This is a continuation from my previous post going behind the scenes and talking about how each planet for the Space is the Place Anime Blog Tour came to be, read it! If you want to.

Aria – The Animanga Spellbook

Request: Preferably sky blue with gold starbursts on it, although if that colour combination doesn’t look very good, you can change it to teal or dark blue.

In case you weren’t aware of this, Aria is a really cool person. When you do a project that requires as much hours of work as this one, it’s awesome to have someone that’s enthusiastic about the project. Aria actually downloaded my photo editor and tried to make a planet herself and was completely willing to do a couple planets if I let her. Honestly, it was really neat to see Aria get the hang of it after only a couple pointers and maybe I should have taken up the offer but I didn’t want to burden someone unfamiliar with the software and was too lazy to transfer a file that had the border and static assets.

I’m going to be honest and say I’m really torn about this one because on one hand it’s one of my favorites. I consider it “simply elegant” the gradient really has a neat stratification to it while blending nicely and all the elements such as the amount of static, the starry backdrop and the nice artwork for the author profile just comes together in a really nice complete image.

On the other hand, I’m like “you dumb idiot, can you read?” In my mind I attempted to instead of making a solid color was like “what if I make it so that there are shades of teal and dark blue but overall the planet reads sky blue”. I literally test this out by taking my 20/20 vision eyes and just aggressively squint so I’m viewing it at less detail and when doing that I’d say… “it’s kinda sky blue, close enough I guess”. But even the color-blind will never call the effect on that planet gold. The effect works a little funky and changing the color was not so simple, I did figure it out but the result was shapes that appeared more solid and could only get it to be that dark gold and I don’t think it came together in a way I liked.

Grade: A or B-

Irina – I Drink and Watch Anime

Request: This is going to come as a shock but maybe some pink?

So when it came to this project, I didn’t really know everyone all too well and I actually pitched the idea to Scott that I was willing to do the planet designs because I: wanted good faith in this collaboration that Scott would have control over decisions to make sure it aligned with what he wanted and secondly I just didn’t feel all too comfortable going to the front of the class and saying “I can make y’all some fancy circles” like the dork I am. However, me and the drunk anime girl had been going back and forth between each other’s’ post so I had at least some idea of how to represent her brand.

My idea for the pink planet was what if we used a shade of pink wine as the pink we use. Then when Google searching I just found the perfect image of 4 different shades of rose wines: Pinot Noir, Merlot, Gernache, and Melbac. So using to gradient fill and eyedropper tool I made it an 8 shade gradient using both the lightest and darkest shades found in each glass.

I also know from Irina’s screenshot habits, and gifs used in tweets that she’s one to appreciate a tiny splash of color. It definitely seemed fitting for her planet to be in a more interesting segment of space so I found and color corrected an image that is a homage to the fantasy realm of To Be Heroine a series I know Irina heavily advocated for.

Other details you probably didn’t care about was the shadowing was actually supposed to be a subtle allusion to the contour of a wine glass and how it’s usually brighter in the center. It’s one of those examples how sci-fi is fun to break the rules of nature because that’s not how planets are usually depicted because essentially this would mean it’s revolving around the sun on a vertical axis unlike the horizontal axis you’d find in our solar system. I also experimented with the concept of having this “giant wine glass shape satellite” casting a shadow on the planet but it was scrapped due to overcomplicating things.

I also like how I learned… Irina is the type of person who will apologize for not putting an accent on the e in a casual Twitter DM. So as much as I don’t want you to notice the glaring ugly mistake, I made… the top indicator is pink because we talked about how baby pink is the accent color on her site. This was when I started to decide against the standard green that I was using in all the designs and decided to experiment with customizing this color to each person’s design.

Also another funny behind the scenes moment was so I used “proof of concept” images for the author indicator in which I basically just found what came on their website and then begged the person to give me a higher quality image and Irina even provided me with an image to use. So skip forward to when I actually finished the planet designs a few days before the tour started (I worked at a pretty safe pace that factored in time for things to not work or for someone to potentially join the tour late or essentially Murphy’s Law to do it’s thing). So, I finally announced that my planet designs were finished, and it was a great feeling but apparently someone else had a design announcement to make. Literally, the day after I finished all my designs, I see Irina on her blog go “Wow, look at these cool new avatars I made that are perfectly circular and really cool!”. I was like EXCUSE ME, WHAT?

Irina was really sitting on some new avatar images and made me use art that was going to be retro before it’s even released. Giving that there’s a chance you read this… I’m only teasing, I just find the timing of that kind of funny.

Grade: B+

AJ – The Anointed Geek

Request: Definitely something green. Maybe with something that looks like a ball of yarn like the planet covered by life fibers from Kill la Kill and Space Patrol Luluco. Just green instead of red.

Awesome Idea, I was excited to try and make this happen… if I could. I have 2 big reasons why AJ is a really cool person in my book and reason one is his very nice reaction to the rough draft I sent him. His reaction was very affable affirmation which was the opposite of my reaction which was “OMG, I Fucked this up so bad”. It was flat, it was dull, it was just utter poo-poo which the final draft certainly has some flaws but jeez is it an almighty glow up from this disaster.

Yeah…. Apparently my quality control sucks, this never should have left my computer. I was worried so much about the image just looking really bad and distorted with the 3-D effect that I guess that I didn’t add any dimension to it at all ( the final draft still looks more like a coaster than a complete sphere but at least the colors are popping and appealing to the eyes). Many of the planets where less muted in their final drafts than their roughs. The base image is actually of a colorful laser light show design and then heavily color corrected to all be luminous and green.

The 2nd reason AJ is awesome is because the interactive banner actually functions on the anointed geek website. So, the interactive banner is not such a simple thing to pull off. The first method I researched in how to create an interactive/link embedded image was through Adobe InDesign. However, this method requires your image be a PDF file and those and WordPress go together like… not at all. The second method was through a website called interactive.IMG which gave the ability to create an image with many clickable tabs. I used this website to make the fun clicky image with a couple of snags of course. The free version says you can put up to 10 interactive points… but I have 16 planets to make clickable. There’s your explanation for why the interactive image is in halves ( interactive image also doesn’t understand the phrase “each image” as two separate accounts [thanks Bill] were used to make one of the halves). Even after jumping through all those hoops embedding it to your site is not ideal. It does it through HTML and/or iframe integration coding which just didn’t seem to work on my website (It successful went into the classic editor but didn’t appear in previews or in private published posts). However, AJ isn’t subjected to the same limitations and figured out how to embed it onto his site like I originality envisioned it. I’m glad I could walk so you could run my friend.

Grade:  B-

Crow’s Anime World

This is one of 3 that were fully original conceptions done by me. Crow was pretty much how I would act if someone said they’d make me a circle… very indecisive. I made some prototypes just to prove that I could do different effects: gradients, image-based spheres, and pattern-based spheres. Crow was originally considering using one of these prototypes, but I decided that I had what I felt was a very good concept that I wanted to pass by.

 So, what I think makes Crow a really interesting person to follow is how they’re a good place to enjoy exploring the anime community here on the WordPress. Crow has a full sort of database of a lot of the anime bloggers you’ll find and it’s a pretty extensive list considering I was on it when I had done only a couple of anime reviews at the time.

I thought what if Crow was like some kooky space wizard that uses a murder of crows to search all of space harvesting for the great content he looks for on his blog. The planet is an extreme close-up of a crow wing meant to be some sort of obsidian terrain. I repurposed and altered the purple background as I knew from the Baltimore Ravens that the black and purple would look nice together. Overall I don’t have many complaints, maybe I should have made the planet darker, but I didn’t want to lose the detail. So it was a fine give and take.

Grade: A-


Request: Green with black cat ears and whiskers, if possible. Not sure if that’s too tricky or not. 

So, how dumb am I? I like thinking of feasibility behind each planet and when trying to figure out how adding cat ears made sense, I was like I got it! What if this planet had like giant wind-waker sails that helped it travel through space? I thought it could be a neat concept… but then I took a step back and had a very good realization “good luck finding wind in space you stupid moron!”. I forget how space worked haha.

I was down for the cat theme, I used a cat’s eye as the base to get a nice detail for the planet’s surface. I also found a good cat ears that has those nice arches that is reminiscent in that 50s / 60s sci-fi aesthetic.

Don’t feel like I butchered anything here, someone better probably would have done more but I think it’s fine.

Grade: B

Lita Kino’s Anime Corner

Request: Teal blue for the base colour mixed with gold (work your magic) hehe

A candidate for my favorite honestly. Hey look, I found out what gold looks like. The planet itself is actually composited of a teal colored ring, which the image was surprisingly labeled in the public domain which makes my job stress free.

FUN FACT: This is apparently a 18K Yellow Gold Amazonite and Diamond Ring. It goes for over $3k. Not to say any of you aren’t great but don’t expect one of these from me anytime soon.

Lita is not shy about being a pretty big Sailor Jupiter fan so I thought that was a neat element to try and figure out how to incorporate.

The three ring design is actually an allusion to Sailor Jupiter’s transformation animation. I created it through using a png of an atom structure and then just erasing the segments that should be behind the planet. They also have a glow, opacity, and static effects to give it this effect of being energy.

It’s not perfect, I wish I didn’t blow out Lita’s portrait and the space background has a weird fake look to it. It doesn’t look like real space, it looks like the mural in a laser tag arena. Overall I like it.

Grade: A

Arthifis – Anime Shelter

Request: A Planet that resembles a shelter? I’m terrible with this, but let’s say a planet which has like a barrier around it. Hope it’s not something too difficult :/

This one might be my favorite too. When I initially heard shelter my first instinct was to consider like a cube surrounding the planet, but as I did my research on Arthifis’ site I saw one of their profile images was this quaint igloo and that’s when I was like, “that’s what I need to do… but how!?!”.

This was achieved through three different circles. The first is a pure white glowing circle with an undershadow so it gives the appearance of light and depth for the entrance. That’s placed on top of another circle that acts as the rim of the pipe leading to the inner planet. The final one is the sphere layer that uses a brick pattern that has a faint blue lines to give the creases some presence. Maybe you disagree but for being a tough one conceptually, I’m like damn the details really come together: the desolate yet colorful space, the soft glow of the planet, the nice distortion curvature that natural makes sense of the entry way, the slickness of Arthifis’ avatar, and the white on top.

I like it, maybe its that I know it shouldn’t have turned out this well but hey I’m not complaining.

Zainou – Postcard Memory

Me and Zainou didn’t really talk much during this endeavor and I don’t blame her one bit because I understand she’s busy doing…. everything. This was admittedly the most nervous I was about designing a planet because I found out she is an animator… so their knowledge of implementing design and artistic elements into a composition exceed mine. Oh boy. However, while I don’t know what they thought of my planet my research found that she’s a pretty neat person so I hope I made a planet that reflects that.

Zainou is behind The Postcard Memory blog which is dedicated to the underappreciated anime technique described as:

gorgeous pastel chalk freeze frames that appear in everything from Kill la Kill to Lupin III, to Space Adventure Cobra are “Postcard Memories.”

Often in a postcard memory image you’ll see harsh lighting and almost a smearing lines… I tried to replicate this in the space background. That doesn’t explain how I came up with the planet design and it’s one of those that it’s a subtle nod that you’re not supposed to get it, but it is a very intentional design choice. I found Clara stated in a post “K-On Shuffle – Manga on a Monday” that “K-On may be my favorite anime series of all time”. So to my fellow K-On fans out there, did you recognize that this planet is a zoomed in perspective of Yui’s trusty guitar Geeta?

This one is really exemplary of why I wanted to do a post like this, maybe people don’t care but I love when design has that extra layer of thought and creativity put into it. It’s so much more interesting when you put purpose and reason into all the choices you make and while maybe this wasn’t the most entertaining or provoking discussion… you never know someone might enjoy this glimpse behind the curtain and understanding the inner-workings and the process that goes into conceiving, and building, and actualizing a task such as designing an entire solar system. And that like I’m just some idiot, who took ideas and made them happen… anyone can do this if you’re willing to put forth the effort.

Grade: B+

That about does it fellers. This has gone on long enough. All I want to say is thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed. Don’t be shy in the comments let me know what your favorite planet was or your favorite thing you learned from this explanation. If you haven’t checked out the Space is the Place Tour I highly encourage you to do so. Be sure to follow me and all the cool cats mentioned through these posts and I’ll be sure to see you, at the movies!

13 thoughts on “Space is the Place Tour DLC – Behind the Design (2)

    1. Thanks for tweeting it out! Glad you found it interesting, I just thought someone out there would be intrigued and maybe find it encouraging for how to design for a large collaborative project and how a blog tour comes together. As stated many times thanks for putting it together, and if you have any wild ideas in the future… I’ll be around.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I enjoyed the tour so much, and it’s amazing to see how much work you have put into the design of these. I wish I had half the skills that you possess 😅😅 It really looks absolutely amazing, and it’s terrific to see how each of these has been put together. You should be really proud of yourself! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Aw, don’t be so hard on yourself, K! The planets look really good, so I don’t think I could pick a favourite (outside of mine, which I basically fell in love with at first sight).
    I tried to get the interactive image to work as well, but it only worked the first time I put it into the classic editor – in preview mode and subsequent viewings of the same post, it showed nothing, so I added links to the banner halves just in case.
    I didn’t know there was lore for each planet – my planet’s probably too basic in design to /have/ lore. Mine was basically sky blue because that’s the colour of my blog, with the dark blue/gold variant because my blog avatar is that particular colour combo (teal is just a compromise). Now that I think of it, it would’ve been far more interesting to ask for a design like yellowed paper or a leather-bound book…
    Scott’s planet is kinda hard to see…I’ve been thinking that for a while, but I guess I should admit that to you while I still can. It really surprised me that he picked cheetah spots – 1) because it doesn’t fit the image of a guy who likes mechs (like you point out with the “Cheetah Girl concert” thing) and 2) because it’s just really “out there” for a planet. (I don’t have a formal education in graphic design – closest thing I have is a high school education in good website design, and I guess that’s why I worry about contrast, visibility and other practical concerns when it comes to visual things.)
    I thought Zainou’s was Jupiter when I looked at it for the first time, but then there’s no Red Spot…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you I’m glad you enjoyed reading this and your planet design. I guess I didn’t consider much lore as yours came together well without it. I would say I did get a sense of an icy look, or maybe it being like a gas giant planet.

      Yeah, Scott’s idea was interesting especially because it seemed removed from sci-fi but that’s why it was interesting. Thanks for the critique on the contrast of Scott’s planet… It’s the one from the planet itself and the background it’s difficult to imagine must lighting as well as I didn’t want to color to appear too “mustard yellow” but I agree that it could be a tad more pronounced from the backdrop.
      I’m also glad that Zainou’s does look much like a planet, the guitar rim ended up looking not too bad.

      Thanks for taking the time to comment, and for sharing what’s on your mind.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Well, actually, I wasn’t being in the least indecisive (at least from my position — who knows how it looked from the outside)!

    My goal was to give you, the artist, free reign. I’ve seen far too many “clients” stifle creativity and end up constraining the artist — and ending up with a subpar design.

    I’d argue that my approach went well. I love the design you came up with for my part in the tour! I’ll go so far as to say I liked everything about it — from the texture of the surface to the murder of crows in the background!

    So, thanks for a great design! It made participating in the tour even more enjoyable!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well thanks for trusting me…. Got a bit lucky that I came up with a good idea.

      Yeah, I know Lita had similar reservations about stifling creativity. I like to think collaboration with effective communication can strengthen a design by offering more inputs and can be liberating in a way, knowing your making something that works for the cosumer.

      Thank you for sharing such vocal praise for the design work, I’ve appreciated it every single time.

      I’ve really enjoyed the comradery from the anime community around here and I’m glad Ive been able to contribute a little to it despite not being the most well versed in the topic.

      Well, if there’s ever another opportunity we’re you might need something like this, I’ll be around.

      Liked by 1 person

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