Discovered in Ice Challenge Winners


We are very happy to announce the winners of the CG Boost “Discovered in Ice” Challenge!

For our 13th challenge we received 137 submissions, and we not only discovered creepy monsters and old ships in ice, we also discovered some amazing artworks. Thanks everyone for participating!

Our jury, consisting out of 15 people, had a good time judging all the accepted submissions. Each judge voted for their own top 5 artworks. All in all, 28 submissions received votes, which you can see below.

We also picked six random winners for the challenge raffle, see who has won below.

Congrats to the winners and honorable mentions, but also to everyone who was taking part! Remember, the best prize you can get from this challenge is improving your skills.

Regrading the prizes, we will contact the winners during the next few days.

A big THANK YOU goes to all of our great sponsors (see below) which provided the amazing prizes!

Now scroll down to see the winners and don’t miss out the next CG Boost Challenge!

~Zach and the CG Boost team


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Here you can see the 28 entries that received votes by our jury. Click here to see all entries.

Challenge Raffle Winners

Congrats to the six winners of the challenge raffle. 

Watch how we picked the winners, here. We will contact the winners in the next few days.

Kyle Dahlgren

1 copy of Blender 2.8 Launch Pad course

Charlie Handy

1 copy of Blender 2.8 Launch Pad course

Chandler Eyre

1 copy of Blender 2.8 Launch Pad course

Szymon Mitowski

Aedan Beisly

Erik Ekgasit

1st Place

Benjamin Roman

We’re congratulating Benjamin Roman for winning the first place!

Follow Benjamin:

Benjamin about his entry:

“I entered the contest quite late, it took some time to have a clear idea about what I wanted to create.

At first, I wanted to create a more scientific-looking image showing a modern expedition. I started to search for photos but after a few days making a PureRef project, I changed my idea to go with a more Viking style artwork.

The project was done in Blender 2.81, rendered with Cycles and composed in Photoshop.

In this contest, a friend lends me his graphic tablet. It was the first time I use one and I used it to sculpt most of the organic elements in the scene : The ice, the snow, the rocks. It was very handy. To create the snow, I duplicated the ice mesh I first did and applied a displace modifier to put it below the ice. Then I sculpted it where I wanted the snow to be above the ice or the rocks.

In the beginning, the church architecture was very straight and squared. I progressively added details but since it was not enough, I grabbed the proportional editor and did some crazy deformations.

The lighting was quite hard to set up. The main light comes from an HDR panorama that I desaturated and darken to create an icy cave looking mood. Then I used a spotlight with a Perlin noise texture to create some visual interest on the church part.

I rendered two separated layers : the foreground and the background cave. This enabled me to keep some of the light from de HDRi to light the foreground. The background is lit by a very large area plane to mimic some light coming from the rest of the cave. The blueish tint is accentuated in post-processing.

In order to stay focused on the artwork, I wrote down everything I wanted to add/change to achieve my goals. It helped me a lot to get a coherent result.”

Created using Blender and Photoshop.

Clay Render

What our jury says:

Zacharias Reinhardt: “This artwork stood out to me because of the great composition (use of guiding lines, color and lighting) and how it delivers the feeling of being in a huge cave. The lonely house adds a mysterious touch to the story of the scene. Great work!”

Cedric Van der Kelen: “Beautiful composition and color use, the amount of detail really works. Lighting is 10/10 in the upper half. However, the yellow lights really do not work, the amount of glow and light intensity is too harsh and the noise of the water is too distracting. Keep your stylization (level of detail) consistent throughout the piece. Cool work!”

Lukas Walzer: “This one has a unique 2D-ish look to it, concerning colors, forms and compositions. Everything works together perfectly!”

Darko Vucenik: “This hidden dwelling inside ice cave with a mysterious figure approaching fires up imagination. Is it a scene from long ago or a place that time has forgotten. I love the composition, and lighting. That beam of light that is hitting the building and atmospheric perspective are great.”

Andrew Probert: “Of all the entries, I enjoyed this the most. It has great composition, lighting, and a bit of drama: it is a memorable scene – but I see no ‘explorers’ or evidence of how this world was discovered. Just adding a Snow Cat and a couple of appropriately-dressed figures would have made this my first pick.”

Ken Liang: “This artwork instantly captures my attention when I first saw it. The composition, lighting and color palette decisions were masterfully crafted to bring the focal attention towards the building. The idea of what seems to be a church building being hidden and preserved in a majestically huge ice cavern which is only accessible via waterway is also very intriguing and evokes a sense of timelessness. Only thing I’d improve on is perhaps light the wooden staircase platforms a little better to slowly guide the viewer’s eyes from the mysterious figure to the building. The subtle lights held by the character and at the jeti is doing the job nicely but I feel that there is a discontinuation at the stairs in terms of lighting. Otherwise, very picturesque!”

2nd Place

Duc Tam Bui

We’re congratulating Duc Tam Bui for winning the second place!

Follow Duc:


Duc about his entry:

“Lost Gate – I have always enjoyed adventure movies and have been impressed with the magnificent ancient architecture.
As soon as I saw the topic, I instantly imagined some ancient architecture that was being forgotten under the undiscovered thick ice.
After some sketches, I came up with this and decided to develop it. The process was quite interesting when I finished the composition in Blender and then tried using Houdini in creating details for the ice cliffs. I quite like the result and I hope to improve it further.

Created using Blender, Houdini and Marvelous Designer.

Clay Render

What our jury says:

Zacharias Reinhardt: “It is not easy to create the illusion of big size in a 3d scene, but man, that is a giant scene here, what you can perfectly tell from the size of the characters compared to the background, which is covered in some atmospheric mist. Great use of framing and lighting to show the ice entrance in full glory. This is would make me goosebumps if I would discover something like this in the real world.”

Cedric Van der Kelen: “great sense of scale! Really used your composition to tell an engaging story. Be wary of the scale of your foreground people as one seems a lot shorter than the other one (although they might not be in your scene, the perspective is a bit weird.) /I would’ve added a bit more to the story and/or design of the building. Great work nonetheless.”

Gregory Smith: “The sense of scale in this entry is amazing, and its value structure provides a lot of impact on first read.”

Chris Plush: “This is very cinematic and has such an adventurous feel to it. I’m really sold on the sense of wonder and massive scale in the composition and design.”

Amina Khan: “Lost temple feels. It’s eerie and gloomy, great work with the depth effect to make the audience feel overwhelmed.”

Darko Vucenik: “Strange, wonderfully mysterious temple. The silhouettes of people in the foreground help so much with the sense of scale making the background architecture all the more awe-inspiring. The cave walls on the side further focus the views eyes on temple entrance. Volumetric light is great and sss shades are interesting.”

Christoph Werner: “Very nice composition.”

3rd Place

Tobias Schmid

We’re congratulating Tobias Schmid for receiving the third place!

Follow Tobias:


Tobias about the entry:

“I wanted to create an artwork with focus on storytelling and playing with the scale for the scene. I’m using Blender a long time, and with this piece I think I reached a new level for me. 

For this project I made a plan, what topics I got to learn and what I need to create. 

Normally I’m using Cycles. Here I chose Eevee to learn it better, and the best thing is the short render time, so I did a lot of comparison renders to check the changes. Also, the difference to cycles was minimal, which surprised me.

I used so many features I never used, like turn off visibility for armatures or curves, I used collections in collections to stay organized, because this project got much bigger than I expected. I also used volumetrics and needed to learn how to use a shadow catcher.

The hardest part was the Ice material. That’s the first thing I started with, and I created 5 different ice-materials and used all sources of video tutorials and posts to get the look I wanted. Finally, I found the awesome parallax method. Once I got the basic scene done, I got in the flow and couldn’t stop improving it.

This was a huge success for me. Thanks for the Challenge.

Created using Blender.

Clay Render

What our jury says:

Zacharias Reinhardt: “Luckily I’m not in the situation of this three guys, I don’t think this is a friendly creature here. Great idea executed well. The ice is convincing and you can feel the depth underneath it.”

Gregory Smith: “Great framing on this entry, which really draws us in to the storyline. The ice material really stands out and combines the frosty effect with transparency excellently.”

Aidy Burrows: “Really like the insane scale of the creature beneath the ice there, so large those traversing up top can’t pick out the details. Not seeing the wood for the trees so to speak. Simple but effective very nicely done! :)”

Wybren van Keulen: “The execution of this idea is brilliant. Intense colors and beautiful texturing add a lot of depth to this great composition.”

Darko Vucenik: “Unaware of danger that lurks beneath the expedition traverses the deadly lake. I love the concept of this piece. Colors are beautiful and the reflections on the ice and cornea really give me that winter day feel when sun is glaring so low in the sky. Poses of characters are well-chosen showing their blissful unawareness of the monster beneath.”

Christoph Werner: “I like the story and the use of colors and light.”

Andrew Probert: “Although slightly goofy, in my opinion, I liked this because it tells a story and meets the challenge. These guys have indeed ‘discovered’ something in the ice… or about to, adding a bit of whimsical drama to this entry.”

Marius Iatan: “I like the idea, with the bit of over-emphasis on the frozen character. Gives the render the kind of eerie feel that makes you think something’s going to happen soon. Nice!”

Honorable Mention

Pengyu Zhang

We’re congratulating Pengyu Zhang for receiving an honorable mention!

Follow Pengyu:


Pengyu about his entry:

“My main inspiration is from “The thing” and TV series “The Terror” season 1. What would happen if lost 18th century expedition ship found frozen in antarctic along with a giant squid-like creature, is myth of kraken real?

I’m trying to make a film scenery that imagining the first few hours of this strange event. I did some doodles in 3D Coat first, then I went to mocking up the scene in Blender, set up basic light, and experiment with light and basic material, then I’m going back to 3D Coat to detail the form of the hero asset, then I import those models back to Blender to replace the previous one, in between I’d sketch over the rough sculpt or test render (screen captures) to see how things can go.

The hardest part for me is that I see so many potential in different places, lighting conditions etc, but I’m not sure which way to carry on, because building any 3d asset is very time-consuming endeavor, anything I want to add, like an antenna and wire on top of the building, it would be a few hours trip (that including the time to figure out what to built in the first place), I spent almost whole day trying to build a decent snow cat (those special terrain vehicle).

Created using 3D Coat, Blender and Photoshop.

Clay Render

What our jury says:

Aidy Burrows: “Really like the scale and the story of this one somehow frozen in time amidst battle. Nice pose from the main squid beast and good modeling on the destruction of the ship.”

Chris Plush: “Epic. Such a well-rounded scene too with a lot of activity and a lot of story.”

Wybren van Keulen: “An entire film script in a single image! You obviously put a lot of effort into this image, and it shows. To make it perfect, may I suggest you remove the obvious duplicate men in the distance? Just keep the guy standing to the side of the red truck and get rid of the rest, they are not needed.”

Marius Iatan: “An image that tells a story about a battle in the past. Nice concept and unitary look of the scene, everything looks like it belongs in the scene. Great work!”

Honorable Mention

Oscar Cuesta

We’re congratulating Oscar Cuesta for receiving an honorable mention!

Follow Oscar:


Oscar about his entry:

“This is loosely based on puffins from Iceland. I started out with a simple 2D sketch to have a bit of a roadmap, and then I moved on to sculpting in ZBrush, texturing in Substance Painter and finally doing all the shading and lighting in Blender. There’s also a bit of color adjustment tweaks in Photoshop for the final rendered image. 

Created using ZBrush, Substance Painter, Blender and Photoshop.

Clay Render

What our jury says:

Zacharias Reinhardt: “I enjoyed the cute bird character design a lot here. The warm color and light tones, combined with the joyful expressions of the characters makes me feel that the one frozen in ice is someone beloved.”

Cedric Van der Kelen: “very cute and effective design. The story is a bit hard to read but the emotions, colors and stylization are unique and pleasant to look at. Great work!”

Wybren van Keulen: “It’s not completely clear what’s been found inside the ice, but it’s just so cute!”

Darko Vucenik: “Visiting a frozen ancestor. I like the design of cute birds with fun little details suck as stripes on their beaks. The shapes of stylized ice block is great. Lighting is working great with the style, I love how the rim light emphasizes characters silhouettes.”


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