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Retina Software Modeling A Cityscape Contest Results


cityscape.jpgWe posted about Retina-Software's contest a while back, and after a deadline extension and prize money increase, winners have been announced. You can find the results here.

It must have been a difficult decision since the contest was geared for a very specific task - a demo of their game engine technology. So even if an entry was visually stunning, it might not have been selected for project-specific reasons. This is the reality of any job. So go a take a look at the Modeling a Cityscape results. Lets hope that the demo to the investors goes well, since Retina-Software seems focused on using open-source solutions.

About the Author


Just a guy really into 3D, especially where Blender is concerned.


  1. These are all impressive results. However, I personally like Sherman's entry more than Victor's. Both Victor's and Charles' entries look like they use quite a lot of polygons - everything looks *very* smooth to me.

    Still, I like what I'm seeing here and I would be very much interested in seeing some video footage of flythroughts of these models!

  2. I hate to complain as you guys really do some good work here. BUT I have to say it would be nice if the images could actually be seen when clicked on in Firefox (I'm using

    The darkened border and white box are all rather nice and all but not very helpful when you really want to look at, say, a city scape. I know I'm not the only one having this problem as I've seen it mentioned by a few others in the past week or so alone.

  3. @Dasaan: which platform do you use? So far every platform seems to handle the lightbox functionality fine, except for some more obscure (64-bit if I remember correctly) Linux configurations.

  4. @Dasaan: that does seem to be the only platform that has problems with our image handler. I don't think I want to change the site because one (unstable!) platform has issues with it. Sorry!

  5. Try right clicking and select "Open link in new tab". That should load the image in the browser without using the java script.

  6. The problem is that there is no 64-bit Flash player (yet). Adobe has some problems making one for 64-bit platforms, and it seems to be a Flash-based image plugin. Some distro's (like openSuSE) provide simply a 32-bit Firefox on their 64-bit distro, but that's a temporary solution.

    I don't think amd64 is unstable. It's just unsupported. There's a whole world of difference in that.

  7. Well, since is the forum site that produced by far the most hits (Eugene's post on this site generated more than twice as many hits than every other site we posted on combined!), I just wanted to, on behalf of Retina Softare, thank everyone who both supported this project and participated in it. We're already considering another contest and I've promised Eugene that I'd let him know if and when it happens. :-)

  8. I wanted to caution Anthony and Retina about the logo design contest mentioned at the bottom of the announcement for the contest winners. Please visit to see some reasons why speculative work and contests are discouraged for design and branding work.

    In brief my reservation is that design is meticulous work, not art. Your logo is a marketing and financial boon to your company, not a flavor-of-the-week or fad-driven piece of artwork. A properly chosen designer will get to know your company, your marketplace, your competition, and do all research needed to ensure that your logo will leave a lasting impression. Designers will work with you with several designs as needed until everything is right. You will form a long-lasting relationship with the person in question, and they can create related materials utilizing the logo. If you pick someone who happened to hit the nail on the head for the contest, you may be stuck with someone who has no customer relations skills, no print or web design expertise, a lack of flexibility, no research capabilities, etc. You may get that "one hit wonder" rather than the classic rock and roll band that spans generations.

    A designer is a professional trained in methods of supporting business marketing and advertising.
    There is art in good design, but professional design is deliberation not inspiration.

  9. I would like to write a few comments as well, especially because I participated in the competition this article reports about.

    I ended up with +/- 23400 faces in total for my model. I wouldn't be surprised if my model has the lowest polycount of all entries. And people should know that only about 1/9th will be on screen at any time.

    That a few elements [the chimneys, cooling towers and a few tanks] use more polygons was done deliberately. These objects are close to the camera, and I wanted the curves to look smooth. After all, the model will be used in a showcase and must leave a good impression.

    I agree completely with Crisses about the dangers of speculative work in design and branding. What he writes also applies for the world of illustration. I was schooled as professional illustrator, and in this branch of creative work also occur situations described on

    In the case of the competition which just finished, I would like to make an exception [yeah, I'm very likely not objective, but I try to be].
    I think in this case none of the participants were professional 3d designers, and I doubt any pro was harmed during this competition ;-)

    At best any such competition is a two-edged sword. Professionals will suffer, like everywere and always, but beginners might have the chance for new work and a succesful career. It's up to each person in which category he decides to be.


  10. I'd like to thank both Crisses and Victor for their comments regarding the logo design idea. I think our primary thought is that we could offer a $100+ prize and get a number of really good logos - one of which may be a perfect fit for our company. In such a case, we could then use that logo and likely, once we have the funding, go to a professional designer who will either inforporate or modify that logo into something that would become a corporate identity.

    The thing is, right now we are early seed stage and money is pretty tight, so we can't always take the most ideal route. Getting a professional designer is a multi-thousand dollar investment - something we'll gladly do later, but right now it isn't an option. Plus, if we were to run the contest and nothing were to really strike our fancy, we would have only lost about $100, which is a small loss when we turn around and hire a professional designer.

    Your points are very good, and we will certainly give them strong consideration. We hadn't yet decided to do this competition, it was simply an idea we threw around since we kinda need a logo... There are of course risks associated with it, but as an entrepreneur risk is something you just have to deal with. That said, we're getting ready to go to investors (in just a couple of weeks) and if things go well then we may go with professional logo design. It's really just very much in the air, and a careful balancing act between what is best and what is possible.

  11. Taking someone's logo design to a professional designer later to re-do it may cause copyright issues. Your contest would have to include a rider that the copyrights are transferred to your business, design needs to be considered a work-for-hire (explicitly) to have the copyright, or the rights need to be explicitly transfered (and this isn't a work-for-hire: it's a logo design contest!).

  12. Oh, we would certainly include a full transfer of copyright in the contract that the winner would sign. We've been quite careful about avoiding copyright issues and generally assigning copyright directly to Retina Software whenever possible.

  13. Aaargh! Nooo! Taking someone's logo to a professional designer to re-do it will DEFINITELY cause copyright problems! Not only this, but offering only about $100 dollars for the original design is unacceptable. I would strongly suggest not to do this, not just because I am a professional illustrator. It will cause your company harm, because word will get around you cheat people, because basically that's what it is.

    My suggestion would be this:

    Having a professional 'polish' a winning logo would be very bad, and having a professional bureau design a logo for you is expensive. Yet there are many 1-person design companies in the world, who work professionally and are experienced, but deal with small commissions like this. They are much cheaper than a big bureau and everything is done without damaging 'the business'.


  14. Being a one-person business who deals with small-to-mid-sized businesses and specifically struggles to keep everything affordable, I want to thank Victor for his support (but I can't contact him personally :) -- no email address or website given).

    I don't want large accounts with budgets with 6 zeros; I want to help local businesses keep business local to have a rich local economy. My goal is to make my money by helping many people, rather than catering to one or two huge businesses with advertising budgets that could buy a major sports team.

    Thank you for your support. And if you have a chance, Victor, please educate me on how No!Spec relates to illustration work outside of graphic design -- contact me through my site or email address.

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