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A peek under the hood of M&M

January 26, 2011

Mutants & Masterminds GM Kit Art Tour

Visitors to the Atomic Think Tank have already seen the fantastic artwork gracing the banner at the top of the page. It was created by the Imaginary Friends studio to grace the front of the screen in the upcoming M&M GM Kit and Quickstart Character Generator. 

Now, let's take a look at how the artwork developed over the last couple of months. 

Art Description 
As usual, we started with the art description, here's how it went: 

This is classic "heroes and villains charge each other illustration" so popular on comic books covers. I'd prefer the heroes to be on the left and the villains on the right. The background is split in two, on the heroes' side it's bright and sunny, but then as we move to the right, towards the villains, the sky looks more stormy and threatening the farther we go. In the sky, between the clear, sunny sky on the heroes' side and the dark stormy side of the villains' side, put the skeletal, glowing face of Omega looking down on the battle below. The head/face should be disembodied and surrounded by more crackling energy. 

Then I went on describe the heroes and villains to include in the image and what they were doing. That would take up a lot of space, so I'm not going to include it, but you get the idea of what I described by looking at the image anyway. One of the things I wanted to make sure to do was include some of the Freedom City characters alongside the Emerald City characters. It was important to Steve and I to get across the idea that these two cities exist in the same world and even though we're spending a lot of time on Emerald City, we haven't abandoned Freedom City. I think the final image gets that across in a spectacular fashion. 

The Art! 
Here's the first sketch they sent. 

FirstSketch.jpg

It's already looking awesome and this is only the first sketch! Even so, we had a couple of comments: first, Kid Robot's head looked a bit blocky, and second, we noticed there weren't very many women, so we proposed a change. Next sketch, please.... 

SecondSketch.jpg

Here we see Captain Thunder replaced by Princess and Stratos replaced by Madame Macabre. Kid Robot's head has changed a bit and Lady Liberty has moved a tad to the left and she's picked up a flagpole from somewhere. Overall, it looks great, so it's on to coloring! 

FirstColor.jpg
It's always weird to see an image only partially finished, but the parts on the far left that are done look amazing! I was really blown away by the style and direction the piece was headed and excited to see the next step! And here it is!
SecondColor.jpg
All right! I love the way the heroes are looking! Steve and I ask for a dragon to be added to Dragoneye's shirt and a lightning-like effect to be added to Johnny Rocket, but otherwise It's really coming along. Oh, and it's nice to see they remembered to make Cosmo blue. But what about the villains....
ThirdColor.jpg
There we go! The roughly blocked in bits of color give a good sense of what they're going to look like when finished--and the couple of villains that are already done look great! You'll also notice the skull-like face in the clouds has changed size and position; that's because the artist noticed that it wasn't aligned with the center of the image and moved it around to correct that. It looks good to me!
FourthColor.jpg
Bam! Just like that they send us the final piece! The villains are finished, well-defined, and have all their energy effects around them. Wow, talk about blown away! Steve, Hal, and I (as well as everyone else at Green Ronin) geeked out about this image quite a bit! We really didn't have any major comments at this point. They'd included everything we asked for and produced a truly amazing piece of art we hope you're all excited to see on the GM screen!

GM Kit Coming Soon!
Now that we have the art, we can soon go to press with the GM screen and the quickstart character generator that goes with it. You should see that particular product on your store shelves within the next couple of months (as long as overseas shipping doesn't throw us for a loop). For now, you can enjoy these images and the banner at the top of the Atomic Think Tank.

Thanks for giving this a read and we hope you enjoy the art!

Jon Leitheusser
M&M Line Developer