Life on a Train Challenge Winners


We are very happy to announce the winners of the CG Boost “Life on a Train” Challenge!

For our 28th challenge we received 201 submissions and dived into many stories about living on a train. Thanks everyone for participating!

Our jury, consisting out of 16 people, had a good but also hard time judging all the great 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 three 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 3 winners of the challenge raffle. 

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

Prince Bali

1 course of your choice between Blender Launch Pad and Substance Painter Launch Pad

Mihir Mahindrakar

1 course of your choice between Blender Launch Pad and Substance Painter Launch Pad

Mohamed Elsayed

1 course of your choice between Blender Launch Pad and Substance Painter Launch Pad

1st Place

Yordan Zarev

We’re congratulating Yordan Zarev for winning the first place!

Yordan about his entry:

“Travelling by train has always been a more of an experience, rather than means of transportation, especially in my home country of Bulgaria. I wanted to capture an intimate moment from a night trip.

It was quite fun creating this image, as I had to quickly figure out how to deal with characters and posing/animating them and dressing them up, as this was really a first for me, and it really gave me the courage to keep delving into character creation.

Created using Blender, Cycles, Gimp, Marvelous Designer.

Clay Render

What our jury says:

Gregory Smith: “A Superb eye-catching composition with a viewpoint and lighting rig that sells the mood of the image perfectly. The refinement and level of detail is also impressive.”

Aidy Burrows: “The simplicity of taking just a small segment of the train and making it all pretty cozy with the lighting and materials while giving it depth by framing bunks in the foreground is a nice way to get a lot out of a little. Nicely done!”

Ozana Nemčanin: “Great image. This camera angle is a genial decision, not only it lifted the whole composition but also gave so much to the story. Basically, this perspective made it possible to understand the whole story. The use of colors is superb. Depth of field as well.”

Ewa Wierbik: “Very well-made scene, nice lighting and mood. The composition is pleasing to the eye and the render itself fits very well with the theme of the challenge. Maybe there is a bit too much subsurface scattering on the pages of the book, but other than that, texturing is nicely done.”

Darko Vucenik: “Beautiful character. Great posing and wonderful modeling. Materials all well done. Sweater look nice and fluffy. Wonderful work with the wrinkles on all fabrics. Lightning is nicely designed, bringing out the contrast between warm highlights and cool blue shadows.”

Christoph Werner: “Very nice character work. I like the natural pose and the exciting camera view. Lighting and composition is really good.”

Ken Liang: “This is a very warm and cozy render! Immediately I could see that your strengths are cloth and fabric models/materials, and they do show all over your render, from the clothes she is wearing, to the bed linens. Nice usage of warm and cool tones along with DOF to aid with composition. With that said, I do have to point out that the hair doesn’t seem to match the overall render. But otherwise, awesome work!”

Masha Bazueva: “Great work! The lighting and atmosphere is really well done. Also, the textures are great, and I really like the composition with a different point of view from the usual train scene. The only thing I would change is putting some socks on that feet: it looks pretty cold there. Also, it looks like the hair are out of focus for some reason.

Lukas Walzer: “This one is really an exercise in clothing as well as minimalistic lighting. Both have been done really well!”

2nd Place

Josemar Ferreira

We’re congratulating Josemar Ferreira for winning the second place!

Josemar about his entry:

“The scene was designed to reinforce our relationship with nature, regardless of having a post-apocalyptic situation, or a train derailed, our cycle continues.

The creation of the scene follows a simple environment design process starting from the search for references for each part of the project (mood, environment, train), a drawing resulting from new ideas, which was refined into a digital concept art and then the step that it involves assembling the scene itself.

There were 5 days of hard work that allowed for a very satisfactory result, with a lot of learning at each stage, being essential to know how to manage time.

Created using 3DS Max, Quixel, Corona Renderer.

Clay Render

What our jury says:

Lukas Walzer: “Incredibly detailed and the staging is so well-balanced! The image really drags you in.”

Gregory Smith: “This is an amazing environment with superb attention to detail. We can also so clearly read the narrative behind the image.”

Ewa Wierbik: “The color scheme in this render is very pleasing to the eye. The vegetation looks very realistic. It’s a shame that the figure isn’t highlighted more, as it gets a bit lost against the background of the abandoned train car.”

Darko Vucenik: “With such beautiful scenery, living on an abandoned train cart look quite inviting. I like the composition framed by those beautiful tall treas. Nature is expertly made. Rocks, moss, bushes and water look so detailed and organic. The character adds a bit of harness and reality of life with that dead rabbit to an otherwise idyllic scene.”

Christoph Werner: “Josemar has created an impressive artwork with a lot of attention to detail.”

Ken Liang: “I simply like this artwork because it’s like a looking at a painting that tells a story. The majority of the render being occupied by foliage suggests that nature has reclaimed its land, and this is what’s left of the train wreck. The front coach of the train on the left side feels as if it is being slowly devoured by nature. Better appreciate your humble abode while it’s still around, forager.”

Masha Bazueva: “This submission is one of my favorites! I love how real the vegetation looks, the lighting of the scene and the style you chose for your character! The details of the girl’s outfit are fascinating to look at and tell us about her daily routine. Great work!”

Amina Khan: “Idyllic and yet so lonely. To be able to tell such an emotional story through art is pure talent.”

3rd Place

Szilvia Kiss

We’re congratulating Szilvia Kiss for receiving the third place!

Follow Szilvia:

Szilvia about his entry:

“This is my first time participating, and I enjoyed it very much. I’m still new to 3D and learned a lot while working on this challenge.

I decided on the isometric design because I really like the look, and it came easiest after following many of polygon runway’s tutorials.

I imagined a post-apocalyptic world with a surviving couple living on an abandoned carriage. I wanted to create a nice and peaceful atmosphere where no monsters lurk behind the trees and the survivors can enjoy a swim in the nearby river while their dinner cooks over the fire.”

Created using Blender, Cycles.

Clay Render

What our jury says:

Juan Hernandez: “Awesome work, great lighting and attention to detail. Everything works together very well, and it looks very appealing. Keep it up!”

Gregory Smith: “This is a wonderful scene with so much to look at, contained in natural and vibrant lighting.”

Ozana Nemčanin: “I love the low poly style. It’s super difficult for me, and I admire those who can do it well. Szilvia is the queen of the low poly style. Not only did she do a superb job with the models and textures, but she also told an interesting story about what life might be if you live in a train. Great work!”

Masha Bazueva: “Really nice stylized composition! I like all the details and the bright colors, there are so many things to look at! Also, the lighting is greatly done, good job!”

Amina Khan: “Such beautiful continuation of the stylized theme. Seems effortless, yet so intricate with rich storytelling.”

Honorable Mention

Kay John Yim

We’re congratulating Kay John Yim for receiving an honorable mention!

Follow Kay:

Kay about his entry:

I was born in an era of despair, and I have lived a solitary childhood as a scavenger.

My grandfather used to tell me a lot of things. He told me that “The Blast” wiped out a century of technology and population from our planet. He told me that train locomotives of metal construction, a form of archaic human vehicle, were the pinnacle of radioactive shields, and were worth a thousand times more than iodine tablets or canned foods.

He told me that trust was hard to claim, and that friendship was even harder to come by in a post-apocalyptic world. But he never told me about hope – until you. I will never forget, how you took my breath away, the first time we met at the train station.

“The Apocalypse is gone.
War has left.
So let’s be cheery.
We need not worry.
The end never comes twice!”

You sang aloud as you brought me into your life on a train; you were playful and trusting; you were everything I never knew before and everything I wanted to learn more about.

You brought me hope.

The final render – an apocalyptic fantasy staged at Antwerp Central Train Station – took me 19 days to complete. The most challenging part was managing my time throughout modeling, texturing and rendering among all the different assets. I have learned to plan my composition at the outset, so as to avoid spending excess time on unnecessary details.”

Created using Cinema4D, Redshift, Rhino, Speedtree, Character Creator, Marvelous Designer.

Clay Render

What our jury says:

Lukas Walzer: “A fantastic scenery, like taken from a dream! Everything just clicks, from the intricate modeling to the cozy volumetric lighting.”

Aidy Burrows: “Really enjoying the splash of colours and the composition framing of the environment. I also like the thematic depiction of the characters literally being ‘on’ a train. :)”

Darko Vucenik: “The sea of yellow leaves is so striking. I love everything about this piece, from character costumes, beautiful foliage, fluffy steam to detailed background architecture. Golden sunlight gives the scene such nice dreamlike quality. Both, storytelling and technical aspects are so well executed.”

Ozana Nemčanin: “Epic use of light. I love the color scheme and composition. Everything is done with great attention to detail. Kay has made a poetic image and communicates such a warm story. Great work indeed.”

Honorable Mention

Eugen Demeterca

We’re congratulating Eugen Demeterca for receiving an honorable mention!

Follow Eugen:

Eugen about his entry:

“My initial starting thought for this challenge was, “can I do some thinking out of the box for the theme?” After that, the thought process went to “can I use the train in a dreamlike environment?”.

And that I did, as you can see!

I worked on it for hours and hours (I didn’t count) almost every day when I came back from work, and I finished it just now.

The main things I learned in making this image was duplicating objects along a curve and how complicated it is to fit the straight wagons on a very curved rail.

The train looks all right from this point of view, isn’t it? Well, believe me when I tell you that you don’t want to see the other side! 😀

Anyway, it was a fun challenge, full of many learned things, and I’m quite happy with the final result. It is not perfect, of course, but that is all I could do in that amount of time.

Thank you for the opportunity!

Created using Blender and Photoshop.

Clay Render

What our jury says:

Lukas Walzer: “That’s one hell of a ride! I like the clear and geometric spiral composition that stands in absolute contrast to the trippy colors and scenery.”

Cedric Van der Kelen: “Very unique and interesting! The character in the foreground could’ve been better lit and color designed to stand out more. Like the trippiness.”

Gregory Smith: “A very creative approach, there’s so much to read into the image. It feels so like a book illustration that it captures a real sense of movement and adventure.”

Ewa Wierbik: “Although the work appears to be very abstract, it interestingly relates to the theme of the challenge. The color scheme is very consistent and the amount of detail is not overwhelming. Overall – very good artwork.”


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