Luigi Lucarelli Student Challenge 2018

challenge luigi zbrush Apr 10, 2018

For this challenge, the students were tasked with modeling any character concepted and approved by the incredible Luigi Lucarelli. 

Here is Luigi's ArtStation, and his Instagram. Please show him your love and support with follows and likes!

The students had two months to complete this challenge ending at midnight on March 31st. The students were judged on how close they came to the concept and overall appeal.

There are four fabulous judges! Thank you so much for volunteering your time judges!!!


Judge #1 is the super awesome Weston Reid!

Weston worked at NCsoft, and now he's at Carbine as a Lead Character Artist! Weston worked on the oh-so-gorgeous Paladins game. You can check out his amazing work over on his ArtStation.


Judge #2 is the highly skilled Matthew Kean!

Matthew works at Firaxis as a Lead Character Artist. He has worked on a game series you may have heard of... Civilization! You can check out a bunch of Matthew's amazing art over on his ArtStation.


Judge #3 is the oh so friendly and talented Joe Pikop!!

Wouldn't you know it, I ran into Joe at the same party! (see below). Joe worked on the highly stylized and well-designed game called Gigantic. You can check out his Website called SoMuchMonsters. He also has a Twitch Channel that he streams to occasionally. 

Here I am hangin' out with Joe trying to be as cool as he is.


Judge #4 is none-other than Luigi Lucarelli himself!!

Luigi is a Character Designer and Visual Development Artist that has worked on all sorts of amazing projects. Luigi gracefully agreed to allow this challenge to take place and offering his time to judge. Thanks, Luigi!


Let the judging commence!!

 So I asked each of the judges to choose their top four favorites, and tell me why they chose that image, and maybe offer up a bit of constructive criticism. Then I weighted each choice with a number, and added them all together for the results.... and here they are from fourth to first. 

In fourth place with 4 judge points is Patrick Fischer! Congratulations Patrick!

Here is what the judges had to say:

Matthew "Sometimes, simple is better. And many times simple is harder.  When you remove color patterns and complex geo, what your left with is pure form.  It's sometimes the hardest to due because there isn’t anything to hide behind. So to take a character that is basically wearing solid colors and whose only prop is a purse and make it hold your attention, you have to do it pretty darn well.  I feel like this piece does that. With any fancy lighting tricks and textures to occlude, this piece still elevates the original. I love the pants and the cleanliness of the bag. If I were to give feedback, it would be to make sure that the face is dead on the concept here.  Without anything to hide behind its very clear the eyes are pretty different than the concept. Don’t be afraid to push those forms! Flatten out the face a bit and darken the skin, also a little gloss goes a long way here. Also flatten out the top of the hair, really square that head up.  Other than that, this is a lovely study in form, and proof that you don’t need to go to extremes to be successful! Really nice work."

Luigi "This one looks way better than my original artwork!"

In Third Place with 8 Judge Points is Carlos Lee! Congratulations Carlos!

Here is what the judges had to say...

Weston "Really fun. Artist nailed the expression of the tiger. Posing fits the playfulness of the concept. Hits all the broad shapes and forms of the concept. If this were just the tiger I think it becomes my numero uno

Crits - Most of my crits apply to the girl. There is some shadowing ( sculpt/polypaint? ) on her face that age her a bit. The nose is a little blobby ( simplify the shape to the button nose of the concept ) Same applies to the ponytail. It feels too blobby and needs more silhouette breaks. The head overall could be a tad larger in scale. The sword has a slope towards the bottom in concept that is missing in the sculpt. The white trim of the belt could use a little more inflate"

Joeseph "This one nailed both personalities in the image. The girl is non-chalant, the cat is concerned and both of them are charming as the dickens. You tackled a lot of work, but everything looks refined. Great job!

With a little push and pull of proportions ( her head bigger, cat smaller, arms skinnier) that could be spot on! You could also soften a few shapes around the cheeks and chin to make her a little more cherubic.

Best overall character(s) and a strong presentation."

Luigi "Love the attention to detail on this one. The expressions are spot on and their personalities are captured really well."

In Second Place with 9 Judge Points is Francisco Viloria. Congratulations Francisco!

Here's what the judges had to say...

Matthew "Again a real elevation of the source material. And speaking of materials, great work on them and the presentation. The colors here are really solid, I’m glad you didn’t shy away from bold saturated tones! The Backpack and hair are especially successful. If I were to give any feedback on improvement, watch the sculpt around the mouth, there is a bit of an overbite and complete lack of chin that could really help with the overall balance of lighting on the face, the area of the neck for one might be getting a tad too dark. Also watch how your rim light plays with the background color, it does really push the character out of the background. I know the clothing is warm, but the back like might also due with a little warmth, as what you are competing with is the background color not the jacket. Also some red tones in the nose and cheeks to better represent the gradient found in the original drawing might help pop those eyes out. A more refractive cornea would also really push those eyes even further! Love the overall effect though, it's super effective in invoking the original drawing while providing a fun twist on it!"

Weston "Love the puffiness of the clothing. It really feels warm and snuggy. Shapes all generally match up real well and the interior details of the clothing/backpack don't become too distracting Color scheme here is also real playful and fun

Crits - He seems to have an overbite that makes him look a little wimpy compared to the concept. I read more quiet confidence in the concept. The mouth might be a tad too wide as well. The blonde hair clumps could have a more intentional shape break at the top peak, coming off the skull. In the sculpt they round out too much. He also has shorter legs than the concept. I actually like that choice, but judging against the drawing the legs should lengthen a small amount"

Joseph "I love how nailed the likeness is on this character. He looks like he’s been into some trouble and is about to go back for more--i love it. The face is great! Simple shapes that are expressive and well considered. Choosing a pose that’s expressing the character helps a lot and really makes him feel grounded--great choice of concept for sure.

The fabric polish leaves a bit to be desired--simplify more! Remove some of the softness in the areas between the curves and let there be more nice big areas of rest--this is no drakes fortune character!"

Luigi "I really like how this kid turned out. They nailed the appeal and I like the color choices. Makes me want this to be 3D printed."

Then, in First Place with 12 Judge Points is Christopher Dean! Congratulations Christopher!!

Here's what the judges had to say...

Matthew "Absolutely stunning, something with all of these is does the 3d interpretation not only stay true but elevate the original source material. In both cases this piece is a yes. I love the hair treatment and the rendering of the character. I would say that though there is an undoubtable likeness some areas to push further on this piece would be to flatten out the shading on the hair and skin with either a Subsurface scatter or a translucent effect, also balance the light more, so that the face is more the focus of the piece. Really nice though overall. Great work! "

Weston "This might be my favorite. Pretty damn spot-on with the concept. Captures the mood and personality, has all the sweeping motions of the concept. Not a lot to say other than great job

Crits - The hair has way too much information. The artist just needs to smooth out all the interior lines and let the larger tufts of hair shine through. Minor quibble, but maybe HSL shift the skin into more yellows like the concept"

Luigi "This one is amazingly close to the original art, everything stayed very true to the art style which I think is very important when working professionally."


Here are the rest of the entries in no particular order. I also added judge comments (and my comments even though I didn't judge. Thank you ALL for participating. This was so much fun!


Model by Corrine Cook

Luigi " I know this one must have been challenging to translate into 3D, the original art style I went with lacks depth so I was impressed by how it turned out in 3D."

Shane "Congrats on taking her all the way to an in-game character! I feel like you grew a lot with this one. I might make her hat a big larger and push that pose a bit more.


Model by Stuart Stelzer

Luigi "I like how this one feels like it was made out of clay, the expression is nicely captured as well."
Shane "I really love how far you've taken her. The face is nice. I like your take on the pose, but I think that's where she falls a bit short. I would try and really nail that pose and the smug face on the witch. Her additude is saying it all.


Model by Cody Lee

Luigi "This one is super nice, I feel like it's ready for a videogame! The details are also really well done."
Shane "She is my fave from you so far! This is the closest you've come to nailing that concept. I think the face is still not quite there, but really close and still appealing. Well done!"


Model By Tatyana Eremenko

Luigi "Nicely captured anatomy here, the pose is also really great."

Weston "Captures all the big forms and silhouette really well. The expression in the face matches with the concept, and I can feel a personality inside the sculpt. Rendered very clean and matches the posing of the concept very well.

Crits - More thickness could be placed on the ankles, so the curve of the knee is a smooth slope ( concept has cankles ). The turtleneck could puff out at the top more and curve back within itself. the bottom of the turtleneck and skirt could be slightly inflated so it isn't a pencil-thin line read. The nostrils of the nose are a tad too wide ( more button-nose like the concept ) and maybe emphasize the ridge of the nose more so it catches the line as described in the concept."

Shane "This is one of my faves. You did a great job getting that body. I think her face could benefit from some tiny adjustments to really get that subtle expression more. Have her upper eyelids rest on those iris's to get away from that surprised look. Nice job overall!


Model by Joao Sousa

Luigi "Love the new dynamic pose here, reminds me of the Disney Infinity toys! The lighting is a nice touch as well."

Joe "Really like the way you resolved the shapes--great clean plane shifts, clean/ intentional folds and a solid silhouette really make this sharp! Also, think your choice of pose was smart. Overall this is a great image!

Overall this model could use a pass to really nail the likeness--while it reads as harry potter it’s heavily leaning on the scarf, glasses, scar, and wand. Spend some more time on the face and nail that bottom-heavy bean shaped face!

Nice presentation and great clean shapes."

Shane "Great work Joao! I really like your interpretation of him! The dynamic pose is great. I don't really have a crit other than working that likeness even more"


Model by Scott Brisco

Luigi "This one is so awesome, I would love for this to be the new design in a remake of the game."

Shane "Great job Scott! You got the clothing, the gun spot-on! I still think you could push the pose a bit more, and really nail that likeness in the face. She's very appealing, but the likeness isn't quite there yet. Also, her hair could use a bit more volume. This is one of my favorites from you. You are really getting that clean look down!"


Model by Marquese Wilder

Luigi "The pose is really nice here, the worried expression is also really well captured."

Shane "This guy turned out great! The only crit I have is maybe trying pushing that pose even more.,. especially the expression. I think you came very close to the concept. The volumes are correct, and the feel is nice.


Model by Jason Kunz

Luigi "It's great to see this one in 3D, cute and spooky!"

Shane "She turned out super nice! My crit would be to keep pushing her more towards the look and feel of the concept. Your model is appealing, but she looks like a different character. Faces are like puzzles, you have to keep trying to find the pieces until they all fit. Great work."


Model by Lorenzo Procentese

Luigi "Another great Harry model, I like the confident pose here and the textures are great."

Shane "Nice work on this guy. He's looking good, but his pose is quite stiff, and the lighting makes it hard to work out his forms. I probably would try to hit the original pose and re-work the lighting. He is super close."


Model by Josh Cesmat

Luigi "Nicely captured the friendly personality of this robo dude. The little bird is cute too."

Shane "He turned out really good Josh! The only comment I have is to keep working on nailing those volumes. There are still a few areas where they are off. But overall he's looking in the ballpark!"


Model by Erick Tosco

Luigi "Really spot on and translated! I love the expression and all the details, I'd love to see this one completed with the glowing light, eels and background."

Joe "Great face! And hair! Seems like most of your time might was spent there-- I can tell you are paying close attention to your likeness and can see clear potential in the rest!

Accessories and body proportions feel early. Fish tail needs to be way bigger! Torso smaller! The pose without the eels feels a little alien, so consider adding them eels or try a different post for the right arm. Spend the time to nail those for one hell of a portfolio piece!

Nailed the face, now follow through on the rest!"


Model by Brian Lawrence

Luigi "Nice take on Anubis here, I can imagine him being a cool toy!"

Shane "This is a good first take on this concept. I fell you still have a ways to go on seeing and executing likeness, but you are well on your way. The biggest thing I would work on are the eyes. Make sure you have that eye-shape and head shape to match. Also really push that pose. His arms are much higher, his legs wider, his volumes thicker. Keep pushing on it! You'll get there!"


Model by Mike Black

Luigi "This one looks like it's ready for professional use. I like that the pose is different but captures her personality perfectly. The textures and hair are especially well done too."

Matthew "Talk about taking a concept further, A+ for effort here. One of the things I really like about this one is the wonderful likeness that comes through even in a different pose. The hair and cloth and even the materials on the cup are really lovely. If I were to give any feedback, I would say to watch that you don’t lose your pupils and make sure the eye and brows read as well as the other materials in the scene. Also, make sure that the pose is solid, I think you can definitely improve the silhouette a bit by moving the back arm up and the front arm down, also the area of the head into the neck could be cleaner and the neck thicker. It might be helpful to also show this character posed like she is in the concept as well as posed like you have it to make this a really special portfolio piece. Great work! "


Model by Federico Mori

Luigi "Such a nice rendition of the character, nicely captured the expression too."

Shane "Good work on this one! I really like the render. I feel like her face still has quite a ways to go even though she is appealing.  Her head shape and eye shapes still need to be closer to the concept. Make sure you put that gap in her teeth. That will make her feel younger.

I would also work on matching volumes. Her feet and hands are much larger in the concept. Lastly, make sure you stick the flow and silhouette. She's getting there! Hope that helps!

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