The postseason of Layer Tennis got off to a great start with the first match of the afternoon, pitting seasoned vet Mark Weaver against qualified qualifier, Emory Allen. By the time the 10 volleys were over, the crowd had been treated to a battle of wits and a story filled with both redemption and loss, all the hallmarks of a great match and then some. We sat down with Emory and Mark after the skirmish had ended to get their thoughts.
Now that we've wiped away our tears over the passing of your beloved red character, how do you think the match went?
EA: It was great! Much different than I pictured it, but that's the fun thing about playing a live design game like this. I'm a little bruised now but none the worse for wear.
How much conversing/planning did you two do before meeting on the court? Did you plan on creating and carrying something narrative from start to finish?
MW: We did absolutely no planning for this match, so I didn't know what was coming on that first volley or what course the match would take.
EA: As with my qualifying match, I felt that the less planning we did before hand, the more spontaneous and, therefore, fun it would be.
Over time, we got to know the monster and the red guy, as the lovable oaf and the constantly put-upon everyman. Looking at the whole story, Emory, you seemed to play to the crowd's heart, giving the little guy things to be happy about or sentimental moments. Mark, on the other hand, you crushed his dreams (and ultimately his body). Anything this says about your personalities? Which character do you relate to more?
EA: I knew I was the underdog going into the match. With that serve, I was actually trying to represent myself as the monster, since it's part of my signature style, and place Mark as the little guy. I even picked red because of Mark's last Layer Tennis match where he used red to great effect. When the story got flipped on me, I had to believe that the little red guy could make it! In that light, it was probably a mistake to bury him in my last volley.
MW: Emory had mentioned backstage that he felt like the underdog, so I assumed the large monster represented me and the red guy was him. That's why I was trying to kill Red the entire match. :-)
Why don't we ever see the monster's face?
MW: Interesting question. Not really sure why. Any thoughts on that, Emory? I actually spend almost all of my 15 minutes drawing the monster's face for Layer 4, but wasn't happy with the way it turned out in the end, so I went a different direction.
EA: I suppose once the monster turned out to be you, I couldn't put a face on it. This is the first time we've ever spoken (or rather, typed) to each other, and we didn't really chat too much before the match. A faceless giant seemed appropriate.
Emory, this was your first time in the Layer Tennis big leagues and during the playoffs no less. How was that?
EA: Pretty nerve-wracking actually. My hands were shaking a little bit when I was creating the serve. I was worried if I was actually ready for the Big Time. Like, maybe the other qualifiers were looking to me and asking "What makes him worthy?" Fortunately, while the match is going, there's not too much time to dwell on stuff like that.
Mark, you're the seasoned vet here, yet you pulled a sly move by working in Emory's style until the last half of the match. Was that a calculated move?
MW: Yes, I wanted to see if I could play Emory's game and mimic his style. That lasted for my first 2 volleys and by Layer 6 I felt like I needed to change the direction of that match visually.
Did that throw you at all, Emory, his not giving you something more "Mark Weaver" and using your own weapons against you?
EA: I was really thrown when I saw Mark's first volley and it was in my style. It almost seemed like I was playing against myself for a little bit, going against Nega Emory. I was expecting more of a style/concept battle than a narrative one. It was nice to stay in my comfort zone, but I just knew there was a trap waiting for me; a really cool vintage collage trap.
Emory again, can you walk us through a little of your technical process, from how you illustrate to the background, textures you use, etc.?
EA: When I illustrate in that style, I like to keep the drawings concept based. Stylistically, I keep it a little more simple so that the message can come through. To that end, I have a set of textures (which I didn't end up using for the match) and one brush preset in Photoshop that I use. I also almost always add noise. Adding texture and noise just seems to bring my digital drawings to life. It adds a bit of randomness to compositions and line work which is usually very deliberate.
Mark, since you were keeping within Emory's "look" for that first half, what was your process in keeping things looking Emory-esque?
MW: I just broke down what I thought his process would be to make that first volley (having the layered psd helped a lot). On my first volley, I immediately had the idea of the monster grabbing the red character, so I sketched out the arm and the type, trying to mirror Emory's pen strokes. I scanned that in and colored it in Photoshop.
Any favorite layer from your opponent?
EA: Mark's last layer. "Red Is Dead" will haunt me for a while.
MW: Emory's Layer 5, with the guy surfing and crying at the same time, made me chuckle.
Thanks again for playing and kicking off the playoffs in such fine form.
EA: Thanks, Mark! You kept me guessing the whole time!
MW: Thanks for having me!
Congratulations to Mig Reyes, Layer Tennis Season 3 Champion.
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.
Cast your votes on The Championship Match. Both Finalists will receive invitations to play in the post-season tournament for Season Four.
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.
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