Spectacular Challenge Sponsors
Boxx Technologies
The Gnomon Workshop
E-on Software
Ballistic Publishing


As CG artists and illustrators we can make anything - but it's a rare talent that can create something that is totally believable and totally fantastic at the same time. You don't want to go too far or you will break believability - people will just say "it's a computer fake". You need to sell the image as something so "real" but fantastic that people want to believe it. Their pulse will rise just looking at it as they say "no... that cant be? - that really happened? ... wow... that's awesome!"

That's not to say that an image has to be photo real to be spectacular. There are great paintings of spectacular events that beautifully capture the spirit of the event and can even focus the excitement.

Your image can be anything that's spectacular, natural or man-made. Maybe you want to create a tornado or volcanic eruption... or a fire-wielding crash of a sports car. Perhaps a circus performer on a trapeze, or a young teenager participating in an "extreme sport". You could detail the precise patterns on a peacock's tail, the fine petals on a rose, or the soft shades in a sunset. Don't consider yourself limited to things that are around now - dinosaurs and space-cities can both be spectacular too! Heroic battles, gushing waterfalls, awe-inspiring architecture - or just surprise us!

The images presented here are examples of the "Spectacular" theme. These are posted purely for inspirational purposes and do not necessarily reflect the type of artwork that we are seeking for the Challenge.


The worlds most spectacular F1 crash – ever.

It was one of those moments that seem to last an eternity but in fact were over in a fraction of a second. It was also dead lucky to have captured the moment on film. That took a combination of careful planning, the right positioning and in then end, sheer luck.

Hindsight is wonderful. I should have had the camera out as soon as it started to drizzle. The combination of oil and water and pent up aggression was a lethal combination. I’ll never forgive myself for missing that first crash. But who could have predicted that two laps later the most spectacular F1 crash in history would unfold right before my eyes. The first crash was tragic… but oh my god. If it weren’t for that I wouldn’t have my camera glued to the spot two laps later – one lap from the final. Later the investigation found they hadn’t cleaned all the oil from the track from the first accident. How the cars got one lap in without hitting the oil spot is a miracle in itself. What happened in the next lap is part of history now. Four cars came through the turn in a diamond pattern – way too close. As the lead car hit the oil it skewed out and the outside car caught the back tire and just launched itself into the air. This flicked the lead car back and unbelievably the same thing happened on the inside. Now the rear car slides in under the airborne car on the right and also catches the rear tire of the first car and starts to flip… all right towards me and my Nikon going at 12 shots per second! Unbelievable – just unbelievable! The most spectacular race crash – ever… and I caught it on film.

Luciano Neves


Damian Thaller


London Bridge is falling down

(based on a true event along Australian Great Ocean Road between Adelaide and Melbourne).

Remembering it makes me want to cry and laugh. I could have lost my whole family that day… that still gives me nightmares. But no one got hurt. In the face of such a huge calamity that’s a miracle that fills my heart with joy.

If I hadn’t stayed in the car then we would never have the pictures. It was unbelievable. Totally awesome and frightening! The Great Ocean Road follows some of the most spectacular and dangerous coast in the world. Ragged cliffs drop straight down over a hundred feet to the stormy ocean that looks straight out to Antarctica. It’s really wild. There are the most amazing pillars and coves of sheer rock that just look impossible. It’s awesome in the distance and frightening up close.

London bridge is (was) one of the most spectacular. An impossibly thin bridge of stone connected a prominence to one of the pillar islands – well it’s an island now. I wasn’t feeling too good and got left in the car to take photos of everyone else. The bridge looked scary – Jenny, my little sister, said it was terrifying. Dad had to carry her over while she buried her head in this shoulder. Six-year-olds can be such wimps. Everyone stopped and posed (just turned and looked at me) in the middle of the bridge. Even in the distance I could tell they were scared – it was a huge drop to the sea below. That’s when it started. No one felt the first crack but the first photo shows a stream of dust coming from the bottom of the bridge. It wasn’t until they started walking again that it all started to give way. I can still see it in my mind just like I was there. Thank god Dad reacted quickly and got everyone to run for the island. If he’d delayed one second longer they all would have been plunged a hundred feet into the story ocean with tons of falling rock. At first I just froze. The next thing I remember I was out of the car at the very edge snapping shots of the falling rock. The second shot was the most amazing – it looks like Dad was standing on the falling bridge. He cant have been, it must just have been a trick of the perspective. Anyway... there is a series of three photos that everyone has seen (I shot of the whole roll of film before it finished). By the end London bridge is gone and my family is trapped on a new island. It took three hours before the rescue helicopter arrived and then it took another hour to winch them all to safety. Ill never forget that day!

Jamie Clark


Bill Hall



OK. So you’ve all seen that famous photo of the giant wave breaking over the lighthouse. There is this guy standing on the down wind side in front of the lighthouse door. He looks so tiny. The wave must have been fifty feet high! I presume he got inside or he’d be dead now.

Anyway. I always thought that was such a way cool image. So dangerous… so spectacular! Ha. That was before my photo. I still can’t quite believe it. It all feels like a dream. It was so unreal and just so… I dunno… unbelievable. If it weren’t for the photos no one would ever believe me. They’d say I was making it up. Oh it’s obvious that the lighthouse is gone and the barge got washed away. But they’d never believe the barge took out the lighthouse 75 feet in the air! The storm was huge that day. The waves were topping the lighthouse at 120 feet. I was glued to the window with my camera ready. I loved the storms and was determined to get a really spectacular shot that would make me famous and people would pay me lots and I could pay for the whole family to move to town. Everyone thought I was crazy freezing in my little lookout during the worst storms. They don’t think that now. That barge was huge. It broke its anchor chain and just moved towards the lighthouse like it knew what the sea wanted. It was perfect. Just at the right time the highest wave lifted it up and it hit the lighthouse broadside three quarters of the way up. The sea just picked it up and threw it like it had it in for the lighthouse. The barge wrapped it’s self around the lighthouse, which started to fall with the barge still wrapped around it. Like a dream it was. Awesome, just awesome.

I miss those wild storms. They were so vivid. Sort of real but not real – still, I have the photos to prove it really happened. Town’s nice, but it’s kind of dull, like you're only half awake most of the time.

Yanick Dusseault



The diversity of zoological specimens to be found on the Indian subcontinent is astounding and is reflected in the color and spectacle of the local peoples. Outstanding amongst the wonders is the male of the Pea Hen species, commonly named Peacock. This bird is endowed with the most spectacular array of tail feathers that defy comprehension. If I had not seen it with my own eyes I would not have believed it. This sturdy fowl possesses a fan of enormous tail feathers emitting upwards and radially to a height in excess of a tall man. The feathers are of the most exquisite design and coloring and include a plethora of spectacular and large round motifs. I have secured a dozen healthy pairs of these magnificent specimens and hope to present them to her majesty upon our return early next year. I have enclosed sample feathers and some excellent illustrations although I fear they do little justice to the true spectacle of the living specimen.

Ryan Church


Nike crock-bat.

“So, the famous crock-bat image. Has it changed your life?” asked the reporter.

“F#king oath it has – See this grin. They're going to bury me grinning like this… Nike loves us. We’re turning work away. Hell, I’ve even been asked to make a film about it. It was a one in a trillion shot.”

“So what’s the story behind the shot” asked the reporter.

“Well. It almost didn’t happen you know. We were shooting this commercial campaign for Nike. One of their mega special productions. You know – the sort where a whole creative team gets high and comes up with the most insane and crazy idea and them some exec buys it… anyway. The idea was to shoot frozen in time shots of sports stars doing impossible leaps through jungles, swamps, waterfalls – whatever, all over the world. Real stuff though – no CG tricks.

Well we were on the last leg in Australia. Man, I mean we had shot the wad by then we were so overbudget and we had the most impossible shot to do. We were supposed to shoot Jordan leaping over this overhang – where the aborigines had trained crocks to leap out of the water for meat. In the most god awful tropical forest in far north Queensland. Took us two days to get the damn gear in place – all covered with plastic because its pissing down half the time and it’s a bloody steam bath the rest of the time. It’s not like its going to be easy for Jordan either – 15 foot jump between rocky overhangs of this salt creek. We had to time it so the bloody crock leaped out of the water at just the right time. Ha ha. Like that turned out to be a problem!

Anyway…”breaks into a fit of laughing “Sorry. Three failed attempts later and we were going to give it up as a bad joke. Shit – you try to time a crock leaping out of the water with someone leaping over it. Bloody stupid idea to begin with”

“But it paid off?” Said the reporter.

“Hell yes. Ha. We were ready to pack it in. Everyone had had it. The producer was going ape shit. Threatening all sorts if we didn’t stick it and get the shot. Real ugly. Anyway. It's then that the natives get real excited – jabbering about big man crock. Real reliable they say. Ha. Dam. Anyway we set up again. Roll the HD cam with the arc cameras all set – I got me finger on the button. We had three HD’s rolling. When I press the button the arc cams shoot of 5 shots in a second before they fill their memory.

So Jordan starts his run up and the gaffer waves a chook over the water out of frame. Jordan's still 20 feet away when the crock starts to emerge from the water – way too early. I remember thinking we’d lost it again but there’s no way to stop… and then it all starts to happen. The crock just keeps rising out of the water like it’s on a bloody hydraulic shaft. As Jordan jumps the bloody things moves up to the level of the rock and it's traveling up as fast as Jordan's moving forwards. Shit. I’ve never seen anyone jump to high or far – or so scared shitless. Ha…he was doing a real good impression of a contortionist in mid air just to save his balls and that’s when the bloody bat appears. Ha. One of them bloody great fruit bats. Huge bastards – flying fox they call them, big as a fox too. It comes hurtling in from under the overhang. God knows what it thought it was doing. Anyway. It comes in at like, I dunno, ninety miles and hour and swoops up to miss the rising missile of crock teeth and slams into Jordan's chest instead. I’d hit the button just before that and got the shot on the last exposure. God, you should have seen Jordan's face. Ha. He lands and this giant bat drops to the ground stunned, looks up at Jordan as if to say “What the f#$k” and flies off. Ha. And then Jordan grabs his balls – to make sure there still there.

That broke the moment -- we all fell about laughing. Man what a rush. Never felt so nervous as we checked the shot. When we saw we had it – well hell, we ain't stopped partying yet. Talk about Spectacular -- Hell we re-wrote the book on spectacular that day.”

Search CGNetworks Site
Subscribe to Newsletter