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Blender Contest: Create a Realistic and Life Like Human Portrait


We (Len West), Jonathan Williamson ( and Derek Marsh (BgDM at have just launched a really exciting contest at It's all about creating realistic and lifelike human portraits by using our favorite application, Blender 3d.  Let me tell you, Blender is more than capable of pulling this off, especially with the fairly recent development in SSS, and the new hair particle system.

We also have some awesome prizes. is sponsoring a ONE YEAR PREMIUM membership valued at 1290 EUR! as the 1st prize.  They also supplied us with seven sets (three pics per set) of high quality portrait reference/textures pics for entrants to use!  Artists will then also stand a good chance of having their art published under the "User Works"  section of, giving them even more exposure.  Peter from has also joined us as a judge.  His expertise is a great addition to the team.

"Jonathan Willamson from Montage Studio who is sponsoring a whole bunch of his brilliant training dvd's.  I can speak from personal experience that these are ACE quality.  Montage Studio is also sponsoring a "Total Textures Humans and Creatures texture" dvd from 3DTotal".

I really hope to see A LOT of entries!  But let me say this, in case these awesome prizes aren't enough to inspire artists to enter, know this ... a "little birdy" has told me that Project Durian will be watching this contest closely ..."

Link to contest details:

All the best

Editors Note:

Durian is the "code name" for Ton Roosendaal's ( whom loves fruit names) next open movie project. As I recall from my conversation with Ton at SIGGRAPH about it, it is essentially a loud, special FX, shoot em up,[edit 10-07-08]with lots of action, movie. An oppisite of the "warm and fuzzy" Peach project.


  1. Ton - I'm pretty excited about that shooter movie. Show the power of Blender in a basic action film. I honestly think that Blender could be a staple in any media company pipeline - especially budget minded who need high quality.

    HOPEFULLY this will show even more power. Elephant's Dream and Big Buck Bunny are great at showing general awesomeness ... now it's time to get dirty.

    I still hope to use Blender a lot in my graphic novel ... still need to figure out how to use it effectively. hahah

  2. You know what would be a REALLY REALLY good thing to develop with this new project? The 3d Tracking system. The movie should be a live-action with Blender 3d integrated effects, scenery, robots, aliens, etc, etc!!!!!!!

  3. It took me only a minute or so to recognize that i had to click onto the "" link. But after trying the "individual membership" button, i learned a lot about toplessness. OK, not that much that i didn't already know. Thanks a lot for that! And: No, i don't need no further "Spiced Pork and Meat"... ...thank you very much.

  4. quiss42: There's no place in the world of art to be shy, if ya can't stand the heat ... get into banking :P And lately we all know where that leads.

  5. It really annoys me when people make pornography under the pretense of being "art." Pornography is the most family destructive industry in the world. Pornography has the same destruction whether you call it art or pornography. Please don't call pornography "art."

  6. This is great! Best luck to all who enter. Looking forward to Blender improvements... the Durian Project looks less-than-promising, considering it seems to lack a plotline (or, rather, if it has one, it is not the main focus - bad news there.)

    @Carl: The Blender Institute plans to make an open movie project with the concept of live footage and FX, which I am highly looking forward to (at least, for the wealth of features it will allow those who are into live action filmmaking.) But Project Durian is not that project. The project after Project Durian is that one. I do not recall the name, but it started with an "M" I think. (Another fruit most likely.)

    @Matt: Very good word there, sir.

  7. Second Matt.

    Check all the Fine Art book none will have depiction of human form with "sexual" part and not detailed so much.

    In fine art class teachers chose the model for the students from they characters , meaning if there is a couple of shy persons it will chose that the model don`t show his genital parts.

    Art is not about porn , but some think that exaggerating with realism and details is art? that`s gross.

    Check Caravaggio

    that`s art not porn ?

    See Leonardo Da Vinci

    Don`t look like porn , but some reference image for 3d modeling are straight porn , that is not art.

    And the title is "Blender Contest: Create a Realistic and Life Like Human Portrait"

    so if you don`t like the references you can find your own , and only the human face.

  8. I think Matt was talking about the alarming rate of 3d artists who model nothing but girls with big boobs in armour (or naked).

    It's boring and pathetic really. And whenever I see work like that on CGtalk, I always think, "Great. You just spent several weeks creating something that you'll never be able to use in your portfolio without offending your clients."

    On topic: Real life modelling hasn't exactly been blender's strong points, but with this motivation I'm sure the entries will be quite amazing :)

  9. First off, thanks to everyone who helped organise the contest. I plan to enter and have a great time.

    Secondly, (I hope this won't detract from the contest) I have nothing against nudity in art. There can be a difference between nudity in art and pornography. is a reference site for artists in the same way that a medical reference book helps medical students learn about the body and how it functions.

    Whilst there are a lot of 'scantily clad women in bikini armour' images out there, the images at and other such reference sites can be used to create fully clothed stunt doubles for films and other such uses. Yes there is full photographic nudity, but with the intent of the artists using what they need from the images in the generation of their works.

    From memory, sets from come with an instructions for use which prohibits the use of the images in generating adult content anyway.

    On that note, there should be a warning on the link to warning about the nudity for the sake of those under 18. There are a variety of people visiting this site who will come across the link.

    Downloading the provided references from the contest page now, pretty sure they are only head and shoulders for those who want to know.

    Once again, thanks to the organisers, this is sure to be a lot of fun!

  10. Woohoo! Hope i get the time and energy for this one. I've been planing to make timelapses from modeling mugshots for quite a while now. Too busy / lazy i guess xD
    We aren't limited to the image references provided by right?

    @Numarul7: roman ? :D

  11. Ever since of I heard of this contest I have been waiting for it to start. thanks to all those that put in the effort to make this happen. I always thought that we needed more bigger contests to inspire people to push themselves and create some cool art. about the nudity issues photos are for artistic reference the are tastefully done and in my view are not in any way pornographic. Perhaps a nudity warning should be there to warn those that are offended by nudity. Personally I couldn't care less, death and violence offend more than nudity and sex but am weird that way.

  12. I have downloaded the .zip file of references supplied for the contest by (available from the thread) - no nudity. Of course, references can be used from elsewhere too, just thought it worth mentioning.

  13. I downloaded too and there is no porn.

    And I have every right to be an artist without needing to be exposed to nudity against my knowledge or will - if you think otherwise you need to get over yourself.

  14. @HRTC of course the wouldn't be porn because does doesn't make porn. There is nudity in some of there full figure photos but again this is not porn, it is not of a sexual nature in any way. Why people are this uncomfortable with nudity is beyond me. If you are an artist as you state than just how you got through your anatomy and figure drawing classes is a mystery to me. Western art from the ancient Greeks till today has featured nudity in some form or another regardless of what grandstanding puritans think.

    Anyway this contest is geared towards portraits so lets focus on that. good luck to all those that intend to enter. I Hope the standard of work will be as good that of the BWC or even higher.

  15. Tyrant:

    Being an 'artist' relates in no-way to "anatomy and figure drawing classes". Art is a broad term which applies to many, many things and activities. Just because your use such images in your art, doesn't mean I do, or that I need/want to in this once.

    The point is I (or anyone) should be able to access the supplied references without needing to be warned about it. Believe it or not, some of us don't live by ourselves in a dark basement, or even access the internet from home/work, and if someone else saw something which they consider inappropriate, telling them 'it's for art' is not going to help, regardless of whether I am offended by it not.

    As you said, this contest is about portraits, so why the hell do you care if someone is offended by nudity? The Greeks lived in a very different world, the art they made (such as David) is highly recognisable and wouldn't exactly create the same sort of misunderstanding that a women standing in suggestive poses with her goodies showing would.

    It is obvious you don't have to worry about such things, but please keep your "puritan" comments to yourself, thanks.

    Good luck with your entry.

  16. not only in malaysia my brother... Indonesia too :P

    do you know the meaning of durian?
    DURIAN is something that have spines ( "duri" in bahasa = spine )
    and RAMBUTAN, something that have hairs ( "rambut" in bahasa = hair )

    and i've that trees in my backyard, :D ... just kidding
    but.. u can buy that fruits about US$1-US$5 in my town

    everyone, teach me to make a realistic human skins.. and i'll give you durians for free... :)) just kidding, but iam serious..

  17. I am extremely happy for this contest.
    I must thank Len and all sponsors for this long waited contest which I've tried to realize before on those threads :

    I would be very happy to assist in any way I can to this contest.
    (I've already in contact with Len about specific details for Category B and more issues).

    Thanks everyone for making this happen - show the real power of Blender !

  18. Durian is the "code name" for Ton Roosendaal's ( whom loves fruit names) next open movie project. As I recall from my conversation with Ton at SIGGRAPH about it, it is essentially a loud, special FX, shoot em up, with lots of action, movie. An oppisite of the "warm and fuzzy" Peach project.

    Slightly off topic, but since this was mentioned, does anyone know the plans regarding when this is going to start? If there's already a link somewhere that explains this, as well, I'd be interested!

  19. I think the diversity of response to this contest will open many eyes to the capabilities Blender offers, it's a good showcase for both the artists and the app.

    I have to chuckle at some of the posts about nude subjects, like the person who attributed the nude sculpture David to the Greeks. *chuckle* Just a few hundred years off, but hey, who counts a century or two? (David was created during the Renaissance by an Italian, fellow named Mike or something like that). In any case, truly serious human anatomy books (those that I'm familiar with, anyway) rarely omit genitalia as a sop to goofy cultural mores, it's all just part of learning a subject, one that's been depicted in various stages of dress and undress for about 40,000 years or more, and near as I can tell, it hasn't led to the destruction, or even noticeable harm, of any society, ever. Even more explicit subjects have been a component of the full spectrum of art in hundreds if not thousands of cultures, and I guarantee that politics and religion have done vastly more to damage human societies than any risque imagery.

  20. Hey everyone :)

    I'm really happy about the wonderful response that the launch of this contest has brought about. I truly hope that we get some absolute kick-ass masterpieces coming out of this. The talent is there, and Blender's capabilities is there.

    As for the nudity ... LOL ... yeh I'm not particularly a fan of looking and male lunchpacks either, however it comes with the territory - depending on how much detail is needed for a specific character and Anatomy study. A simple example would be the creation of character skins for Second Life.

    Luckily this is a contest focusing mainly on Portraiture, and by selecting your specific needs on the left hand side of's website it should take ya all the way to portraits and exclude nudity.

    I really hope everyone has a fun time with this contest, and lets show them what we're made of heh!!


  21. Hopefully the outcome of this contest will also give us a good tutorial on creating a photo realistic character. I've struggled with this for some time and have hit a plateau. So I'm looking forward to the results.

  22. So! as soon as any sugestive details comes into play in art (such as detailed anatomy) it becomes porn for me.
    But hey, that's just me.
    I'd love to enter, and I will.
    I just need some practice, cuz I totally suck when it comes to human modeling, not to mention texturing and detailing

  23. Getting quoted well is an art too :)

    I've not really mentioned "shoot em up", I'm not very fond of that genre even. But that's for the team to decide later. In short, what I like to explore for the next open movie:
    - tagline "Maximum impact, No story!"
    - action choreography
    - massive and epic scenes
    - sculpting (monsters, detailed humans) and detail render
    - smoke/fire/explosions
    - 4k (stereo view?) digital cinema
    Just a lot of (adolescent) fun! Definitely another episode in our "open source violence" series ;)

    All of the above please take with a grain of salt, it's just ideas and plans in progress, and nothing official yet. I have to work on Blender first. :) I'll be focusing on the 2.5 recode for the rest of the year at least. A new project will only be launched when the new code is in a usable state, which might well be not before march/april next year.


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