Recently I have been taking part in art challenge organized by Industrial Light & Magic and ArtStation. The challenge was designed to simulate real production environment with tight deadlines, changing briefs and high quality expectations. For me that was a great opportunity to get the feeling of working in the movie industry, have my works seen by top artists in the industry and watch hundreds of various artists working on the same tasks.
They didn't require polished images with every hair and button rendered but instead the focus was on how your work conveys the story and emotions of key moments, or characters' personality. There was more of an artistry rather than a craftsmanship in this challenge and I liked that very much. Some vagueness of briefs and feedback I perceived as a kind of an artistic freedom. The pace of the challenge required a good deal of diplomacy inside my family and time management skills.
When the winners were announced, ArtStation was flooded with competitors' artworks. I really liked Mario Alberti's bold and energetic style. No doubts he deserved the 1st place in this challenge. I was also very inspired by Riccardo Federici's mastery in traditional media. He definitely won an "audience choice award".
I managed to get to the end of the challenge and was lucky to be among awarded artists (Honorable Mention).
Here is more detailed information about ILM Art Department challenge at ArtStation.