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Winners Announced
June 2022

City in the Sky Challenge

34th CG Boost 3D Art Challenge

Submissions received

The challenge ends on Wednesday, July 13th, 2022, at 16:00 CEST! The winners will be announced one week later on July 20th, 2022.

Artwork by
North Zhang

City in the Sky Challenge winners announced!

For our 34th challenge, we received 248 submissions (114 for the "Pro Arena" and 134 for the "Training Arena").

After each judge picked their top 10 submissions for each category, we sat together and chose the winners for the "Pro Arena" and the highlights for the "Training Arena". This was a long discussion and a hard decision, since there were so many fantastic artworks.

We also picked the random winners for the challenge raffle (Training Arena only).

Regrading the prizes, we will contact the winners during the next few days.

Congrats to the winners, and a big “Thank You” goes to our sponsor and everyone, for taking part!

Now scroll down to see the winners.

Artwork by
North Zhang
How to participate

First of all, choose your side.

Judging Criteria
Judging Criteria

Further questions? Find more info in our FAQ section.

Participate Now

Submit your work.

Select your arena *

Please submit the following two files:
1. A screenshot or clay render of your 3D scene
2. Your final render
Please use the following naming convention for your files:
Final Render: Your_Name_final (e. g. "Zach_Reinhardt_final.jpg")
Screenshot/Clay Render: Your_Name_wip (e. g. "Zach_Reinhardt_wip.jpg")

Thank you!

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Frequently asked questions.

Where do I ask questions about the challenge?
Can I update my entry after I submitted it already, if I notice a mistake?
Can I share my artwork online before the challenge is over?
When I win the challenge, can I get cash instead of the prizes?
Can I enter both categories at the same time?
Winners: Pro Arena

Let’s see who has won in the Pro Arena.

Let’s see who has won this challenge.


No items found.


1st Place

Ben White

We’re congratulating Ben White for winning the First Place!

Follow Ben:

Ben about his entry:

“I decided to base my project off of the concept of an O'Neill cylinder, a space settlement concept proposed by American physicist Gerard K. O'Neill. These self sufficient stations, complete with full ecosystems, could one day be a home away from home - cities in the sky. The cylinder would rotate, creating gravity through centrifugal force. Due to the shape of the cylinder, there would always be part of the construct above, yet another city in the sky. I spent many hours on this project. It proved quite challenging to get the sense of scale to look correct. Rendered in Blender Cycles. All models created by me, with the exception of the trees which are from the Botaniq addon.”

Created using Blender, Botaniq.

Wip Image

What our jury says:

Curtis Holt: "The idea of an O’Neill cylinder space station was a really good take on the theme. The detailing is wonderful and if you took multiple crops of this image at different locations, you would still come away with an impressive collection of artwork. There are only a couple of things I would critique. Firstly, the overall vibrancy of the frame is quite dull, despite the utopian vibe and emphasis on agriculture. Secondly, the suddenly grey industrious-looking sector to the upper right is quite an immediate transition, perhaps a more gradual blending between areas like this could also be interesting."

Daniel Nees: "This image was a clear standout to me. The sense of scale and detail and the composition are really nice. It would be nice to see a little bit more range in brightness values as it feels a little bit hazy and decontrasted and I would like to see a bit more life in the scene, but otherwise, excellent stuff!"

Masha Bazueva: "I love the idea of a cylinder station with everything human beings could actually need to live their lives! The execution is great, I’m really impressed by all the small details and different areas we can observe through the whole station. One thing that is missing a bit here are maybe some humans and animals.Anyway, even without these elements, the artwork is fantastic, well done!"

Martin Klekner: “Amazing details and impactful composition. Throughout the judging process, I kept coming back to this one, finally deciding this is my favorite piece of the competition. More color punch and contrast would help, but that's a small flaw on an otherwise amazing artwork!”

Zach Reinhardt: “This is an artwork that didn't shine immediately, but it gets better and better the longer you look at it. I love the more realistic take on the subject, with a design that could exist in the real world. It reminds me of the space station from the movie "Interstellar". Great work on the realistic vehicles, the crops in the foreground, but also the landscape, buildings and structures in the background. It is fun to discover all the nice details. Only the colors and contrast could be pushed a bit more, to make it look less flat.”

Jan Egon Preiss: "Good use of colors and atmospheric effects gives a nice impression of the size and of depth of this habitat. Still, I feel this composition can be balanced a bit more. Also, the objects and their scale can be improved to fit better"

2nd Place

Yordan Zarev

We’re congratulating Yordan Zarev for winning the Second Place!

Follow Yordan:

Yordan about his entry:

“I recently made a trip to Venice which inspired the concept behind this work. From there on it just needed a bit of imagination to bring it to life. i've used Blender and rendered out everything in cycles. For the trees and vegetation, TheGrove3d was really helpful combined with some manual work. All the textures and post-processing were done in Gimp.”

Created using Blender, TheGrove3d, Gimp.

What our jury says:

Curtis Holt: "Overall, this is a satisfying piece to look at. The balance of color and lighting is great, and there is a good distribution of clustered details with various shaping – the harsh cubic buildings, spherical balloons and curvy vegetation scattered around the scene. My main point of critique would be the character model in the lower left foreground, zooming in reveals a lesser-detailed model that doesn’t seem to fit in with the rest of the scene. Overall, I like the comforting vibe of the image."

Daniel Nees: "The colours, lighting, and composition in this piece are amazing. The attention to detail with the vegetation and buildings is excellent. The only real let-down for me is the low-quality character in the bottom-left corner."

Masha Bazueva: “Absolutely love the vibe of this artwork! The details on the buildings are very well done: the small bricks, the little plants, all the differences in the windows! I live in Italy and these buildings are very like the ones we have here (as far as I see from the description this artwork was inspired by Venice), and since there is not much repetition they feel really alive and believable! I like very much the ships flying around with balloons, but the guy on the left side feels really low resolution compared to the rest and somehow breaks the magic for me. Apart from this, great work!”

Martin Klekner: “I love the details on the city along with the color palette. The result is a bit dragged down for me because of the dark figure in the bottom left corner, which somehow lacks detail / it's silhouette is too distracting. Overall though, this is one of my favorite renders of the competition!”

Zach Reinhardt: “This one felt special the first moment I looked at it. Here the lighting and color choice stand out the most, besides an interesting architecture, and convincing vegetation. Although the "clouds" are not as present as in other artworks, you can still get the idea with the floating boats. Wondering how deep it goes down there. The only flaw that hurts a bit is the low poly guy in the foreground. Luckily, he is covered in darkness so that you barely can see him.”

Jan Egon Preiss: "Was in my broad selection and almost made it further. Composition, the use of complementary colors to work with the depth of the scene, and the right balance between the light and the shadow, all make sense. The only drawback was the lack of feel for the sky, and its height. The streets give more the feeling of empty channels."

3rd Place

Sebastian Gerken

We’re congratulating Sebastian Gerken for winning the Third Place!

Follow Sebastian:


Sebastian about his entry:

“I created an original concept with Midjourney and sketches. The original vision of the concept was more ambitious, but because of time constrains, I decided to scale the artwork down and focus more on polishing. Software I used: I tried to incorporate all my software knowledge into this artwork. -Blender for 3d modeling -Zbrush for Rock Sculpting -Unreal Engine 5 for scene Assembly -Substance Designer for custom grunge and the trimsheet creation -Substance Painter for the trimsheet -Photoshop for post-processing I tried to be as resourceful as possible and used many assets from Brushify and Artstation marketplace. The Waterfalls and the Sky were added in post because my Unreal Engine knowledge wasn't sufficient.”

Created using Blender, Zbrush, Unreal Engine, Substance Designer, Substance Painter.

What our jury says:

Curtis Holt: "As a whole, this is a very nice fantasy art piece. It’s well-balanced and composed, and even demonstrates the importance of keeping darker areas for creative lighting. For critique, I would say the city above looks a bit two-dimensional on close inspection, and I feel like something is missing closer to the camera. Perhaps a couple of grazing animals and/or an abandoned wagon for transportation - just something to add some visual interest to the foreground and give some story to the path."

Daniel Nees: "The composition and lighting in this are spectacular and I love the overall look. I would really like to see a bit more storytelling and a bit less duplication in the city structures because aside from those, this image is fantastic."

Masha Bazueva: “I like soo much the oil painting vibes of this one! Also, it feels really like a fantasy book cover! Would definitely read it :) Anyway there are some small mistakes that are a bit disturbing, like the tips of the trees that have some leafs without branches and a really low poly trunk or the city that also looks a bit low poly with too many repetitions… Anyway, the artwork is magic, I really loved it!”

Martin Klekner: “Atmosphere-wise, this piece is amazing! There are little flaws here and there - some of the trees don't have enough detail, the city itself feels a bit 2D, the boulder on the bottom left attracts a bit too much attention... The colors, composition and atmosphere make the whole thing work though, and that's ultimately the most important thing.”

Zach Reinhardt: “This artwork stood out the most through its nice composition, with the shapes of the environment leading the eye to the city in the sky. But the lighting is also top. It feels like a screenshot from a video game world, I would be eager to explore (obviously it was created in Unreal Engine). The foreground looks a bit boring and is lacking storytelling. A character or a vehicle would add a lot here. Also, the low resolution trees with floating leaves in the foreground could use a bit more details. Other than that, a striking image.”

Jan Egon Preiss: "Great work with the color pallet and the lights, reminds me of paintings of old masters. The composition and sense of scale make this scenery very believable."

Honorable Mention

Enes Aksakal

We’re congratulating Enes Aksakal for winning the Honorable Mention!

Follow Enes:

Enes about his entry:

“A traveler is looking for the miracle water, which he needs for his village for the harvest. This miracle water is located in the very top of the sky, the city is known as Floctopia.”

What our jury says:

Curtis Holt: "This is a very original idea and presented in an impressively vibrant way. I like that you’ve tried to incorporate a storytelling element with the colorful little character and their rowboat on the clouds. For a critique, I think the detail level of the clouds feels a little bit out of place, perhaps if they were more stylized, then they may feel more consistent with the style of the octopus."

Daniel Nees: "This is a cool and unique take on the theme, and I like the imagination on display. The main two things that I feel damage this are the clouds that look a bit too highly detailed and the blur of the tail not being quite right both technically and also against the clouds right next to it."

Masha Bazueva: “This artwork caught my attention immediately! I love so much how creative it is, the design of the squid town is so unique and the vibrant colors are very eye catching! I don’t like very much the look of the water coming from the octopus (or is that wind?), that feels really flat and the clouds floating on the city feel like they have burned out colors. However, this was one of my favorite artworks, well done :)”

Martin Klekner: “Even though a lot of the clouds seem a little too cut-and-paste, composited over a 3D scene, I adore this piece. The octopus-like city's design and the overall creativity absolutely make this piece stand out.”

Zach Reinhardt: “This one had probably the most unique design from the whole challenge. I love the cartoony look and the vibrant colors. Also, a very interesting idea, with the giant kraken-like creature breathing in air for the city inside (I guess). The character in the foreground is a nice little detail that you discover by exploring the image. Only the strong depth of field and the sometimes too detailed clouds are a bit distracting.”

Jan Egon Preiss: "Really surrealistic piece. Have to say it has a pretty playful mood. Well-chosen colors."

Honorable Mention

Bert Willemsen

We’re congratulating Bert Willemsen for winning the Honorable Mention!

Follow Bert:


Bert about his entry:

“It's a city in the sky. Made in Blender. Add-ons used: Botaniq + Traffiq”

Created using Blender, Botaniq, Traffinq

What our jury says:

Curtis Holt: "This is a well-designed piece that has been given a lot of attention to detail. The atmosphere and sense of scale are also quite impressive, and I appreciate that it is easy to identify different areas of the city, such as the airport on the upper level. If I had to give a critique, I would say the framing of this image may not do justice to the design. It leaves a lot of empty space, and you may be able to get a range of interesting shots by bringing the camera closer to the city and allowing some of the structure to run off-frame."

Daniel Nees: "The simplicity of the environment combined with the incredible detail of the subject makes an excellent combination. It has an extremely cinematic vibe, which I love. It would be nice to see some more story in this, though."

Masha Bazueva: “This is very well done! I like how the city looks, it has a nice combination of buildings and vegetation, that makes it feel very believable. The lighting also feel very realistic, great work! Maybe there is too much empty space around it, and the sea in the background looks a bit out of scale.”

Martin Klekner: “One of my favorite pieces of the competition, very well done from a technical standpoint. I would definitely like to see it in some ultra-high resolution. Adding a bit more story elements to it would make it even better!”

Zach Reinhardt: “This image feels like a photo taken from a real city. The sense of scale is perfectly captured here, with the detailed city model and the tiny balloons. I also love the variety in the shapes of the buildings, with some vegetation in between, which adds a lot to the realism. Although quite simple, the background and sunlight fits perfectly here. Only storytelling wise, I would love to explore a bit more.”

Jan Egon Preiss: "My favorite in the pro arena. The visual purity of composition and at the same moment imminent feel of the extreme complexity of the city gives this piece a breathtaking capacity. This is an opening scene for a sci-fi blockbuster movie."

Highlights: Training Arena

Let’s see how our newcomers have performed.



Alexandre Lekic

What our jury says:

Curtis Holt: "What immediately struck me about the visual style of this artwork was the softness and consistent pink-purple color palette. There are no elements that are too overpowering, and I appreciate the subtle details, however if I had to add one thing, it would be more of a storytelling element. This is a lovely-frozen moment of a city in the sky, but it might benefit from having a few extra details that tell us a bit more about the people who live in the city. This could even be as simple as a piece of signage."

Daniel Nees: "The style of this is nice and unique, which sets it apart from the other images. There's a bit of a lack of story in the scene, but the little details are great, and the colours are gorgeous. It's also really nice that the buildings aren't just duplicates of each other."

Masha Bazueva: “Such a tiny, sweet town! The houses are different one from another that makes them feel very believable, and the nice little birds here and there give some life to this artwork. I would love to see a bit more story in what birds are doing or maybe even something happening in one of the windows, that would make the artwork even more interesting.”

Martin Klekner: “The color palette really sets this piece apart, making it stand out. I like how all the stylized details hold together, to make a polished and cute final result.”

Zach Reinhardt: “One of the few more colorful artworks, even though it is night. I love the color scheme and the simplistic shapes, which convey a warm and cozy mood. All in all, everything fits well together. The foreground (lower left area) could use some more details and there could be a bit more story telling, like adding a character or a little vehicle to the foreground.”


Matthew Reeve

What our jury says:

Curtis Holt: "The sense of scale in this piece is impressive, coupled with the highly detailed ground terrain, it makes for some cool visuals. The main elements that stand out to me as needing improvement are the poly counts for the ring structure (upon zooming in we can see the harsh angles), the texturing could also be improved to avoid scaling and stretching inconsistencies, and more variety could be added to the buildings. Overall, you’ve done very well to create an interesting frame."

Daniel Nees: "This one blew me away when it first came up. The lighting and composition are fantastic and the sense of scale is excellent. The only issue for me is that there's no sense of life at all in the scene, and the buildings seem fairly low-detail."

Masha Bazueva: "This artwork is incredible! I love the color palette author choose here. The landscape texturing is perfect, feels very real and spectacular. Also, the contrast between nature and geometric view of the city is something I really enjoy. I think maybe adding a bit more details to the city and make the buildings a bit more different one from another would make it feel a bit more believable. I think the author could absolutely try himself in the Pro Arena next time :) "

Martin Klekner: “Being a sucker for large-scale scenes, I simply love this one. While some of the buildings feel a bit too duplicated, it absolutely caught my attention, making it one of my favorite pieces. Great colors!”

Zach Reinhardt: “Showing the city, the ground and the connection between both is a great way to give sens of how far away we are from earth. I like the lighting, simple color scheme and the chosen perspective is also interesting. The mountains, water and clouds are perfect, but the whole city model could use some more details. Everything between the buildings looks a bit too low resolution. A few more interesting details that break the repeating pattern would add a lot to the image.”


Rafal Macinski

What our jury says:

Curtis Holt: "This is a visually stimulating piece, and I appreciate the idea of focusing on the more functional lower areas of a city floating in the sky. The main areas that I would focus on for improvement are detailing and scaling – the platform for the city could be more detailed, and the character is difficult to see on first inspection. Regardless of that, you have managed to balance color and lighting very well. Also, the clouds seem to work quite well here, well done."

Daniel Nees: "I really enjoy the composition of this image. The main issue for me is that despite the tiny character, there's a bit of an absence of story and the city feels a bit lifeless, but despite that, the sense of scale is great and the clouds and sky look amazing."

Masha Bazueva: "Very nice artwork, I love the small detail of the little men sitting on the edge of the city. Would be very cool if he could stand out a bit more because I didn’t even notice him at first."

Martin Klekner: “The little guy sitting by the huge ventilator made this piece for me :-) Great atmosphere too!”

Zach Reinhardt: “This image stood especially out because of the nice lighting and mood. The clouds at the bottom looking great as well. The bottom part of the city could use a few more details to match up with the detailed buildings on top. Also, the lower part of the image is a bit empty. Maybe shifting the camera perspective a bit more to the top could help composition wise. And yes, I saw the little character (maybe a bit too tiny). Overall top work!”


Roberts Abolins

What our jury says:

Curtis Holt: "I really appreciate the consistent styling of this piece. Composition is great, the silhouette and clustered details for the actual city are marvelous, and I’d love to see more work in this style. For improvement, my eyes do quickly move to the low-resolution grouping of clouds along the bottom. Regardless of this, you have paid attention to adding a variable softness to the clouds, which is a detail that can quite easily be overlooked. I would definitely recommend giving the pro arena a try in the future."

Daniel Nees: "The design of this city is really nice. It feels like the buildings and structures were designed with the setting in mind, and everything works together well. Aside from the low-ish quality clouds, the detail is also absolutely superb."

Masha Bazueva: "Oh, I love this one so much! The design of the city, the wood structure that holds it, are so interesting and fit perfectly with the cloudy mood. Adjusting the low resolution of some clouds that look very pixelous and also maybe adding a little more storytelling would make this piece perfect!"

Martin Klekner: “One of the most interesting pieces of the Training Arena, proving that even without intense colors you can make a great piece. The only flaw are the low-resolution clouds.”

Zach Reinhardt: “This was one of the more unique designs, compared to all the floating city islands we have seen in this challenge, which was a welcome variation. The industrial look, the somber colors and the gray clouds adds a special mood here. Unless the emptiness was intentional, adding some birds and one or more characters could add a bit more live to the scene. Also, the houses are stacked together quite randomly, a bit more work on connecting them logically could help as well.”


Theo Gregoire Lebbos

What our jury says:

Curtis Holt: "This immediately struck me as quite an adorable piece with a lovely story about a suspended city of spiders, enjoying their lives amongst the trees. It’s quite consistently styled, and I appreciate the thematic details, such as the spiderweb connective segments of the roofs and web bridges. I don’t have too many critiques, although I wonder if there could be more consistency with material work, as some objects have texture details and some do not."

Daniel Nees: "The lighting, colours, and sense of life in this are delightful. It all works together really well, and it was really lovely to see this piece develop in the community. Not much to criticize here!"

Masha Bazueva: "It’s so nice to see when an artist applies the suggestions he/she received in the community, and this immediately brings out the potential of  his/her artwork! I love this image, it feels so sweet with all these tiny houses that have all that variations, and it gives the feeling that they were actually built by different tiny spiders. Also, the lighting is well done, and the composition drives our attention from the lovely spider family through the whole spider village! Great work, I love it! ^^"

Martin Klekner: “Cute and wonderfully stylized image, working great with light sources to bring attention to various focus points. Really enjoyed this one!”

Zach Reinhardt: “What a lovely image and also a unique design for the topic. Great use of colors and light here, and the composition is very pleasing as well. I love that each building looks a bit different and that you can tell, from the spiders in the background, that they connected everything with web. Only the web bridges could have a bit higher mesh resolution and maybe some texture details. Other than that, top work!”

Raffle Winners

Learn who’s won our raffle.

The sponsors and supporters of this challenge.