Character Design Contest 90 Results and VOTE!

I was stunned to find 159 entries waiting for me from Character Contest 90 — you all outdid yourselves. They were universally high in quality as well, which pleased me greatly.

Furthermore, we had quite a few first-time entrants. Welcome to you all! I’m humbled and grateful to anyone who is willing to share his or her creativity with the world.

I do want to say a quick word about the point of these contests in light of so many new folks joining us. The selection process is just one guy — usually me — and his opinion of what looks neat. If you’re not among the finalists it doesn’t mean your work is bad or unappreciated, it just means on that day it didn’t happen to beat out a few other entries in my own personal opinion. If you see these weekly contests as a chance to flex your creative muscles and to have fun, you’re already a winner before you even start. The rest is just for fun.

Since everyone did such a great job this week, though, I wanted to put up a gallery with one illustration from every person who entered. For those who had multiple entries, I picked the one that I thought was the best. And if you sent some in but don’t see one here, please let me know and I’ll correct the oversight.

Ladies and gentlemen, your Character Design Contest 90 entrants!

As you can see, I had a really tough choice facing me. I’m going to pull out a few that were sort of in my final cut and share with you why I went the way I did.

First up is AJ’s “Strike Spectre”. I just thought this was a very solid, visually interesting super-hero design. I can’t say I get “spectre” from it but it’s a great illustration.

Next is Ariana Iris’ “Cannon Priest”. Again, a really solid character sketch where every piece fits and makes sense. I love the guy’s expression and the gun is stellar.

What can I say about dblade’s “Xenoplague” besides “WOW”? If you look at his oeuvre, you’ll notice how smart he is about the use of color. The foreground character and land are in cool colors while the sky and backplane are all warm oranges, yellows, and reds. That contrast really sets off the figure while giving the entire composition a lot of dynamism and depth. Plus the character herself is incredible, looking like she stepped right out of a Geiger drawing.

Guy Genesis’ “Winter Stryke” again brings a clean, simple, solid elegance to the table with a cohesive color scheme, consistent item selection, and well-directed concept.

Long-time man-crush Imp is back with another outstanding Golden-Age type of design in “Gold Spider”.

Kaylin88100’s “Chance Bloom” gives us a wonderful moment of SQUEE along with an illustration that nails the random name she was given. I love the energy, vibrancy, and attention to detail in this one. Like dblade’s, this is one of those I look at and think “I couldn’t have drawn that”. Which is pretty remarkable since in a way, I did! But no way I could come up with either of these freehand.

Lime is back! All of her illustrations manage to tell a story, which is truly remarkable. “Fish Soul” is no different, showcasing a great combination of the real and the fantastic. Plus, all of her characters tend to look like individuals. Here’s the little write-up she posted with the submission:

He found the guitar in a pawn shop, with a label on it that read “Fish Soul.” He thought it was called that because there were sharks on it. He soon learned otherwise.

Great, great job.

Like dblade, Papa Krok has a shot at winning every single week. “Mastera” is no exception. I mean, look at the expression on the creature! Most drawings of HUMANS don’t get show kind of emotion!

Rhinoman’s “Battle Cleric” is a classic, well-executed D&D style character illustration. I love the simplicity and focus in this one, where every item, position, and color reinforces the character concept.

RobM only had one entry this week but it’s a doozy. “Phantom Howler” is both a great concept and a great illustration. I could totally see this as the cover of a DC or Marvel book featuring the titular character, and I could totally see myself buying it.

Shiboreth is, I think, a first-time entrant, and really knocked it out of the park with “Light Empress”. The energy effects, the costume, and the glowing eyes all combine to make for a very powerful illustration. Well done and welcome!

Admit it, Skullcraze made you laugh with “Girl Man”.

Finally, Trekkie brings her signature style to “Steel Bug”, another vaguely Golden Age-ish character design that I’d love to see in a comic.

Those are all so great … Looking back over them I’m having a really hard time narrowing it down to just one. dblade’s clearly is a fantastic illustration, but Kaylin88100’s is so much fun. All of the others are also fantastic … ugh.

I can’t choose. So guess what, YOU get to! Here’s a quick poll, which I’ll leave up till tonight. You can vote for your Top Three; the entry getting the most overall votes by tonight will win the prize. Good luck!

37 Responses to Character Design Contest 90 Results and VOTE!

  1. I love Gold Spider, very classy and classic.

  2. Thank you so much for the welcome! It is indeed my first time in all this, and I’m honored to have made it into the final cut. I did like Light Empress the best out of my creations when I looked back over them!

    There’s some really amazing stuff in this contest. Best of luck to everyone!

  3. Ploughed Jester

    Well there is just too much awesome here for one week. There are some great images here, both in the finalists and not. I certainly don’t envy doing the choosing. I remember looking through the entries last night and seeing the Phantom Howler. I laughed and thought, “Well I’ll just have to try again next time.” This has been an inspiring first experience with putting any form of art out there for others outside of a close circle to see. It’s been awesome, especially the fact that the image of mine chosen for showing wasn’t my favorite entry. A pointed reminder of the varied nature of individual taste. Thanks, and best of luck to the finalists!

  4. Ploughed Jester: It’s been awesome, especially the fact that the image of mine chosen for showing wasn’t my favorite entry. A pointed reminder of the varied nature of individual taste. Thanks, and best of luck to the finalists!

    I get that a lot, definitely. That alone should be evidence that I have weird taste and no one should be too put off if I happen not to choose theirs. I’m just one guy!

  5. Kaylin88100

    Yay! Chance Bloom is a Finalist! Although I have to admit, I stole the pose from Sean David Ross, who posted it in the old forums ages ago… :P

    I do think it was my best entry, though. :)

  6. i’m surprized to see my Serpent dynamo. I really thought it was the one I did miss.
    go figure human’s taste.

  7. So Happy Counter Beam Was shown :D

  8. Thundersong

    Heyla All!

    Best of luck to the Finalists!

  9. Phatchick:
    I love Gold Spider, very classy and classic.

    Aww, thanks!

    Some of these were just laugh-out-loud funny; good job guys and gals.

  10. This was my second time but i really liked doing this random thing it was kind of kool

  11. TJDouglas13

    Is it all right if someone makes a Manuel on how to make a glowing body/hand/face ect?

  12. I’m going to post an update about this in a moment, TJ.

  13. Had a hard time reconciling between dblade, Imp, Papakrok, and Trekkie. Finally nailed it down to 3, but it wasn’t easy.

  14. battle cleric is a perfect illustration

  15. OK folks, voting’s over — our winner is dblade! Congratulations to him and to all of our Finalists, this was a heck of a contest.

  16. Gratulation, dblade!
    There are a many(good) entrys here.
    But i like the cat blaster most. As Catfan.

  17. Thanks, everybody! And congratulations to all of the other finalists! There will be a place for you in the new regime. :)

  18. Kingslaughter

    Well i actually couldn’t make it on this contest (have been celebrating for 2 days for Olympiacos’ epic euroleague win over CSKA Moscow) and to tell you the truth the SODWA contest wore me off a little bit… I also saw a sad post by Tarkabarka that he was leaving the hm community… Hope that is not true since his work is really unique (The only machinist who uses HM to create flawless manga/anime style characters)… I kind of understand him though and without wanting to insult anyone i must admit that i also hate base designs with some glow effects which usually win in contests (not always). Personally i would advice anyone who gets disappointed by not winning a contest to keep on working hard in his own style and as long as you are happy with your designs (as i am) you shouldn’t be worried about the contests… I just participate in them for fun since i don’t have a “likeable” style and probably will never win because of that yet i will keep on working on my own style (many shades of color, strange poses, etc) and will never try to make sth different (a base design with effects) just to win a contest… Everyone has their own unique talent in using HM and they should continue supporting it till the end. Even Jeff prefers a pre-80s style of designs in comics (as i have understood from the site), so it is plainly a matter of personal taste and opinions. Anyway, sorry about the rumbling but these were just some thoughts i wanted to share with everyone… Finally I want to congratulate dblade, for the win, his cool design reminded me of the Alien movies…

  19. Kaylin88100

    Well done dblade!

    *Looks at results*

    Wow! I came 3rd! Yay! :D

  20. @ Kingslaughter – Just have fun with your pics. Contests are not the bottomline in this community. Yes, I have won a couple, but it took me a year of trying before making a winner. I know Jeff looks for originality and something clever when choosing his “winners”, not just the 80’s style of hero or whatever. If you collect comics or whatever, imagine walking into the store and seeing a image and everything in your body goes “That is sooo effing cool, I must have it!” That is the way I see Jeff judging contests. In any contest, there is a winner and a loser, but have you really lost when you have a free program to make anything you want? That there are people who sacrifice their time and money to contribute to this awesome thing called Heromachine. As you can tell, I’m growing a little weary of people pooping on the hand that feeds them everytime they don’t get a shout out or a prize. Why don’t we discuss “Who just kicked Batman’s ass” or “Who’s ass Wolverine just kicked?” or “I just gained/lost 10 pounds from playing this video game.” (Some of these dance games are killers!). This is a HOBBY, not a measurement of your life’s worth.

    So, now that I’ve vented that (and this is in no means aimed at you, Kingslaughter) I’m going to the comic store and inspire myself with some DC’s New 52. A must read is the new Earth2 series!

    p.s. Don’t be so sad for Tarkabarka. This is his fourth time leaving, but who’s counting….

  21. Pretty much my entire methodology is “Do I go WOW when I open the image for the first time”. For instance, there’s nothing pre-Eighties about dblade’s entry this week but it’s awesome. Ditto for all of Papa Krok’s entries. AMS probably is the most traditional of “The Usual Suspects” but even there, all of his stuff just makes you gasp when you look at it.

    I like illustrations that elicit a strong positive reaction in me. ::shrug:: I know that’s very subjective but then, that’s the point — it’s just one guy’s opinion. Even in a voting situation like this week, it’s still just the opinion of x number of people. There are no absolutes in art, it’s an entirely subjective endeavor. Go Zen — make something sufficient unto itself and then let go of the consequences.

  22. I’m a little surprised at Tarkabarka’s attitude considering he has won a contest before. Jeff has chosen a wide variety of pieces in the past and has never limited his judging to the mentioned “base designs”. I think the SODWA contest just hit Tarkabarka hard because of the specificity of the requirements and the fact that his pieces didn’t quite fit into the needs of Thunderpunch. That would be like me getting mad if I entered a Manga/Anime contest with my pieces and getting upset that none of mine were chosen.

    And for the record I would consider my pieces “base designs” since I rarely stray into alternate body positions. That’s my preferred way of working since I fear the time needed to make good body compositions would be overwhelming. I am still amazed by what the master posers can do with the assets and really appreciate people like Tarkabarka pushing the boundaries of the program. I’m an old fuddy duddy compared to them.

  23. The Atomic Punk

    Missed the vote, but had plenty of Jaegermeister in between.

    Congrats, dblade! Personally, I like the Xenoplague with human legs. It adds to the creepiness.

    My personal favorite is Marquis Samedi’s Jet Fool. But I have a weakness for Mechs and six-foot tall redheads named Laura Prepon… ummm… nevermind that last part.

    Great stuff, all around. Welcome, all new people. Welcome back, Lime (and congrats on graduating). Hopefully, my new laptop will show up soon. I think my boss is on to me. Shouldn’t be HeroMachining at work…

  24. Of course i enjoy heromachine, it is a great program with vast potential and i also enjoy my character designs ams, that is why I create them. Don’t mind if i haven’t ever won or will ever win a contest actually… i enjoy working HM in my own way and of course I have gratitude for the creator of the program. and as i said before, everyone has (and should have) their own style whether it is base oriented or more complex… I am still learning HM and would love to advance even further in my works. And it is not sadness over Tarkabarka’s leaving, (I only got sadened about HM once, some time ago when I lost a dozen new characters I made, due to my previous pc’s failure issues and that was it) just plain appreciation/admiration for his work (as well as dblade’s, ams’, kaldath’s, DiCicatriz’s and others) and would like to see him going on with new stuff on the site, like anyone else. However it is everyone’s sole choice to go on or leave the site like everyone can have an entirely different opinion upon the matter, both of which I respect…

    ams:
    @ Kingslaughter – Just have fun with your pics.Contests are not the bottomline in this community.Yes, I have won a couple, but it took me a year of trying before making a winner.I know Jeff looks for originality and something clever when choosing his “winners”, not just the 80′s style of hero or whatever.If you collect comics or whatever, imagine walking into the store and seeing a image and everything in your body goes “That is sooo effing cool, I must have it!”That is the way I see Jeff judging contests.In any contest, there is a winner and a loser, but have you really lost when you have a free program to make anything you want?That there are people who sacrifice their time and money to contribute to this awesome thing called Heromachine.As you can tell, I’m growing a little weary of people pooping on the hand that feeds them everytime they don’t get a shout out or a prize.Why don’t we discuss “Who just kicked Batman’s ass” or “Who’s ass Wolverine just kicked?” or “I just gained/lost 10 pounds from playing this video game.” (Some of these dance games are killers!).This is a HOBBY, not a measurement of your life’s worth.

    So, now that I’ve vented that (and this is in no means aimed at you, Kingslaughter) I’m going to the comic store and inspire myself with some DC’s New 52.A must read is the new Earth2 series!

    p.s.Don’t be so sad for Tarkabarka.This is his fourth time leaving, but who’s counting….

  25. Congratulations, dblade! “Xenoplague” is a masterful piece of work.

    Good job to everyone else, too! This was such a hard vote, and I don’t envy Jeff having to pick out just one entry for each participant (though I was glad Jeff managed to pick my favorite of my three entries).

    I was also sorry to see Tarkabarka’s post, but hopefully he’ll change his mind soon. In the meantime, can I just say how nice it is to be back with all you lovely people with your opinions on art style and discussions on attitudes towards contests? :)

    Welcome, new people and fellow back-from-absences people!

  26. This time around I have decided to give the prize to the second place vote giver. Trekkie (the Chosen One) is the winner of dblade’s Not Quite Random Finalist Consolation Prize!
    1. The Chosen One can choose one new item to be created for any existing category in Hero Machine 3 with the exception of these categories: Backgrounds, Companions. I also reserve the right to exclude monster bodies, but you can try me on this one. Sometimes I will take the bait.
    2. The new item must be applicable to the default body type. No specialized items for alternate body types (turned head, 3/4 torso, back view, etc…)
    3. I reserve the right to ask the Chosen One to pick another item if the request is beyond my ability or inappropriate for Hero Machine 3.
    4. Reference images or a really good description must be provided so I can fulfill the request with the minimal amount of heartache and frustration.
    So there you have it. As many of you are familiar with my contributions you know I can handle a wide range of art requests so don’t let the guidelines scare you. I do have limitations (damn you, Human Hair!!) so please be understanding if I have to decline a request.

    Alright, Trekkie. Boldly go where no man (or woman) has gone before and choose an item!

  27. Its bad, but its his problem. In the first time i was always angry when i cant win or was in the short list. But i learn to understand. I make my work in 4-6 hours(+14 min to translate my german) and i like to created them.
    BTW: Have we ever a Music contest? I never use this Items but limes entry had me inspired.

  28. Kingslaughter

    Just to set the record straight i only expressed an opinion, i never accused anyone of anything, i never attacked anyone on the site and i never said the winning characters in this specific contest or others were pre-80s of anything like that… I am pointing this out just to make everything clear and avoid various misinterpretations and misunderstandings that might have occured…thank you.

  29. Trekkie, you have an art asset waiting to be claimed. Make it a good one.

  30. As for myself, I will ask my wife if she wants her portrait in Hero Machine. If not I will probably go with a sketch of one of my supers. One of best things about winning a contest is getting an awesome Hebert original!

  31. Kingslaughter:
    Just to set the record straight i only expressed an opinion, i never accused anyone of anything, i never attacked anyone on the site and i never said the winning characters in this specific contest or others were pre-80s of anything like that… I am pointing this out just to make everything clear and avoid various misinterpretations and misunderstandings that might have occured…thank you.

    You are right, Kingslaughter, you only expressed an opinion, and a valued one at that. I vented at the wrong person and as we say in Canada all the time, Sorry! I only hope that when a winner is announced, we all pat him/her on the back, give them the credit they deserve and move on to the next great contest. GAME ON!

  32. Congrats dblade! I am not surprised at all.
    You know it out of the park eerytime.

    I will admit I voted for Lime’s Soul Fish, but I did consider yours long and hard. I just liked the more understated and less creepy a bit more.
    I was very impressed with almost all of the entries,

    and so nice to see so many new entries

    I had high hopes that Rosa aka Vibrogal had a good chance, but then saw all of the quality werk, wll I wasn’t surprised she didn’t even get a mention.

    I also was sure at least one of Quill’s was gonna be there somewherem between steller stel and then some with LOL humor (I told my wife the cardboard box droid would get a mention at least)

    Am I the only one who feels a sense of pride when an object of my choice is used?
    I was so happy to see “My” flower used in Kaylin88100′s “Chance Bloom”, and the character is SO cute!

    There was SO many I would have loed to comment on, but sadly can’t due to time, energy and I can’t remember all of what I wanted to say on all of them … so Congrats one and all.

  33. Cliff:
    Am I the only one who feels a sense of pride when an object of my choice is used?
    I was so happy to see “My” flower used in Kaylin88100′s “Chance Bloom”, and the character is SO cute!

    Yeah. I get that feeling sometimes. I pretend to collect residuals every time someone uses a piece I’ve made. :)
    I can only imagine how Jeff feels about the bounty of artwork grown from his creations.

  34. Thread Hijack (brought to you by Rogue Radio)

    I have a rough draft of TOOL’s prize. The Pip Boy Gauntlet from Fallout 3. Color 2 still needs to be added.

    http://forums.ugo.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=83003&d=1337263957

    Thread UnHijacked

  35. Bobby Scatigna

    how do i enter my character?stupid question ,need an answer!!!please!!

  36. Bobby, this contest is over. There’ll be a new one starting on Monday and it has instructions on how to enter. Basically you just make your character image, put it on a public server somewhere, and paste the link into a comment on the original announcement post.

  37. Dblade! I voted for you :) I likeeee. Congrats all.