What a year it was, unfortunately it never really lived up to the expectations we all had of flying cars and holidays to the moon. That aside, we had a cracking year here at The Rookies, and it was all thanks to our amazing community, our partners and the team here that makes it all possible. We thought it would be a good idea to look back and celebrate all the good parts and get pumped for 2021.

Major Milestones

Our community is growing at a solid rate, and it's been amazing to welcome so many new members with the passion and motivation to improve their creative and technical skills.

1,346,449 visitors viewed your work

14,548 new members joined the community

3,767 members joined us on Discord


Member Portfolios

10,469 projects were uploaded to portfolio pages

Sharing your digital creations online is a big call. It takes a lot of confidence to put your skills out there, especially when you can see all the small things you want to change next time. Congratulations to everyone who uploaded work and shared work on their portfolio pages this year, we loved checking out all the different styles of work.

Top 10 Portfolio Projects

Below is a list of the Top 10 most popular projects uploaded by members. These projects received a huge amount of traffic and there is good reason why.

Anura - RPG Frog Game | The Rookies
An RPG experience set in a world inhabited by Frogs! From friendly frog folk to dangerous beasts, the Anura RPG Game project being developed by a team of Hertfordshire University students looks to offer an expansive RPG world with an amphibian theme.
Why is My Pizza Wet? Concept by Bo-Xun Lin | The Rookies
This is my first term final from Think Tank Online. The concept is Why is my Pizza Wet by Bo-Xun Lin. I had so much fun creating this piece, especially the hair! I had a blast working with Xgen (minus the glitches).
A Recreation of Lara Croft | The Rookies
Please. enjoy this piece.
Junk Planet | Think Tank Online - Mentorship Demo Reel 2020 | The Rookies
This is my final project at Think Tank Online, done under the supervision of my mentor : Matthew Clapperton. This project was based on the amazing concept called Junk Planet by Eddie Mendoza : https://www.artstation.com/artwork/1N2Pq I was responsible for all aspects of the project, and rendered the…
Digi Double | The Rookies
I learnt a lot on this project, about both 3D related things and things on my face ! Overall, it was a very fun project which I enjoyed creating. I used Photoscan and R3DS Wrap for the modeling part, Mari and Photoshop for the texturing, Xgen for the grooming.
REINFORCEMENT | The Rookies
Hello guys, this is my first demo reel. I have been inspired by various cultural contents. And I referred to the character design in the video game ‘Anthem’ to make this mechanical exo-suit which is the main character in my reel. I tried to make every detail of the character and wanted to set up the…
ORACLE OF THE FOREST | The Rookies
3D interpretation of the concept ‘The Oracle of the Forest’ from Stella Chen Yui. The head was inspired by an illustration of Erika Worthylake. Blockout was made in 3ds Max, Zbrush was used for sculpting and polypainting. Extra layer of textures with Substance Painter. Renders were made with Arnold …
Joan of Arc (Real Time) | The Rookies
Joan of Arc, rendered in real time. Based on the concept Koenigin Wehmut by Eve Venture. This piece also won 1st place in the 3DTotal Contest, Joan of Arc.
Rogelio the Rat | The Rookies
Can you imagine i almost named this project ‘Rattraptouille’ Every aspect was done by me.
SEN - 3D Animated Short | The Rookies
“SEN” is a short story about a small robot on a foreign planet, that deals with our perception of time and age.

Member Contest Entries

6,381 entries were uploaded to contests

25,289 reviews of work by contest judges

During 2020, we started to increase the number of contest in order to keep you motivated and challenge your skills. Members participated in the:

Top 10 Contest Entries

Ranked from 1-10, these are the most popular entries that members uploaded to all our contests for 2020.

Kasita || Gnomon 2019-2020 Student Portfolio
Hello! My name is Kasita and I’m currently on my last term in Gnomon School of Visual Effects. I’m a CG Generalist with a focus on modeling, texturing and look development. I’m in the process of wrapping up my demo reel and wanted to showcase some of the works i’ve completed during my time in Gnomon…
Concept Art & Visual Development
The goals in my career are to become an illustrator and a concept artist for video games and animation movies. I realized that I wanted to work in the creative media and entertainment industry, especially in concept art since I begin to draw in the goal to create something new.
Uplink
Uplink is a game cinematic rendered in Unreal Engine, following an engineer and his mechanical companion on their mission through a derelict settlement on Titan. Together, the duo face off against an oncoming swarm of killer drones at bay.
The Art of Constantin Vilsmeier
Hi everyone! My name is Constantin Vilsmeier and I’m a 3D Artist focusing on Modeling and Texturing with an emphasis on stylized characters and environments. I picked some of my latest artworks that I created at Gnomon School of VFX for my demo reel. I hope you like it!
Jared Fischler Student Work 2020
As a student at Gnomon School of VFX I’ve gotten to explore every area of CG and adopt skills that allow me to create nuanced and narrative-driven work. I hope you enjoy my portfolio!
Aspen Lane: VR Paranormal Investigation
You play as a Paranormal Investigator called to uncover evidence of a malicious haunting within a family home in North London. The family are relying on you. What mysteries will you uncover down Aspen Lane?
One year of ArchViz in Unreal Engine 4
Arround march 2019 I discovered that ArchViz was a thing. I Always was a big fan of creating game art but never felt like this was something I would get old with. When I found ArchViz, I knew I found my real passion. I combine all the teqniques I learned in game art to create my ArchViz. This is …
Oeil Pour Oeil
“Oeil pour Oeil” is a student short film made during our graduation year at ESMA Nantes. Directed by Thomas BOILEAU, François BRIANTAIS, Robin COURTOISE, Alan GUIMONT, Malcolm HUNT and Mathieu LECROQ.
The Box Assassin
This is a short film I completed in my senior of college. I was responsible for everything from storyboards to final rendering. The film is about a pizza delivery boy who finds himself in the middle of a clash between a gangster boss and a legendary assassin which the boy has unknowingly delivered.
Ash Samet - Entry 2020
A compilation of works created during my time at the Gnomon School of VFX!

Top 20 Software Titles

With so many options out there to choose from, it's often hard to figure out where to start. The good news is that data is our friend, and we have pulled together the Top 20 Software titles for digital artists in 2020.

  1. Maya
  2. Substance Suite
  3. ZBrush
  4. Adobe Creative Suite
  5. Unreal Engine
  6. Blender
  7. Arnold
  8. Nuke
  9. 3ds Max
  10. Houdini
  11. Unity
  12. V-Ray
  13. Mari
  14. Redshift
  15. Renderman
  16. Mudbox
  17. Octane
  18. Modo
  19. Marmoset
  20. Marmoset Toolbag

Weekly Drills pushed your skills

Consistency is the key with learning any new skill, and our Weekly Drills proved a huge success for members that got involved.

We completed #39 drills in 2020 and the results were super impressive. A massive shout out is needed for Tom Römer - a 'Contender' member and student from PIXL VISN | media arts academy. Tom has entered every single Weekly Drill which is an incredible feat and something worth celebrating. Make sure to check out his portfolio to check out all his projects.

Top 10 Weekly Drills

The most popular weekly drills submitted by members are listed below from 1-10. Congratulations to everyone that participated, we can't wait to see what else you create this year.

#WeeklyDrills 023 - Nintendo 64 | The Rookies
For this week’s drill, I decided to create an N64. It was the first console I ever owned and I spent half my childhood playing Zelda, Super Mario, and some racing game I forgot the name of. I used Maya to model, Substance Painter and Affinity Photo to texture, Arnold to render, and Nuke to polish th…
#WeeklyDrills 003 - Cipher Disk | The Rookies
This week I decided to recreate the cipher disk from Uncharted 3. I used Maya to model, Affinity Photo and Substance Painter to texture, Arnold to render and Nuke to polish the raw images.
DEDICA Macchine da caffè manuali | The Rookies
This is my proposal for the 11th Weekly Drill. A Coffee Maker inspired in the Italian De’Longhi Dedica Manual Espresso Machine (Model EC 685.M) in four colors, stainless Steel, white, red and black.
Weekly Drills 028 - #hamburgers | The Rookies
A hamburger I created for Weekly Drills 028 - #hamburgers :)
The golden necklace | The Rookies
That’s a necklace made in an Indian style. For this project, I challenged myself with the difficulty of ornaments and jewels.
Optometry Trial Frame | The Rookies
This is my proposal for the 10th Weekly Drill. An optometry trial frame with lenses.
Hamburger-WeeklyDrill | The Rookies
Hamburger land (one day project)
#WeeklyDrills 017 - Tequila | The Rookies
For this week’s drill, I created a tequila on the rocks with limes on the side. I used Maya to model and shade, Arnold to render and Nuke to polish the raw images.
Weekly Drill - #HumanHand | The Rookies
Today I came across this weekly drill and really wanted to give it a shot, even though I had only a couple hours left. Practicing drawing hands is always important! Decided to recreate my own hand.
Cosmograph Daytona Watch | The Rookies
For this project I wanted to try and create a realistic watch that could be used for advertisements. I used Autodesk Maya for modelling, Substance painter for textures and Marmoset for lighting and rendering. I also used Adobe Illustrator for alpha masks and Photoshop for more rendering.

We Went Live

It was all about going live in 2020. Not only were we forced to do this, but we actually enjoyed the opportunity to reach more people that running events in cities around the world.

Justin Mohlam

Justin started reviewing Weekly Drills live on Twitch. Each week Justin has been going through entries, selecting his winners and giving feedback along the way.

Robyn Daly

Our resident rockstar animation guru has been jumping on Twitch to live stream reviews of projects uploaded to The Rookies. These have been a huge hit and looking forward to more of these this coming year.

Christina Ryan

Our resident texturing and look development guru, not only shared an incredible Kombi asset in our latest contest, but she has also been jumping on Twitch each week to review entries.

School Interview Series

Alwyn Hunt and myself jumped on and ran our first Live Interview series where we talked with founders of the Top Schools to Learn VFX Online. This was such a cool experience, being able to dig in and ask some big questions to these humble entrepreneurs.


In Closing

Thanks for being part of our small world. We really did have a great year in 2020 (pandemic aside) and we appreciate your support, because without it, this place would be pretty boring and uninspiring.

As always, we have some ambitious plans for 2021 and are doing everything we can to bring them to life. Stay tuned, stay motivated and keep working hard. We know you will get where you need to go, it's just going to take a little more time.

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