Transformation Challenge Winners

10 min read

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Moonbeam13's avatar
By Moonbeam13

Thank you to everyone who participated in The Transformation Challenge! The 25 semi-finalist entries blew away the Microsoft and Motherboard judges, but they worked hard together and came up with the three finalists. Each of the finalist winners will receive a Microsoft Surface Pro 3, $1,000 USD, an all-expense paid trip to work with a featured artist, and have had their winning work featured as a home page billboard generating thousands of page views for their deviations.

Razor in the Gutter - Nas Pasha

by raging-akujiki

Habib Zargarpour

This is a powerful piece that shows a personal transformation of someone who is down and out and gets a second chance by bringing himself back from the brink by the use of a simple razor. The art style reinforces the gritty nature of his situation.

Thobey Campion

Raging-Akujiki's submission had a unique take on transformation, applying the theme to a man whose clearly hit the bottom then found a route through to coming back together with a loved one. As someone who's seen incredible comebacks in the lives of close friends, I found it touching. The rich illustration also contributed a certain epic feel inherent in a rising from the ashes story.


by HughEbdy

Habib Zargarpour

There is a very subtle but effective use of composition here, especially with the progression of the frames. The contrast between the armored, heroically posed character and the ending with him running towards the water because he overheated is very comical.

Thobey Campion

As one of the legion of fans of Don Quixote, Monty Python, and really medieval everything, I've always enjoyed the modern take on a very dark period. Hughebdy's work demonstrated a really funny twist that left me pleasantly bewildered but also impressed at the succinctness of his humor.

The Transformation challenge - The Fly-Kid

by Zeich

Habib Zargarpour

The Fly Kid's concept of if you can't beat them join them is very visually displayed here. There is a natural flow from the character at the start to how he gets covered with flies, completing the transformation. Such an innocent kid with funny proportions becomes a menacing fly himself. The center frame has a very dynamic feel to it as the flies attack.

Thobey Campion

Zeich's submission is just straight-up weird in the best way. What wold normally be just an unthinkably awful plan is twisted into something close to a super-power. Maybe it's from my Calvin and Hobbes days (which haven't ended), but the idea of occupying a world by oneself predicated on magical occurrences no one else knows about is just the most appealing thing I can think of. Outside of all this, the texture and artistry of Zeich's work set him apart.

© 2014 - 2021 Moonbeam13
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These are great, but most of the deviants probably expected a physical transformations instead of mental/personality ones.
IndiePopek339's avatar
PSX2010's avatar
The amount of effort into these pieces might have contribute but the transformations aren't that creative. 

"Fly boy" rocks tho, best-out-of-the -three!
Museijo's avatar
Kind of disappointing tho...
OriginalNick's avatar
Are these the winners?
MetaKaios's avatar
...Kind of disappointing than none of these actually contains a transformation.
What's so good about the second one anyway? =/ I feel like the artist could have done a lot more with that one.
SGTROCK117's avatar
Fly kid rocks :)
Thumbs up guys well done :)
RainbowMarimo's avatar
YES! YES! My favourite won! :D
MarkTheGr8's avatar
Crazy. Well done people.
DaebakBea's avatar
Razor in the Gutter...
Just, WOW!
SamanthaMarie258's avatar
Congratulations winners! 

The Razor in the Gutter one is simple but lovely.
WindHydra's avatar
Guess MS was looking for something "serious" and "deep" instead of fun. Might as well have said that in the briefing instead of transformation "into a radically different person or thing." Shaving/taking off cloth/splattered by ink.... just doesn't feel that radical. Why you so unpredictable!… fits the topic so well but didn't even get to top 25 :/
saskewoo's avatar
Yeah, I know what you mean. I was quite disappointed with the choices as well. There were so many entries that really did show a transformation into someone/something radically different. These 3 actually didn't even make my personal top 25, to be perfectly honest. Even among the semi-finalists there were some that were way more creative than any of these. But unfortunately they didn't ask the users to vote...
WindHydra's avatar
Yeah many of the top 25 are questionable. A cloud looking like a pony transforms into a pony doesn't seem that creative to me :/

But I have to say, when I first saw the shaving one (which depends heavily on back story) I thought it might win if MS is serious business. Turns out MS is serious business bro.
saskewoo's avatar
Yeah, I would look through the entries and be like "depending on what they're looking for, this might actually win." It's a shame, because apparently my interpretation of "radically different" doesn't match that of the judges... or maybe unlike me they just didn't bother to read the rules. But then again, I've never really been a fan of "deep, meaningful" stuff that is actually just the simplest of things, which people then make out to be oh so profound, because they just interpret a load of crap into it. The art itself apparently wasn't as important as the story/meaning. Next time I'll just turn in a white sheet and write an essay explaining why this has enormous intellectual depth or something... it's ridiculous.
phoenixleo's avatar
In your first sentence, you mention they are looking for something "serious" and "deep" instead of fun, then in the second to the last sentence, you're against things that aren't radical and are fun and not deep instead.
WindHydra's avatar
I meant that in the contest article and official rules……
Microsoft did not say they want "serious" stuff. On the contrary, their samples are on the fun side. In the end, the winners has transformations "deep" inside -_- (in other words, less radical because it's too deep to be seen)
I thought Hearthstone poster contest was bad, but this one is way worse. They didn't even pick the winners according to their own rules.
phoenixleo's avatar
Unless it's a must aka requirement, none of the sponsors will tell if something is 'serious' or not. And if it's not written in the rules, to think so, and being limited by ones own assumptions is not helpful at that point. They are just samples. That doesn't mean you have to do that same thing the artists showcased did. Of all the variations one could think of, they had to give a few quick ones after all. They won't say this is fine, and that isn't, since that would be limiting the various ways it can be actually portrayed. The word transformation itself can be interpreted differently because it is such a word that is used in a lot of various themes. As an entrant, your task would be to showcase that and make sure yours stand out amongst others, whether this is done by taking a light hearted approach to it, or a strong conceptual understanding of it (along with excellent technical skills of course) is up to you. This is basically the same strong theme type subjects that happened way in the past with other sponsors and the works were excellent. It's what you interpret after all, and if exploring and researching it helps quiet a lot.

What is this Hearthstone poster contest? Do you have a link to it? I haven't seen any info that DA was hosting one like that.
WindHydra's avatar
The problem with "deep" transformation is that they require back story text. Say so if they want an essay instead of a picture. If the pictures are presented alone, they lose a lot of their meaning. I'm sure many other people are disappointed with the result of this contest (right?)
No matter how you twist it, you can't say the winning entries undergo "radical" (outward at least) transformation as asked for in the rules. With text, you can pretty much give anything with a radical change in appearance a deep philosophical inward change also, so why not pick those other ones?
Earlier Diablo/FF13/Tomb Raider contests all had amazing winners, but for this one... power underwhelming.

The Hearthstone contest was not on DA…
phoenixleo's avatar
It's up to the artist to make it more apparent, and the presence or absence of a back story really matters from one work to the other and not always required. This also falls on the artist whether they want to write a full essay or simply a small paragraph. Writing itself won't mean it will win. There is no rule anywhere that it will lose meaning.

I am not twisting it, this is plain how one interprets it. They don't have it as a rule that only one type of work is considered radical. Had it been like contests where they had specific dimensions or looks they would likely go for, that would be a considerable factor, but that would have to come down to rules. Sure, they can pick philosophical ones as well, afterall, the word referred to is 'Transformation'. But there's only 25 spots to fill up.
WindHydra's avatar
Did you check out the rules? The quote from my earlier post is from the rules. They gave specific examples and directions, but decided to go somewhat astray.

Tell me, did you get what the shaving one is about BEFORE reading the story? And did any of your picks got into top 25? Did you seriously think the top 25 are the most creative or most artistically presented? Do you really think a cloud looking like a pony transforms into a pony is creative enough to get into top 25?

Enough with the rant, my point is that this competition is the most disappointing one ever. Simply not enough wow.
phoenixleo's avatar
It's alright for you to find the winners boring. 
phoenixleo's avatar
I did. I had read it several times when it was announced, having to point it out to others. 
Like I said, they can't give examples of every variations of examples. Just a few. If the theme is fruits, and they give examples of strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, it doesn't mean only fruits of the berry kind are allowed. Jackfruits would be as well as tomatoes. 

I didn't read the description before, but the visual gave me a similar/alternate interpretation that could apply just as well. 

Yes, most did get in, and others didn't, but then again I had a lot of favourites. Of course, others wouldn't have the same taste as what I liked. This was regardless of whether they followed rules or not. It would fit with the transformation theme alright since most are complaining about others that are t fetish, or transformers kind, apparently, or very deep. 

That statement has been going on forever to actually make it a significant statement. 
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