Muppets Playmat / timelapse

Today I want to talk a bit about my most recently completed mat and do a bit of an overview of some of the stages involved. I haven’t done one of these in a while so it could be quite interesting to see how things have moved on. First off though its worth pointing out that this isnt the first mat to use this style, that honour goes to the first mat produced this year and one I will talk about at some point I’m sure, the One Piece mat. I mention it both to give credit and because it was was something of a catalyst without which this and at least one other mat would not have been produced. There is apparently something about this style people like, however we will save that discussion for another day, for now lets focus on how I built tis mat in particular.
The main criteria for this mat were muppets and shiny, with this and a list of nine characters I set about turing that brief into reality. I could talk at length about the initial sketch and character placement but suffice to say that it was as much about fitting them in the required spaces as it was about popularity and there were many many revisions. Also while all the poses are different to the One Piece mat there are slight nods to its existence here and there, which explains why Miss Piggy is wearing glasses.
Stages one and two are informed directly from experience from the previous mat, there is quite a bit of precision engineering going on at this stage and I found that while tape is not necessary it sure does make things quicker and lead to nicer lines. It also seems like a a good idea to block in the large black area now rather than start the colouring and risk damaging it.
On the One Piece mat I left the logo pretty much until last, not wanting to have to deal with that sort of finishing touches again this image shows I have gone in and done the initial detail already. when I talk about the third mat in this collection you will see how things have evolved still further, at this point however I am really wishing there was some sort of device that can cut out sticky shapes.
Now for some initial colouring, its still mostly quite bright and you will notice that the things that are coloured are generally the same shades, the green for example got laid down first while as he is blue Gonzo will have to wait a while. I am also using a light yellow to block in the general areas of light and dark most notably on Miss Piggy’s dress, it will blend with any other colour and disappear by the time I am done. I have also not done any of the eyes yet, this is deliberate, although it does make Kermit look a bit disconcerting.
We are starting to see a bit more shading at this point, one of the reasons the background is yellow is to remind me thats generally where most of the light is coming from though at the same time the scene isnt so dark as to be casting extreme shadows on the fronts of the the faces either. Basically you have to imagine they are in a room with a bright but diffuse light behind them and another slightly weaker light above and slightly in front. I have also rounded out the O at this point since the initial blocking in left it slightly cut off.
Here come the blues, and some deeper reds, I still haven’t decided what I am doing with miss Piggy’s dress but I do know the pose isnt quite right yet which is why she has no arms. also at the moment all the blacks are being initially blocked in with browns both to add warmth and because I really don’t want to be on that stage yet. The logo has also seen quite a bit of tiding up.
I’m just gap filling now, trying to get as much in as possible before the whole image starts to get worked as one rather than concentrating on individual characters. I could do with more blue to balnce out the right side though.
Things are starting to tighten up now and I am working my way up to the darker colours and black, at the same time the background is being lightened to give it a gradient effect. Also after a slight incident invoving black lets just say its lucky I have a way to remove colour otherwise I would have been starting over at this point.
We have eyes! Thats good, they don’t look like zombies anymore, I wanted to leave the eyes for as long as possible partly so I could make sure they were all looking the right way and partly because they really make or break a character and inform what sort of finishing off I am going to have to do.. More black line work gets added and the top half of the background gets lighter still. All thats left at this point is some minor blending, tiding up, and general tweaks before sending it though the two sealing processes.
Which brings us back to the final mat, thanks for reading, next time, well I.m not sure what I will be talking about, probably another mat from 2012.
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