Machines grew stronger. Entire cities across the galaxy began to fall, until finally, two powerful entities shifted the tide of war. Equipped with vast amounts of magic, a powerful warlord from planet 3Dtotal and a powerful sorceress from planet CGLand, single handedly defended their home worlds from severe destruction. Through their inspiring actions, more warriors from 3Dtotal and CGLand began to join them and soon, they were able to bring the war to the machines' home world itself... until one day, everything simply stopped. All machine activities immediately ceased and all wormholes instantly closed. It was a Great Victory for the two surviving planets; 3Dtotal and CGLand. However, both heroes were lost when the wormholes suddenly closed. Nobody is sure what happened to these heroes, but for the time being, everyone was content to enjoy the victory and time for recovery while it lasted...

5 year's later, everything changed for the worst... To be continued...

- Top 5 Champions  |  Top 6-20 Champions  |  Top 50 & Judges Comments  |  DWIII Credits and Thanks -

- 3D Judges Comments  |  2D Judges Comments -

Listed in alphabetical order:

AkaDarK - CGSociety
    Alexandr-M - CGTalk
    ALW-DaSilva -
    andy6308aaa - CGSociety
    bahlswede -
    Bogdanbl4 - CGTalk
    Brutikong - CGSociety
    bs9999 - CGLand
    bulgarov - 3DTotal
    cakeypigdog -
    Cerisierenfleur -
    cg-sammu -
    clueme -
    DDS - CGSociety
    foreverendering - Polycount
    GoldenGrifon - CGTalk
    Goldo_O - 3DVF
    gun1280 - CGLand
    jdstyles - CGLand
    JMon - CGLand
    Jokermax - CGTalk
    Josh Singh -
    katzeimsack - Polycount
    Kook Jung Gil - CGLand
    KrotArt - CGTalk
    marshugo - HXSD
    modeling_man -
    mrrogers - Polycount
    muppet man -
    neverwintered - CGTalk
    NikitaNV - CGTalk
    Nitrolivier - 3DVF
    oops78a - CGLand
    ParkParkin - 3DTotal
    RedFish - CGSociety
    reiv - 3DVF
    rollin - Polycount
    rv_el -
    sesetaba - HXSD
    Soggyclog - CGSociety
    Spark - Polycount
    Squirrely Jones - Polycount
    theerapol - CGSociety
    tony tan - HXSD
    Vahl - Polycount
    vamak - CGTalk
    warmhearted - HXSD
    yinxunyu - HXSD
    ZIVIXcn -
Listed in alphabetical order:

Albers -
    Alex E - CGTalk
    Blk Biscuit -
    Bloodtaster - CGSociety
    Bluefley - CGSociety
    chainjane - HXSD
    DavidSmit - CGSociety
    Dimas-CH - CGTalk
    enozria - CGLand
    fillsupply - CGLand
    flive - CGLand
    fluxen - CGSociety
    gaeberman - CGLand
    grida - CGLand
    Gwang suk Gang - CGLand
    Gyorkland - CGSociety
    Hellstern - CGTalk
    Hitsugi -
    jasonjuta - CGSociety
    Jedi Hindu - CGSociety
    JerryJ - CGLand
    jingudyi - CGSociety
    JinJian - CGSociety
    jisol - CGLand
    jsp - CGLand
    Jung Hyun yei - CGLand
    koozo - CGLand
    kozivara - CGTalk
    Leejaeouk - CGLand
    loveme8022 - CGLand
    managa - CGLand
    Matsokin - CGSociety
    Mex - CGTalk
    MikiNohm -
    mungting - CGLand
    Muttonhead - CGSociety
    nizmo - CGLand
    nJoo - CGSociety
    Okmer - CGSociety
    OZingan - CGLand
    PandoraBox - 3DVF
    persona - CGLand
    Rezeroth - CGSociety
    robogabo -
    Roboto-kun - CGSociety
    spawnie - CGSociety
    tahra - CGLand
    VaLerka - CGTalk
    vian - CGLand
    walrus - CGSociety

Tie Breaker Judge

Kenneth Scott - id software - Art Director

As Art Director of id Software, Kenneth Scott is the visual conduit moving games from fiction, description and idea to reality. His responsibilities include overseeing the creative director's worlds and characters then translating them into existing entities. Scott came to id Software in 1998, where he worked on Quake 3 Arena, Team Arena, Doom 3, Doom 3: Resurrection of Evil and is currently focused on id Software's highly anticipated title built on id Tech 5, RAGE. On top of managing id Software's mighty art team, Kenneth has touched a little of everything from concept art, character modeling, terrain generation to motion capture and voice acting. Scott's personal interests include playing guitar, dancing, figure drawing, participating in a local Dallas sketch group, playing games and spending time with his wife.

8th - 9th Place Tie Results

8th place
Squirrely Jones
9th place

14th - 15th Place Tie Results

14th place
15th place

16th - 17th Place Tie Results

16th place
17th place

18th - 19th Place Tie Results

18th place

19th place

20th - 21st Place Tie Results

20th place
21th place

Initial Judges

Gavin Goulden – Freelance Artist

Gavin is a freelance artist focused on character and creature work for the games industry. With just over 3 years of experience, he has done work for multiple clients including Big Huge Games, Bioware, Monolith, Garage Games and Blue Omega. Before taking the leap as a freelance artist, he worked for Piranha Games as a Senior Artist.

1st: Parkparkin

2nd: andy6308aaa

3rd: bruitkong

4th: Goldo_O

5th: Squirrely Jones

6th: rollin

7th: soggyclog

8th: neverwintered

9th: Cerisierenfleur

10th: Josh Singh


Dominance War is truly an epic competition. You have high caliber artists from all over the world fighting for their forums to come out on top. It was a great turn out this year with characters ranging from both ends of the spectrum, horrific monsters like Parkprkin’s "Imrod" to more light hearted yet still intimidating entries like Squirrely Jones' "Pandicarus" and Josh Singh's "Kong Lao." With so many entries, and with such a wide range of ideas, it made judging a difficult task. Nevertheless, I am honored to have helped pick the champions for the coolest character art competition in the galaxy.

Brian [bobo_the_seal] Jones - Vigil Games - Character Artist

Brian, known throughout the online gaming community as “BoBo” is an industry veteran who has contributed to over thirty projects, most notably Age of Empires 3 for Ensemble Studios and Titan Quest for Iron Lore Entertainment. BoBo is currently handling the character chores at Vigil Games on the massive multiplayer adaptation of Wahhammer 40K.

1st: rv_el

2nd: bruitkong

3rd: Parkparkin

4th: Goldo_O

5th: Josh Singh

6th: jdstyles

7th: Vahl

8th: rollin

9th: soggyclog

10th: bahlswede


Wow, this was extremely hard! My top picks switched multiple times. Dominance War has become bigger and bigger each year and the level of competition has grown with each event. DW has really brought the game art community together and has introduced us to new and exciting talent. I can't wait to see what next year offers!

1st Place – rv_el
I'm a huge fan of stylization and this guy oozes style. He's fun and very well put together. I love the texture work. The artist did a great job in separating the materials and applied detail where detail was needed. An all around solid piece.

2nd Place – Brutikong
Wow this is one bad ass monster! Technically, one of the best entries in the comp. The sculpt and textures are extremely tight and I love the illustrative quality of the beauty shot.

3rd Place – ParkParkin
Now this is a true badass. A real skull smasher! The mesh work on this guy is top notch. I would have liked the artist to have been a little more reserved with the noisy texture detail but it by no means hurts the quality of the character.

4th Place – Goldo_O
I love the fish! The character very easily stands on its' own, but the addition of the fish was a great touch. I would have liked to have seen more color variation, but this is a minor critique to a very solid character.

5th Place – Josh Singh
Now this is fun! Being a huge fan of stylized platform games, this character looks strait out of something I would like to play. Easily one of my favorite entries.

6th Place – jdstyles
Girls can kick ass too! Beautiful design. I really like how the hair turned out. As sexy warrior chicks go, this one came out on top.

7th Place – Vahl
From design to final output this is an extremely nice piece of work. I get a real sense of magic with this character that some of the other entries lacked.

8th Place – rollin
Again, great execution from concept to final product. I really dig his gear and the colors are spot on. He's bordering on being a little too busy but it actually works to its advantage with the simplicity of the head.

9th Place – Soggyclog
I love how rugged this guy is. He feels like he's come through a lot and is ready for more. A very solid design and easy to read.

10th Place – bahlswede
Now this is a big bruiser! The stylization of the wooden gear is great. I just wish the texture work was a little cleaner.

Honorable Mentions:
Now this guy kicks ass! He was very close to making my top ten. The sculpt is sooooo nice. The only thing that holds it back for me is the texture work. It just gets too noisy for my liking.

Beautiful sculpt and concept! Again the texture work is a little too noisy.

A really original design. The face is a thing of beauty.

Kolby Jukes - Freelance Artist

Kolby Jukes is a freelance character & creature artist. During his time as a freelancer, he has produced character-art for more than 20 next-gen console & PC games. In addition to his work in the games industry, Kolby has also developed characters for numerous international print and television ad-campaigns, game cinematics, feature films and collectibles. Prior to his career as a freelancer, Kolby was a Senior-level artist on the next-gen sequel to Id's Software's Castle Wolfenstein franchise.

1st: Parkparkin

2nd: Josh Singh

3rd: Jokermax

4th: bruitkong

5th: gun1280

6th: Goldo_O

7th: modeling_man

8th: clueme

9th: Squirrely Jones

10th: theerapol


No comments...
Vitaliy [rawkstar] Naymushin - id software - Character Artist

Vitaliy Naymushin has been working in the video game industry for the past 4 years. He has 5 shipped titles to his name and, like many, has worked on numerous other cancelled projects. He specializes in character design and creation, and he is known to most for taking first place in the first dominance war. He is currently working as a character artist at id Software on their new project RAGE."

1st: gun1280

2nd: Parkparkin

3rd: Josh Singh

4th: rv_el

5th: bruitkong

6th: andy6308aaa

7th: clueme

8th: Jokermax

9th: jdstyles

10th: modeling_man


Yet another great year for Dominance War! Year after year this contest never ceases to amaze... it continually brings out droves of amazing artists from around the world. This year, the competition was closer than ever. I must mention, I was skeptical about what the international forums could muster, but I'm glad to say that I was clearly proven wrong. Just look at those amazing Koreans! The Russians did amazingly well too, so did the Chinese, and let's not forget the French. So it comes as no surprise that my top 10 is quite international, just as it should be.

With all those amazing entries judging was very tough, it was very hard to pick a number 1. For me, the vote was basically between ParkParkin and gun1280, and it eventually went to gun1280. I love the designs of BOTH characters and I still can’t believe that this guy made 2! Amazing characters both fitting UNDER the contest's limitations, definitely a sign of going above and beyond. The modeling is also top notch, smart UVs, great textures, and very good presentation. Overall, I think its well deserving of a first place - Amazing Stuff! A lot of the same things can be said about ParkParkin's entry, too bad we only get to pick one winner. Congrats to everyone else who made it into my top 10, and DW’s top 20s and 50s!

Final Judges

Darren Bartlett – VP Production - Liquid Development

With nearly twenty years of experience producing video game content, Darren Bartlett has remained on the technological edge of the game industry. In 2000 he founded Liquid Development, a company designed to offer the best in art and animation outsourcing (a hard sell in the beginning, but a business model the game industry has come to embrace over time).

1st: gun1280

2nd: rv_el

3rd: warmhearted

4th: Goldo_O

5th: muppet man

6th: andy6308aaa

7th: bahlswede

8th: cakeypigdog

9th: cg-sammu

10th: soggyclog


Judging the top-50 was incredibly difficult. It was like watching the Olympics because every entry is an amazing work of art, and every artist incredibly talented. After some time, I was able to hone my list of "favorite" entries down to ten, each having achieved that spot for their own reasons that I've outlined below:

1. gun1280
This is an utterly brilliant piece of work, and despite being a two-for-one, no detail was spared on either the character or the mascot. What is particularly inspiring is that by creating two full characters, the artist was limited to approximately one-half the polygon count per character as the competitors. Despite this handicap, the final product is amazing, and does not suffer from the polygon limitation one bit.

2. rv_el
What could be a more awesome magical device to wield than a Rubik's Cube? I always knew that, if able to complete the cube in just a certain pattern, one could control the world. Beyond a fun concept, every element of this character is top notch. Extra credit for such an elaborate turntable to stand on - it gives me the yearning to play Mario Galaxy.

3: warmhearted
Siftaster Yilin is simply beautiful. The warm color schemes and the detailed fabric, feathers, and ribbons are a delight to look at. Most artists would be scared silly at the thought of trying to pull the concept off in 3D, but this artist made it look like easy work. I'd never guess (without being able to see the wireframe model) that the final rendering could have been generated from a 9000 polygon model.

4. Goldo_O
My hat is off to an artist who takes such a departure from the standard fantasy land-based creatures. The final creation is beautiful and magical. The organic flowing shapes are a joy to look at, despite bringing back a deep childhood fear of the water...

5. muppet man
This awesome, ominous creature appears as if it just arrived straight from hell with one goal in mind; to exterminate all those it passes. The concept is delightfully dark, and the detail work put into the final model captures its spirit perfectly.

6. andy6308aaa
What would be more incredible than to have your own personal giant flaming python wrapped around your body? Ozzy Ozbourne, eat your heart out! The concept seems like a very tough one to pull off in 3D, but the fiery final product is amazing.

7. bahlswede
This model is a cleanly-sculpted, hand-painted, colorful work of art which stands out as a breath of fresh air in the top-50. Well designed and executed vision. I love the sculpted look of the model, and am amazed at the edge flow of the low-poly model.

8. cakeypigdog
I really enjoy that this character has all the design traits of a next-generation asset, but the polygon count that looks like it walked out of a game from the early 2000s. What a great eye for using polygons wisely! A fun character with a wacky mascot; there's nothing more that I'd like to see than the caterpillar squiggling around on his grubby little normal-mapped feet.

9. cg-sammu
While I enjoyed Magnuz and Sir George Cuthbert for their elegant simplicity, this creature evokes quite the opposite reaction: I'm in love because of its complexity and chaotic design elements. Flesh and armor and wings and chains and teeth and barbs and eyes and scales, oh my!

10. Soggyclog
While not having giant tentacles, a gaggle of chained dragons, nor a posse of demented scorpions, Gorvarr is very pleasing in his lack of fantastical elements. The details are well designed and remarkable in their implementation and context; a top-notch fantasy character with a lot of personality.

James Chung - EA Mobile - Art Director

James directed the winning entry of Dominance War II (Taehoon's "Bigun").  He is currently working as an Art Director at EA Mobile.  He oversees numerous projects in various stages from concept to enhancing visuals that need rescue work.  Previously, he worked on such titles as Call of Duty 2 and Call of Duty: United Offensive for PC and Xbox360 as a Concept/2D/3D Artist.  He was also an Art Director at a small animation/visual effects company working on a CG animated movie, developing stories and character designs for animated shows.  He is an alumni of Art Center College of Design.  James is currently into WWII tanks. 

1st: Parkparkin

2nd: muppet man

3rd: gun1280

4th: mrrogers

5th: Josh Singh

6th: clueme

7th: rollin

8th: katzeimsack

9th: jdstyles

9th: Squirrely Jones


Hello.  This is James, aka "Torokun".  After winning last year's Dominance War as a project director, I was really tempted to enter again this year. Unfortunately, due to my hectic workload, I had to step back and just admire the beautiful work people submitted. As a judge, I believe I can bring a balanced opinion between the traditional history of this event and fresh and new designs. I used real life criteria to judge whether a design would function well in a "game;" be it through personality or functionality.  I also looked for designs that would work best within the traditional storyline that is the Dominance War Series.

Judging aside, I am simply amazed by the talent that this year's competition has brought out. I had to make some real tough decisions between some of my choices, but in the end, everyone did a great job! Thank you for letting me be part of this great competition. Now, here are my votes....

1. ParkParkin
Dmitry's entry is one of the best examples of a balanced design and great execution.  The character’s feel of weight is in perfect harmony with his very intricate armor design.  A simplified yet unique outline of the character definitely gives this character a lot of presence in a game.  I first thought the concept was on the weak side.  But he pulled it off beautifully.  Dmitry is definitely one of those 3D modelers that concept artists would love to hand over their designs to.  My only critique is the execution of his knee and pelvic joint area.  Because Imrod has such beautiful contrast between his armor and flesh, I would have liked to see this separation continue into these two troubled areas so that they would look less like flexible Japanese Power Ranger monster body armors.

2. muppet man
From concept to finish, muppet man’s approach towards his work demonstrates a great deal of professionalism. His character has such presence that it’s scary just looking at it.  The execution between its shell-like body versus its soft-tissued body are done in a beautiful manner but it would have been even more awesome if they were pushed to their limits. A major reason why this entry took 2nd place in my list is because although it looks beautiful as a stand alone piece, if animated, it would fall apart with the curse of current-gen game characters - having beautiful model through tricks like normal mapping, but moves like a last gen character. This is even more apparent in crustacean creatures such as this one. The moment this character is animated, most of its hard-shelled layers would loose their solid look. For the beauty shot, the presentation is a bit too chaotic and it does not really compliment the awesome design of the piece.  Since the entire body is shown in the beauty shot, it could have used more dramatic lighting to show how the character could dominate the screen with its form alone rather than lighting every single part of the character’s body.  But again, excellent work by Chris.  I would only hope that I can feature such an awesome design in my games one day.

3. gun1280
Chan gun's design and execution is top notch!  I love the contrast between the Hella and the summoned creature.  I just wish that there was a better balance between its design and form.  All the hard surfaces embedded on the Minotaur's body will end up moving like it's part of soft tissue.  I might be picky about this issue since I also brought it up in my 1st and 2nd place picks, but presently, design over function is flooding the game market world. In a contest like Dominance War, personally, I would love to see how artists would find a solution or fight against this trend.  Another small critique - the thematic color that are too similar between both characters.  It would have been much better to distinguish the summoned creature from its summoner.  Other than that, killer design and model.

4. mrrogers
Ryan's design is one of those designs that "works."  I can definitely see these characters being dropped into game and still work well.  I even applaud the minimalist approach Ryan took to accentuate the elemental attribute these characters have because it really works!  It would have been great if the proportion of the characters were even more exaggerated to punctuate the silhouette of their body outlines.  Much like Chang [gun1280]gun's models.

5. Josh Singh
By now (year 3 of Dominance War), the design direction for the Dominance War universe should be apparent.  Whether you like it or not, thematic elements force designs to be heavily tilted toward certain types of designs.  But everyone once in a while, we run into a delightful and defiant design like Josh's entry.  Personally, I would love to see more games taking this kind of unique and heavily stylish approach.  Whether it is a stand-alone piece and a possible off shoot design direction for DW, I love Josh's entry.  The design and style is consistent throughout the character and all his props.  Excellent job.

6. clueme
Clueme's charcter shows that a character doesn't need to be a complex design to be unique.  She used a familiar everyday design to evoke familiarity in the user and the execution is simple yet very effective.  I personally would like to see Clueme take the design of the owl’s face a bit further. Considering the context of the DW timeline, I found that this character’s random Korean decorative pieces are too culture specific, but this does not demerit the final result that clueme managed to attain as a whole. Well done!

7. rollin
Here is another off-beat character that works really well.  It's one of those characters that you wouldn't expect to pack such power.  Its simple shape reinforces this idea. His simple silhouette is very deceptive since Till pulled off very complicated design that wraps around the body in a beautiful manner.  It's not a design that would draw enough attention for a top place finalist, but it’s still a very solid design and well-executed model.  I also would like to see all his plated/scaled pieces moving independently rather than being stretched to move once animated.

8. katzeimsack
Another great design and 3D model!  Manuel's entry is just too awesome.  And the armor design is very unique.  Biggest issue I see here is in the proportions.  It ended up looking a little too cartoony.  There is a serious conflict between the serious nature of the over all design and the cartoony feel of the body shape.

9. jdstyles
If Dominance War was created by a Korean developer as an MMORPG, I can definitely see such a character in the game.  I think by now, we have seen this design direction in many different games from many Asian developers.  However, Jongdoo's design still looks and works great.  It definitely starts to fall apart on close up shots like the beauty shot.  Especially the fanned part of the pauldron.   It would have been better if the edges that hit the low polygon edges would have had a little more love.

10. Squirrely Jones
Ah... another wacky character that is made beautifully.  In the same line of thinking with Clueme's entry, I really think there was a place for these kind of off shoot characters in the fantasy nature of this year's theme.  Just like Clueme's entry, I think making a strong resemblance to a real world character (panda) worked against Michael's entry in the end.  It would have been awesome if the inspiration derived from real world creatures would have be adopted into something more fantastic.  However, the modeling and lighting of this piece is definitely one of my favorites.

Eóin Colgan - Electronic Arts - Senior Artist

Eoin was born and raised in the evergreen landscape of Dublin, Ireland. His passion for art and all things character related has taking him across the globe. Having a long standing presence in the CG community he currently resides in Los Angeles as a Senior Artist at Electronic Arts. With eight years experience he specializes in character creation standards working on numerous projects within EA. When not knee deep in deadlines he can be found cranking out personal 2D and 3D projects in the unending pursuit of creative expression.

1st: clueme

2nd: Goldo_O

3rd: modeling_man

4th: Josh Singh

5th: Parkparkin

6th: rv_el

7th: bahlswede

8th: bruitkong

9th: theerapol

10th: Jokermax


No comments...

Caroline Delen - Digi-Guys - Character Supervisor

Born in Sydney, Australia, Caroline studied Fine art and Sequential Illustration, before beginning a career in the Video Games industry as a Freelance Character Artist. Throughout her career she has contributed to various titles, of which include Ultima X: Odyssey, Prey and Gods & Heroes. She is currently working as a Character Supervisor on the next-gen title Wardevil and HD/Blu-Ray short movie for Digi-Guys at Ealing Studios in London.

1st: Squirrely Jones

2nd: gun1280

3rd: rollin

4th: Bulgarov

5th: Vahl

6th: Parkparkin

7th: bruitkong

8th: katzeimsack

9th: Josh Singh

10th: clueme


This year’s entries for Dominance War III were some of the best Game Art images I've ever seen. It's been a pleasure to be a judge for this event, but it has also been an extremely difficult task since all the entrants, especially the finalists, have achieved outstanding results with their entries. To choose just 10 was tough.

I think Dominance War, over the last few years, has brought Game Art to the forefront and has given artists everywhere a chance to push their skills and bring the quality of their work to a whole new level. It has also brought an excellent opportunity for exposure to those wishing to break into the industry.

A big congratulations to all of the Champions!

Stefan Henry-Biskup – VP Creative - Liquid Development

As a co-founder of Liquid Development, Stefan Henry-Biskup brings over fifteen years experience in the video game industry. A frequent speaker at events such as the GDC, Stefan also contributes to Game Developer Magazine and has traveled the world, speaking and teaching in places such as Taiwan and Japan. Stefan leads the Liquid Development R&D team on Next Generation projects and beyond.

1st: Goldo_O

2nd: rv_el

3rd: AkaDarK

4th: gun1280

5th: soggyclog

6th: warmhearted

7th: Jokermax

8th: muppet man

9th: Parkparkin

10th: vamak


Dominance war 3 is totally amazing - both as an example of great work, flexing of skill, and as an inspiration to all of us who love doing this line of work! So much great work has been done here. It really is defining the state of our craft. Thank you to all the artists who participated and are helping to push the boundaries of what our work can be. It's truly awe-inspiring.

Of my final top 10, all are top notch in the area of craftsmanship. The ability to separate entries based upon technique alone was very minimal. Thus, I looked largely for creativity in the choices I made. People who were taking the tools and doing something that went outside of typical, and there were plenty to be found. Thank you so much to Maxx, the team and organizer for putting DW3 together because you are doing an invaluable service to the community of artists with it. Onward...

1. Goldo_O:
This image really stood out because the long tails and the swirl of the composition is quite unique amongst the entries. I have a soft spot for aquatic creatures; the alien world undersea is a constant inspiration for me. Lighting is very well controlled and the values across the maps are well modulated. I love the color and the iridescent points on the companion beast.

The grace of his weapon blade and well controlled specular throughout the piece really helped to make the details well defined and clear. This piece to me finds an excellent balance of those elements. The main character is interesting and strange and the companion beast is very compelling. The pose and composition of the winning shot is excellent as well. I give him first prize because on a total package, materials, design, execution of model and final pose this piece is the best.

2. rv_el
This is by far one of the most original designs of the competition! The Rubik's cube was a great break with convention as a concept and then is implemented in the overall design brilliantly. From the tendrils in the character base to the embroidered patters in his tunic and the knuckles of his gloves there is such creativity here it's very impressive. The surfaces of this model are also excellent, the definition of the forms is tight and extremely clear. The stylization of the muscles in his arm echoes the cubic theme but feels convincingly organic. The shoulder pad and its subtle colors from the env map and well applied encrusted detail really drew my eye.

Ultimately though, some elements of the design fell apart for me, it's largely a personal preference, everything is very well executed and has a lot of care put into them. I just don't love the design of his face. The dominating mouth and lips overtake the rest of the form and loose some appeal for me. Conceptually I think its great, He has a very strong bureaucratic/intellectual tone and that is interesting as an alternate to a total brute. This guy is going to beat you with a power that is not necessarily evident upon first seeing him. The huge body tiny legs composition leaves me a bit flat. Between this and R Zalka it was a very tough call to make and so I ultimately had to make a personal choice as to which design I favored, Both are absolutely outstanding works.

3. AkaDarK
This one struck me from the first time I saw it and really stuck in my head. He is not the most complex of the designs but has an excellent presence. I love the treatment used to create his base, this adds an element of the "future" that really stands out. I recall classic themes of Flash Gordon and Emperor Ming in this design and I find that very refreshing. There is a great mix of magic and science in his design. His face is excellently sculpted and has great personality and being. The mesh poses very well also attesting to quality construction and edge flow. The fabric sculpting great. Material separation between skin, fabric and metal is well realized. Details of the face read clearly.

4. gun1280
This model makes a huge impact, he is overwhelming; pure brutish power. The normal mapping on this model is astounding, the quality and tightness of detail on his belly completely convincing. The fact that there are essentially 2 characters here and yet still under poly count is a testament to how much work the materials are doing in this piece. That said looking at the over all edge flow of the models, I am not sure that the characters will have a successfully broad range of motion.

A few other things that kept it down in the list for me. Overall the specular, especially of his skin is a bit gratuitous. Separation between his skin and the metal could have been exploited more and the skin its self more subtly controlled. I wish that on the female character the eyes had not been darkened as much below the cloth, I didn't read that they were covered until I saw the close up shots in the design break down. That her eyes are covered is a really cool design element, it just gets lost a bit in the execution of the model.

5. Soggyclog
This guy is a straight up classic and design wise that is part of why he goes a bit down the list. My top choices feel very very unique, this one starts to tread in well recognized water. But within that he is executed most excellently! His face has great character, I want to meet him. He feels like he would have tales to tell and his voice would be gruff and warm. His armor and outfit while in a definitely recognizable school of design is not cliché. The square horns off his collar, scales on his thighs and fur coming from beneath his armor are unique touches of detail that really raise-up this design.

6. warmhearted
This character is lush and ornate. The power of this character is largely in the design. It is not an exhibition of material construction, specular is painted in largely, normal/bump mapping is minimal. Yet, the overall richness of color, design and detail is just too hard to resist. The royalty inferred by her high collar and neck gear, the flowing multi-layered robes, and her overall hotness earn her a right to be in the top 10.

7. Jokermax
Another extremely creative design, this guy really has a personality of his own. I don't know if I buy him as the supremely powerful warrior who single handedly is going to deal out the beating on an opponent planet, but then the potential of him doing just that makes for a lot of interesting allusions and imagining just what this character is capable of, and that really makes this design work for me.

He is executed very well, his normal maps are clean and very effective, his material separation is strong. The skin specular is subtle and well controlled. Only spot I start to see break down is in the cloth trailing behind him where the map starts to blur just a bit along the patch seams and looses some of the clarity. He is a very fun and unique design with a lot of personality, his image stays with you.

8. Muppet_Man
This guy is a behemoth, total monster in the school of "over the top". And he rocks it. I really fell in love with him when I saw the map painting for the diffuse of the lobster tail, and all the rest of it really. Excellent work. The colors introduced in the specular work very well to bring out a more dynamic feeling image.

Ultimately however I feel the hyper detail of the piece gets lost in all the highlights and contrast. Especially in the face, I find myself struggling a bit to make out details, and not in a good way. Perhaps the helmet should have been a different color to stand out against the head beneath. Areas like the tail are clear and very readable but still feel extreme in their detail level.

9) ParkParkin
Another in the hardcore badass school this guy is grizzled to the core. I love his metal pants! The glowing tips on armor and weapon are a great contrast to the cold hardness of the rest of the image. His details are very clear, and the control of materials is very well done. Gloss control is excellent. I can see the armor forms very well even in the dark shadowed areas. His face reads very clearly.

10) Vamak
This guy is fun and yet intense at the same time. He has a serious mean streak I can tell. His details are tight, if at sometimes a bit flat and normal details could be better supported by geometry. Maybe the teeth should have been set in behind the lips a bit deeper. His weapon kicks so much ass, that alone pushed him into the top ten for me.

Ian Joyner – Freelance Artist

Ian Joyner is a freelance character artist residing in Culver City, Ca. Over the years he has worked on games, commercials and feature films at Blur Studio, and recently ventured out as a freelance character artist for clients all over the world.His work can be seen throughout various projects including (but not limited to) Bioshock, Halo Wars (upcoming), Golden Axe (upcoming), Marvel : Ultimate Alliance, Hellgate : London, Jericho, Brothers in Arms, Warhammer: Age of Reckoning and Rise of Legends to name a few. Film work includes Rocky Balboa, Aliens of the Deep, and Blur Studio's short film 'A Gentlemen's Duel'. Other work includes tech demonstrations for XSI's Face Robot, training material (DVD's and classes) for Gnomon Workshop, and promotional material for a large variety of projects.

1st: bruitkong

2nd: Bulgarov

3rd: Spark

4th: Parkparkin

5th: rollin

6th: soggyclog

7th: reiv

8th: muppet man

9th: jdstyles

10th: Bogdanbl4


Where to start, this thing is insane, the texturing pops out all the detail and the mass of the body. Alex's art continues to impress me. The whole thing works for me, and the final image really feels solid and embodies what this challenge was meant to be in my mind.

I love how the face on this one turned out, it has so much character. The shaders all really pop for me, although it is a little hard to read in some areas. I love the use of texture space for the uvs. The maps look very clean. For me, it was the style on this one that pushed it above the rest.

Although the texturing on this one does not fully show-off the amazing modeling, I really love the overall look and feel of this character. Brett is an amazing sculptor, and with just a little tighter textures and presentation, this one would could have been a little higher.

This is one of my favorites, love the colors and design here. Top notch work from a top notch artist. This embodies the contest for sure.

Rollin the VARLACH
This one is beyond cool. What a weird style, and unique look. It stands out above the rest. Plus he is saying 'Smiley..' how friendly! If this character was in a game, I would want to play it.

This looks like a painting to me, really well executed, and nice concept. Though it is not the most original design in the contest, it does exactly what it sets out to do. I love the hairy bits sticking out, great attention to detail.

The colors really stood out on this one. I love the soft look of the feather, and the hair.

Muppet Man
I am a sucker for crustaceans, so this one just made me smile. It's detail gets a bit blinding though, so this pushed it down a few notches.

The hair and armor put this one in my top ten. However, why do warrior women never cover the belly? The sword is a really nice design as well.

Very pretty, I love how this one is so different. The city growing out of the back, the elegant design. I could see her coming on the battlefield and having some shockingly powerful attack. Reminds me a lot of the never ending story, so that is a plus.

Michael Khaimzon - Crytek - Art Director

Born in Moscow, Michael Khaimzon began his career as an Art Director in Israel where he worked on numerous multimedia projects. 6 years ago, after completing an MMO title, Michael received an invitation to work in Germany for Crytek. Ever since, he has continued working as an Art Director on Far Cry, and Crysis and now, he currently works on a new soon-to-be-announced Crytek IP in Kiev.

1st: Bulgarov

2nd: bahlswede

3rd: cakeypigdog

4th: Goldo_O

5th: soggyclog

6th: clueme

7th: Jokermax

8th: warmhearted

9th: rv_el

10th: Vahl


1. Bulgarov
Very strong image, great attention to detail, especially on the hand. Interesting and complicated design and yet looks very realistic and well executed. The only problem I think is the amount of noise in the character, way too many strong little details that destruct from the big picture and ruin the overall design a bit, e.g once again the arm that looks much cooler with pure normal map than with diffuse. If the amount of detail in diffuse/spec would support the normal map and the design instead of fighting it, it would be a perfect image. But it is still very impressive.

2. Bahlswede
Although simple at first glance in comparison with other entries it is one of the best and the most professional execution of all. The usage of anatomy is very impressive, the artist doesn't simply know it well, he also know how to deform it and still keep it correct. The cartoon style works well for this character. I cannot say that the design or idea are very impressive or innovative, but the quality of the submission is compensating it very well.

3. cakeypigdog
Artists are usually not really keen on going in the direction of American McGee's Alice characters. Maybe its because its not as simple as it looks, or maybe because it also requires a sense of humor, which is hard to maintain with this level of competition. Cakeypigdog took that risk and I think he deserves the recognition for it. Great, funny design, and very good execution.

4. Goldo_O
Although in some way I think that this Rusalka (mermaid in russian) is inspired by its sisters from one of the Harry Potter movies, I still like it very much simply because others did not see the under water creature opportunity. Its not the best character in terms of anatomy or detail, but the design is very good, complicated mesh with a very strong silhouette ( which I think is very important), and the under water setting is a very good atmosphere that also allows you to have many interesting poses.

5. Soggyclog
Here the artist obviously chose to disregard the creative part of the competition, and instead display his primary skills. And in this case it worked. Absolutely nothing interesting or innovative about this design in comparison with other entries, but a perfect execution, great pose, great textures, great result.

6. Clueme
Once again, similar to cakeypigdog's case a different direction is chosen, and once again it works. The owl's face stands out, you immediately want to click on it, which is a very very good thing. Somehow I want to learn more about this character, there is something hypnotizing about this face. The design is very strong yet simple, not too many little details that distract you from the overall character, but it is still very rich. The execution is also very good.

7. Jokermax
Although I cant say that it looks the best it is probably the most creative approach to the assignment, and the most interesting character. People familiar with kid's books can probably relate the propeller on the back to a famous Swedish character that lives on the roof:) but the book on the back definitely looks original and eye catching. Stands out, very funny, very original and a strong character that is easy to remember.

8. Warmhearted
The beauty of this work is hard to deny. Once again there is not too much innovation in terms of creativity or character design, but the quality of textures and the amount of detail more than compensate the lack of it. I wouldn't want to be the person rigging this character, but this is not an animation contest:). Pure beauty.

9. rv_el
Looks like a blend between a character for American McGee's Alice and WOW. Excellent character design and texturing, every single detail is where it has to be, nothing is out of order. Even in such stylized character it pays off to know anatomy well, the arm is also done very well. The character is very well readable. I can't say I am a big fan of its face, but this is a matter of taste - while the quality of this work, and the author's professionalism is undeniable.

10. Vahl
While from the technical point of view it is by far not the most amazing work, I can not ignore the cool character design. It is simply awesome. With better execution it would probably be number one in my book. A very creative and interesting design.

Dmitriy Kholodov - Saber Interactive - Art Director

Dmitriy Kholodov was born in Ulyanovsk, has finished Saint-Petersburg Art-Industrial Academy. In CG Art already more than 15 years. Started career from advertising rollers and and TV channel design, then - prerendered movies for computer games. In game industry - about 10 years. In Saber Interactive - from the date of its basis. Worked on Millennium Racer, Smash Cars, WillRock and TimeShift, currently he is working on a new next-gen title by Saber.

1st: gun1280

2nd: Goldo_O

3rd: Parkparkin

4th: vamak

5th: Jokermax

6th: Bulgarov

7th: Squirrely Jones

8th: rv_el

9th: Spark

10th: Vahl


1. Gun1280
An extremely convincing pair of characters! This artist possesses fine and at the same time, is an accomplished and talented sculptor. The flesh of the larger male character is extremely convincing and it’s silhouette and form are finely crafted. There is an optimal use of ranges in colors and the texture space for two characters with one budget did not damage their quality! There exist excellent emotional components as well and the lighting only emphasizes their personalities even more. A fine submission and a fine presentation! Great job!

2. Goldo_O
Another entry with 2 characters in one submission. This artist managed to really harmonize his idea into an amazing final submission result. There is a great sense of foreshortening in the "Winning Pose" and "Beauty Shot" and this helped make a convincing and striking presentation. Characters are portrayed very boldly and the balance between large and small details is done exceedingly well. I suspect these two models would look good from both far and up close, which shows the artist thought of everything well beforehand. Well done!

3. ParkParkin
Truly awesome work! The character is created with an enormous amount of details, but nevertheless, the artist still managed to keep everything balanced and clearly separated from his fatty flesh to his solid metal armor. This particular work really demonstrates a high level of skill in both modeling, textures and of the software used to create it. This was an excellent accomplishment and probably one of the best submissions in the competition.

4. vamak
A very pleasant entry. This one is well thought up and perfectly realized. The artist opted for using well-recognized forms and ideas and as a result, these details force viewers to believe in its realism. As an extremely hard entry to model, this artist accomplished it exceedingly well. Polygon distribution and texture space allocation are also done well. All sheets are well presented, however, if there was a problem, it would be that his metal details are too matte. It might have been better if a little shininess was added to the metal here and there to emphasize a difference in materials.

5. Jokermax
Although this is a very unusual character, it is still very well realized. All elements look to be made with materials/cloth, and because of this, this makes this entry even more amazing. Great attention to details and its workmanship is top notch. Additionally, details in the model are further backed by a solid lighting set up. On the "Winning Pose" and "Beauty Shot," it’s really hard to guess that this entry is made with only 9000 polies, which further gives emphasis the craftsmanship of this entry.

6. bulgarov
There exists a dark energy in this entry. Interesting design and magnificent modeling! The sculpted details and design make this an extremely catchy entry, unfortunately, it seems like the artist has gotten too intense in his distribution of details because the final result leaves the viewer a little confused about what is going on. Perhaps some additional shading in the textures to help separate important areas could have helped, or maybe creating a combination of rocky and fleshy surfaces could also have helped. Regardless, this was a very strong piece and it deserves to be amongst the top 10 of 400 and twenty something entries. Well done!

7. Squirrely Jones
A very fun character here, but personally, I am not sure if a flying panda bear is the most attractive idea for a war. However, the fact that this crazy idea was actually made into a strong presentable entry full with great personality and workmanship, demands admiration. Its pose, textures, varied material surfaces, kungfu pose, weapon and background really made for a very strong finish. Great job!

8. rv_el
Wow! A very simple and original idea, made into a fantastic piece of art! It really demonstrates an excellent possession of all tools, great taste and an independent way of thinking! Great Job!

9. Spark
A fine idea and mad modeling, but final submission spoils it all - the figure looks pale and flat and the background leaves much to be desired. Fortunately, all the character’s elements have been perfectly thought up and executed!

10. Vahl
Very refined work – with a little more time, this entry could have been even better. Mystical Diagrams instead of hard to read text on the floating sheets would have made this entry look more magical. Additionally, some clear separations between all the materials would have made it easier to read. Nevertheless, this was still a very cool and persuasive character.

Dmitry [Daemon3D] Kuznetsov - 3D Artist - Freelancer

Dmitry Kuznetsov has more than 8 years of experience as a character artist for games. During his career, he has worked in different studios such as Akella, Animagic, Dr. Picture, KSI, and many other studios as a freelance artist. Previously, as a character modeler Dmitry participated in the first Russian full-length animation movie "Especial." Presently, he works as a freelance game artist for various Russian and foreign studios.

1st: Goldo_O

2nd: bruitkong

3rd: vamak

4th: gun1280

5th: Parkparkin

6th: rv_el

7th: muppet man

8th: foreverendering

9th: jdstyles

10th: DDS


Dominance War has become a valuable experience for game artists worldwide. It gives artists a chance to optimize their workflows, and also gives artists an event where they can strut their stuff in front of a grand audience of professionals. Although it is my first time, I am honored to be a judge in an event that from its beginning in 2006, has continued to ‘go right’ through the years.

1. Goldo_O
Very impressing work. An excellent Winning Pose and Beauty Shot. Personally, I like the winning pose with no post effects over the more post-production look of the Beauty Shot. Interesting design and workmanship. As a whole, it looks very balanced and it screams professionalism. It’s hard to pull off two characters, but this artist managed it successfully. There seems to be a distinguishing difference in style to both characters. It is as if one is the owner and the other it’s pupil, one made to look lovely and the other, horror-like! They supplement each other perfectly and at the same time, possess just enough difference to keep them separated… which is no easy feat. Because of all this, this entry is certainly my favorite.

2. Brutikong
Impressive work. After one look at this terrible and vile creature, I was impressed. The Beauty Shot is the best of the lot! Everything looks technically and professionally handled. Arthropods with a human body is not a new theme, but it’s a very hard one to master. This artist managed to make it a very convincing creature, which proves his accomplishment for a successful entry. Many parts of his body remind me of a spider together with the leather of a chicken. It is very unusual!

3. vamak
Pleasant work. I think it is a very accurate entry amongst all the finalists. The winning pose is a fine submission, but I especially liked the Beauty Shot. An interesting design, an interesting character, and the character fits well into the dominance war universe. There are just enough details to make this character interesting to look at, and the color variances is not over the top, which further increases its catchy value.

4. gun1280
It's never simple to make two characters, yet this artist managed to make his duet very successfully. If only there were a bit more color variances between the two characters to distinguish one from the other, this entry would have placed much higher in my list.

5. ParkParkin
I like this guy, a gothic and gloomy character. Everything is made very professionally, but it is a pity that the author has taken an interest in too many tiny little nuances. There is a huge quantity of fine details that split up the basic form, and there is not enough variance in colors, which makes this entry a bit boring. If the theme would have been "Black metal styled characters" this entry would have been the Best Character!

6. rv_el
An unusual and humorous guy. The cube in his hands looks lovely. All is made professionally and with humor, which was an uncommon trait amongst the top 50 finalists.

7. muppet man
Professional work. The author has taken a great interest in details, unfortunately, as a result, it became very hard to read. The giant-like scale of this character was a great idea and the colors further defined things in a great manner. I wish to express my respect to the artist for accomplishing a technical marvel.

8.foreverendering - Lord Gregor
I think the arm coming out of his back was an unessary addition. If anything, it actually hurts the final design. Nevertheless, Dissymmetric geometry is a complex task, yet the artist managed to cope with it. Well done!

9. jdstyles
This woman looks familiar, which is a pity, because the design does not look like anything new, it’s very ordinary and common. Nevertheless, the workmanship is extremely good. She is perhaps the best woman soldier amongst the finalists.

10. DDS
Good woman! I like only some parts of her body. Other parts could have been made smoother or in a different color to help separate her materials and pieces. I can see that there was a lot of work put into the hi-poly modeling of this character. In the end, the model came out to look great! The winning Pose reminds me of the work of Boris Vallejo, which is a compliment. Beautiful lighting, beautiful submission!

Fausto De Martini - Blizzard Entertainment - Cinematic Modeling Supervisor

Fausto De Martini started his career as a freelancer working for Advertisement companies in Brazil and got a job as a Cinematic Modeler at Blizzard Entertainment posting the Image "Marine" on CgChannel and CGTalk. Fausto is currently working as the Modeling Supervisor for the Cinematic Department at Blizzard Entertainment and he has been part of the production of world famous Cinematics such as "World of Warcraft", "World of Warcraft Expansion" and the "Starcraft 2" Teaser Trailer. He has many of his personal works featured in book covers, Graphic Card boxes, ATI Graphic Cards advertisements and his work "Cosmonaut" has been used as the main advertisement image for the sculpting software Mudbox."

1st: Bulgarov

2nd: foreverendering

3rd: Parkparkin

4th: Nitrolivier

5th: bahlswede

6th: theerapol

7th: muppet man

8th: marshugo

9th: NikitaNV

10th: rv_el


In first place, I'd like to congratulate all the artists involved on this challenge and it's an honor to me to be able to judge such great artwork. I have to say that all the pieces are amazing, which made my decision very hard. I think this challenge is really pushing the artists to achieve not only great execution, but also great designs. My picks achieved those two things but also showed a lot of creativity. I really liked how Bulgarov started from a very detailed concept and proceeded creating a piece that is very detailed but with a strong design. I was very impressed by the gun design on his piece, showing that he can think outside the box and come up with a fresh concept. Lord Gregor show a lot of excellence on his modeling skills and also created a strong design and style, bringing a great level of asymmetry to his piece, which always make the silhouette of the characters far more interesting. Some of my picks go to the other side of the spectrum, like Magnuz and Warfootre which both showed amazing eye for colors, pose, silhouette and style.

Fredrik Hutlqvist - Dominance War Organizer

Sooho [gaeberman] Kang created a fantastic colored entry. Many judges agree that this was a unique, exquisitely rendered, and well thought up idea and background story. Unfortunately, if not for the words "machines" written on the images, this set of illustrations could have been created for literally anything. Not enough attention was given to any of this year's 3 key themes: Machines - War - and Powerful Magical Artifact. As a result, gaeberman's entry has been pushed from a 1st place standing to a 5th place standing.

Tie Breaker Judge

Nicolas [Sparth] Bouvier - id software - Concept Artist

Nicolas [Sparth] Bouvier has been in the games industry as an artistic director and concept designer since 1996. At an early age of 15, teachers were already more convinced than he was that he was destined for a career in arts. After being educated in the "Art Deco" school in Paris, Nicolas worked on various French projects and demos before really taking care of art in the hit title "Alone in the Dark 4" In 1998. His success as an artist continued into the title "Prince of Persia: Warrior Within" in 2004, and now he resides in Dallas Texas where he comfortably works for id software.

8th - 9th Place Tie Results

8th place
9th place

11th - 12th Place Tie Results

11th place
12th place

14th - 15th Place Tie Results

14th place
15th place

16th - 17th Place Tie Results

16th place
17th place

18th - 19th Place Tie Results

Alex E
18th place
19th place

Initial Judges

Marco Mazzoni - Freelance Concept Artist

As a talented freelance artist, when not working, Marco frequently practices his digital skills at or His current projects include interior and cover art for upcoming books in Wildfire's epic horror/sci-fi role playing game Cthulhutech as well as a World War II air to air combat game. When he isn't pushing pixels around for money, he's schooling his kids at the 8-bit video games that shaped his own childhood.

1st: persona

2nd: Hellstern

3rd: JerryJ

4th: enozria

5th: gaeberman

6th: tahra

7th: chainjane

8th: Albers

9th: Jedi Hindu

10th: fluxen


I'm honored for the invitation to help judge the competition.  What an awesome display of artistic ability.  With just over 260 2D artists all around the globe throwing their hat in the ring, this year’s Dominance War was epic to say the least.  Narrowing down so many phenomenal entries to 50 wasn’t easy, but the top 10 were clear for me from the beginning.  These artists in particular demonstrated a superior balance between unique design and technical ability that makes for an illustration that is truly exciting.

1. Persona
This was love at first sight.  The contrast of hard tech and flowing organics supported by an excellent composition and value range put this one over the top.

2. Hellstern
This piece is absolutely stunning.  The vibrant color scheme coupled with such tight rendering is almost perfect.

3. JerryJ
A feast for the eyes, with so many interesting shapes pouring out of the darkness, this piece could hold my attention for hours if I let it

4. Enozria
The muted palate is risky, but with this level of detail and variety of texture, it feels like the right choice to keep from distracting the viewer from the wicked design

5. Gaeberman  With so many entries taking themselves so seriously, it’s refreshing to see some well executed humor in here.  Solid design and beautiful use of color just seals the deal.  “Take my husband, please”

6. Tahra
Another muted palate that works for the same reasons.  Although the bottom third of the image almost feels like wasted space, it actually provides a nice visual entrance into the composition.

7. ChainJane
The beautiful rendering and all the little details make this hypnotic.  If it was clearer how this character could go up against the machine army it could easily be my #1

8. Albers
There's so much energy in this piece.  The texture is a almost too similar all over, but the variation in color, value, and shape makes it a more than capable piece.

9. Jedi Hindu
Very cool design.  The render is a little rough compared to some others, but it’s tight where it needs to be.  There’s a great kinetic energy to the pose, like he’s going to pounce any second.

10. Fluxen
Another loose render that has it where it counts, this one ultimately won me over with the unique color scheme

Eric Ryan - Liquid Entertainment - Lead Concept Artist

Born and raised in West Los Angeles, California, Eric Ryan discarded his former path as a Neurosurgeon and instead became a full-fledged concept artist for games - an experience he would not change if he could. Now, with 5 years in the field as a Concept Artist/Lead Concept Artist at Liquid Entertainment, he has acquired many titles under his belt like: War of the Ring (Lord of the Rings RTS) , D&D’s Dragonshard (RTS) and Desperate Housewives. Before creating art for games, Eric performed various freelance works for toy companies and advertising businesses.

1st: fillsupply

2nd: enozria

3rd: Blk Biscuit

4th: chainjane

3rd: JerryJ

5th: gaeberman

7th: robogabo

8th: Hellstern

9th: Albers

10th: tahra


It was hard to come to a decision in Dominance War III. There ended up being a surprising amount of great concept art entries. Even more surprising were the amount of entries that had trailblazing ideas. I have learned a lot about judging and even how to push the limits with my own ideas, thanks to some of these great entries. I have to say that some of the top ideas that I chose (e.g., those by "fillsupply", "enozria", and "Blk Biscuit") really did, not only a great job with rendering and presentation, but more importantly inspired me through originality and great action shots that help to show how and why these characters can do what they were created for. In these actions, they sold their characters to me. I can very easily see why their creatures/characters would be summoned to wreck havoc on the robots and how they would do it. There is no mental stretch involved in deciphering their meaning. This to me is the main the purpose of a great design.

I enjoyed judging and seeing other artists push their own limits. I hope everyone has learned a lot about how they can improve, and more importantly have fun with their creation process.
Thomas A. Szakolczay - Redfly Studio - Lead Concept Artist

Thomas A. Szakolczay started his career back in 99 at Westwood Studios in Las Vegas. T.A.S. has created conceptual art, motion graphics and graphic design for various studios working on titles including Gears of War, Call of Duty, Unreal, Command & Conquer and a graveyard of canceled projects. Nested in his cozy loft in Downtown LA, TAS is currently working with Redfly Studio as a Lead Concept Artist for Ghostbusters-Wii and Some exciting original IPs on the not to distant horizon. As a rabid videogame fan TAS continues to evolve and create artwork for the industry he so cherishes.

1st: JerryJ

2nd: gaeberman

3rd: fillsupply

4th: Hellstern

5th: chainjane

6th: Jung Hyun yei

7th: mex

8th: managa

9th: koozo

10th: persona


There are too many spectacular entries in this year’s Dominance War, it was next to impossible narrowing down 200+ entries down to a top tier of 10. For me, it really came down to the whole package, a creative original approach, solid design and a striking winning pose.

1. jerryJ
JerryJ's Freyal Emperor really caught my eye. I love the epic nature in the final piece juxtaposed with her laid back pose, Awesome! The complex, top-notch design work and? Incredible draftsmanship made this a favorite for me.

2. gaeberman
Gaeberman's Mrs. Frogi was one of the most creative and detailed entries I came across. I love the frog-hat, frog-pot, the sacrificial frog husbands, very consistent, thought-out design that told a story and has a lot of character.

3. fillsupply
Fillsupply's Teraon... in one word - EPIC! The scale and draftsmanship of this piece really made this one stand out. Teraons impressive design and that badass earth splitting hammer made this a memorable piece.

4. Hellstern
Hellstern's Dionesis is very nicely designed piece. The tree glove, Color choice and composition in the winning pose caught everyone's eye, very nice.

5. chainjane
Chainjane's Emma, another incredible beautifully rendered piece of art. The six arm design and intricately detailed headdress created a very eye catching silhouette as well as the? Red and white face paint, nicely done.

6. junghyunyei
Jung Hyun Yei's War Chesser is a very cool design. I was really impressed with the amount of thought and design dedicated to the artifact chess box and each of its units. Making the artifact user appear as a slave to the artifact itself was a nice touch. Very inspiring piece of work.

7. mex
Mex's Clericon really stood out as an original. Great use of color and great design work on the face mask that was carried consistently throughout the rest of the character.

8. managa
Managa's Nizie is full of beautifully rendered detail. Very creative and full of intricacies that worked with the overall design from top to bottom.

9. koozo
Koozo's Samzang had one of the coolest artifacts. It was nice to see the beautifully designed artifact as a centerpiece that defined the character’s silhouette.

10. persona
Persona's (I'll call it Bubble Kid) was a nice change of pace from all the monsters. Great draftsmanship and top notch design.

This year dominance war was incredibly inspiring. It was an honor to participate.
John Wu - SCEA - Senior Artist

John Wu is a Senior Artist and Concept Artist for the External Development team at SCEA, Santa Monica. Here, he lends an artistic hand to the developers and also makes sure the art quality is up to par with SCEA standards. His work at SCEA includes "Warhawk: Omega Dawn, Flow, Flower, and Calling All Cars! Before SCEA, John spent five years at Insomniac Games, where he helped create the hit franchise "Ratchet and Clank" (PS2, PS3), and "Resistance:Fall of Man" (PS3).

1st: Albers

2nd: Jung Hyun yei

3rd: OZingan

4th: MikiNohm

5th: Okmer

6th: chainjane

7th: Gwang suk Gang

8th: njoo

9th: jisol

10th: DavidSmit


The Dominance War brings out the kid in all of us video game artists. I seldom find a place where the appreciation of this sort of art, is as highly respected and loved as it is in this competition. That is why I fully support its cause, and it’s another reason why I feel honored and privileged, to have served as one of the judges this year. The art of video games has gone a long way, and it just keeps getting better."

Final Judges

Sam Didier - Blizzard Entertainment - Senior Art Director

SAMWISE, aka Sam Didier, joined the legendary Blizzard Entertainment back in the early Jurassic Period when the entire company could go to lunch together on the back of a few kodo beasts. When not creating out-of-proportion characters and monsters, hunting zombies, or screaming off-key for the power metal band Level 70 Elite Tauren Chieftain, Sam is often found working on StarCraft II, the highly anticipated sequel to one of the best RTS games ever. Samwise would have loved to have had an informative bio with all kinds of accomplishments and awards, but since he had to write this up himself, he tried not to kiss his own butt. He's not that flexible anyway. And he didn't try either. FOR THE HORDE!

1st: MikiNohm

2nd: gaeberman

3rd: JinJian

4th: DavidSmit

5th: spawnie

6th: OZingan

7th: grida

8th: Blk Biscuit

9th: vian

10th: Hellstern


1. MikiNohm
This guy is the Boss of Bosses and I don't mean your boss at work, home or of your guild. I mean that if this guy was in a video game, he would be the #1 bad ass. This guy would rule over the likes of M.Bison, Ganon, Super Macho Man and even that cool metal ape from Strider. He is sporting 2 gigantic demon arms along with 2 huge swords that have the spirits of Passion and Sadness trapped within them. And it seems that they summon spirits of the great fiery dragon wyrm variety. That, my friends, is the Boss of bosses.

2. Gaeberman
First of all...YIKES! That is one scary old hag! How many frogs does it take to make an old woman's hat? Easily 6 or seven judging by this piece. There is a lot going on with this woman. She has husbands that are frogs and some sort of froggy cauldron that belches the greatest god of snakes who in itself is the coolest snake I have ever seen because not only does he have wings but he has 2 sets of wings and one set is on fire. I bet this woman's grandkids love it when she comes over and gives them a big, 7 tiered frog hat kiss. SPLAT! SPLAT! SPLAT! SPLAT! SPLAT!

3. JinJian
MIGHTY INDEED! Props to the artists for creating something this big in scale. This thing is like a giant Aztec temple built around an immense tree resting on a walking spiky mountain. That is epic scale baby! Indiana Jones would have a hell of a time infiltrating this temple. I love the colors of this one as well. Bright blues, oranges and red and the shadows... hell, make them purple! Good stuff indeed.

4. DavidSmit
This is a GREAT character design. I love the whole theme. This would be a character I would play in a D&D campaign. This makes me want to see how these awesome islanders harness the might of the other elements. So, Mr. David Smit, when will I be seeing the Invoker of Fire, the Channeler of Water and the Summoner of Earth? Don't make me wait.\

5. Spawnie
WHOA, FLASHBACK!!! This brings me back to the early days of my youth, when my favorite movies were either drawn or had people in monster suits. Back when puppets were king! This lovely little gribbly conjures up memories of the Secret of Nimh, Labyrinth and the Dark Crystal -- little diabolical critters causing havoc and mayhem. I love it. The skull sling shot and top hat are great additions to this guy's kit but I would have to say that his little minions were the clincher for me on including this verminous little rat man in my top 10.

6. Ozingan
Now this bad ass is straight up my alley in terms of the kind of content I love to draw: BIG red Demon. INSANE amounts of spiky armor. GIGANTIC blade bearing a burning core of demonic hell fire. Check out the concepts page. He was also riding a humungous Demon doggy! THAT, my friends is some fun times!

7. grida
Look at this guy! This guy looks like the offspring of a Viking and a Valkyrie. And with flaming hair and wings to boot. This is righteous Thunder incarnate! This pic gets extra props as well because it looks like his gigantic mace has just pummeled the crap out of a cyborg. Vikings AND cyborgs are 2 of the essential ingredients to a growing artist's diet. The others are ninjas, zombies and the occasional side serving of leafy greens... especially those high in beta carotene like
Kale or spinach.

8. BlkBuscuit
I thought of this picture the other night when our sushi chef slammed down a plate of Tako in front of me. I have seen many takes on the leviathan-type creature and I must say that this is one of the most insane renditions I have seen. Tentacles, tentacles, tentacles!

9. Vian
A ghastly undead dude whose arms are basically rusty chains and floating black shadows that form a disembodied demonic hand. What is not to like. Plus that scar on his chest is sure to be a hit with the ladies! Ordinarily a guy wearing a dress would be considered "un-masculine" but since his is made of dingy metal plates and chain mail I think we can let it pass. Besides, who is going to tease him about it? Not you. You are smarter than that. Let it go.

10. Hellstern
I think I could fall for a girl like this. First off is she is easy on the eyes. Another reason is that she can fly. No need for me to drive over to pick her up and burn all that expensive fossil fuel. But the real reason this girl could be "the One" is that from the looks of her, she has what it takes to keep me stocked up on wine with all those grapes growing off her like that.

Leonid [Leopard Snow] Enin - Biart - Art Director

As an established concept artist, Leonid Enin has worked on “Disciples 3” at .dat games, and on “Robocalypse” at Vogster Entertainment. Currently, as a freelance 2d/concept-artist for games, Leonid works at Biart.

1st: gaeberman

2nd: Hellstern

3rd: njoo

4th: enozria

5th: robogabo

6th: koozo

7th: fluxen

8th: Hitsugi

9th: loveme8022

10th: Albers


1. gaeberman
I think this entry is the strongest and most technically accomplished work of all presented. Excellent final illustration, original idea and a great realization. There were a huge amount of magnificent entries, but this entry shined in my book and I hope in yours too. Nothing else to add.

2. Hellstern
The most romantic entry in Dominance War III. A very good idea. It was very pleasant to look at when compared with the rest of the monsters and deformed beasts in the competition. Great sense of color and the idea of a plant artifact was in my opinion, a great addition. I really enjoyed this work!

3. nJoo
nJoo created a very strong concept that was nicely rendered, had an interesting idea and perhaps possessed the most interesting silhouette in the competition. This character would make a welcome addition to any game. Dark gloomy work is always nice!

4. enozria
The quality of the final colored concept, the modeling sheet, and especially the drafts created in the sketches sheet, are done extremely well. The level of details this artist managed to achieve in his work is extraordinary.

5. robogabo
The quality of the 3 rendered sheets is very professional, additionally, the precision in the modeling sheet is well done. Everything is easy to read, which makes for a very pleasant entry to look at. Excellent work.

In my opinion, this year’s chapter of Dominance War was the strongest in the series. To be honest, when I was asked to judge this event, I did not expect to see such a large amount of strong entries, but I am glad to have been witness to it. I’d like to add a special note: I was shocked by the quantity and quality of Korean artists – These artists did a magnificent job that simply breaks my brain! Since this was only the first year for Koreans and everyone else, I am excited to see what future Dominance War’s will look like.
Cecil Kim - SCEA - Senior Concept Artist

Cecil's artistic vision can be seen in the following hit titles: "Parasite Eve, Final Fantasy IX" and the award winning Franchise, "God of War." Currently, Cecil is working as a lead concept artist for the highly anticipated title, "God of War III," at Sony Santa Monica Studio. Originally from South Korea, after earning a BFA from the "Art Center College of Design," Cecil now specializes in environment concept design for the past 10 years of his career. When not creating art for games, Cecil teaches at "Otis College of Art and Design" since 2002.

1st: JerryJ

2nd: enozria

3rd: Albers

4th: OZingan

5th: jingudyi

6th: robogabo

7th: grida

8th: Jedi Hindu

9th: Hellstern

10th: flive


1. jerryJ
An epic and ominous setting which centers around a graceful female character, the way elements are put together in this final image is amazing. It definitely delivers great storytelling across the image and I can see everything interacting and moving within the image. Such a bizarre yet powerful image. The turnaround on the girl could benefit from some fine details but I really liked how the third page is showing different variations of a girl with different structures.

2. enozria
This one bites my eyes! It's got unique patterns throughout the character, which ended up pulling me in right away. The superb rendering on the body makes it a believable character and her staging with subtle poses on the sketches sheet is done nicely. Someone mentioned that it looks too giger-ish, but I don't agree. It has repetitive patterns but they look to be based on insects and worm skins.

3. Albers
The details on the turnaround sheet are what caught my eyes. Rich color palette works great with an earthy giant character. Action shot is little confusing to see what's going on however its odd profile works well with the landscape background.

4. OZingan
Overall, a solid design, especially the details on the armor. Lighting is too flat in the colored illustration but I liked the design variations on the third sketches page. Great sword design.

5. jingudyi
An epic setting with bizarre creatures once again won my vote in this one. The creature design is outstanding and an aerial setting works well with the characters.

6. robogabo
This one is probably one of the most original characters out of all entries. Superb painting skills and a Frazetta like composition is done really nicely.

8. jedi hindu
Simplicity in illustration works well in this one. It's almost refreshing to see a very clean entry that is done in a simple manner. Everything reads well even though there are less details than other entries.

9. Hellstern
Beautiful rendering and color choices. Obviously, it reminds me of the Final Fantasy series, however very pleasant to look at. Nicely done.

All judges probably had the same problem... it was very hard to choose one entry over the other. I have decided to stick with the ones that first grabbed my attention but I quickly realized that this probably wasn't the best way. Everyone strongly expressed their own epic settings and concepts around a general Dominance War theme. It was great to have witnessed because for me, this was by far, one of the most inspiring and exciting art competitions I've seen online. Artistic execution is top notch and surprisingly, some artists seem to be above the average professional level. The other thing I noticed was that there was a strong involvement from Korea. Growing up in Korea, I am just thrilled to see how talents over there have gotten so much better. They have come a long way in terms of design and concepts. This third chapter in the Dominance War series is just the first chapter to include 2D artworks, so I am definitely looking forward to seeing how this competition will serve as a big celebration for game-concept art showcases.
Leonid Kozienko - Illustrator/Concept-artist

Leonid Kozienko has been in the gameindustry since 2001. During this time, he has worked with Akella, Nival Interactive, ND Games, Gaijin Entertainment, Sibilant Interactive, Master Creating, and Games-Workshop. Currently, Leonid continues to create characters, vehicles, environments, locations, and makes high quality illustrations and box cover art for his favorite chosen form of art; Games.

1st: gaeberman

2nd: Alex E

3rd: JerryJ

4th: Hellstern

5th: Jung Hyun yei

6th: JinJian

7th: Albers

8th: bloodtaster

9th: flive

10th: OZingan


First of all I would like to mention that Dominance War III is an amazing event. It attracts so much attention from artists all over the world. It's great to see how people invest their time, imagination and effort to bring their creations to life. Events like these show the current state of conceptual art in industry. Because of this industry aspect, it helps young artists understand what companies expect and also gives them a chance to break into the industry. At the same time, veteran talent can refine and polish their skills and just have fun in a massive, global scale competition. I would like to say thanks to every artist involved for your passion and dedication in Dominance War III. All the best!

My personal choices for this year’s possible champions:

1. gaeberman
This entry just blew me away with its fantastic job on both the character’s design and presentation. Very unusual. It shows great dedication and skills. The way how gaeberman plays with light and colors is amazing. The colors are all striking and well balanced at the same time. Congratulations!

2. Alex E
This entry is a very unusual piece with molting lava, stones and organic elements. The final painting shows great attention to details without loosing the whole character and at the same time, it really tells a story. The choice of colors, composition and lighting are fantastic. Well done Alex!

3. JerryJ
I like her appearance, very strong and beautiful at the same time. Good rendering though a bit busy in some areas. The design of the scenery is absolutely stunning.

4. Hellstern
A very fluent appearance with rich and vibrant colors that when combined, instantly catch your eyes. There is a certain harmony in the choice of colors. Well done!

5. Jung Hyun yei
Jung Hyun Yei provided amazing designs in his modeling and sketching sheets. The idea of a war chesser girl and her costume are quite stunning. Unfortunately, the final painting looks a bit busy. I hope next time, the artist’s design sense will shine.

6. JinJian
Looks like JinJian had fun designing this colossal creature. Pieces of castle combined with a living tree look great. The Maya stylized artifact adds some exotic feel to this crazy mix of roots and stones.

7. Albers
When I first look at Albers’ image it instantly catches my eye and that is what concept art is all about. The creature design is quite unique and interesting. I just wish that the final painting would show all of the character’s glory.

8. Bloodtaster
Each time you look at this kid, she keeps you smiling. Lots of personality.

9. flive
The facial studies in the design sheet are what caught my eyes in this entry. You can really feel the character's personality in these sketches.

10. OZingan
Modeling and concept sheets look absolutely great here but the final painting is quite lost in tiny details. If the final illustration had the same visual impact as the black and white drawings, this entry would have gone a long way.
Kyoungseok [Alien1452] Oh - Grigon Entertainment - Concept Artist

Over the years, Alien1452 has become more recognized by artists and fans than his actual real name, Kyoungseok Oh. Alien1452 is a renowned and popular Korean concept artist who has created many concept designs for NED project at 'Wemade Entertainment', Neo Steam project at 'Hanbit Soft,' and so many other great projects. Currently, as a character artist, he is sharing his creativities and innovative ideas for the company 'Grigon Entertainment,' and when not at work, he is diligently teaching game concept art at schools and writing painting tutorials for books.

1st: walrus

8th: managa

1st: gaeberman

2nd: enozria

3rd: JerryJ

1st: persona

6th: JinJian

1st: fillsupply

3rd: njoo

10th: OZingan


The most important thing is an innovative idea. Because of this, during judging, I looked for an influential design/ personality rather than a really good silhouette or composition. Being a concept artist myself, I searched for an effective design that could easily be an attractive asset in a real game. Unfortunately, when I tried to pick my 10 favorites, I quickly realized it wasn't going to be easy...

My first choice, by walrus, looked like a very new and striking character. It possessed a charming personality with lots of wits and humor. This combination gave this entry many attractive attributes that a team could easily have fun with while putting it into a real game. For everyone else, although they did not make it into this year's top 50, I’d like to say that all challengers are winners, because in entering this event, everyone has attained a new step in becoming next year’s possible champion ~

I would like to thank all the Dominance War organizers and challenges, because it inspired me a great deal and gave me many chances to meet awesome artists from all over the world. During the event, I could feel everyone’s enthusiasms and sweat, just like that found in an international sport.

It's was an honor to be a part of this year’s judges. I have been encouraged by everyone’s efforts, so don’t be surprised if I myself enter the competition next year. See you all in Dominance War IV ~
Timur Mutsaev - Crytek - Concept Artist

Timur Mutsaev currently works at Crytek as a Concept Artist for a yet un-announced game. Since 1997, Timur has worked for many major Russian, Ukrainian and German based game developing studios. His long list of accomplishments includes having 15 titles under his belt like; Sanitary, Hired Team, Soldiers, Death Track: Resurrection, Crysis and many others.

1st: persona

2nd: gaeberman

3rd: spawnie

4th: Hellstern

5th: JerryJ

6th: Jedi Hindu

7th: Muttonhead

8th: enozria

9th: mungting

10th: koozo


Dominance War is an impressive contest that has collected many strong artists from around the world. There was a definite benefit for both new and pro artists to join this event and I am glad to be here as one of this year’s judges.

1. persona - medeium
There is something elder-like looking to this piece: “a long time forgotten and fairy-like.” Excellent execution and design, and the attention to each detail is fantastic.

2. gaeberman - stacy
This was an outstanding art entry. Very well executed. Besides being a very original idea, each character was approached with great detail in thought, story and design.

3. spawnie – Xedef
This character seems to me very alive and charismatic. Looking at him, I clearly see the gorgeous surrounding world...full of adventures and dangers.

4. Hellstern - Lifeseed
Fantastic harmony of colors and an excellent execution of technique. I would easily hang this entry up on my wall if I could. Can I have one? :)

5. JerryJ - freyal emperor
Outstanding concept. "Woman – is a terrible power" :)

6. Jedi Hindu - Antaka
Highly original concept and a great drawing technique.

7. Muttonhead – Anglermage
Very good concept, lovely design.

8. enozria - devil
What I liked here is unusual, distinctive style. Very clear and strong.

9. mungting – charmer
Good design and idea for cloth.

10. koozo - Samzang
Good artifact design and sketches and modeling sheets were very strong.
Andy Park - SCEA - Senior Concept Artist

For over a decade, Andy Park has made artistic contributions throughout the entertainment industry. Early in his career, he made a name for himself as the illustrator for award-winning, top-selling comic book titles like Tomb Raider, Uncanny X-Men, Weapon X, and Excalibur, working for companies like Marvel, Image, and DC Comics. Andy is also a highly sought-after editorial illustration contributor and has worked on popular magazines such as Maxim, FHM, Wizard, Muscle & Fitness, and ImagineFX magazine. In recent years, Andy has expanded his artistic repertoire as a concept artist/visual development artist working on critically acclaimed video game projects like God of War II, God of War PSP: Chains of Olympus, and the upcoming next-gen PS3 game, God of War III. Besides his comic book/illustration work and video game concept art, Andy also concept designs and storyboards for various television and commercial projects.

1st: robogabo

2nd: Muttonhead

3rd: kozivara

4th: JerryJ

5th: njoo

6th: Jedi Hindu

7th: enozria

8th: managa

9th: Rezeroth

10th: OZingan


I am honored to be able to partake in Dominance War III as a judge in the 2D portion of the contest. Being able to judge art of this caliber is such a pleasure. But being that the quality of art was so high it also made choosing only 10 to be my favorites very difficult. Honestly, I had a lot more than just 10 favorites. But I had to dwindle down my choices to just 10 based on factors such as creativity of design, uniqueness, execution of drawing/painting, style, color, and just overall appeal and interest I had while looking at the character.

Here are my comments on each individual's works:

1. robogabo
Gabriel's character is really great. I love how unique he is is. He has normal human proportions, but with the additions on his head and such. It really makes for a solid design. He certainly reads as some kind of interesting plant-like being. The strong shapes and color really sell this. Really nice Gabriel!

2. Muttonhead
Sean's entry also really stood out to me. I love how simple yet well thought out the design is. I can really see this creature as a believable creature. The color choices are great and really help the design. I also really enjoyed seeing the initial sketches. Many of those are also strong designs. I can see all of them as a race of fish robotic cleansing creatures. Nice Sean!

3. kozivara
The initial strength of Sergey's design is in the silhouette. It's really a strong and powerful first read. But that's not where the only strength lies. The 2nd and 3rd reads just strengthen the design further. I love the storytelling aspect of the design. It's really a well thought out character. Nice Sergey!

4. JerryJ
This is just a great painting. Joongmin really captured the darkness/void aspect of this character. We see her just enough inside that mass of shadow to see her cool design and sexiness. The painting also really helps capture the chaos and mood of her world. Great job Joongmin!

5. enzoria
This piece really stood out to me. It's really a great design and conveys a strong mood. This is very Giger-esque. It may be a tad bit too Giger-esque, but that of course is subjective. Maybe if there were more variations of hue and color it may help separate it a bit. But I think the designs are really strong. Nice job Oh!

6. njoo
This is another one with a really strong silhouette. I didn't read the skull-like outer shell until I saw the turnarounds. This was a pleasant surprise. I like the attention to details like the insects flying around certain areas. Nice Andrew!

7. Jedi Hindu
Interestingly enough what I liked most about this character was the turnarounds and the supporting sketches. The design of this character is great. I really like the face, neck and body shape. It's familiar yet executed in a unique way. I think the final painting doesn't really show off the strength of the design as much as I would have hoped. The painting came out somewhat confusing with the placement of his right hand and right leg. It makes it look like that hand holding the weapon is his lower leg. It's confusing. But I am a fan of the actual design. Great job Vinod!

8. managa
This is another quite unique design. I like the use of aquatic life to come up with the overall character. It may border on being a bit too chaotic, but I think it probably works with the whole idea behind the character showcasing the variety of life that makes up this single character. Nice and creative job Dae hoon!

9. Rezeroth
This reminds me of the super giant villans in the old Voltron tv shows. This definitely has that cool factor going. It's a quite complicated design but the use of color helps separate the different elements of the character. This is definitely a boss-like character. Nice job Tham Hoi!

10. OZingan
Wong Jang did a great job with this warlord character. It really conveys a powerful warrior with massive power and strength. Although I have a preference for some of the other silhouettes done in his sketch phase, I really like how his final design creates a lot of the interest in the details within the silhouette such as suggestions of repeating faces within the armor/design. Nice creative solutions Wong Jang!
Paul Richards - Vigil Games - Concept Artist

Paul Richards has been skittering under the boards of game development, vole-like, as a concept artist these past 10 years. He now works at Austin's Vigil Games and, when not drawing for leisure, can be found feverishly updating his website/playground

Most loathed term in art direction: "generic."

1st: Jung Hyun yei

2nd: persona

3rd: JinJian

4th: mex

5th: Roboto-kun

6th: walrus

7th: chainjane

8th: JerryJ

9th: Muttonhead

10th: Jedi Hindu


In any friendly contest there are those who enter to win and those who enter to have fun. While it's impossible to know the motive of each contestant in Dominance War III, that sense of fun -- of play vs. competition – is communicated in the finished work. Every entry that perked my interest, including many not in my final ten, reads as a labor of love. This, I think, is what most concept artists wish their work to be : not mere behind-the-scenes pre-production (though that is certainly core to its purpose), but something they can take pride in by bringing a piece of themselves to. Something that can stand alone, connect with others and bridge the gap between the fine and the functional.

That said, war is hell, and to the victors go the spoils. But no amount of prizes or accolades can compare to the satisfaction from a job well done. This glory belongs to everyone who gave Dominance War III their all. *salutes*\

1. Jung Hyun yei
It's tough to imagine a scenario in which chess could be made to look as brutal or sexy as it does in Hyun yei Jung's "War Chesser." Not only is the board artifact given keen attention, but also its individual pieces. Even lowly "Pawn Unit" looks like it could mess you up. And the player's checkered sleeve is such a classy touch. Seeing all elements at once is a bit of an epic-overload, but, when broken down, the central theme is quite novel.

2. persona
There's something in the water in Seoul that makes concept artists mighty! Mr. Lee is no exception, bringing an air of the divine to a lineup of mostly muscle men and scaly beasts. The hook of a child warding off insurmountable evil gives great contrast. Whether genuinely youthful or immortal, there's an undercurrent of creepiness to this seemingly innocent design that makes it all the more compelling.

3. JinJian
This is an instance of where the process drawings would possibly lead one to question how such a creation could be overly intimidating or majestic, but sure enough -- take one jaw-dropping look at Descecrator in action and you'll be thinking what I'm thinking: "I want this guy on *my* side."

4. Mex
This one gets the "would look especially awesome as a framed print on a wall" nod. I love how all the major forms are kept fairly simple, the overlaying detail subtle and non-distracting. Stark, effective rendering and a fresh take on the ancient makes this shamanic figure solid in more ways than one.

5. Roboto-kun
If any of these entries deserves to have a popular video game franchise molded around it, it's demon warlord Agnim. Seeing him creates a tiny split down the center of my head, followed by a fan of blood as the halves slowly separate like hemispheres of a cleaved grapefruit. Ouch, ouch, ouch! Vicious! And notice how he's not bristling with detail on every square inch of his body. The big, sharp shapes do most of the work, making him iconic, memorable and cool in "less is more" kind of way.

6. walrus
Thank you for having such a great sense of humor, Michael. The concept world really needs more of you. The way each character emotes (even the faceless robo-drone) draws me right in and makes me feel invested. Make no mistake: whether man, mecha or moray, you are not safe from Sesslyth! Extra props for not taking the all-too-obvious electric eel route.

7. chainjane
I wouldn't be true to myself if I didn't nominate at least one more captivating femme. Perhaps it's Jiansong's masterful grasp of the female form (and certainly not his rope bondage fetish), or the pan-religious motifs, but I get a true sense of the sacred looking at this. Many of the female characters in Dominance War are ass-kickers, but none depict soft sensuality quite like Emma and her many, many arms.

8. JerryJ
Okay, so maybe I'll nominate TWO more captivating femmes. It's rare to see such solidity brought to the amorphous, but here it is, and a sinfully proportioned, armored demoness to boot! The looming creature that appears to give her an extra-horny headpiece? *mmmmwah* Genius.

9. Muttonhead
I commend everyone in this contest who took a chance by skirting a "safe" entry (i.e. a badass golem/warrior babe). Sean Murray did, and the results are as refreshing as they are unexpected. While I feel he would have been just as well off with any of the other thumbnails, the one embellished definitely looks the most "clergy." And -- call me simple -- but that big, piñata-like fish head just brings a smile to my face. Bold, man. Bold.

10. Jedi Hindu
Perhaps it's the hint of Sith (minus the lightsabers), but Vinod's creation is the one I could most see made into a collectible figurine and proudly displayed on one's desk. Antaka's thoughtfully minimal dress and otherworldly anatomy reveals a surprising depth of character even in the turnarounds, which is saying a lot.

Honorable Mention
Any artist knows the simultaneous glee and awe that can only be felt in the presence of truly inspiring work. No entry in this contest provokes this feeling in me as strongly as Gaeberman's "Mrs. Frogi." While certain entries' preliminaries outshine the winning pose and vice versa, the concept and execution here are uncannily matched. Everything presented, from the expressive underlying shapes to the vibrant color choices to the bonus comic backstory turns my dead monitor into a living window. And isn't the creation of something lively from nothingness what concept art is all about? Given the opportunity, I'm sure Mr. Kang could realize the world beyond these borders in just as stunning a fashion. I sincerely hope he will.
Justin Thavirat - Senior Art Director - Blizzard Entertainment

Justin got his start in the games industry back in 1994 when he answered a local job posting at school that read, "Do you like to draw and play video games? If so, please send you resume and portfolio to Blizzard Entertainment." Since then Justin has enjoyed plugging away at game art, concept art, cinematics, and marketing illustrations to many of Blizzard's games in the Warcraft, Starcraft, Diablo, and World of Warcraft series.

1st: gaeberman

2nd: managa

3rd: OZingan

4th: Bluefley

5th: MikiNohm

6th: Muttonhead

7th: persona

8th: Leejaeouk

9th: Rezeroth

10th: Roboto-kun


First off, what an amazing body of work this contest has generated! The number of awe-inspiring entries is simply astounding. I've got nothing but respect for the finalists and they should all be exceptionally impressed with themselves. I know I am. But with such a large number of high caliber entries now comes the incredibly difficult job of picking just 10 favorites. How cruel!

So, where to begin? Overall, I tried to really step back and see how the different artists approached and implemented their ideas. For example, there's obviously the 'idea' of what to create and also the artist's ability to conceptualize and illustrate their idea. The more experienced and accomplished artist will have a better chance at 'selling' his or her great ideas to others. So I feel the ideas and implementation go hand in hand. Then there's also the topic or assignment. How well did the artist address the topic? How did they see the assignment differently than others and how original and unique was their final design? I also like to see the artists' train of thought demonstrated through their rough sketches and see how they imagined their character interacting with the other characters and environment around them. These characters won't exist in a vacuum so thinking about the context that they exist within is also very important. Also, when creating characters for games it's key that the model sheet show the overall shape design, silhouette, and clear readability of the character to help communicate who and what this character is all about right at first glance. And after all that is taken into consideration, the character just has to be jaw-droppingly 'cool', or 'amazing' or 'kick ass' or 'epic' or whatever your goal or intention is.

All that being said, Sooho Kang (gaeberman) was my choice for first place for excelling at many of the criteria listed above. First off, the artist is an amazing illustrator and created such an alluring first image I couldn't take my eyes off the piece. Not only was it a beautifully illustrated image, the ideas communicated were definitely coming from a different direction than I was expecting and I found that very refreshing. I found the dramatic contrast of the main character and her summoned "God of Snakes" to be the most engaging idea of the concept. Overall the ideas for the character were very unique and it was obvious that lots of thought went into the character and story behind her. Sooho Kang went above and beyond the assignment and the final result was excellent.

In the end, all the applicants addressed all of the listed criteria in some fashion or another and I can't get over how this competition has been able to extract so many phenomenal entries from the community. All I can say one last time is that the art generated from this competition blows my mind and all the artists should be incredibly proud of themselves.
Brian Yam - Insomniac Games - Senior Concept Artist

Brian currently works as a Senior Concept Artist for Insomniac Games in Burbank, California. Brian started out as an environment artist in 2003 modeling environments and creating concepts for Ratchet and Clank: Going Commando, Up Your Arsenal, and Deadlocked. He then switched into developing concept art full time for next generation titles on Resistance: Fall of Man, Ratchet and Clank Future: Tools of Destruction, and is currently involved in Resistance 2. Brian is also an instructor at Concept Design Academy in Pasadena teaching environment concepts.

1st: enozria

2nd: Hellstern

3rd: Muttonhead

4th: vian

5th: walrus

6th: Okmer

7th: JinJian

8th: fillsupply

9th: chainjane

10th: gaeberman


I think this third Dominance War is a nice departure in theme and criteria focusing on the elements of nature and sorcery. At the same time, it creates a challenging criteria for contestants to come up with something unique and interesting without being too cliché. With Dominance War III in motion this year, I was extremely honored to be part of a talented ensemble of judges whom some I admired greatly when I was in art school. Thank you Fred for providing this opportunity!

It was very exciting to participate as a judge in this competition because it is very inspiring to see great artwork and how other artists approach a similar objective. It is not only fun to look at other artists’ masterpieces, but it is also an educational involvement because it helps with improving your own work by seeing in others’ perspective on solving an objective. The most satisfying part of being a concept artist is how you go about solving a problem that works for a specific situation in a game, film, animation, etc. I think the general public underestimates the power of art and its influence because of its perception in society. However, with games getting ever so popular, game artists and game art are getting a great exposure into the mainstream media much quicker. With events like Dominance War, artists have a great channel to express their creations in a well-organized setting and most importantly to have fun! It’s a great intersection where aspiring game artists and professionals can show off their “kung fu” skills.

As for judging the art in this competition, a compelling first read, good composition and design, strong conceptual ideation pertaining to the brief, originality, and execution are criteria which I casted my vote on. So here are the first top 5 pieces on my list:

1. Enozria
The shapes and silhouettes of both the creature and its master are intricately designed without being too jarring. I really enjoy the thought placed into the surface detail and how the main forms have a secondary, but subtle read. It feels Geiger-ish in a good way. The execution is well done and the tonal shapes read well against each other if you look at the characters separately. My only comment is maybe separating the creature and its master by temperature a slight bit and /or making the sky temperature a slight contrast in hue to bring the focal areas out even more. Great stuff!

2. Hellstern
I enjoyed this piece quite a lot. The composition and first read is well done and the execution is the strongest in this batch. I really liked how Elena was able to capture the allure and the gaze of confidence of the character but also hinting charm. The color palette is balanced and leads your eye around nicely within the painting. The elements of natural and inorganic shapes harmonize well in this character which is a hard feat to do. It’s a very beautiful piece. Congrats, Elena!

3. Muttonhead
When I opened this up, I almost choked on my lunch. There is nothing more enjoyable than a cool concept with some humor slapped into it. I really love the goofy proportions of this character. His uptight facial expression tells me that he does work for the Holy Order of Robotic Cleansing. The concept sheet sketches are really fun to look at. The costume design is great and I love the intricacy of detail portraying a royal order. This is definitely one of my favorite pieces!

4. Vian
Yeah, this guy is definitely badass! I can definitely see this guy as a nemesis in a game. Perhaps Kratos’ nemesis? The anatomy is believable and the shape and the design of the head look interesting enough. Looking at the concept sheet, it would have been more interesting to incorporate a subtle shape (insignia, design) onto the smooth surface headpiece to give it some subtle texture to make it more cohesive with the rest of the form. Otherwise, great execution and interesting design overall!

5. Walrus
This is another entry that caught my eye because of the creativity and humor that went into the design. This concept brings back the sweet memories of the Earthworm Jim character and I would love to play this guy in a video game! Very inventive!

- Top 5 Champions  |  Top 6-20 Champions  |  Top 50 & Judges Comments  |  DWIII Credits and Thanks -



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