics here are all smokey instead reflecting the appearance of things in the muse-like world that the band refers to as the Eclipse. Feel free to use it if it works for you!

blank SMOKEFATE character sheet - feel free to download and use
blank SMOKEFATE charsheet

For those interested the Stress/Consequences variant we are using is:
All characters start with a HERO1 and HERO2 stress boxes with 2 more based directly on their Physique and Will scores. So if a character has a Physique of 1 and a Will of 3 then they get 2 more stress boxes at size 1 and 3. These all form one big stress pool and are backed up by the all the consequences shown. We are also experimenting with having REFRESH slide consequences down the scale etc - but the basic reduction in the amount of stress boxes amps up the stakes a little which is good.

Have fun out there with your RPGing!!


Succulents and Streamers

Setting out to transform what I do each day is no mean feat. The joy of learning and creating each day is super and the projects and opportunities all have potential - but there is no shortage of artistic stress in embarking on such a thing.

To help keep the spirits high, here is the first image in a series of Succulent related works from me. The intent is to turn them into a set of t-shirts, cards etc - maybe on Etsy or something similar. Anyhow, this is a relatively generic one, there are more quirky versions in works.

Part of the reason for posting this was that I had a real blast trying this more painting style for the image. I have been inspired by what I see on Twitch.tv by the art community there and wanted to acknowledge people like Dave Greco. Dave's streams and youtube vids are super - they inspire as well as educate and I credit him for how nice my succulents look. There are many more streamers who are deserving of a mention, 2D artists like Shilin, Jesse Turner, Jim Lee and Oxcoxa plus some folk like Ana Carolina, Sinqnew and the zbrush stream scratch the 3D itch as well.

Taking up streaming feels like a bit hill to climb, but it might be something to explore. I guess this could apply to both the art side as well as the tabletop rpg play for that matter. Maybe I should start with some videos first, so expect to see something soon.

Anyhow, I hope the succulent makes you happy and I urge you to check out and support those creative art streamers!


Star Warsy Goodness

Yay, it's May the Fourth again and I am really loving being a Star Wars fan/nerd right now. It is certainly a rich time for the franchise across a whole range of media - so why don’t we take stock:

Film, Screen and Sound

We are super close now to the Solo movie, when I first heard about it I was super excited to see if we were going to get lots of Lando. It certainly looks that way, he was really cool in Rebels and I cant wait to see him in this. I don’t know what is coming, but I kind alike the idea that Lando 'lost' the Falcon to Han on purpose - maybe to pass some debt with the Hutts along or something. Anyhow a stellar cast with Ron Howard at the helm - "Buckle Up Baby"

I now have the bluray for The Last Jedi and have had it on in the background while sketching a few times already. I will have to properly watch all the special features though - one of the reasons I still get discs for some things. I am at least a full season behind of Star Wars Rebels, but I am really looking forward to being able to catchup and have the show timeline handoff to Rogue One. I loooove that film and I just may have watched it a great many times. Then we have Resistance to come which will explore the period before The Force Awakens.

Musically, Mr Williams, Giacchino and co are still triumphantly blaring out of speakers big and small for me as I write this, but we also have John Powell scoring Solo which should be wondrous, his previous work including How to Train Your Dragon should translate beautifully to a galaxy far far away…

Gaming

Apart from it being an appropriate day for a post like this, the real impetus for writing was Fantasy Flight's announcement of X-Wing Second Edition (2E)! I freely admit I have purchased way more stuff for X-Wing than I have used, but the game is just so evocative of the actual space battles that it holds a very special place in my Tabletop Boardgame heart. So yes, we now get a revitalised 2E version with improvements across the board that are cool for play but also fascinating from a game design perspective. Check out these videos where we get to see an overview, actual play plus plenty of discussion on the design space of the game, why changes were made and more:

 

 

 

I think the reset for 2E will breathe a heap of new life into the game, unifying the game systems that were added with all those waves of new mechanics and bringing in more like the Force Powers. I am still keen to see whether a solo or co-op version might be officially supported as that would make the experience an even more friendly team one rather than a purely competitive one. Note that for people still wanting the 1E ships (earlier waves) Book Depository has them and for a great price too. Once I get to try the game I can post again on how 2E feels on the table, how evocative it might be...

Still on the tabletop we have a suite of games I am yet to try like Destiny, Legion, Rebellion, Imperial Assault etc plus the pretty cool RPG (Edge of the Empire etc) that I have all ready to play when it gets a shot at the RPG table.

Computer games are a little all over the shop. We still have The Old Republic (SWTOR) the long running MMO, Lego games and the shiny Battlefront2. I think the game is gorgeous and the campaign compelling and really pulls you into the whole Star Wars universe - I haven't played any other modes as yet. I think the community treated EA really unfairly but what can I do. I suppose when I say I really like the prequels that more internet-troll-fuelled-bile will be heaped my way. There are also the new VR/AR experiences where we get to wield lightsabers etc - haven't actually tried them yet - but they look like they would be pretty cool.

Other

Over the Weekend the Powerhouse Museum here in Sydney has its Ultimate Fan Weekend event happening - I may even get to sit in an X-Wing! There is always more of course, the new theme park in the US, novels, comics and art that inspires!

How about we just finish with some Disney Infinity concept and design art via the Wikia page - I have a whole horde of these gracing the shelf next to me here - gorgeous:


Winter Sketch and Critical Role

I just did this little pic of Winter the Storm Druid, didn't quite come out the way I intended - but it is a pic none the less. He is my current character in our Tuesday D&D campaign and brings his affinity for nature and storms to all his druidity. I like tinting his healing with the spark and tingle of lightning which also matches the friendly-fire nature of much of the druidic spells in his arsenal.

I know I have been terribly hopeless in actually getting around to watching the splendour that is Critical Role. The actual play video or podcast from Geek and Sundry has been tempting for ages - seeing all the incredible fan art that swirls around the show each and every episode. It is inspirational stuff - HIGHLY recommended, I am just somewhat embarrassed that I have taken this long to start the binging!!


Tears of the Underdark

Our Tuesday night Tabletop RPG group is currently enjoying some D&D 5E and our little band of adventurers is going by the name of the 'Tears of the Underdark'. This is a suitably imposing title for our party and it has been fun proclaiming it on our arrival or spreading rumours of our talents etc. The world we are playing in is a conversion from Pathfinder, so the people in the land dont even know what on earth the underdark might be. I was tasked with making an emblem/symbol for us, so here it is. With detail it has the full name, at low-res the basic shape of T, U, hammer and dagger are all that is needed.

While creating this as well as working on my drawing of Winter (my storm druid character) I have had the Warcraft movie playing in the background. It is on Netflix atm, so I just have it on over and over again :) I am liking the movie more and more as it seeps into my being and it is luring me back to WoW, if only I had friends playing...

 


Sam, Glitterfrog and Blackboots

Another post for the trio of characters from our SotDL tabletop RPG game. I realised that my laptop (Razer Blade Pro) is showing everything SUPER intense so for regular screens and people the pic was all washed out from the previous post. Sooo here is a 1920x1080 version with some nicer colour/vibrance/saturation going on.


SotDL Characters

I have had a really fun time playing these characters in our filler SotDL tabletop RPG. The pic here is of Sam the Hero and his two 'imaginary' friends, pixies called Glitterfrog and Blackboots. We have had a great time putting ourselves into the zany minds of these fae creatures and their poor understanding of the normal world. They are fascinated with the mating practices of all these strange races, they like pretty things (including this blue frog that insists it is a human, an architect even). We have resorted to stealing eyes of a few bad guys and aiding our pet dwarf which we cant quite agree on his/her gender.

The character creation in SotDL has tables which inspire us to be even sillier than normal. My Blackboots is a cobbler for the royal court, the Pixie court for the Queen who we are playing as a bit like a queen bee - she is the mother of most pixies we know. We like being invisible, glowing and generally being very sneaky, tricky and mischievous. Sam and the Pixies we were just joined by a Serpent Person who had just escaped from an evil Mage, they struck it rick looting an ancient Serpent Tomb after the main heroes left it unguarded...

Anyhow, here is the final image and a set of  WIP images of the process to create this pic, all done in Photoshop on my Razer Blade Pro with my Wacom tablet.

WIP IMAGES


RPG Update

I am currently blessed with Tabletop RPG goodness 2 nights a week, so that brings with it many revelations regarding systems, gameplay, narrative and fun - so why not take a look at some:

Apocalypse World 2E - The Hub

Our campaign just wound up last week and was pretty special in so many ways. We really have too many players (5 + GM) for such a character-centric narrative game, but that meant for plenty of intrigue and tension throughout even if not everyone could be involved all the time. AW can lead to the PCs being separated and it is something we players need to work hard at, to bring others into their scenes. Our characters all become really memorable through the campaign seasons, forging intersecting personal plotlines and along with the GM crafting a compelling story centred on our home in the post apocalyptic world created by the rogue nanobots we know as The Swarm. We fought on may fronts at The Hub - physical, social and the many threats arising from the chaos of the swarm and those who would link with it. My character was Domino, the Maestro D' and she sought love for herself and others wherever she could. Check out Mik's thoughts on his blog from the GMs perspective but I might call out one interesting thing that showcases just how cool RPGs can be.
Near the end of the campaign we met the approaching warlord who had become something of a swarm cult leader now demanding tribute in the form of souls from our home. Most of the characters left that meeting feeling he was evil and insane and were preparing to fight in various ways from assassination, armies battling or factional scheming - but Domino saw his fall as linked to the loss of his daughter and his mad attempts at redemption. So when she saw her chance to leave her comrades and try to find him this love again she took it - it was an epic end!

Mr Domino ran her train-car restaurant with everyone wearing suits, here is a reference-pic image including a design from Hero Forge - not that we need or used minis for AW.

Other Games

The other group is currently enjoying D&D 5E, with a few levels under our belts now. Winter is my storm druid, we have house-ruled him a little so he has a storm-form rather than changing into animals. This has limited effect, particularly at these lower levels, but does enhance the storminess of his spells which is fun.
Our Shadow of the Demon Lord game makes for fun filler when needed. I had so much fun playing our little pixies and the dwarf the other day that I am in the middle of drawing them up - stay tuned for that.
I GM'd a few sessions of Blades in the Dark which might be fun to continue as well.
Next week we are picking up our 13th Age characters from a while ago as we delve back into the Stone Thief. I think we might be starting off with my pregnant character in labour - eep.

I might leave a closer look at the systems and mechanics for another time, they all have their highlights and quirks worthy of covering at some point. Maybe I will just say that it is games and experiences like these, around a table with friends that make this hobby so incredible!


Business Cards

Yeah I know this isn't the most exciting post showing off animated 3D models whirling in VR, it is just my new business cards. That said, I haven't actually made OINKFROG cards before so this is actually pretty cool. I had fun playing with different layouts in Photoshop that incorporated the logo text as well as the key info that needs to be there. I ended up emphasising the ! again which seems to work along with the green and a nice EU4 tree and landscape for the background. For the print I ended up with a nice celoglaze front and plain white back (for writing on), I did look at round corners but didn't like the inconsistency of the test prints - so square it is.

If anyone wants a card designed now, I could give it a try for them too...


Website Respawn

Ok, the previous site didn't actually die or anything, but spending a suite of hours over the last few days migrating over to the new WordPress platform feels like a rebirth of sorts. I admit I had been skating along on the Blogger platform quite happily, but with the desire to create a more awesome web experience to represent what I do - it was time for a change...

So, after a bit of indecision I decided to go with a staple of web platforms that can certainly adapt to wherever I want to go in the future = WordPress. To get myself a headstart in that I also grabbed the Wezen theme which adds some nice effects straight off the bat. There is more sysadmin type work I still need to do, but I am alive as this first post on the new platform will attest.

As part of creating the new site I made a new logo for the OINKFROG brand with the ! being the most fun piece of the design

So check out the new site with its feeds, carousels, embeds and all the bloggy bits too


Riot Art Contest - Winners Abound

I am a huge fan of the work so many talented folk put into the creative contests out there on the mighty interwebs and the winners for the 2017 Riot Creative Contest on Polycount is a superb example.

With topics running the gamut of game creation from concept design through to skins and VFX that look game ready. I am usually most taken by the Character Art section as we get to see 3d models all textured up that present not only some wonderful design thinking but heaps of skills with a suite of tools to get the 3D work up there for us. I just love Gordo's Bard Chick Magnet as an example of this 'complete package' submission. Being able to visit the thread and see some of the lead-up work as well is all part of my admiration for the craft and the lure for me to really get into it. Michael's Leona is worth checking toooo.

Maybe I shouldn't be surprised but perhaps my favourite category this time around was actually the VFX work. Every one of these I just cant help but watch over and over as they show off their craft using a variety of engines. This inspired me to have a real look at how on earth this is all done with wizardry of layered textures, cards and meshes all animated and warped through zany UVs to come together in dazzling displays of light and colour. Check out this work by Etienne, Matt and Yanni

There are several more categories, that you should check out, but I will leave off this droolpost with some Illustration pieces - essentially splash art for some of these groovy champs. All hail Nikita, Alexandra and Tinh: