Discover the (Inter)stellar Winners in the Adobe Dimension From the Moon to Mars Art Contest

The winning entry for Adobe Dimension’s From the Moon to Mars art contest, by Antony Carlyon.

by Jim Thacker

posted on 02-26-2019

Last December, Adobe challenged designers worldwide to let their imaginations take flight and create an image celebrating 60 years of space exploration. Using our 3D compositing software, Adobe Dimension, and 3D models from the NASA collection on Adobe Stock, entrants to the From the Moon to Mars contest were asked to reflect on the 50th anniversary of NASA’s Apollo program – and imagine where human spaceflight might take us all in future.

Nearly 1,000 of you did so, submitting more than 250 completed entries via the contest website, hosted by CG art community and online portfolio service ArtStation. Entries ranged from images of interplanetary craft and Martian colonies to portraits of former NASA astronauts like contest judge Nicole Stott, co-founder of the Space for Art Foundation and Constellation.Earth, and the first person to paint a watercolor in space.

But the winning entry, submitted by graphic designer and illustrator Antony Carlyon, emphasized the role that the next generation will play in expanding humanity’s horizons, showing a young would-be astronaut being inspired to aim for the skies from the security of her own bedroom.

First place: A voyage of creative discovery

“From the beginning of this brief, I was clear on the route I wanted to take,” Antony wrote in his contest journal. “I very much wanted to focus on NASA’s future exploration through the education of young people…as I believe the first steps in that journey begin in education.”

An early sketch for Antony Carlyon’s winning entry from the From the Moon to Mars art contest. The final design simplified the composition by moving it out of a classroom environment.

In his early sketches, Antony tried situating the action in a conventional classroom, but felt that the resulting composition was too confusing.

“I was concerned the viewer’s eye wouldn’t know where to go, and felt that I was losing the personal approach I desperately wanted,” he wrote. “I wanted [a] one-to-one, intimate connection that would spark that life-long journey through space and beyond.”

The solution was to focus the scene around an individual student, showing a young girl discovering the wonders of the cosmos on a curved projection screen in her room at home.

“Technology allows the freedom for learning outside of a regimented environment,” pointed out Antony. “With young minds having so much more information available to them, they have [access to] anything they want to if they are prepared to put in the effort.”

The bedroom was blocked out using 3D models in 3D compositing software Adobe Dimension.

The project was also a learning experience for Antony – by day, the creative lead for a large rural retailer in Devon, UK – encouraging him to familiarize himself with Dimension, which streamlines the process of combining 2D and 3D assets to create photorealistic images. Although Antony had previously used other 3D applications, Dimension is designed to make it possible for even artists entirely new to 3D to create professional imagery, using their existing knowledge of tools like Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator.

Antony’s winning image, created using Dimension and Photoshop in combination with SketchUp and Cinema 4D. You can see how the final design evolved in Antony’s ArtStation gallery.

“I’ve never really used Dimension before,” commented Antony of his finished image. “[But now] I’ve got all kinds of ideas for using it with future projects.”

Hopefully, the grand prize, provided by Adobe and contest sponsors HP, Wacom, NVIDIA, Pixologic and Allegorithmic, will help him to realize some of those projects, with Antony winning the following professional hardware, like an HP Z Workstation, anHP Z 3D Camera, an iPad, and a one-year subscription to Adobe Creative Cloud, along with Allegorithmic Substance Painter and exclusive early access to Adobe Photoshop for iPad.

Second place: A cinematic success

This striking poster-like image, created by matte painter Nitin Kale, took second place in the From the Moon to Mars art contest.

Second prize in the contest went to Nitin Kale, a matte painter at Indian visual effects facility Anibrain. Nitin brought some of his cinematic skills to bear in his entry, also created using Dimension and Photoshop, which uses a striking movie poster-like composition.

Nitin rendered the image inside Dimension before applying the final touches in post. You can see an animated process breakdown in his contest journal.

For his work, Nitin has won a Wacom Cintiq Pro 32″, along with Adobe Creative Cloud and other creative prizes like a perpetual license for Pixologic ZBrush and a one-year subscription to ArtStation Pro.

Third place: An other-worldly experiment

Visual development artist Tim Holleyman won third prize for this colorful, semi-abstract image.

Third place went to another matte painter and concept artist, Tim Holleyman, who created the striking image above using Dimension and Photoshop. “I tried to combine something fairly abstract and painterly with the 3D assets and the NASA brief,” he wrote in his ArtStation gallery. “It was a great opportunity to try something different and use a new piece of software.”

A 3D render from Dimension used as an element in the final image. You can see more process material in Tim’s contest journal.

Tim’s willingness to experiment won him a Wacom Cintiq Pro 24″ and Flex Arm and lots of creative tools to keep the 3D art flowing.

In addition, five artists were awarded an Honorable Mention for their contest entries, each winning a Wacom 3D Pen, and one-year subscriptions to ArtStation Pro and Adobe Creative Cloud.

Honorable Mention: Jesus Bibian Jr.

Honorable mention: Alexis Morand.

Honorable Mention: Chris C.

Honorable Mention: Andrew Morev.

Honorable mention: Alican Eren Kuzu.

Thank you to everyone who entered for your hard work and creativity. There are some amazing images among the other contest entries, and we encourage you to check them out in the competition’s online gallery.

Topics: Creativity, 3D & AR, Design

Products: Photoshop, Illustrator, Creative Cloud, Dimension