Sketchfab May Challenge: Sci-Fi Circus Sculpting

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For this month’s sculpting challenge, we’re excited to team up with XP-PEN to offer you an amazing opportunity to win part of over $1400 in prizes!

Our theme is “Sci-Fi Circus”, so we want to see some weird & wonderful creatures, characters and performers that you might find at an intergalactic menagerie.

How to enter: simply sculpt a character that you might find in a sci-fi circus, upload it to Sketchfab, and tag it #XPPENSculptChallenge.

UPDATE: Winners

3rd Place: Space Kaijū Juggler by Julien Chambriard

2nd Place: Bounce by 000734

1st Place: Sci-Fi Circus Challenge: Bajwali Wolf by Hammer

To see what the judges had to say about the winning entries, head over to the Sketchfab Forum. And to see all of the entries, check out the tag gallery.

X-Infinite, P-Possibility, Pen-Digital Pen.

XP-PEN has been a professional and reliable supplier of graphics tablets for 14 years, and now is running business in more than 100 countries.

No matter whether you are a professional designer, illustrator, or a digital art hobbyist, you can always find an XP-PEN product that suits you well. ~


  • Use your favorite software and workflow to sculpt a character that you might find in a sci-fi circus.
  • Any coloring method is allowed, e.g., hand-painted, PBR, vertex color.
  • Submit only new work, but feel free to submit multiple entries.
  • If you use concept art to create your work, be sure to ask permission from the concept artist, credit them, and link back to their work. We also encourage you to split your prize with them, if you win.
  • Once you’ve created your model, upload it to Sketchfab, tag it #XPPenSculptChallenge.
  • Submission deadline is Monday, June 1, 2020 (23:59 New York time – EDT)



  • First Place
    • XP-PEN Artist 22R ProX1PC Tablet
    • XP-PEN mascot model
    • $50 Amazon gift card (or equivalent if you don’t have access to Amazon)
    • A framed art print of the winning entry
    • 12 months of Sketchfab Plus
  • Second Place
  • Third Place

Terms and Conditions

  • No purchase necessary.
  • By entering this competition, entrants will be deemed to have accepted and agreed to the conditions.
  • This is a contest for individuals, no teams.
  • No alternative prizes available. The prize draw is not open to Sketchfab employees or their families.
  • No ripping of models from anywhere on the Internet, all entries must be original works.
  • The judges’ decision are final – in case of dispute, no correspondence will be entered into.
  • Winning entries will be documented and may be used for promotional purposes.
  • Contestants’ models must be uploaded to Sketchfab and tagged #XPPenSculptChallenge to be considered.
  • Winners retain all Intellectual Property as per Sketchfab standard Terms and Conditions.
  • Winners and winning entries may be required to take part in any publicity resulting from this competition.
  • The winner will be contacted by Friday, June 5, 2020.
  • Promoter: Sketchfab Inc, 1123 Broadway, Suite 501, New York, NY 10010, USA.

About the author

Sketchfab Team

Sketchfab Team

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  • Avatar Simon says:

    If we don’t know how to sculpt a character in programs such as Blender or ZBrush, can we create a “3D painting” instead (i.e., where a planar surface acts as a canvas)?

    • Avatar Abby Crawford says:

      Hi Simon! This is a sculpting challenge, so non-sculpted entries will be ineligible to win.

      • Avatar Simon says:

        So I’ve found a workaround online, to connect my iPad to my PC, as I don’t have an actual graphics tablet yet.

        I do have a small (hopefully also basic) design for a sculpt, so I’ll be trying to submit that.

  • Avatar Celine Proimos says:

    Hi there! Just checking if there is an age range to this? Or can anyone participate?

  • Avatar Jim Harvey says:

    looks fun!

  • Avatar guruprasadk says:

    Thanks for this great challenge Sketch fab. I am from India, am I eligible to participate in this challenge .

  • hi ,
    where i can add my sculpture work for this challange?

    • Avatar Bart Veldhuizen says:

      You need to upload them into your Sketchfab account and add the XPPENSculptChallenge tag – see instructions above.

  • i would like to participate

  • Avatar Rivera says:

    Are Tiltbrush sketches acceptable?

  • Avatar BasementClub says:

    Hi ,
    Do I have to retop the sculpt , or does the polyflow doesn’t matter ?

    • Avatar Bart Veldhuizen says:

      Polyflow is not a factor. However, you may wish to retopo your work to optimize for real-time display.

  • Avatar Donald says:

    Is it allowed to have the character/s animated? Can we use 3D modeling for gadgets or other assets used by the sculpted character or only sculpting is allowed?

    • Avatar Bart Veldhuizen says:

      Animation is allowed but will not be considered during the judging process. You can use only sculpting for this challenge, no other techniques.

  • Avatar himawari1987 says:

    i’m from Viet Nam, can i participate this challenge ?

  • Avatar youcef says:

    How can I participate
    How do I receive the award?
    Can sculpting be used with modling?

    • Avatar Bart Veldhuizen says:

      You’ll find detailed instructions in the blogpost: create an artwork using only sculpting (no other techniques allowed), and upload it with tag XPPENSculptChallenge before Monday, June 1, 2020 (23:59 New York time – EDT). Prizes will be shipped to you.

      • Avatar youcef says:

        thinks but i have free coumpte in Skechfab is this normal

      • Avatar youcef says:

        sorry but this question final
        Is it possible to participate in more than one form

      • Avatar Bart Veldhuizen says:

        Do you mean submit more than one entry? That’s absolutely fine 🙂

  • Avatar Flo says:

    Just the sculpture ? or also the low poly version of it?
    Also do we have to create the whole background of a circus and/or we are allowed to do that?
    Does the character has to be animated?
    Best regards

    • Avatar Abby Crawford says:

      Hi Flo. To answer your questions: just the sculpture, you don’t have to model a background, but you can if you want to, and the character does not have to be animated.

      • Avatar Flo says:

        One more question, if may I.
        The actual sculpt, has yo be done from only one mesh ? Or can I use multiple meshes at the beginning, like just for blocking it out at least. No modelling just blocking it.

      • Avatar Bart Veldhuizen says:

        That’s fine 🙂

  • Avatar Not a person says:

    Can we use blockbench for the challenge?

  • Avatar Flavio says:

    Can I use a 2D reference?

    I just made one character using one. It fits the theme. Just hope it is valid.

    • Avatar Bart Veldhuizen says:

      Using a reference or concept art by another artist is allowed, as long as you properly credit them.

  • Avatar youcef says:

    how can subscibe in the challenge

  • Avatar yoyo says:

    thinks but i have free coumpte in Skechfab is this normal

  • Avatar GON says:

    Are you going to prepare a cartoon competition?

  • Avatar Ali says:

    What is the poly count number limitation?

    • Avatar Bart Veldhuizen says:

      We didn’t set a hard poly limit on this, but realtime performance will be a factor when judging. So use common sense and optimize where you can 🙂

  • Avatar Pablo says:

    What are the criteria when judging the work?

  • Avatar bell says:

    Is it possible to use other forms with the ball and sculpt it?

    • Avatar Bart Veldhuizen says:

      As long as you use sculpting tools and you stick to the challenge theme, you’re good!

  • Avatar youcef says:

    Unfortunately I cannot participate because I have a free account
    There is another way to participate, please

  • Avatar Timmy says:

    hi I’m Timmy and I need to know how do you participate for this competition

    • Avatar Bart Veldhuizen says:

      Hi Timmy! All the instructions are in this blogpost above. Do you have a specific question?

  • Avatar alexndefo says:

    Is necessary upload textured model? My painting skill is really poor 🙂
    With free account I’m able to join challenge with 1 model only, right? (or set models as downloadable)

    • Avatar Bart Veldhuizen says:

      Texturing is not required, this challenge focuses only on the sculpting. And correct, free accounts allow you to publish one non-downloadable per month.

  • Avatar Charles says:

    If the sculpt is not JUST the animal but it has props that are needed to tell the story (like environmental pieces) is that alright?

    • Avatar Bart Veldhuizen says:

      Anything that you feel is needed for a good ‘Sci-Fi Circus’ scene. It’s up to you!

  • Avatar Sebastian says:

    Hi, I’m from Argentina. Can I participate?

  • Avatar Rohit says:

    Can I model the basic shape just basic and then sculpte it.

  • Avatar AravinDeep says:

    How many models i want to did for this contest sir.

  • Avatar youcef says:

    Is it possible to sculpt any animal?
    Is it possible to use small modeling and large scale carving?
    Is it possible to use shading in coloring

  • Avatar Miikka Immonen says:

    Hey! Is it allowed to utilize retopology along with texture baking, or should the entry be be the raw sculpt?

  • Avatar Thomas says:

    Can you enter from outside the US? (I live in Belgium)

  • Avatar Nouruldeen Alnami says:

    Saudia Arabia , Jazan

  • Avatar Kaido says:

    Should we carve something related to your captivity? Do we not have the freedom to carve what we want?
    When will the award be delivered?

    • Avatar Bart Veldhuizen says:

      If you want to participate in this challenge, you’ll have to stick to the challenge topic ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

      Prizes will be sent approximately 1 week after the challenge ends. Delivery time will be different for each country, so it’s impossible to predict.

  • Avatar Dimitri J Carrillo says:

    Is it okay to sculpt a character from a movie to fit into this theme?

  • Avatar David Zapata says:

    Can the scenario be modeled? (lake cages)

  • Avatar Iván says:

    ¿Can i participate with several models?

  • Avatar jeff says:

    is this only for pure sculpting. i cannot use 3dsmax to add accessories and retopo the model.

  • Avatar Nestor Jimenez Art says:

    Hi! I Can add a character to my scene for complement my creature?

  • Could I make just the sculpture or do I need to retopologize it?

    • Avatar Bart Veldhuizen says:

      Retopology is not a requirement. However, if your model is too heavy for real-time display on Sketchfab you should put in an effort to clean up/decimate your mesh.

  • Avatar BRANDED BOSS says:

    Can i Submit a sculpt head of a monster if its totally sculpted by me…

    • Avatar Bart Veldhuizen says:

      The goal of the challenge is to sculpt a character. You can enter with only a head, but I don’t think your chances of winning will be very high.

  • Avatar BRANDED BOSS says:

    how the winners will be announced… How will i get to know if i am the winner….

  • Avatar Quinn calanza says:

    Its looks cooolll

  • Avatar Nelly Secula says:


  • Avatar Ahsen says:

    this is good for me as iam new to zbrush and only know basic sculpting. Iam gonna knock your socks off!!! Me and my son will design a concept and i will sculpt in zebrush, retopo and decimate check. Is there a limit to max polygons as they can tend to high in detail. Also basic clay sculptures okor polypainting and texturing is a must? Thank you from ibbi and ash (ages 11 and 37)

    • Avatar Abby Crawford says:

      We look forward to seeing your entry! There is not a max poly limit, but keep in mind that judges will be reviewing entries for “suitability for real-time”, which includes loading speed. Clay sculptures are ok, but texturing will get you bonus points. 😉

  • Avatar Sam says:
    Just uploaded for the entry. How long does it take to show up in Tag Listing?

  • Avatar Ethan Grigg says:

    Hi there, are we supposed to texture this at all? or just leave it with simple “Clay” or “concrete” shader?

  • Avatar Ahsen says:

    Iam from Pakistan. Can i compete?

  • Avatar youcef says:

    Is it possible to imitate ideas
    Regarding the award, the Corona virus will not affect its transmission to the country

    • Avatar Abby Crawford says:

      If you want to use concept art to create your piece, that is fine. Just remember to credit the concept artist and link to the original concept artwork.

  • Avatar Rafael Seita says:

    Good night, Do you have a maximum number of polygons that can be used? I have a free account and want to know to be able to post the work in the contest and have it optimized to show in real time? And I still don’t know how to retopo?

    • Avatar Abby Crawford says:

      There is no polygon maximum, but keep in mind that entries will be judged on their suitability for real-time.

      • Avatar Rafael Seita says:

        I want to make three characters in a scene, can I? Would I be able to upload it on the site just by giving decimate?

  • Avatar Damion Ashley says:

    sound reallyfun and exciting, cant wait to participate…?

  • Avatar Nikunj Mour says:

    I just wanted to ask if there are any specific country’s citizens who can participate or any country?

  • Avatar BRANDED BOSS says:

    can we win this contest by just submiting the sculpted character with no colours, textures, modifiers etc. because the character is subdived very much so the software is lagging

  • Avatar BRANDED BOSS says:

    we have to sculpt the character with just one object or multiple objects ?

  • Avatar BRANDED BOSS says:

    we have to do only sculpting or can we add some modifiers to the object? (This is very important question)

    • Avatar Spencer Linkous says:

      I’d assume subdivide is fine, I think as long as it’s pretty much entirely sculpting based, it’s fine.

  • Avatar Icy Eye says:

    Can the final subscription be just an image or we need to send a blend file etc. I’m new, thanks.

    • Avatar Abby Crawford says:

      Hi there. The final submission needs to be a 3D model uploaded to your Sketchfab account and tagged with #XPPENSculptChallenge.

  • Avatar Sophie says:


    Are we allowed to use fibermesh and Zmodeller inside of Zbrush or do they not count as sculpting?

    Thanks 🙂

  • Avatar Bhavesh says:

    Can i use other texture maps such as roughness, normal and others ?
    and next question is,
    Can i retopoloize my model after sculpting so that my computer won’t crash while uploding in sketch fab due to my pc’s graphic card limitation?

  • Avatar Bhavesh says:

    Can i make a timelapse video for my youtube channel while creating and post it on youtube after results ?

  • Avatar Sophie says:


    This is a really fun challenge. I was wondering what it means when it says any colouring method is allowed. Does that mean I can do all texturing in substance painter?

    Also, are there any rules on UV mapping? Can I take my sculpt into Maya for example to unwrap, or does it need to be kept within Zbrush?

    And can we retopologize in an external software, and bring back to zbrush?

    And can we use tools in Zbrush such as surface noise? Or does that not count as sculpting?

    Sorry for so many questions, I just want to make sure I follow the rules!

    Thanks for your help!

    • Avatar Abby Crawford says:

      Hi Sophie. You can sculpt, retopologize, and texture in whatever softwares you want to work with. Just make sure that your entry is a sculpt, and not, for example, voxel art or a 3D scan. 🙂

  • Avatar rohit ghadge says:

    what type of challenge exactly it is

  • Avatar Spencer Linkous says:

    Would it be acceptable to enter a complete scene, with all but the textures and environment/lighting sculpted?

  • Avatar zeeproduction says:

    Your ad band on top of page does NOT go away on mobile phones and sits on top of the 3D model. Maybe you can do something regarding this issue. Thank you.

    • Avatar Abby Crawford says:

      Sorry to hear you are having problems with the banner! Please note that the banner will always reappear when a new (different) banner is added to the site. The same banner should not display once you have closed it by hitting the X button.
      If this is not the issue, please can you submit a support ticket?

  • Avatar Kailynn says:

    I love it
    So much

  • Avatar Franck says:

    Hello Sketchfab , first thank you to make this many challenges every weeks it’s very encouraging for non pro artist , secondly pardon my English I’m French but I’m not sure to understand the difference between modeling and sculpting ,
    I plan to sculpt (ok it’s in the question but I want to be sure, long work is coming ^^’ ) all my scene using only Vr , is it ok for you ?

    • Avatar Bart Veldhuizen says:

      Sculpting in VR is fine!

      • Avatar Franck says:

        Thank you for the quick response Bart , Vr was the key who open me the door to 3d and allow me to build a bridge between imagination to reality . I’m clearly not the best out there but will do my best on this challenge to show how far we can go even as a self taught when we follow themagical path of Vr =)

  • Avatar Sena says:

    Can I sculpt on the model I prepared with Maya

  • Hi everyone! Just want to make sure if It’s ok to blockout hardsurface elements and sculpt them after? I’m willing to bake the details in a retopo mesh (i’ve already read that you guys said that it’s ok to use this workflow..)
    Thank you very much!

  • Avatar Randy says:

    could I use the free distributed objects to decorate the work?(main creature is fully original! it is using in the gears or equipments for spice…)

  • Avatar Mateo MEJIA says:

    HELLO !
    Dans le Brem du défit, C’est preferable de mettre une version Low poly ? (sachant que cela perd en details )? ou, peut-on mettre des niveaux de subdivisuions plus haut ?

  • Avatar Meagan Weir says:

    I can’t seem to find the Discord channel for this contest.

  • Avatar Sophie says:


    Are we allowed to rig and pose in an external software, or does posing need to be done in Zbrush?


  • Avatar MeaganMewWeir says:

    I’ve added the #XPPENSculptChallenge to my entry, but it isn’t showing up on the list, is there an approval process that I need to wait for or did I tag my entry wrong?

  • Avatar Akshat Paniker says:

    Will materials count as a factor for judgement.

  • Avatar Ujjwal says:

    Hi there!
    My question is that I am seeing more people doing material based sculpting. Neither polygon based.
    I would like to know Whether judges will judge polygon based sculpting or material based ????

  • Avatar Randy says:

    HI, thank you for replying my question before. 🙂

    and, I have a another question about “new”.
    does it means “new” means, that “the character who never participate to contest”?
    or never seen in anywhere open?
    If I show the WIP of character to somewhere, does it became a “not new”?

  • Avatar Ayatullah Fataar says:

    Hi Sketchfab, my name is Ayatullah and I would like to ask you to extend the deadline by a few days please.

  • Avatar Aravnideep says:

    There is any poly count limit ?’
    because i sculpt one concept, there is i need to bake normal map or i upload it directly

  • Avatar Aravnideep says:

    There is any poly count limit ?’
    because i sculpt one concept, there is i need to bake normal map or i upload it directly

  • Avatar Nikunj Mour says:

    Hi, I have made a model using blender and I used texture paint to add color to my work and when i uploaded it on sketchfab there was no color, what is the solution for this and is it necessary to add color?

  • I’m getting an error 20 for my model I’m uploading for the challenge. What should I do?

    • Avatar Bart Veldhuizen says:

      Hi, it looks like you already managed to upload it? I see a challenge entry in your account from 11 hours ago.

      • Avatar Christian Summers says:

        It sort of worked, I couldn’t get the textures to export in though and it looks so much better with textures.

  • Avatar Ayatullah Fataar says:

    Hi sketchfab, I am asking how do we know who the winner is, not to say that I am impatient, I just want to know so that we know who the winner is.

    • Avatar Bart Veldhuizen says:

      The winners will be announced here, on our forum and on social media. They’ll also be contacted privately.

  • Avatar F says:

    Congratz to the winner!
    Just dont get on thing, why did you said is a sculpting challange, when all that was pointed out, was texturing and modeling..

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