Commentary by Bryan Bedell
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Week Ten Match Preview

Time and Space

Welcome to Layer Tennis’ first foray into the fourth dimension.

Considering the constraints of most modern browsers, we had to skip the third dimension (depth), so the fourth will have to do. Time has always been an essential element of the game, the competitors (and commentators) face a cruel 15-minute deadline, and — hear me when I say — those seconds tick away much faster at LT HQ than they do in your office, as you kill the waning hours of your work week.

This week, however, temporal space willl actually tear through our 900x280-pixel battlefield, as renowned illustrators Trevor Van Meter and James Hutchinson face off in Adobe Flash. I pity their poor souls; if designing/illustrating/typesetting a volley isn't enough to do in a quarter-hour, they must find time to animate the volley as well. While this added challenge is likely to simplify the actual graphic content of the match (fine by me, I'm a bit of a minimalist), we're likely to see some great storytelling, as both competitors excel in that area, and each has an arsenal of ready-made characters that would make old Walt D. blush. (As I write this, I'm getting word that James, at least, is creating a new set of characters just for the match).

An aside: Let me ruin your day by telling you this: I can't hear the word "Flash" without following it up, in my head, with Freddie Mercury screaming "aaah-aaah!" and then some Brian May guitar noodling. It's a cross I must bear, and now it's your curse too.

So anyway, Flash (aaah-aaah! He'll save everyoneofus! bwah-wah, bwah-wah, bwwah WOMP bump bump bump bump) shall make its Layer Tennis debut, the ref (it's my fat a** in that striped shirt every week) shall become the commentator, and pixelated gurus shall battle snotty space kids in four dimensions (we'll all do our best to fake some sort of depth).

The shoes left behind by previous commentators (luckily for me, they're size 10.5 Diadoras) will be hard to fill (metaphorically, in reality the fit is pretty accurate). I will do my best to avoid sports/war references and to not talk about myself the whole match. I will fail miserably. I will try not to make obscure Dennis-Milleresque references to second-tier European football clubs, vintage motorscooter wiring diagrams, or bands that opened for Superchunk back in '93, and there, I will also fail. I yam who I yam. But I'll try to keep things moving and semi-insightful.

I've spoken to Trevor and James and they've been communicating as well (They've collaborated in the past, more on that during the match). From what I can tell, they each have a very solid individual game plan, and a bit of a collective framework sketched out to keep their sanity. Their dossiers:


(aka "James") is English in origin, but relocated to NYC a few years back due to, as the INS put it, "EXTRAORDINARY ABILITY." See his work at I've got other interesting stuff to say about him, but I need something to talk about during the match.


(aka "VanBeater") hails from eastern North Carolina, which doesn't look too exciting in the satellite view in Google Maps, but what do I know? At least it's sort-of near an ocean, that must be nice. Trevor's personal and professional sites are conjoined at Again, more biographical details will be revealed during the match.


are skilled illustrator/animators with schloads of great commercial and personal work. Both excel at creating and developing animated characters. Both can work in a wide range of styles. They seem to speak the same language, so this should be pretty amazing as a battle and as a collaboration.


(aka "Beeb," "Bb," "The Ref") Bryan Bedell feels weird writing about himself in third person. He is a designer at Coudal Partners, and he regularly obsesses about motorscooters at 2strokebuzz. Bryan is very happily married, so, like, back off, ladies.


Here's how the game works. Sign up for free Season Tickets to get all the latest information and participate in voting, contests and more. You can also subscribe to our Layer Tennis RSS feed and follow along via Twitter.

Official Coin Flip

Check out The Ref.

Live Match Blog

Congratulations to Mig Reyes, Layer Tennis Season 3 Champion. jc-12.20

Thanks to all the players, commentators and fans who made Season Three of Layer Tennis a big success. And thanks to the crew at Goodby Silverstein & Partners and all the folks at Adobe Creative Suite for making it possible. Watch this space (or sign up for Season Tickets or follow us on Twitter) for news about some special exhibition matches being planned and about Season 4. jc-12.20

Cast your votes on The Championship Match. Both Finalists will receive invitations to play in the post-season tournament for Season Four. jc-12.17

Here's how the voting works. Decide who you'd like to declare as winner and then simply tweet their first name following a hash mark. Either #mig or #noper and, this is important, also include #lyt in that tweet. We'll leave the voting open all weekend and announce our Season Three Champion on Monday. jc-12.12

Schedule and Archive

Find links to all the matches played previously and check on matches to come here.

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