Athletes of the Fall — the toys

25 12 2010

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The deed is done my friends.

Every time I decide to make something ‘outside the box’ with the athletes of the season, I always end up hating myself because I fail to anticipate the amount of work that these things involve. For this fall season I had originally decided to do a collage of sorts and frankly, that would have worked just fine. But, I was in the middle of studying for finals AND rushing through them — so, even though the original idea would have worked, the extra week of time allowed me come up with something else.

That is where the toys come into play. On a trip to Tanforan Mall in San Bruno, walking past a sports memorabilia place, I thought “wouldn’t it be cool if we made them into toys?”

And stupidly enough I went with the idea.

There are a lot of hurdles in a concept like this — I learned that rather quickly and almost abandoned it. While there a million football action figures to base an idea on, there are none for volleyball, water polo, golf, tennis. Hence I knew that in order for this idea to be effective you had to rely on other details of the toy to make it stand out. I found this frame I liked, traced it on Illustrator, and from there, starting adding elements to make the cut-out/back shadowed/beveled athlete stand out a bit more.

Then, the plastic packaging. What a headache. I found an image online of something that resembled what I wanted — then, I took a trip to Toys R Us and snapped a couple of photos of the side paneling to add some details. After putting those together, I went in and extracted the white from the image I had created and placed it over the toy. Just like that it would have been great, but all the backgrounds are different, so the lighting and highlighting and shading have to be different. It was a pain with time ticking away as always.

After that, there was the task of constructing an appropriate layout for the newspaper. I knew I had some freedom with space here — there is very little sports action locally during this time of year, so that usually means I can go as big as I want with these things. Following my trip to Toys R Us, I decided to go with the TOY BLOWOUT theme. I hopped online and extracted elements from their Biggest Book of Holiday Toys Ever! and went from there.

The end result was five days of graphic layout for the sports section of the newspaper. Lots of work hours. Lots of layers. Lots of back-up layers so I could retrace my steps when I screwed up. I was pretty pleased with the results. Frankly, the toys can come out better, but, I’d need more time and a truckload of skill.

As far as shout-outs are concerned, one guy stands out. His name is Jeremy and you can find him here.

Till next season folks! Congratulations to all the athletes.

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