CityLIFE Challenge Winners Announced

I’m happy to announce that the Winners of the Third Architectural Visualization Challenge – CityLIFE, have been Selected!

I would like to thank all the challengers and guests for taking part in this event, the third among many more to come! I would also like to send a big thank you to the great sponsors for taking part and help in making this great challenge possible.

Big thanks to fellow judges Benjamin Brosdau, Gus Capote, Alex York & Roberto De Rose for dedicating their time and professional expertise not only for the final judgment but also supporting my efforts during the challenge from day one.

Stay tuned for the ‘Making-Of’ articles by the winners that will be posted in the coming weeks.

The Challenge Sponsors

Procedural, Twinmotion, DesignConnected, Chaosgroup, VBvisual, E-On Software, RenderNation, RenderStream, CGAxis, Exlevel, LAUBlab, XFrog, Next Limit, model+model, iToo Software, Wacom, VizPeople, ATI, ArtVPS, Solid Iris Technologies and MotivaCG.

I take this opportunity to send a warm thank you to all the sponsors for taking part in this event!

Check out the CityLIFE Sponsors page for more information about them.

Challenge Mission

I’ll remind you that the challengers participated in three categories: Still, Concept Sketch & Real Time Animation with a main goal of showcasing what city life is or could be. The CityLIFE challenge explored one of the most complex and vast subject matter in our field, one we do not tackle too much on a daily basis. I hope you all enjoyed this event and learned from it as much as I did.

Judging Criteria

The entries were judged according to overall accepted standards of architectural visualization: composition; lighting; materials and textures, concept (original approach), addressing the architectural interpretation of the city and life within it, technical skill, emotive value and participation in WIP threads.

Challenge Feedback

It’s not to late to add your feedback for this challenge. Please visit the CityLIFE Challenge feedback page and say your mind.

And now…

Here are the winners and summaries that reflect the joint feedback of the judging panel. Congratulations to you all!

Still Image / Grand Prize, Jean-Marc Emy

Still Image / Grand Prize, Jean-Marc Emy

Still Image / Grand Prize, Jean-Marc Emy

Jean-Marc Emy’s entry to CityLIFE showcases so many ideas and notions about city life, and in that it really hits the mark spot on!

It’s pretty much Blade Runner meets Portal (game) meets Tron, being so unique in architecture style and so visually similar to the look & feel in all those three mentioned. Jean-Marc executed this style wonderfully and offered the best mood & lighting in this challenge, even if it is more on the NPR side of things. His images shout SCI-FI so loud, and yet you’ll be surprised how strongly it is grounded in real-world architecture – built architecture that took the housing of people in cities very seriously.

After reading Project Japan: Metabolism Talks, a book by Rem Koolhaas about the 60’s – 70’s avant-garde architectural group titled “Metabolism”, Jean-Marc Emy decided that his proposal for the CityLIFE challenge will be a tribute to the Metabolists works.

Metabolism arose in post World War II Japan by a young group of architects with visions for the city of the future, inhabited by mass society. Their designs were large-scale, flexible, expandable and showcased the process of organic growth – growth that reflects the constant evolution of life within a city, and primarily focused on housing people. The Metabolists relied on advanced technology, and often developed innovative adaptable & modular plug-in mega structures.

Jean-Marc Emy’s final images are a collage of the most known works done by the Metabolists at that time, the most dominant ones being Kisho Kurokawa’s Takara Pavilion with its signature singular structural element and the Nakagin Capsule Tower habitat units set the look & feel of the foreground areas of the images. Kenji Ekuan’s Dwelling City concept stands as the background element further enhancing the city look and depth.

Still Image / Grand Prize, Jean-Marc Emy

Jean-Marc’s Metabolistic Sci-Fi mashup started with the best concept sketches made in this challenge, staying loyal to them all the way to the finish line. Both images show some very noticeable low-poly modeling bits (shameful really) and rather simple texturing work… but the strong composition, fantastic depth, wonderful subtle colors and life showcased in both images by cleverly positioning people in the right places make for a complete piece of work that awards it with the Grand Prize for the best still images created for this challenge.

  • Procedural City Engine Pro (4,950 USD)
  • RenderStream 2600K Workstation (3,395 USD)
  • RenderNation Farm Credits (600 GBP)
  • CGAxis Mega Bundle / 8 Collections (800 USD)
  • Solid Iris Thea Render Full (750 USD)
  • VBvisual 3D Plants Complete (635 USD)
  • xFrog 1,300 Plants for Vue (600 USD)
  • Design Connected Store Credits (600 EURO)
  • iToo Software Forest Pack 3y (260 EURO)
  • iToo Software RailClone 3y (260 EURO)
  • Exlevel GrowFX 1.7.0 (325 USD)
  • model+model 2 volumes (320 USD)
  • VizPeople Bundle v2 (215 USD)
  • Ronen Bekerman 12 PureLIGHT HDRI pack (200 USD)
  • VizPeople Bundle v1 (200 USD)
  • Motiva Colimo (200 USD)
  • VizPeople HDRI v1 (70 USD)

And as winner of the Lighting category also…

  • Chaosgroup V-Ray for 3dsmax (1,350 USD)

Jean-Marc’s Challenge Stream | Interview with Jean-Marc | Jean-Marc’s Making of tutorial

Still Image / 1st Runner Up, Egor Goray

Still Image / 1st Runner Up, Egor Goray

Still Image / 1st Runner Up, Egor Goray

Still Image / 1st Runner Up, Egor Goray

Thinking of a city, even more so about of life in a city, and Manhattan surly pops into mind very early on if not first. It sure did pop for Egor Goray when he picked the typical NYC grid intersection as his CityLIFE location, and I’m sure anyone who visited the big apple can relate to that too… I remember my visits and long walks in Manhattan streets as busy, dense and full of life in almost every corner.

Egor surly went all out on this one as far as modeling & texturing are concerned, and offered three distinct seasonal looks for his selected location, rather than just post working one of them to get the others. The summer and snow versions were considered in the end since the rainy version fell short of those two.

While tremendous effort & time is in play here on Egor’s part, it fell short of first position and could have had better chances in taking it if only the viewer was placed at street level rather than high up in a window somewhere around that intersection. It is amazing to see how much work can be done, with lots of life added in the form of 3d people figures & cars, and yet not being able to convey that notion of life due to bad choice of camera position.

Egor’s images are most clearly above most else in this challenge, but taking us down – into the street… offering the pedestrian’s point of view, walking among the others using some clever motion blur and perhaps some real people photos, would have immersed us in the image offering a way to feel the city life much better.

Over all, Egor did a great job that places him as the 1st Runner Up in this challenge with three remarkable jigsaw puzzle of images that are fascinating to explore at full size.

  • LAUBlab V-Ray for Cinema 4D (1,135 USD)
  • Next Limit Maxwell Render 2.5 (1,000 USD)
  • 1,300 xFrog Plants + xFrog 3.5 + Terragen 2  (1,000 USD)
  • Chaosgroup V-Ray for Rhino (800 USD)
  • Solid Iris Thea Render Full (750 USD)
  • RenderNation Farm Credits (300 GBP)
  • CGAxis 5 Collections (500 USD)
  • VBvisual Plants 1 / Plants 2 (425 USD)
  • Design Connected Store Credits (400 EURO)
  • Exlevel GrowFX 1.7.0 (325 USD)
  • E-On Software Carbon Scatter (295 USD)
  • iToo Software Forest Pack 1y (260 EURO)
  • VizPeople Bundle v2 (215 USD)
  • Ronen Bekerman 12 PureLIGHT HDRI pack (200 USD)
  • Motiva Colimo (200 USD)
  • model+model 1 volume (160 USD)
  • LAUBlab Plugin (140 USD)

And as winner of the Modeling category…

  • E-On Software Vue 9.5 xStream (1,495 USD)

Egor’s Challenge Stream | Interview with Egor | Egor’s Making of tutorial

Still Image / 2st Runner Up, Paul Nicholls

Still Image / 2st Runner Up, Paul Nicholls

Still Image / 2st Runner Up, Paul Nicholls

London is also high-up among the city exemplar shortlist, and it is the location for Paul’s CityLIFE entry. In my few visits to London I was very lucky to get the summery version Paul made for pretty much the entire duration, but it is nice to see an autumn interpretation too… on screen.

Well… this is another classic crazy Paul Nicholls image, offering great composition and sense of scale with a similar mashup approach as seen in Jean-Marc’s entry. The two worlds of London is a very interesting concept and not something I ever thought of. I’ve always had just one of them in mind really, and although London is a distinguishable place he does a great job in showing his vision of it and not just replicating it.

The visual is a bit chaotic when trying to focus your view on a specific part of the image… that might well happen in a busy city, but in this case something just doesn’t work with the depth treatment and exposure of these images, which are really large at 10,000 pixels wide! you can really dive into them and get lost – also noticing that they have less life in them then the previous two.

The futuristic vision is a bit grey and hopeless. You can really take the autumn version, put a “resident evil” logo on it and the umbrella mark on the helicopter and be done with it. There’s nothing wrong with it actually, other then the autumn version being perceived as the summer image post worked.

All in all a very creative piece of work that awards it the 2nd Runner Up position in this challenge!

  • Chaosgroup V-Ray for SketchUP (800 USD)
  • Solid Iris Thea Render Full (750 USD)
  • VBvisual Cut Out Plants Complete (495 USD)
  • Exlevel GrowFX 1.7.0 (325 USD)
  • CGAxis 3 Collections (300 USD)
  • E-On Software Carbon Scatter (295 USD)
  • iToo Software RailClone 1y (260 EURO)
  • RenderNation Farm Credits (150 GBP)
  • ArtVPS Shaderlight for SketchUP (299 USD)
  • Ronen Bekerman 12 PureLIGHT HDRI pack (200 USD)
  • Motiva Colimo (200 USD)
  • Design Connected Store Credits (200 EURO)
  • VizPeople Casual v2 (100 USD)
  • model+model Volume 04 (100 USD)

Paul’s Challenge Stream | Interview with Paul | Paul’s Making of tutorial

Concept Sketch Category Awards

First time introducing the Concept Sketch category, trying to give more respect to the early stages of our work and the tools & techniques used to get it done. I hope we can further explore this part in future challenges.

We picked only two this time…

Concept Sketch / Grand Prize Winner, Jean-Marc Emy.

Enough was said about Jean-Marc’s entry to this challenge… but here is his concept sketch for your pleasure for a few more seconds. Jean followed through on this sketch, mixed with the other one that he made… staying loyal to his early vision all the way to final result.

Jean-Marc- EMY-cl_emy_final_concept

Jean-Marc’s Challenge Stream

Jean-Marc will get these prizes
  • Wacom Intuos 4 (255 USD)
  • Ronen Bekerman 12 PureLIGHT HDRI pack (200 USD)
  • DesignConnected Store Credit (100 EURO)
  • CGaxis 1 Collection (100 USD)
Concept Sketch / 1st Runner Up, William Bryson.

William did not realize his concept during this challenge, but the sketches he made draw the attention of all challengers I’m sure! This dark one offers a rather interesting futuristic / sci-fi city like environment. I really wished he would have taken this one all the way – seeing what it turns out into.

Concept Sketch / 1st Runner Up, William Bryson

See this video compilation of his sketches…

William’s Challenge Stream

WILLIAM will get these prizes
  • VBvisual Textures Complete (215 USD)
  • Ronen Bekerman’s 12 PureLIGHT HDRI pack (200 USD)
  • VBvisual Cut Out Mediterranean (125 USD)
  • DesignConnected Store Credit (100 EURO)
  • model+model Volume 03 (100 USD)

Real Time Animation Award

This was also the first time I introduced the real-time animation category in a challenge and Chuck Morgan was the only one who made it to the finals – making him the winner of it too. I guess it was too early or maybe the CityLIFE theme was too big as the first one to introduce real-time into.

Best Real Time Animation – Chuck Morgan

Chuck Morgan did a great job with his entry with some pretty inspirational shots going on there, showcasing Lumion at its best… opening my eyes about it the same way his 3rd place winning entry in the 2011 Lumion competition did!

Best Real Time Animation – Chuck Morgan

Best Real Time Animation – Chuck Morgan

Here is Chuck’s animation…

Chuck’s Challenge Stream

Chuck will get these prizes
  • Twinmotion v2 (2,420 EURO)
  • ATI Firepro V5900 (550 USD)
  • E-On Software LumenRT 2 (295 USD)
  • Ronen Bekerman’s 12 PureLIGHT HDRI pack (200 USD)

I hope he has opened your minds about the possibilities and that I’ll see more of you giving it a go next time.

Open Category Awards

We also had 4 more open categories in this challenge: Modeling, Texturing, Lighting and Design. As mentioned above, Jean-Marc Emy won the Lighting category and Egor Goray won the Modeling Category. The other two are:

Best Texturing Category – Jamie Holmes

Jamie might have missed CityLIFE’s main aim, or interpreted it in a way that we feel is a bit off, but he sure did the most impressive texturing work among all the finalists! I would have loved seeing his basketball court teaming with life… kids playing, parents watching, passers-by, you name it.

He offered some detail shots of his work that showcases how much work he put into the texturing of his scene.

Best Texturing Category – Jamie Holmes

Best Texturing Category – Jamie Holmes

Best Texturing Category – Jamie Holmes

Best Texturing Category – Jamie Holmes

Best Texturing Category – Jamie Holmes

Jamie’s Challenge Stream

  • Exlevel GrowFX 1.7.0 (325 USD)
  • E-On Software LumenRT 2 (295 USD)
  • Ronen Bekerman’s 12 PureLIGHT HDRI pack (200 USD)
  • DesignConnected Store Credit (100 EURO)
  • Motiva Colimo (200 USD)
  • VBvisual Cut Out Plants Special (125 USD)
  • VBvisual Cut Out Plants Seasons (125 USD)
Best Design Category – Christian Miranda

Christian devoted some serious attention to city design in his entry, drawing inspiration from his own city – Belo Horizonte and the works of Master Architect Oscar Niemeyer. He attempted to showcase a vast cityscape, and as far as design goes… he did the best of it.

We wish he would have given greater attention to the background of his city as well as he did in the foreground as It drops into bland nothingness too quick. With proper attention to the far end of the city and with a more visible foreground element showing us some life near camera, along with better technical execution – this scene could have risen very high up.

Best Design Category – Christian Miranda

Best Design Category – Christian Miranda

Christian’s Challenge Stream

  • Exlevel GrowFX 1.7.0 (325 USD)
  • ArtVPS ShaderLight for SketchUP (300 USD)
  • E-On Software LumenRT 2 (295 USD)
  • Ronen Bekerman’s 12 PureLIGHT HDRI pack (200 USD)
  • DesignConnected Store Credit (100 EURO)

Honorable Mentions

Jonathan Wisner

I like the bold concept! this image sends a message. It is scatter frenzy, and not much life is show… but the hint of it and the social aspects too. Jonathan did not offer any WIP progress updates and had no chance of winning the grand prizes, but his concept and final result could not go unnoticed.

Honorable Mentions - Jonathan Wisner

  • Ronen Bekerman’s 12 PureLIGHT HDRI pack (200 USD)
  • DesignConnected Store Credit (100 EURO)
Thomas Hauchecorne

More in the realm of game art then archviz, Thomas offered a very unique look of his city! The dramatic angle and texturing makes for a really good-looking image. The overall tone of the scene seems too monotonic, despite the use of fog enhance the depth perception. Having a royal party at the top as opposed to the market life below could have been very interesting.

Honorable Mentions - Thomas Hauchecorne

  • Ronen Bekerman’s 12 PureLIGHT HDRI pack (200 USD)
  • DesignConnected Store Credit (100 EURO)
Dean Moran

I’m personally like this concept very much! The idea of claiming the space between buildings within a city to add more living space is fascinating, and one that many architects tackle in the real world too. Execution is obviously lacking here but the basic concept is clear and bold enough to draw my attention.

Honorable Mentions - Dean Moran

  • Ronen Bekerman’s 12 PureLIGHT HDRI pack (200 USD)
  • DesignConnected Store Credit (100 EURO)
42 replies
  1. arkinesref
    arkinesref says:

    @ronenbekerman Congrats to all the winners! Interesting results…. Check out the winners on the CITYLIFE challange…

  2. 3dStudioPrins
    3dStudioPrins says:

    Congrats to the winners and all the participants!! Great work!I have to say what an amazing work Jean-MArc!! the concept, the sketches, the final result!! just fabulous!

  3. kodissimo
    kodissimo says:

    congratulations to all winners! you deserved for your prizes! also thank you Ronen for next great challenge.

  4. ChristianMiranda
    ChristianMiranda says:

    Congratulations to all the participants and winners!

    Jean-Marc, your images are really full of life and energy! I really liked your rich compositions, lighting and the fine work you have done on integrating the people to the scene.

    Egor, you have done an amazing job on the modeling. Your pace was unbelievable!

    Paul, superb work on the composition, level of detail and those buildings on the background.

    It has been a great pleasure to be a part of that community. Ronen, thanks a lot for creating such a great challenge and congratulations for the excellent work. I am so excited that I will follow your comments take those images to another level with more CityLife!


      • ChristianMiranda
        ChristianMiranda says:

        @ronenbekerman Great. The concept for that city has been in my mind for a long time…The challenge was a wonderful opportunity to make it happen. Your final comments were great. Exactly what I needed. Soo I will post some WIP´s on the forum showing the next steps soon. Thanks!

  5. AndriusSkibaris
    AndriusSkibaris says:

    congratulations to the winners, and thanks to Ronen for the experience, was a blast participating in this challenge.


  6. Lovro
    Lovro says:

    Congratulations to all the winner and everyone else who participated in the challenge. I am quite amazed at the results and can’t wait to see some ‘making-of’ articles.

    I especially like Jean-Marc’s work.The uniqueness of his style is so fascinating and I really like the fact that he translated his sketch into a final product with so much care.

    In terms of concept I also like Dean Moran’s idea a lot. Just awesome!

    I kinda feel bad now that I didn’t have the time to finish my entry (in fact I barely started it). But the timing of this challenge and my real life commitments was sadly not the best. I’m looking forward to the next challenge, seeing all these amazing artists at work and hopefully participating again with more time on my hands. 🙂

  7. isucur
    isucur says:

    Congratulations to all the winners and hats off to all !!! So much impressive and amazing work side by side! I’m sure it was tough work for judges to find tiny little details that made each work so different. Once again, fantastic work guys and of course, thanks Ronen for putting all this together!!

  8. EricMehl3d
    EricMehl3d says:

    A huge congratulations to all the winners! Great work and a lot of inspiration to hold onto. Thanks Ronen for putting on another fantastic contest!

  9. jiminy-billy-bob
    jiminy-billy-bob says:

    Congrats to the winners ! They really deserved it.

    As a CG newbie, I’m glad I received this Honorable Mention. It feels so good to see my work recognized like this.

    I’m looking forward for the next challenge. And thanks again to Ronen and the Sponsor to make such an event possible !

  10. emyjm
    emyjm says:

    Hi Everyone! It took me a while to regain consciousness after the results got published…It really is an honor to win this Grand Prize… especially considering the high quality of all the submitted works. So, congratulations to all the very talented prize winners and challengers. Thank you all for your comments. And of course a big thanks to the jury and to Ronen for organizing what truly was a great experience.(^_^)/

  11. ShyBegleiter
    ShyBegleiter says:

    Congratulations to all winners! was a pleasure and privilege to follow your works on this challenge. See you on the next one 😉

  12. jonwisner
    jonwisner says:

    Hi everyone,

    huge congrats to the winners, and all participants, truly magnificent works and well deserved picks.

    a big thanks to ronen, i realy enjoyed this challenge and the path it took me on. as well as for being in the honorable mention, a true pleasure.

    (sorry for not sharing any ref. concepts and wip, i’ve saved ton’s of screen caps, just didnt had time to share as i worked on this challange through a real rush)

    waiting for the next challange in anticipation

  13. Rod
    Rod says:

    Amazing efforts by all, everyone should be very proud of their concepts. I am looking forward to the making of’s that are coming. Well done.

  14. jwholmes
    jwholmes says:

    Congrats to the winners – must have been a difficult process with many amazing artworks. Thank you Ronen for another great competition!!

  15. Ametist
    Ametist says:

    Hi All! Congratulations to all winners! Lots of cool works! Thanks Ronen for ths great contest. Looking for the next one!

  16. yellowpinkfox
    yellowpinkfox says:

    Man, i hate my spam filter..

    So i missed the parade… 😉

    Incredible results here! (Not that i would’t have expected..)

    You could start a new life with the prizes only 😉

    Thanks to the artists, thanks to Ronen

    for giving this opportunity to see these inspiring artworks!

Comments are closed.