Rules for the Fairy Tales Challenge - Real-Time Game Character

Fairy Tales are timeless. In this challenge, you get to pick one of your favorite fairy tale characters or creatures and reimagine them. - THIS CHALLENGE HAS ENDED

Do you want to imagine what your fairy tale character would look like 100 years before the story? 5000 BCE? 200 years in the future? Go nuts and have fun!

You’ll have 2 months to complete your entry from March 1st to May 1st. Results will be announced on May 15th.

Here are some suggestions of fairy tales you can base your work on. You’re in no way restricted to these - they are simply serving as a starting point.

Ideas for Fairy Tales

  • Hansel and Gretel
  • Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
  • The Little Mermaid
  • Beauty and the Beast
  • Aladdin and the Magic Lamp
  • Little Red Riding Hood
  • The Tinderbox
  • Rapunzel
  • Cinderella
  • Sleeping Beauty
  • The Ugly Duckling
  • Puss in Boots
  • Rumpelstiltskin
  • The Golden Touch of King Midas
  • Jack and the Bean Stalk
  • The Pied Piper of Hamelin
  • Goldilocks and The Three Bears
  • Frankenstein’s monster
  • Dracula


  • Use any software that you like for modeling and texturing.
  • Create 1 real-time 3D character with no paintovers. The character has to be rendered in a real-time engine such as Unity, Marmoset Toolbag, UE4, etc.
  • Max poly/tri-count of 100K for the whole character.
  • You’re allowed to use two 4K map sets.
  • You will need to show the final textures created for your character as flat renders.
  • While you can’t do any paintovers on your character, you are allowed to do final grading. Adding background and foreground elements such as dust, sparks, or anything else that adds to your presentation, has to be present in the final 3D scene on planes. These count towards your final polycount as well.
  • Keep an active WIP thread of your progress.
  • At the end of the challenge, there will be a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winner.

Final Submission

  • Post your final submission in the Final Submissions Thread.
  • 1 final shot of your character in a real-time viewer/engine - 1920px+ on the longest edge.
  • Front, side and back views of your character in a real-time viewer/engine - 1920px+ on the longest edge.
  • Wireframe shots and a texture overview + any additional shots you wish to include
  • (Optional) Include the final character in an online viewer for us to inspect, like Sketchfab or Marmoset Viewer.
  • (Optional) Work in progress images to show your journey from start to finish

Judging Criteria

Your work will be judged based on a number of different criteria:

  • The technical execution, the final aesthetics of the image - as well as your own creative flair.
  • Are you able to tell a story with your character?
  • Does it evoke emotion? Think about the presentation, as well as the back story of the piece - and other defining characteristics you can display through the finished character.
  • Your progression as an artist! We’re not simply looking for the best final result, but also at the progression you make throughout the project and how you react to feedback.

The theme lends itself to something fun, creative and colorful! Take advantage of this and create something memorable.

Feedback and Sharing

We love to see the community thrive and grow and we highly encourage commenting on other people’s work - giving feedback and constantly pushing each other to become better artists.

To share your WIP and final submission you can do so by creating an account on our challenge page HERE upon which you can navigate to our challenge, create a new topic and start sharing away!

(Please make sure to keep all your updates in a single thread and not create a new thread for every update)

For sharing on social media, do the following:

  • Add hashtag #FairyTalesFN
  • Tag @flippednormals

Challenge Judges:

Kubisi Art - Facial Modeller at DNeg

Satoshi Arakawa - Lead Character artist, Amazon Games

Joseph Harford - CEO Airship Images

Suzanne Helmigh - Art Director at Ghostfire Gaming

Marlon R. Nunez - Art Director + Co Founder @

Yibing Jiang - Art Director @ Unity

Blair Armitage - 3D Character Artist

Judges for the dedicated substance price:

Vincent Gault - Community Manager and Technical Artist @ Adobe

Nicolas Wirrmann - Senior Product Manager for Substance Designer @ Adobe

Wes McDermott - Product Manager and Technical Artist @ Adobe


1st Place: ($4495)

2nd Place: ($1450)

3rd Place: ($1250)

SPECIAL PRIZE - Most creative use of Substance

Disclaimer: we are not able to ship any physical prizes to the following countries: the Balkans, Belarus, Burma, Cuba, DR of the Congo, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Yemen, and Zimbabwe


We will choose a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winner at the end of the challenge. This is a challenge aimed to push learning, evolving, and creative thinking, so the winner will be chosen based on who we think showed the most growth and potential.

If you find that you can’t get the challenge done in time, make sure to still show your end result and you might just end up in the honorable mentions!

We’ll be sharing your entries throughout the challenge on our social media, so make sure you tag us so we can find your work.

Good luck! :slight_smile:


Sounds like fun, and a good chance to learn Unreal. Would you also consider EEEVEE to be an acceptable renderer choice?


Sounds like a nice challenge. This will be my first time participating in a challenge like this, so I can’t wait to give this a shot.

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Does Star Wars, Candy Land, Lord of The Rings count as Fairy tells?

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Hello! Excuse me I have 2 questions:

  1. Is this challenge available for people of any country or only for residents of the United States?
  2. Is is possible to use an existing 2D concept art or everything has to be own design?
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My first time doing this challenge! im excited. I have a question, where do we register to get into it ? :smiley:

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This is a little bit on the line, we would like people to stick to more traditional fairy tales because things like star wars and lord of the rings are more considered movies in our opinion. but I’m sure there are many fairy tales that have a similar art style. it just depends on how you imagine it :wink:

Anyone can join this challenge, no matter what country you are located in. however there are ofcourse a few countries where we can not send some prices to (things like warzones etc) But we will put a disclaimer of those places on this page soon.
And yes you can use an existing concept art. but we would recommend that you imagine something around it yourself because that is the goal of the challenge :slight_smile:

You can register here:
And then if you click on this challenge you can create your own post where you can showcase your wip etc.

yes, EEEVEE is allowed :slight_smile:

Hello, I’m new here and want to join challange. I’m interesting is there only game character category? No film/vfx category without poly and texture limits?

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Welcome! No, I’m afaird for this challenge it has to be a game character

Thanks for the reply. Then one more question. If I render in marmoset (3) should I keep “enable GI” and “local reflectons” off?

You can use the full power of marmoset :slight_smile: including ray tracing and anything else you want to make things look fancier.


hi, a have a question about the meaning of flat render to show the final textures… that means that we are not allowed to tweek the final renders right? like photoshop postproduction? except the grading that you mention

Excited to participate in this! Given the title I assume we have to come up with our own designs, so no using other artworks or concepts from other artists that may be relevant, or even fanarts of other IP that may have a re-imagined fairy tales in them?

Hi there, oh with flat renders of the final textures we mean we just want to see your actual texture maps (basecolor,normal,roughness etc)

As long as it fits the description you can use existing concept art, but part of this challenge is to have fun and imagine an scenario yourself rather then re-create something so I would advice to give it your own personal flavor and ideas :wink:

thanks, :+1:

Can I create a small creatures like mice or bird for composition purpose with main character?