Circus Contest Finalists

The Circus skin contest on PlanetMinecraft has been narrowed down to the top 100.  It is now up to the ten judges to complete their final votes and determine who is the ultimate winner – for now, I will list and give a brief review of my top five picks amongst the finalists.  Unsurprisingly, a number of the skins I reviewed earlier from this contest are on this list.

 

Note: click on the title of each skin to be taken to its PMC page.

 

#5 – Bearded Lady, by Exaulted

 

contest_bearded

 

Since I reviewed this skin already, I will keep my analysis short.  While the shading is not phenomenal, the concept of the skin is very clearly portrayed and the details are quite clean.  It is an easily recognizable circus character and comes complete with a historically accurate explanation.

 

#4 – Pierre the Magnificent, by Vanillamint

 

contest_pierre

 

Another skin already reviewed by me – Pierre is on this list for some of the same reasons as the Bearded Lady.  It is a clean skin with subtle but important details.  There is also some nice texture with this one, though as noted previously, it could be improved.  I cannot overstate the importance of clarity in skins, especially in a game like Minecraft.

 

Pierre also gets points for a great backstory

 

#3 – Clown, by Drazille12

 

contest_clown

 

Drazile is one of my favorite skinners, and with good reason.  This clown may not be incredibly creative in terms of concept, but it is well executed and certainly fits within the confines of this contest’s rules.

 

There is no backstory to this clown, but impressively it was done in about 15 minutes according to Drazile.  He also used a limited color palette of only 10 colors.  With such a short amount of time and so few colors to work with, he surely did a great job showing dimension via well-placed shading.

 

As a clown, but more specifically a circus clown, this skin lands in 3rd place for its immediate recognizability, clear details, and distinct style.

 

#2 – Jojo the Circus Monkey, by Raspberry_red

 

contest_monkey

 

Only two monkeys made it into the finals, and this one clearly takes the banana.  This is the first skin I’ve seen from Raspberry_red, and I must say that I am pleasantly surprised.  It achieves the same charming simplicity and detail that Drazile’s entry does, but with some added interest.

 

The prospect of a circus monkey is much more captivating than a common clown.  The theme is clearly portrayed in the skin itself, and it comes with at least some explanation towards Jojo’s backstory.  The only downfall of this skin is that it is poorly shaded in some parts, and some of the shading gradients are caught in a strange halfway point between hard and soft transitions.

 

#1 – Bear on a Unicycle, by Dollars

 

contest_bear

 

The skin that deserves to win it all is by none other than Dollars, creator of the Bigby Wolf and Ent skins I recently reviewed.  Dollars did a fantastic job on all accounts with this contest:

 

  • The skin is well-made.  It is immediately recognizable both as a bear and a circus element; the detail is clear and interesting as well.  Texture is also one of the high points for this skin, as the bear’s fur actually looks like fur.  The shading is worked into the detail, rather than working around it like many less experienced skinners.

  • The idea is unique.  The idea of a unicycle alone is interesting.  I am not generally fond of make-shift uses of the model (i.e. long hair attached to the back of the legs), but this one looks great and could be easily compensated for by freezing the player model’s legs.

  • Dollars provides an excellent (not to mention educational) description on circus bears, circus animals in general, and how this skin fits into the theme of the contest.  Bonus points for pointing out the cruelty which animals endure in this type of situation.  His explanation also offers some clarity on why his bear looks so angry.

 

All of these points, plus the awesome pun in the skin description, make this skin the winner.  Dollars is awarded ten out of ten adorable rescued bear cubs.

 

Installing One of the Skins

 

For online play, skins can be installed by simply uploading the file to your profile on Minecraft.net.  Skins posted on certain websites can be uploaded directly from their page, including this one; click on the button on the right-hand side labeled “change my skin” to be taken directly to the appropriate page.

 

For offline play only, the process is similar to installing mods:

 

  1. Download the skin’s .png file –

    1. Bearded Lady

    2. Pierre the Magnificent

    3. Clown

    4. Jojo the Circus Monkey

    5. Bear on a Unicycle

  2. Hold Windows key and press R to bring up the Run… dialog, or go to Start > Run.

  3. Type %appdata% and press enter, then navigate to roaming/.minecraft/versions.

  4. Open the folder containing the version you use for offline play and view the .jar file using WinRAR.

  5. Create a backup of the meta.inf file contained inside the .jar and store it in a separate folder.

  6. Navigate within the .jar file to assets/minecraft/textures/entity.

  7. Rename the image file titled “steve” to anything else (such as steve_backup).

  8. Change the name of your skin’s .png file to steve.png and insert it here.

 

Remember to keep your meta.inf and original steve texture backed up somewhere just in case.

 

There were many fantastic skins in this contest, and the top 5 was a difficult decision – in fact, places 4 and 5 were the most difficult.  The top three were easy to spot as they stood out from the rest.  Do you agree or disagree with my list?  Leave your thoughts in the comments below, and perhaps leave your own top five!

 

Finally: if the official results vary a great deal from my own, I may post an update with my thoughts on them.  Stay tuned!

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