In July, 3D printing community and marketplace Pinshape partnered with Mold3D Academy for a contest centered around virtual sculpting. In the Design Your Future Avatar Contest, sponsored by Formlabs, Oculus, ZBrush, and 3D Artist Magazine, contestants were tasked with designing an original avatar character that represented their spirit and personality, whether the avatar resembled them personally, or was a newly designed character that they aspired to be.

The contest judges awarded points based on ease of printing and technical excellence, design creativity, the overall presentation (including print settings, image quality, and assembly instructions), and documentation of contestants’ designs and avatar background stories.

The contest description reads, “Imagine a future in which Virtual Reality is just as commonplace as cellphones and social media are today. In this future, everyone is represented in virtual space by an avatar of their own creation. What would you look like? What would you be wearing? Would you be human? Animal? Something new altogether?”

The worldwide challenge ended on August 31st, and the winners, who were competing for great prizes from all of the contest sponsors, were announced this week. Three designs received honorable mentions, including Levyathan by otto. The design is based on the powerful leviathan sea creature, and the metaphysical Levyathan, always accompanied by an Octopus protector, uses its deer antlers to open inter-dimensional doors and travel through space-time.

According to Pinshape, “This was one of the most creative contest entries and a favourite of the Pinshape team!”

The Warrior Artist by Samantha Bean was another honorable mention entry, and features nine 3D printable parts that can be put together to make a 6″ x 6″ x 5″ female avatar wielding a pen as a javelin. Pinshape noted that the designer “did a great job with the ideation and creation of her character.”

“Virtual Reality and personal avatars give us the chance to be anything,” Bean said of her entry. “It’s freeing – you can be anything – but it also lets you hide from being yourself. But even with this ability to be anything, and to hide everything, what I really want is to be myself – as imperfect and human as I am.”

The Warrior Artist design is summed up well with an adaptation of a popular quote: “The pen is mightier than the sword – especially when the pen is gigantic and thrown like a javelin.”

The final honorable mention is Imaginary World by Vinicius Villela. The avatar, with skinny limbs and torso and a big robotic head, was designed in multiple components and 3D printed on a Formlabs Form 2 3D printer. Villela’s design is a cybernetic avatar called Loki, who “searches the horizon for new adventures” together with sidekick Flick.

The intriguing and slightly scary Book Roof by martin_nikolov, a personal piece of work adapted for 3D printing, took third place in the challenge. Nikolov included a fully prepared .form file so others can download the design and make their own, and won a year’s subscription to 3D Artist Magazine and a Mold3D course.

Pinshape said, “Martin added incredible detail to this Book Roof sculpt and adapted the original design for ease of printing.”

Second prize, consisting of a one-year subscription to 3D Artist Magazine, a Mold3D course, and ZBrush Core, went to the Steam Cowboy by BlackSpire; if you’re a fan of the Toy Story movies, you may join me in thinking that the design slightly resembles a more beefed-up Woody.

“Bob Fist is a cowboy. A really special one,” BlackSpire wrote of the design. “With his steam suit he is ready to battle every monster, savage or gunslinger in the wild West. He is equipped with an old Enfield mk V steam engine, the Levi’s Metal Boots Mod. 1876, and the powered gloves Steamers & Sons. His main goal is to protect the cows from the deadly Bio Coyotes.”

Pinshape appreciated the design’s presentation, especially the blueprint renders of Steam Cowboy. To see a painted preview of the model, check it out on Sketchfab.

Thomas Davis, a fairly active member of the 3D printing community, is the first place winner of the Avatar Design Contest with his Maker Avatar.

“It’s an honor to be selected as the first place winner of the Avatar Design Contest,” Davis told 3DPrint.com. “I am extremely appreciative to be a part of a community that supports and promotes makers. It’s my hope that my work captures the spirit of creativity that each person has within themselves inspired by our own Maker.”

The design was 3D printed on an Ultimaker 2, using standard Cura settings. The Maker Avatar is Davis’ way of showing the creative process and connecting with digital work in a VR space, and he hopes that others will take the Maker Avatar and add in their own head and face.

The Maker Avatar character description reads, “The incarnation of the Maker in his virtual universe: The Maker reaches into the void to create from the depths of his person, bringing his thoughts and experiences from another plane of existence. Forming the building blocks of digital life one polygon at a time, the Maker imbues them with the spark from his own life. With perception beyond ordinary sight, he peers past what is, and imagines the endless possibilities within his virtual reality.”

According to Pinshape, Davis netted an almost perfect score from each of the judges, which helped him win a Mold3D course, an Oculus RiftZbrush 4R8, and a Form 2 3D printer.

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