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    Cow C.O.W. Rules Revisions and Detailed Information! (Recommended for Beginners)

    I felt like it was time that these rules have been updated and elaborated. In terms of changes there are a few but they are very subtle and nothing too drastic. They have been mostly revised in greater detail than they had been originally written by Fozzybar many years ago. These rules are to stand as a guide for you artists to follow and understand what I, as a moderator for creature of the week, am looking for in terms of judging for the poll. I also want to apologize in advance, because I wrote quite a bit for you to read through. However it's not to make things complicated, I just wanted to go through each rule in detail so as much can be understood as possible. A simple skim through is all that is needed but the details are there for those who want to be extra careful about their submissions!

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    Revised Rules with detailed information!
    For those of you who are new to Creature of the Week, welcome! You have come to the right place to get started, have a good read through the following rules. After doing so find the latest topic in the Creature of the Week forum to start designing your own creatures! Make sure you are a registered member of the site, otherwise you won't be able to upload your images to the appropriate threads.

    1. Creatures Definition

    a) No humanoids or human-like creatures
    Creature of the week is more focused on creatures that more closely resemble actual animals and other such organisms. Basically we want to avoid creature of the week becoming full of Goblins, Orcs, Trolls, Mermaids, or some such beings like the Grey Alien. Humanoid creatures of this nature are more suitable for Character of the Week. The use of a little bit of humanoid anatomy is allowed so long as your creature doesn't end up looking too human. If you want some examples look at the Xenomorph(Alien) and Yautja(Predator). The Xenomorph's design incorporates some elements of human anatomy, as well as features found in other organisms, but it is not humanoid nor does it resemble a human, thus a creature such as this would indeed be accepted. Then you look at the Yautja, it may look cool, but in the end it's overall anatomy too closely resembles humans even without all of it's armour and tech. Thus similar creatures as the Yautja would be rejected from the poll.

    b) No plants
    Because quite simply plants are not creatures, are they? Of course the creature your designing can look like a plant or be partially made of plants, but we do not want any venus fly traps or killer tomatoes here if you don't mind.

    c) No individuals or characters - Your creature must be a specimen of a species
    There is always a bit of confusion when it comes to what's a creature and what's a character since both can be the same at certain times. For example, Smaug is a dragon, which is in fact a creature, but at the same time Smaug is 1 specific individual dragon that is defined by his own personality, which is not much more than an obsessive love for gold and burning things. An easy way to think of it in general; a creature is what you would see in a page in a bestiary. It is an individual that is used to represent a species or group as a whole. The individual's personality is irrelevant as it varies between other individuals within the species and does not reflect the overall design as a creature. We may end up designing a creature that does happen to be a character such as Falkor or Glabrezu, but we are more interested in the fact that this character is a creature. It is best to try to keep characters for Character of the Week, hence why they actually call it 'Character' of the week.

    d) No accessories or clothing
    Accessories and clothing helps to give personality to an individual, since we are not focusing on individual personality it is best to avoid adding accessories. I also want you to avoid this because when adding clothing and accessories, you are actually not really designing the creature you are designing the accessories, this can also detract from the creature design as well. Once again Character of the Week is more appropriate. As a side note there are times when we may allow minimal accessories for when it is appropriate, such as mounts and war beast which may be influenced by humans in some way, but we want these accessories to be very minimal, and only used as an 'in general' case. Once again if you reeeeaallly, really want you have Character of the Week for this.

    e) No bloblike masses with no shape
    We want to see how well you can play with anatomy as much as how well you can design a creature. Creating a simple blob or puddle shows us a lack of creativity and anatomical knowledge. There needs to be some kind of underlying form to the creature.

    f) Focus is on creature design - No 1:1 copies from existing animals are allowed. Though your creature absolutely can base on existing animals.

    Once again creativity plays a huge factor in this activity. If you decide to participate in a creature design challenge try your best to avoid simply giving us a one for one copy of an animal or creature that already exists. Make your design in fact YOUR OWN design, rather than giving us a clone of something that exists. Originality is the number 1 goal for creature of the week. Give us something new that we haven't seen before! The same applies to re-design rounds. You must put in the effort to try to make the creature your own, focus on what you can do to make it look different than the original creature for that round. Simply changing it's colours or scale is not enough.

    g) No Robots, Machines, or Vehicles
    Technically a robot isn't a creature. The main goal of Creature of the Week is to design animal-like creatures. Any sort of machine, robots, mechs, vehicles, etc. should be restricted for Industrial Design of the Week, which focuses on designing inanimate objects and advanced technologies. I will allow a bit of a grey area when it comes to cybernetic creatures so long as there is a good amount of organic material present within the creature's anatomy, but any sort of 'extra bits' added such as guns and lasers will not be allowed, as these would be considered accessories (unless you can convince the moderators that they are part of the creature's anatomy). Synthetic organisms, such as silicone based life forms are going to be acceptable, since they are supposed to be naturally occurring life forms. I would advise to try to avoid anything that looks too artificially made. So in other words no frikken sharks with frikken laser beams on their frikken heads!

    2. Technical Restrictions

    a) Finished Artwork: adequate quality for a weekly activity
    You, as the artist have 1 week to complete your entry. That's 168 hours, which is a lot of time to be able create a nice, presentable, legible piece of artwork to submit by the deadline. There are times when the challenge may be longer but that just gives you less of an excuse to slack off. In terms of the artists skill level, in the beginning Cow was focused moreso on advanced to professional art, but nowadays beginners will not be rejected if they have shown some sort of work ethic and dedication to the piece. If it looks like you spent 20 minutes on the piece then you will be rejected, however if you can create a high quality piece in 20 minutes then good for you! Put simply if you are unable to put the effort into this challenge without being able to produce a decent piece then please do not try to submit something that was half-assed into the finals especially if you know that you will not make the poll let alone win the round. Just saves me from feeling like an ass when I omit you from the poll.

    b) No WIPs, sketches or rushed artwork
    As stated in 2.a) we want finished artwork. If it is a WIP, or a sketch then it isn't finished is it? Also Don't be sloppy. Try to push yourself to be more presentable with your artwork as well. At times a good presentation can be much more important than your skill level. Having sketchiness in your work is fine if that's your style, but don't be sloppy.

    c) Colour or b/w
    Most of the time we won't be picky when it comes to colour or black and white images. Unless of course we ask that your creature needs to be a specific colour, then it is required. Do remember however that a creature's colour is a pretty important part of it's design, especially for cases of camouflage or aposematism.

    d) Keep your image sizes reasonable, not too small, not too big
    If the image is too small then we can't make out the details that you have just spent 100 hours working on. If the image is too big then we have to scroll all over the place in order to see the entire image. You should be able to simply scroll up and down from within the thread and be able to comfortably view the image in it's entirety (unless it has a taller composition) without excessive scrolling, it just makes it easier for the viewer. As a general rule try to avoid exceeding 1000 pixels wide.

    e) Only 2D art is allowed. No 3D, animation or photography.
    The judgement needs a base to judge on. The base is 2D art with each given topic. 2D and 3D are very different and hard to compare to one another. As for photography, well since the creature your designing doesn't exist then submitting a photograph will be hard, unless it looks like a real animal which in that case you also broke rule 1.f). As for using photographs in your painting it is allowed but try your best not to rely on the photo to do the brunt of the work for you without actually painting over top of said photo. We want to see paintings and drawings, not collages.

    f) Traditional or/and Digital
    You can work with real paint on a real canvas, or with photoshop. Or a mixture between the two, it is up to you as the artist! Keep in mind when working in a traditional medium you must be able to clean it up with your digital program to make it look as authentic as possible without it looking like a sloppy cell phone photo where we can see half your desk and that week old half cup of cappucino. Keep it neatly cropped and make sure the lighting is satisfactory.

    g) Most of the creature's body must be visible within the image.
    As a challenge focused on creature design we want to actually SEE the creature. It is easier to judge a couple of pieces if we can see the whole creature in each of them, as opposed to having one with half it's body cropped, or the other with just it's head. Then we as the viewer start asking questions like what does it's body look like? Does it have wings? What does it's tail look like? Does it even have a tail? How much more of the creature's body is there? These things should be clear in your image! Also try to put your creature in a decent pose so we can clearly see it anatomy.

    3. Others

    a) Stick to the topic
    Should be reasonably obvious, but it happens a few times when people like to try to be extra creative and then they end up forgetting the brief. If we ask for a dragon we don't want a unicorn that breathes fire. Catch my drift? Don't be afraid to inquire about the brief if you are unsure of something.

    b) Background is optional
    Well, if you really want to put a background then be my guest. But keep in mind this is a creature design round, the background more often does not reflect part of your creature's design and anatomy. Adding a background can help elaborate on your creature's concept as it does give us an idea of it's environment, but your creature's design should speak for itself.

    c) 1 entry only
    Some of us do not have the ability to produce six paintings a day, even though a week is a lot of time there is no need to post multiple entries. You can feel free to paint as many creatures for any given topic that you like but submit only which ever you feel is your best one. As for additional images try to limit it to no more than one extra image. This can be used to help show your creature's anatomy in better detail (ex. Ecological Staple), or to show additional information that wasn't showcased in your final image (ex. Maturation).

    d) Short description of your concept
    This isn't exactly required, but at times it helps to sell your concept if you are able to describe certain things about it. Sometimes in your image certain parts of it's anatomy may not seem clear, but they end up making perfect sense once we read about it in your description. Plus it also makes your creature more interesting if you are able to create a unique description.

    e) No old art. Only art which is made for this activity.
    This should also be obvious, but I know there are times when you have already created so and so creature many years ago. But rather than submit as your final, which is unfair because you already put the work in without doing anything for the week the topic is available, you can post it into the wips thread to help give others a small piece of inspiration. Because you are unselfish and like to help your peers!

    f) If an entry breaks one or more rules it's possible that it won't be taken to the poll
    Well, because it's cheating. Also there will be a tiny bit of room for leniency. Your piece will only be rejected if it blatantly breaks one or more of the rules. If your entry straddles on the border of one of these rules then it is up to the moderator's discretion if you are accepted into the poll or not. With that said, I recommend you do your best to keep within the rules to keep it fair to all participants for COW, because repeat offenders may end up getting rejected simply because they just refused to listen to the moderator for the past dozen topics that they kinda broke so and so rule. Plus the moderator may get tired of telling the same thing to said rule breaker over and over.


    Additional Motives (Not limited to just COW)
    These are not actual rules per se, but these are a few other things I would like to see everyone work at for this activity:
    1) Work Ethic
    -Simple! Put in the effort! Work hard to push yourself forward as an artist and as a creature designer! If your leagues beneath those professionals you see, remember they felt the same way at one point and they put in the hours of hard work to get where they are.

    2) Presentation
    -Presentation can make or break an interview in the real world, despite how good your skills are. This applies to pretty much every single job out there and not just art. The same applies here, at creature of the week, as well! This is also a good opportunity to add some awesome looking pieces for that portfolio you're working on! Once again better presentation can help impress more people with your work despite your skill level!

    3) Professionalism
    -You don't need to be a professional to be professional. Be courteous and show respect to your fellow artists. Pass out some crits and do a paint over or two if something bothers you about someone else's piece, this is what the WIP's thread is for! USE IT! One thing you need to remember even some of the best professionals like to be given some feedback every now and then, even if it's from a beginner, because a second opinion is always better than just the first opinion on it's own. Also if you disagree with a crit or a paint-over, please don't be rude about it. You can simply say thank you and state why you disagree or just ignore it. This is the wrong business to have that sort of ego. Be confident but not cocky!

    4) Have FUN!
    -At times it can be frustrating when your painting for hours and nothing is working or you. You feel like you just can't draw anything. That's when you remember why you started drawing in the first place, because you simply enjoyed doing it! Have fun! Learn! Grow!


    In regards to voting. When any round has reached it's deadline all entries that have been submitted into the respective 'Finals Thread' will then be judged based on the above rules and that rounds topic and requirements, and then added to the poll, where voting from within's community will then determine the topic's winner.

    -Please have a quick read through the round's requirements before casting your vote, so that you may have a simple understanding of the topic. You may then choose carefully which entry you feel best adheres to the topic's brief and best shows creativity for both design and execution. We ask that you show no bias for or against certain entries to keep it as fair as possible.

    -For those who have submitted an entry into the finals, we ask that you please refrain from voting for your own entry. Your vote will be deducted from your entry if you do so. We want to promote good sportsmanship and we want each voting round to be fair. Even if you truly believe that your entry is the best in that round we advise against voting for one's self.

    -Multi-vote rounds will occur when the poll has reached 20 or more submissions for any given topic. Or when the moderator decides to make the round a multi-vote for the heck of it, which may happen at times. In the event of a multi-vote round we strongly advise that you try to limit your choices to about 3 or 4 entries. Votes will not be deducted if you do decide to vote for too many entries, but keep in mind if you do decide to vote for every single entry that was submitted then you are simply wasting your vote instead of choosing who you think best deserves to win the round.

    -In the event of a tie, all entries that have tied for first in voting will each be treated as a winner for that round. COW has, in it's entire history, only ever had one tie-breaker round...which still ended in a tie. As a result all tied entries were given the win.


    One other thing before you start, if you are a new member to the site and your posts are not showing, please wait a bit before doing anything else. It is likely that your post is being moderated and is in need of approval from the moderator. This is used to watch out for spammers that may have joined the site recently so long as your not giving us links to advertisements, product placements, porn, etc then you should have no worries. I personally would like to avoid having to delete 20 or so duplicate posts because said member believed that their post did not go through and they decided to try posting until it shows, but I, as the moderator, can see everything. If the time comes where your posts are still not showing PM me, or whoever the current moderator is, before reposting, because sometimes I may not notice your post is being moderated right away.

    Thank you so much for reading through these rules and regulations for Creature Of the Week! Please feel free to post any questions or concerns!
    Happy painting, COWies!
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    Last edited by Rob Powell; January 17th, 2015 at 11:27 PM.
    Art is not about competing against others and being better than everyone else, but it is about competing against yourself and discovering your greatest potential!

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  4. #2
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    Additionally, after having a skim through the above rules you may also have a look at these other threads found in the Creature of the Week forum:

    The Winner's Gallery is where we showcase the winning entries for each topic! There's a lot of good art and it gives you an idea on the creatures being submitted, as well as the standards. But do not feel intimidated in any way but feel inspired by all the fantastic work throughout the years!

    Some of the artists at Creature of the Week have been kind enough to create their own Tutorials for other people to learn from. Feel free to check them out (keep in mind, the site has undergone some changes and some images from the tutorials have been lost, but there are still some helpful tutorials available to look through.)

    Still need some inspiration? There's a lot of references on the internet that you can use and throughout the years many artist have uploaded a ton of Useful Links for COWies! Take advantage!

    Have some ideas for any future topics feel free to post them in the Suggestions Thread! Any and all ideas and suggestions are welcome! I always have a quick skim through to see what the community wants to design, and sometimes I base completely new topics on your ideas! Remember you can post anything you feel may contribute to a future topic for Creature of the Week! Who knows, if I like the topic enough I may use it in the future!

    Bummed that you missed an old topic! No worries you are free to work on a creature for that brief if you want. You can use the Revisions thread to post WIPS and final works of older topics so you don't totally miss out and can show the community what you've been doing.

    Also remember any questions and concerns feel free to ask away!
    Last edited by Rob Powell; May 28th, 2014 at 12:41 PM.
    Art is not about competing against others and being better than everyone else, but it is about competing against yourself and discovering your greatest potential!

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