Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Commander 2014 Beta Seven

Theory

To take 7 cards from the most recent set and reimagine them as if the existed in Beta. This is a 1st as I've done yet done a set of these for a supplemental release.

Previous Beta Sevens can be found at:

The Cards

1 new Commander 2014 card per color. Enjoy! As always, feel free to call me an idiot if I break something in the text. :)




s


 



Social Media

Like what you see? Have a request for a render? Feel free to hit me up on Twitter @TheProxyGuy

Art Links

Myriad Landscape: http://www.wikiart.org/en/martiros-saryan/mottled-landscape-1924

Loreseeker's Stone: http://www.wikiart.org/en/rene-magritte/clear-ideas-1958

Containment Priest: http://www.wikiart.org/en/james-tissot/god-s-promises-to-abram

Dualcaster Mage: http://www.wikiart.org/en/utagawa-kuniyoshi/yamamoto-takeru-no-mikoto-between-burning-grass

Well of Ideas: http://www.wikiart.org/en/gebre-kristos-desta/green-abstract-1966

Song of the Dryads: http://www.wikiart.org/en/james-tissot/the-vine-dresser-and-the-fig-tree-le-vigneron-et-le-figuier

Infernal Offering: http://www.wikiart.org/en/mikhail-nesterov/to-blagovest-1895




Thursday, October 30, 2014

Contest Ending 10/10

The Theme

Whoops. Now *this* is a late post. We had a few developments with this contest that invariably led to this delay. There are 7 entries. This is obviously not what we'd like to see from a community of 500+, so we gave it an extra week to no avail. This has led to some changes. From the next contest on, any contest with less than 10 entries will only be judged. No prizes will be awarded. We'll revisit this down the road and see if any other changes need to be made. Derf is on vacation, so the scores below are from myself and Brandon only.

The Sponsors

The home of the contest is the The Factory Google+ Community. Our amazing friends at ManaDeprived and Face to Face Games are the proud sponsors of the contest, with store credit prizes of $40 to first and $10 to second place.

The Entries



Jason Sanderford
Overall Score - 15.5
8.5
The art fits the card, but not so much the theme. What are the Crusaders seeking revenge for? They fit the white side of the card, but not so much the black. I really like the clean and simple-at-first-glance execution. I'm not terribly sold on the card title being a different color than the rest of the text.
7
If the title of this card were not Vindicate and spelled out for me, I'm not sure the piece of artwork would feel like revenge.I know that you mentioned Steve's Eye Gouge in your write-up and unfortunately seeing the Diablo font does bring his render to mind.  This feels safe and rushed. The artwork feels oddly cropped, with the bulk of the flail off the page as well as what he's attacking. As I am looking at the original artwork you started from...there's an advert for Reaper of Souls right next to the image, which really shows what could have been done with the frame elements and text treatment to bring it more into that Diablo world other than just with art and font choice. I do think the blowing ember overly that you added is a nice effect. If  I'm sounding harsh its only because you are extremely talented and I know what you are capable of, really want to see you kill the next one. 




Ignacio Bascoy
Overall Score - 16.25
8.75
The flavor of this piece is simply outstanding. The tiny little touches, like adding the type lines into the art for each is extremely well done. This piece can be seen from both angles too. It's not out of the question to see it as the Wolf getting revenge as LRRH is now a werewolf. The font on the flip side is harder to read than I'd like. It works, but the stroke and shadow obfuscate rather than highlight.
7.5
Using a double faced card is a very smart approach, as a storytelling device it allows you to expand on the revenge theme in a way that a single image doesn't allow. I enjoy the art style as well, the combination of realistic elements and flat areas of texture create a nice juxtaposition with each other. Looking at the transformed side I'm reminded quite a bit of the "ones we don't speak of" and the "bad color".  There are some nice touches nice such as the way the card types are nicely hidden and blended into the artwork. I do think that they read very "red" and don't feel green at all, so there is a bit of a disconnect between the card color/abilities and the artwork. Using the same font for both title and card text might be overkill, especially on the werewolf side, and be careful to make sure your text shadowing, if used, is consistent (shadow falls over the tap symbol and is missing on the single G mana) 




Robert Calhoun
Overall Score - 16.5
8.5
With the treatment you gave this piece, I would have like to see you go just a small step forward and turn this into a manga cover. The feel is almost there as is, The title font screams it to me. The execution and time put in show, and it's so close to its potential, just not quite getting all the way there. I like the mana cost, save for the color choices. The red gets lost in the background a bit. I know you have hardware issues with this, and that might have led to not being able to take that step. Excellent work.
8
Being that the contest theme is revenge and I started playing after Kamigawa, I felt I needed to go back and read the lore associated to get a feel for the story. Graphically, the image comes across as high impact and in your face, which I really like. The font choice for the title and type works really well with the art, but the Beleren in the rules text feels out of place. I can see you did attempt to research the proper way to do kanji for the mana cost, but it may be bit hard to figure out unless you know what it is so I'm on the fence about it. I don't think you need the drop shadow on the spilled cloth, as it flattens that area out. I wish there was some flavor text to give a hint on how the subject fits into the theme of revenge.




Zeofar RM
Overall Score - 17.25
9.25
Clean, concise, and perfectly revenge filled. The flavor of Vendetta in regards to your choice of art is just spot on perfect. You're showing a propensity for taking "simple" ideas and making them shine. Try to to lean to heavily on one style or execution. Like Brandon, I;m not sold on the Fawkes mask-as-mana symbol, but it is nice to see it as an element that might not be noticed initially. Very well done. 
8
Vendetta fits very well with the theme in a very literal sense and from looking at the sources of inspiration I think you have created a very striking visual image...even if it doesn't really attempt to explain the need for revenge amongst a sea of V words.  The way the card title is highlighted in contrast to the other words comes across very well, and I really like the way you treated the rules text in exactly the same manner, the rest falls away as a texture of sorts. V's mask doesn't quite read as a black mana to me, and I wish it had been scaled to fit exactly the height of the letter it replaces. This render though not technically difficult, looks very well polished and I think would look killer in foil. Nice job.




Thomas Driessen
Overall Score - 17.75
9
I love this render, The initial impact is of it simply being a Marxist propaganda poster, and only by investing the time to seek it out does the viewer learn that it's a Magic card. The elements in this are superbly crafted, From the almost hidden copyright info to the quite hidden expansion symbol on the clock face. At least this wan't from Mirage! The only nitpick I can give it is the art very much screams RW.
8.75
I have to admit that I do not know the origin of the figure in the image so I'm judging off the feel I get from it. In terms of the theme of revenge this seems more like war propaganda, but I find the image very striking and enjoy the play of all the graphic elements.Personally, I like the text treatment...but it may be possible that it might be viewed in the wrong light similar to Boseiju, even though that is not the intention.  What could be overlooked very easily is the amount of effort it took to edit out all the old text in the image, which you have done with great skill.  The copyright line, mana cost, and hidden expansion symbol are great touches (though I wish the expansion was adjusted by a few degrees). The time taken to make all these elements feel like they are part of the original poster was well spent and pays off well, I do wish there was a way to get around needing the drop shadow on the last two lines, but overall a very impressive execution.


The Winnerss

The podium is crowded with familiar faces. In 2nd is Jud with his homage to Kill Bill.
9
The ability to open a render to community critique and suggestion can be a frustrating experience, yet you embraced it fully and this shows what can happen when folks get together.It's dead-on in terms of the theme, and it's quite impossible to see this and not immediately be drawn into the world of Kill Bill. The red vs yellow debate led to you choosing the red, and I think that it works much better. Seeing the lone figure in yellow vs the horde lets you know who in the art is out for revenge.
9
The choice of "The Bride" and Dread Return feels so good in a revenge card. I really love your choice of art this time around, and this is the first time ever that I have not minded that a piece of art was placed and squashed a bit vertically, it adds a bit to the framing and compositional placement of your text elements on the card, without seeming abnormally skewed. The only thing about the card choice that might not jive with the art is the sac three part. I'm glad you chose to keep her as the sole yellow element as it really makes her the focus of the card. Very nice cut work, without looking at the original you wouldn't know that the entire background layer had been changed to the solid red. My favorite moments are also some of the most subtle, but very well executed....the black on black spills of the leg and the sword arm over sorcery. This type of stuff makes me smile. Well done!
And Patrick returns to a familiar spot, taking it home with his Mad Max Path to Exile.
9.5
Keep this up and you'll be a judge before you know it! Taking something as iconic as Mad Max and turning it into a flavorful card is definitely in your wheelhouse. I understand the need for the card title to be legible, but I'd have loved to see it as if it had actually been painted on the vehicle. A well placed mana cost and expansion symbol make great easter egg like elements to find.
9.75
This is super impressive. I've really become a huge fan of your work. This particular scene from Mad Max just screams revenge. Contest theme: nailed. Usually I'm not a fan of photo renders, but this is most definitely an exception. What is so good about these last few renders that you have done, and most definitely on display here is how well executed and polished each of your creative ideas are. As a fellow magician that knows a few tricks...its a joy to be able to sit back and see familiar tricks done at such a high caliber that you forget about the motions it takes to perform them, instead you are left to explore every nook of an expertly crafted scene that is so much greater than the sum of its parts. Amazing.

Total Scores

Patrick D - 19.25
Judson Gruber - 18
Thomas Driessen - 17.75
Zeofar RM - 17.25
Robert Calhoun - 16.5
Ignacio Bascoy - 16.25
Jason Sanderford - 15.5

Social Media

You can find all of the judges on Twitter, so feel free to follow and bug us!
Josh - @TheProxyGuy
Dave - @derfington
Brandon - @iamnarb

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Khans of Tarkir Beta Seven

Theory

To take 7 cards from the most recent set and reimagine them as if the existed in Beta. This breaks cards quite frequently, so anything I eff up, just errata. :)

Of note if it get's used. "Bury" did not exist until Legends. This comes up a lot.

The complete archives to date of the Beta projects posted to the blog. Yes, I skipped M15. I used to post these throughout a week or so, so some of the links point to Day 1 posts.

The Cards

Along the same lines of the RTR Beta 7, we'll focus less on colors and more on wedges.









Social Media

Like what you see? Have a request for a render? Feel free to hit me up on Twitter @TheProxyGuy

Art Links

Butcher of the Horde - http://uploads0.wikiart.org/images/arnold-b-cklin/the-plague-1898.jpg

Duneblast - http://uploads2.wikiart.org/images/james-tissot/abraham-sees-sodom-in-flames.jpg

Efreet Weaponmaster - http://www.wikiart.org/en/nikolaos-gyzis/oriental-warrior

Villainous Wealth - http://www.wikiart.org/en/bernardo-strozzi/st-lawrence-distributing-the-riches-of-the-church

Temur Ascendancy - http://www.wikiart.org/en/heorhiy-narbut/illustration-fairy-tales-teremok-mizgir-1910

Clever Impersonator - http://uploads8.wikiart.org/images/francesco-clemente/twins-1978.jpg

Ugin's Nexus - http://uploads6.wikiart.org/images/georgia-o-keeffe/red-hills-and-bones.jpg


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Factory Worker Contest Ending 9/12

The Theme

You may have noticed a slew of guest judges of late. The nigh invincible MattyStudios has been either blessed or cursed with a gluttonous amount of work, and is now in need of a longer-than-expected sabbatical. Filling his ample shoes for the foreseeable future is none other than the one-and-only Derfington.
The theme as it were was a throwback. If you recall the contest where everyone had to render a Stoneforge Mystic based on a community vote, this is it's sequel. The runner-up in voting for that first contest will now be featured, one Emrakul, the Aeons Torn. Let's get into it shall we?

The Sponsors

The home of the contest is the The Factory Google+ Community. Our amazing friends at ManaDeprived and Face to Face Games are the proud sponsors of the contest, with store credit prizes of $40 to first and $10 to second place.

The Entries



Thomas Driessen
Overall Score - 23
7.75
I always love when folks create art from scratch for renders. This one needed a bit more time to put into it, but the thought is brilliant. Emrakul as sentient nuclear explosion with the Time Walk evoking hour glasses hits all the right notes.

7.75
"I love your choice of colours and subject matter here - everything ties together nicely to give that molten sense of foreboding. The hourglass symbolism is a nice touch, although I am still trying to figure out if there's a meaning behind the number of hourglasses. That the P/T is missing is a little unfortunate. The illustrator and copyright lines are also a little hard to make out, and the nitpicky side of me wants to see a little more spacing between the card name and the mana cost. I believe that overall this is a fine effort, but with all the extra space along the sides of the artwork, I think there is a fair bit more room to elaborate further on with a more fleshed out landscape.
"
7.5
Interesting concept. I know you ran out of time of this and that you meant for the blurriness to reflect the nature of a nuclear explosion..kinda what happens when the card hits the board. I do feel this feels a bit rushed and unfinished, but I like the overall idea.




Robert Calhoun
Overall Score - 23.75
7.5
The art and framing of the piece both work. I'm not sold on different fonts for Title and Type. Personally, I feel they should be at minimum in the same family to form a cohesion of the non-art card elements. It appears that the expansion symbol was left off, was this intentional? Be careful with flavor text, yours is bordering on unreadable due to its size.

8.25
You've arguably used the busiest piece of artwork out of all the submissions, which is a challenge in itself. It conveys scale well, and the translucent design lets it do its work without getting in the way too much. I think the spacing and treatment of the card text could be tweaked a bit further, as the text box feels a bit too crowded, and the flavour text almost gets lost in the bottom portion of the artwork.
8
Very interesting take on the frame, including the nyx stars with a eldrazi-esque see through border near the bottom. I think the art works...its reminiscent of a FF boss in way. The title/type and textbox areas fill like thay are a little lacking in detail compared to the rest and the centered text feels a little awkwardly spaced and a bit too close to its surrounding edges.




Tony McCallie
Overall Score - 24.5
7.75
I don't see Thanos as Emrakul. His quest was less about immediate annihilation and more about courting Death. The comic page type layout works, though the Marvel watermark is nigh invisible. The rules text might be a tad too small for the space it occupies. Lots of negative space left over.

8.5
My first impression is that the text treatment adds a ton of comic book-style character to this piece. The artwork works very well with the card design, and I love the Infinity Gauntlet expansion symbol and the way the cool, muted colour scheme helps it pop out, although the symbol does look a tad too busy. Although I personally would like to see a bit of a fancier treatment on the card borders, it's a cohesive and eye-catching piece overall.
8.25
Thanos is a cool choice for Emrakul, and its a natural choice to have the comic book feel go through the rest of the render and works well for the most part. The infinity gauntlet is a great expansion symbol but the attempt to cut out all the colored flares was not quite successful and brings quite a bit of attention to that part of the render. In that situation it is usually easier to re-create than spill. Put a few blobs of color on separate layers and use motion blurs for a clean result.




Jason Sanderford
Overall Score - 24.5
7.75
I understand the emotive nature of the render, it just doesn't come through as an imposing and immediate threat. My favorite part of this is the "God can't hear you" line.

8.5
"As far as an abstract design goes, you've done a great job of making sure the card information areas are clean and visible. I love your consistent adherence to your colour scheme in the design. In the background, I see teeth marks, bruises, bloodstains, wind gusts - furious splashes of violence. The abundance of white in the subject detracts a bit from the overall feel of the card, and I think it's worth playing around with the Emrakul silhouette to better integrate it into the otherwise dark ambience. My favourite part of the card is the text box/flavour text. I love the little frenetic words - psychological horror abound! - bounding the text. Even the text has that Lovecraftian typewriter feel. So apt and appropriate. I feel like you took a bit of a risk with this idea, but I also feel it paid off.
"
8.25
You have some nice ideas at play here, the textbox created by screams that become a bloody splatter in effect is really cool and I think is the biggest payoff of the render. I just dont get the imposing feeling of doom coming from the graphic outlined shape.




Gregory Peterson
Overall Score - 24.75
8
Interesting take trying to create a colorless classic frame. It does tend to get a tad discombobulated from there. Old school Illustrator line, oracle text, mythic expansion symbol and a hybridization of the card type just don't add up for me. I would have liked to see a consistent formatting throughout. Galactus as Emrakul does fit the flavor perfectly.

8.25
"Galactus! Despite the lack of scale objects, the subtle perspective conveys his scale quite well. The muted earth tones also mesh nicely with the old-border design you chose - and the dash of blue sky matches his eyes and mixes up the colour palette. I know it is sometimes tricky to work with translucent borders, making sure the artwork doesn't make the card too cluttered, but I believe you found a balance. I am also a fan of you emphasizing the flare on the lefthand side of the text box. If I were to offer one main area of improvement, it would be to spend a bit more time on the text treatment. I noticed a couple typos in the card text, and the sentences could have been spaced out a little more. I also feel like Galactus' mana cost could be nudged a bit more to the left.
"
8.5
I really like how you made the older-style frame really feel like and Eldrazi frame, and I feel its very successful. I'm not a fan of spills on this style of card however, and when you have a section of spill that hits the black border, the illusion of space gets lost.




Judson Gruber
Overall Score - 25
9.5
How do you make the most imposing creature to date in the MTG universe cute? Put it in the capable hands of Mr. Gruber. This is the first render I've seen that I could not re-create without extensive research. I think leaving the card "as-is" works very well for the cross stitch treatment.

8
"First off, I encourage anyone who hasn't seen the full-size piece to do so, as it gives you a much better feel for the work. It takes a non-zero amount of balls to go against the grain and present Emrakul in a softer light without fully going the ""cutesy"" or ""cartoony"" route. Your idea definitely comes from out of left field, which I love. I mentioned the scale of the piece because that's where I think my main issue lies. At full size, it works. At card size, however, I think it loses some of its potency. The cross-stitching details are so minute that the feel of the piece isn't fully conveyed. Mixing up some of the design elements of the card may have helped better reflect the feel of a ""knitted"" piece, as I do agree with Brandon that it is one of the more conservative of your works that I've seen.
"
7.5
The cross-stitch effects are really well done, that being said....its a bit to cuddly for the scale of hurt playing this card brings, and seems a bit too vanilla and safe compared to some of the knockouts I've seen from you.




Will Fonseca
Overall Score - 25.25
8.25
Clean, simple, this is a full art treatment that works. The subtle coloring of the title bar reflecting the beast below is a nice touch.The bottom of the card, while necessary, does nothing for me and feels tacked on as an afterthought.

8.5
"And I shall name him 'Scale-drazi!'" I think the corner placement and size of the hedron and Eldrazi help make this piece so visually engaging. I also like the substitution of the artist credit for the actual artist signature, although it feels like it stands out to the point that it breaks the "fourth wall" of the artwork, so to speak. The M15-style border I also feel detracts from the artwork, cutting it off abruptly on the bottom edge. The flashes of colour do a nice job of pulling the viewer's eye toward the subject. Good job overall.
8.5
Great piece of art. I think you did a great job to enhance to resolution of this...it looks much better than the original. I understand the choice to get the WTF guy in the frame, but I find it this framing throws off the compositional balance in an otherwise mostly symmetrical piece of art...and that if it had been framed at a smaller size you could still have kept the desired elements in and gained a bit more sharpness in the image. Some very nice moments throughout though the hedron/foilstamp area gets a tiny bit cluttered. Good job.




Stephen Raffael
Overall Score - 28.5
9.5
Imagine walking into a medieval church and that was the window behind the pulpit! The work put into the art shows, and I think it would work better textless. We lose so much of the work with the text boxes. Maybe if they were framed as part of the window and not in front of it that would work. They just seem out of place as is.

9.5
"Absolutely gorgeous. I witnessed the pieces of this coming together on Twitter, and I'm so happy to see the final now. The visual flow is so natural and evocative: starting from the center of Emrakul and radiating outwards, like the aura of a deity that demands the viewer's reverence. I also wanted to call out the possibly-overlooked details of the broken ground and hedron at the bottom of the art. Nothing (besides Emrakul maybe) is perfect, however, and I feel like the P/T window could have been incorporated a little more naturally - perhaps have it pop out above the corner of the text box? And not necessarily a criticism, but an idea to consider: pulling back the artwork and showing the borders of the window, with some church details along the edges of the artwork? All in all, damn fine job.
"
9.5
Seriously gorgeous piece of art you have created here. The idea of having Emrakul deified in stain glass is a very creative way to show just how godlike and worthy of worship the titan is. I love the feel of geometric symmetry you achieved in your composition while having quite a bit of asymmetry in the way you broke up the larger shapes, and the texture looks great...really feels like a glass panel. Everything is so good in fact that it almost makes the right angled "card parts" feel like an afterthought. Even though the see-through overlay is very Eldrazi...I would have loved to see the textboxes broken into shards/opaque and given the same detailed treatment so they felt more a part of the beautiful artwork.


The Winners

A new challenger arrives! First time finishing in the spotlight is Zeofar and his Lovecraft inspired piece.
9.75
Pleasantly surprised by this. As if torn from the (over stated) Necronomicon by the "Mad Arab" Abdul Alhazred (seriously, did Lovecraft ever describe it as anything else? I digress...) The text work over the crease is stunning in it's simplicity. Be very proud of this, you killed it!
9.5
"Simple, subtle, evocative. I hate you for making such a Lovecraftian piece I can't help but love. The font, the CMC ""page number"", the crease in both the card text and the page - incredibly well done. I could imagine a whole book of these summoning pages! I only wish the P/T were included somewhere. I tried looking in the artwork itself - perhaps it eludes me. Regardless, this is such a cohesive and resonant yet simply executed piece, and it plays off my aforementioned love for Lovecraft. I don't really have anything else to say. Excellent work.
"
9.75
I find this render to be super cool. Lovecraft most definitely had an impact in the conception of the Eldrazi, so the flavor is so spot on and I find the choice of artwork exceptional, in fact it looks very reminiscent of a pre-alpha test card. The textbox is where this really shines...very creative way to have the paragraph read like a Lovecraftian description but underline the important bits. I'm not really bothered by the missing P/T as I find the 15 at the top handles all of it enough for me. To keep it from looking too simple the simple crease and slight text skew take it over the top in a very elegant way. Bravo!
And the winner is, well, a familiar face in Patrick. He completely melted faces off with this nearly perfect Watchmen inspired masterpiece.
9.9
Enough amazing things cannot be said about this render. That it could easily be lifted straight from the source material without blinking shows the effort that you put into this piece.The .1 deduction is from the Vorthos in me. Spoiler alert for those who've not read Watchmen: The "alien" dies instantly after being teleported to the city. Emrakul tends to stick around a bit. :)
9.5
"What a fitting Watchmen homage! Normally, I would start dinging points for card legibility for having the card information scattered throughout the artwork. But the more I see it as a whole, the more I believe that the rules don't necessarily apply in this instance. I think incorporating every aspect of Emrakul throughout the artwork so seamlessly - even the small details like the hedron on the podium - help tell a story. The desolation and hopelessness evoked in The Watchmen transfers so well to Emrakul, and I think that big picture view you're trying to convey shouldn't be sacrificed in favour of adherence to Magic card design. When such thought goes into establishing parallels between a Magic card's concept and an alter concept, it shows the same attention to detail as creating accurate card borders and bevel edges. Well done.
"
10
This render is just brimming over with awesome. Really smart art choice using the "squid" of Watchmen fame, it fills the frame and feels like a cthulu badass. Your text treatment adding all Emrakul's abilities throughout is so spot on..adds so much visual interest to the piece, my favorite being the p/t under a ripped mag cover. Feel like I could look at this thing for days. Your renders have a level of polish that set them at the top of the ladder and make all this look easy.

Total Scores

Patrick D - 29.4
Zeofar RM - 29
Stephen Raffael - 28.5
Will Fonseca - 25.25
Judson Gruber - 25
Gregory Peterson - 24.75
Jason Sanderford - 24.5
Tony McCallie - 24.5
Robert Calhoun - 23.75
Thomas Driessen - 23

Social Media

You can find all of the judges on Twitter, so feel free to follow and bug us!
Josh - @TheProxyGuy
Dave - @derfington
Brandon - @iamnarb