Hello there traveler, hope we’ve had a pleasant journey. I’m sure a few of you have completed the space tour and have read up on many fun tales by now. If you’re still unaware, I did a huge collaboration with the talented anime community we have around here and we all did a space themed post for all to enjoy. There was so many interesting reads along the way and it seems that people had a lot of fun with it… but the fun’s over now.

Or is it? So basically I did a whole bunch of graphic design for this tour, making a planet for each of the participants as well as a banner with the gang all there. While it might look very amateurish a lot of time and thought went into each design so I thought what if I, you know….milk it? I know this won’t be for everyone but I thought what if I gave a peek behind the curtain, a little behind the scenes action where I just talk about: the thought process behind each design, how they where made, and how I feel I did on them. There’s quite some fun trivia here and apparently it was easy for me to go at length on the subject that this is going to be broken up into two posts with the other half being posted tomorrow. I also will provide a grade for myself, please be aware that is solely based off my ability to produce and not the planet itself because the group gave me A+ ideas across the board…. but I am my own worst critic so I’m going to let it be known how I feel about each creation.

K at the Movies

You might think that because this was my idea, and it’s easier to communicate with… myself and the fact that I was first in line that mine might have been one of the first designs worked on. No, in fact I was the second to last one to enter the concept stage. I am indecisive, and I really didn’t prioritize myself because I don’t have to worry about pleasing myself and it’s kind of on brand to be the “crudely design little brother of the blogosphere”.

It was interesting to watch the chips fall because I took into consideration the collection as a whole and recognized that fortunate for me that there was little red in the other designs. Red certainly has a history in my content, and while you might assume it’s just one of my favorite colors (which it is) there’s a lot of reasons why I felt that a red planet was the perfect planet to represent K at the Movies. Significant examples of red includes: red curtains and theater seats that are my common backdrop, the accent color of the K logo (which is reference to the red line on camera lens), it’s the color of my sunshine blogger Teletubby costume, the comic sans comment on the critics quote poster in my Endgame review, and it’s a prominent segment of Paint Broad Strokes which is the same red image used as the base.

The lighthouse is another reference to Paint Broad Strokes as well as adding to the lore of my planet that fits my role as the more remote and close to the surface than what’s to follow. The lighthouse was difficult to deal with just because I’m not placing it on a flat surface so instead of focusing on trimming the edges, I took advantage of sci-fi surrealism. I cranked the opacity and made it “holographic” trying to get a similar effect to when Plankton eats the holographic meatloaf in that one SpongeBob episode.

Other effects was with the author indicator, there’s multiple ways to incorporate an image into the canvas and for the astronaut helmet I thought a glow incorporation just had a neat look to it, giving my flat avatar more of a presence. The lighthouse appears to have a faint blue glow to it because behind the window is a tiny circle that has a wide glow radius, so it looks like it is projecting light outward that gets somewhat lost in the cool blue space background.

Just to explain the static effect, it serves both as an aesthetic and functionality choice. I’m sure static/glitchy screens are very common across sci-fi, I believe I’ve seen it used in Evangelion. The idea actually was heavily inspired by the odd site Wired Sound for Wired People that while different also has these off-putting and surreal visuals.

A screen shot from Wired Sound for Wired People. It’s a surreal experience if you’d like to check it out.

The effect is achieved either by creating a rectangle layer and having it full of a static effect or changing the density of a fill shape and then distorting it with a wave effect. It serves the functionality in which you can tell from the planets on the banner, that the surfaces just come across as too smooth and lacking detail so that static effect sort of masks that and adds a layer of separation from your viewpoint.

Grade:  B –

Yum Deku – My Anime 2 Go

Request: a planet that is half chaos and half peaceful lol. Or just surprise me

This one was a fun challenge because it’s so open, it’s “take these abstract concepts and display them visually” and that’s hard. What would you have done to portray such an idea? I googled image searched peaceful and peaceful anime and the most common color scheme is what you see on the left half. I feel the smoothness of the gradient and the nice curves present a harmonious visage… I thought of it being this atmospheric cloak that sort of covers half the planet during the day cycle; though I’m not sure that clearly translated as much as I’d like.

Then for the chaotic half, I don’t know maybe I was thinking in clichés, but I thought peace: nature, chaos: industry. So, with that train of though I decided upon the other half being portrayed by the image of light pollution. I definitely pitched this as some either war-torn area or mining sector. It’s a minor detail but the space in the background looks sort of crystallized and chunky and I’m not sure if I absolutely hate it or if it adds to sort of the mystic of the planet.

Not to destroy the magic, but if you’re curious all these designs start as flat circles and then using a sphere effect is given the illusion of dimensions to various degrees depending on the design. Yum Deku’s planet is rare because it is made from three circles. Both halves were created as separate spheres and the peaceful side got half erased using the eraser tool but with a significantly feathered edge so the transition doesn’t appear too crude. And saying “three” wasn’t a typo because under each planet is a flat black circle that allows me to change the opacity of the planet, so it appears at a distance away or shaded without seeing any of the background appearing through it… neat huh.

Grade: B-

Scott – Mechanical Anime Reviews

Request: Cheetah Spots

Oh Captain, my captain what can I say about your planet? I think this one really is a testament to the fact that storytelling through design is a good thing to do. Cheetah print is such an achievable design, yet it almost doesn’t fit the theme. This is a supposedly a celestial body not a Cheetah girl’s concert… how do I explain and make sense of it. I began thinking of what kind of terrain would a cheetah print planet have and I settled upon this sort of canyon desert. I pitched it to Scott as being this motel gas station planet (like Radiator Springs from Cars) that it has all these pocket canyons that ships can stay in, and refuel for the night. I also thought that Cheetah’s are fast so I thought about what if there was this wide orbiting planet that’s got some turbulence to it… that you could enter on one end of the galaxy spend the weekend and refuel (maybe have some fun filler episodes) and then depart on the opposite edge ready to continues your trans-galatic travels.

It seems very fitting that Captain Scott’s planet would harbor all these space adventurers and be this hub for space explorers. The space crafts in the foreground and background look better than they really should but looking back this is definitely one of my worst designs. The green top light color needs to not be so dull (it looks off), if you look closely there’s like a weird vertical line distortion in the purple and the planet just looks like it’s stylized more then the rest of the bunch.

Fun fact: This is the original image used as the base for Scott’s planet. Some minor tweaks to the color were made. Find the original here on Zinger Bug.

Grade: C-

Average Joe Reviews

Request: vibrant electric yellow, almost like lighting is covering the planet

One thing I really wanted with this is to have each planet have it’s own identity and personality and you gotta love when Joe gives you a completely unique color as yellow. You can maybe tell I was overzealous when it came to pleasing these people because I was having no almost about it, this planet was coming with a hazard sign outside of it. So I needed to know what a ball of electricity looked like so for research I took a metal fork and jammed it into my electrical socket… it was difficult to finish Joe’s planet without feeling in my left arm but the show must go on. That’s a joke guys… need to make sure your staying awake it’s a long one.

I thought of Pikachu’s electro ball attack in, I’m going to say Diamond and Pearl anime, and you guys can correct me in the comments. The design was too complex and didn’t morph well to be translated into this design. I was definitely thinking about it as one of those plasma globe things and was concerned I couldn’t replicate that because my photo editor does have free transform anchors to allow me to take the lightning and bend It like Beckham.

I think it looks, decent. I feel it radiates energy though maybe it should pop more color-wise than appearing washed out. The space backdrop was altered to a golden/orange to reflect Ghidorah which was the subject an inspiration behind Joe’s planet. Unfortunately, the author indicators looked pretty awful when using pictures with a white background and I shouldn’t have been so lazy and actually made those either look more consistent throughout or just have them look better than whatever happened here.

Grade: C

Crimson – Cute Boys Central

Request: something colorful mainly warm colors, minor bright cool colors and with a ring if possible?

Advice that works for any level of anyone trying to improve on their ability to do design or create content… work for someone like Crimson. Each planet was worked behind the scenes and was completed in two different draft stages: the ones you’ll see here and first draft/proof of concept that I twitter DM’d everyone to make sure I was not disappointing my senpais. Crimson was one of the last few designs because I avoided doing the ring like the plague, I was so scared of screwing it up but luckily, I found some good assets and effects to ultimately get a pretty descent look.

What I mean by work for someone like Crimson, is while everyone was very nice and supportive and gave good feedback; Crimson knew how to articulate exactly what they wanted and discuss multiple layers to the design. My original design was rougher than most because it was at the point where once I had enough proof of what direction: how the ring will look, what colors go where, and what it’s basically going to look like.

My rough draft featured a gradient for the ring that had the left half a sort of neon green and the right half blues and purples but Crimson helped me pinpoint that the reason it didn’t look quite right was because it looked off-balance. I think I was too focused on implementing plenty of cool colors that I wasn’t thinking more on the geometry of the ring. Crimson also helped me put focus in the right areas, it’s a very neutral background because focus should be on the planet and I think it both really pops out at you on it’s individual screen and on the banner. But it also just feels like some whack Space Jam Planet so I don’t know?

I will always hate my imperfect work, think Crimson would call it the curse of the creatives but I hope you all like it.

Grade: B

Karandi – 100 Word Anime

Request: Any chance I could just have an asteroid belt? Though if a planet is necessary, I probably want one that is crimson or purple in colour.

Fun fact: This was the first planet I worked on besides some prototypes I used to prove that I could do different effects with the sphere effect. Also I doubt she even remembers this but Karandi was the first anime blogger I came across after she liked one of my posts “American Poltergeist 2: Can’t get any worse (Review)” over two years ago… but we wouldn’t follow each other until like two years later because “I didn’t watch anime so I wouldn’t read any of the posts” and I spent those 2 years posting absolutely crap (Looking back I didn’t proof read as much as I do now, and now is still pretty bad. Why did anyone like that post? Why did I not know how to do basic grammar and spelling back then? ). I’m on post number 269 and that was post 16… crazy world we live in.

 I loop holed this request, I like how Karandi just asked for an asteroid belt and I was like “great idea… but no”.  While it was the last thing to be produced, the banner was something I had in mind since the beginning. I felt making just a asteroid belt would have been too plain and wouldn’t easily translate to having the same weight in the banner which is why all the planets are all the same size.

I felt that this one was faithful to what I was asked of, while also adding some creative elements to better represent 100 Word Anime. The lore behind this one was that what if we had this asteroid like planet that has a gravitational pull and has other asteroids of the belt caught in its orbit.

I like the look of the maroon space background and the planet has striking colors. I think the asteroids could have had more consistent lighting and is really hit or miss when it comes to using opacity to represent different depths.

Grade: A-

When Sirius Writes

Request: Just like my name, my ideal planet looks a lot like the Dog star. As it looks like A Star, the outer coating rays is bluish white. You can search it on google for reference XD.

So yeah just like Sirius wanted, this planet is based off the Sirius Dog star. If you don’t know the Dog star is apparently the most prominent star of the Canis Majoris constellation, it’s considered twice as bright as any other star and twice the mass of the sun, and has had some historical significance bringing on the hottest days (dog days) of summer in Ancient Greece.

I still don’t know why Sirius had such an exact answer to this question but maybe I can’t relate to having a star share my name. It was great to roll with this concept and I hope it came out just right. In our discussions together we both agreed that we wanted to keep it blue instead of going for a hot white pure light. The background had to be kept dark so that the glow of the planet was of great contrast.

There’s one detail that you have to look pretty close to realize, only the keenest eyes will ask the question, “why is the border different for only this one?”. It definitely wasn’t because very late into the project I was just putting random effects on and thought it looked cool… that’d be ridiculous. It works in my head that this planet is so bright that it needs different tech to be able to view it.  Other minute details comes from using an image of concrete so that the planet actually does have sort of a texture to it, making it even more surreal that it has such an unearthly glow. Overall not a lot of complaints on my end.

Grade: A-

Lynn – The Otaku Author

Request: Dark blue planet with electric blue grid. Many thanks

This was definitely a unique design in the bunch just with figuring out how to perform a grid and create a story behind it. I thought of what the purpose of a grid could be, and I decided upon having this planetary submarine; essentially have a planet sized ship with a cloaking device to travel the cosmos with little detection. That’s why this planet has the least contrast between the background and the planet.

If you’re wondering why the author indicator image is so zoomed in… one to put an inner glow on the image it zooms in the image and two, I’m hiding objects that are visible in the image background like picture frames.

However, I’m a little disappointed that I didn’t make the grid stand out more… I feel I made the subdued look work but it probably would have looked better if I could have made it more prevalent in the design.

Grade: B-

Be sure to like, comment, and follow so you can be sure you don’t miss tomorrow’s post where we discuss the other 8. Okay, goodbye.


9 thoughts on “Space is the Place Tour DLC – Behind the Design (1)

  1. I suspect you’re being too hard on yourself. I adored the work you did for my post. Oh, who am I kidding? I thought all of them were great. They were visually distinctive; they represented the bloggers; and they provided the tour with visual consistency.

    I’m looking forward to reading the background of Planet Crowakkais!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Well agree to disagree. No, thanks for enthusiasm and kind sentiments I greatly appreciate it. I like to acknowledge my shortcomings and faults to keep me humble, keep on striving towards improvement. Overall I’m happy with it, it was so much fun crafting it all together and as long as there’s someone like you out there that likes it then that makes it all worth it in the end.


  3. I absolutely loved how my planet came out. I dragged an IRL person to my laptop to look at it and declared with pride ‘look, it’s my planet’ and he rolled his eyes at me and asked for some context, but then agreed it was a cool planet. You put so much work into this tour and I think all the designs came out looking fantastic.

    Liked by 1 person

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