Unreal Challenge: Better Light Than Never—winners announced!

Diana Karakushyan - The Light of Hope
In May, we launched the first of many Unreal Challenges to come. In this challenge, we encouraged the community to create a short, 10-30-second video to showcase their lighting abilities by building up a scene leveraging existing assets, and making it shine! 

You did not disappoint: we received over 400 striking entries to the Unreal Challenge: Better Light Than Never in two categories—Individual and Student. 

With that, we are pleased to announce the winners and runners-up, and present footage from many of the great entries that particularly caught our eyes.

Grand Prize, Individual:
Tom Bentkowski - Imagine

The judges absolutely loved Tom’s entry. They felt that is was a great example of how to tell a story with lighting, specifically calling out his use of temperature, exposure, and materials. They also considered it highly original in its art direction and layout, and particularly enjoyed the stop-motion feel and the addition of camera shake.
Tom Bentkowski - Imagine

First Runner-Up, Individual:
Juanma Liceras - Natural

Juanma’s entry impressed the judges with its originality and its efficiency in telling a simple story. They also applauded the clever use of volumetric fog on the sunlight shafts coming through the window and the believability of the magnifying glass animation. 
Juanma Liceras - Natural

Second Runner-Up, Individual:
Dmitry Shevchenko - Abandoned Medieval Town

The moodiness of Dmitry’s entry received plaudits from the judges, who also praised the camera animation and use of volumetrics. One judge said that the composition with the shaft of light reminded them of a certain blockbuster TV series!
Dmitry Shevchenko - Abandoned Medieval Town

Grand Prize, Student:
Anthony Perales - Tropical Cave

Anthony won over the judges by taking on the tricky task of lighting water and nailing it. He was praised for his execution of caustics, his use of volumetric fog, and his smooth and gentle camera cuts. The judges also loved the simplicity of the scene.
Anthony Perales - Tropical Cave

First Runner-Up, Student:
Diana Karakushyan - The Light of Hope

In Diana’s entry, the judges particularly liked the warm tones used and felt that the camera cuts were well done. They also praised the variation in lighting presented by having both daytime and nighttime versions. 
Diana Karakushyan - The Light of Hope

Second Runner-Up, Student: King Jolan Oledan - Never Too Late

King Jolan’s entry had the judges getting all nostalgic for their school days—they loved the moody, late-summer classroom vibe. They also felt that the camera movement was well done and that the color tone of the sun and exposure were great.
King Jolan Oledan - Never Too Late

Honorable Mentions

There were so many incredible entries, you certainly gave us a hard time narrowing down the finalists. Here are some of the submissions we also feel deserve a special mention.

Timea Somogyi - Dinos

David Edwards - Seven Thirty

Hojin Lee - There's Nothing

JSFILMZ - Crisis

Shazzy Angulo - The Last Minute

Dan Horsfall - Late Night Lights

Liliwu - Meditation

Rwanlink - Sunlight

Joan Vidal Buigues - The Eternal Temple

Zhenyi Xu - Magical Forest Cabin

Jose Eduardo Munevar - Soul Purge

Joao Lopes - LuMan

Mathieu Rous de Madinhac - Pandora

Taos Whittaker - Paris Rain

Maxim Vasiliev - Beach House Garden

Congratulations to the finalists, and a huge thanks to everyone who participated. Check out all the entries on the forums

Keep your eyes peeled for the next Unreal Challenge announcement for a new opportunity to train your creative and technical skillsets, then put them to the test—as well as a chance to win some great prizes!

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