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Archive for May 2007:

Royal yurbles, second opinion

First reaction: what on earth is that?

After the first shock, these aren't so bad. But they're rather outlandish - they've got the whole Wagnerian opera thing going, and they don't really look royal. I do like when the artists try something less standard for royal, but this is too far out there. The elephantes are fabulous, with their Indian theme. The korbats as Romans Altadorians are nice. But this?

Putting that issue aside and focusing more on how they actually look, I still don't like them. Both seem far too busy - particularly the royalgirl - and the wigs are doing them no favors. Neopets should not have long flowing locks, even if they're stand-ins for manes. It looks like the royalgirl's braids are trying to mimic the curly things on a standard yurble's head, but they're backwards - it might be a nice touch otherwise. The colors on the girl are lousy - blinding pink next to a shade of green that would be nice on its own. And her dress is all crumpled and shapeless, looking a couple sizes too big. The royalboy is decent, I suppose. The color scheme is much better; the detail around his hem is nice without being distracting. I can imagine that if he'd lose the braids and curls, he'd look much better, and maybe with customization that will be possible. It's hard to tell right now.

Discussion thread.

Royal Yurbles

These are the first pets in a colour which was previously a redrawn colour since the big revamp- certainly they are distinctive from the average colourfill. However, are they distinctive in a good way? I'm not sure they are. The clothing style appears to be classical/Greco-Roman, but it is hard to tell exactly because the yurbles' bodies are wide and short, and the wigs obscure much of the detail around the shoulders.

The headpieces dominate a lot of the pet, and the shines and lack of black outline make them stand out as being rather different in artistic style to other neopets- and with the rest of the pet. Of course, with the clothing system as it is, it is quite possible a different artist drew each different clothing item. It is not easy to see much of the tunics the pets are wearing, but the colours chosen are pleasant and go well with the base colours- it is worth noting the base colour of the male yurble, as the burgundy shade used is rare among Neopets, but is pleasant.

Although many pets gain hair in their royal versions, I think the yurbles went a little too far. The colours used for the hair are quite nice and the hair itself is well drawn. The plait coils in place of the yurble ear coils are a cute feature too. Again, though, although the hair on its own might look nice the overall result is cluttered.

These pets could divide opinions over whether they are nice or not- for me, the shines are excessive and the style of the headpieces too different from the rest of the pet. Perhaps with customisation removing some of the detail the pets would appear less cluttered.

Discussion thread here.

Electric and Jelly Koi, second opinions

For koi day, it looks like we have two spectacularly uninteresting colors. Both should have had a lot of potential - especially electric - and both fail badly.

I can't figure out at all what's going on with Jelly. The color is awful. Why would they ever choose that dark shade of orange? All jelly pets so far have been nice bright colors, whether it was blue or orange or red. This? I would be very reluctant to eat any jelly this color. Besides the sheer unappetizingness of it, the details just don't show up. The face is in a lighter shade and looks very odd. And the normal transparency that you would get with jelly pets is completely missing (unless they've removed that - I don't know of any jelly pets to check).

[Thelonetiel points out that it may be a mistake on the part of the person doing the news, that they might actually be transparent and placed on a gray background, which would make the color darker. It is of course impossible to be sure unless they change the news (unlikely) or until someone zaps a koi jelly.]

Electric is less awful, but still uninspiring. The tail is again much too dark - what's up with that? The color scheme is standard electric, which isn't bad, but doesn't really look electric without lightning bolts or anything. It looks like the stripes may be lightning bolts, actually, but it's very hard to tell with the whisker-things in the way. The main lost potential here is the fact that there's no angry pose to have sparks in, but that's just something we're going to have to live with. Still, it seems to me that a creative artist could add a few in the standard pose, much as they added the aura for glowing (in the instance of glowing, if you cover the pet up with clothing you still have the aura around it, which I think is pretty neat).

Have your own say on the discussion thread.

Electric and Jelly Kois

Oh dear. Not only did the koi suffer in the revamp, gaining a somewhat disturbing anthropomorphic fist in place of a fin, but the colours for its pet day are terrible.

Electric has the characteristic bright blue base colour, however, the lighter coloured accents are mostly lost on the pet- the fins on a koi are already a ligher colour because they are transparent (or should be...). The zig-zags on the body are obscured by the fins on the side of the face (at this point I shall apologise- my fish anatomy is poor, and these probably have a proper name) and the overall result is something that looks natural but does not look distinctively electric. In comparison to the basic coloured kois, the face has lost the patchy pattern and transition from dark to light- this is not present on all painted kois, but what is there in its place is less interesting- the light blue colour is simply in a "V" shape, although perhaps on a larger image these would be clearer as zig-zag bolts.

I have neglected to mention the tail until now, but here is more of a technical issue than an aesthetic one: this area should be transparent, but whoever created this image from the flash file forgot to ensure it was properly transparent, resulting in the tail having completely the wrong colours. And this neatly leads on to Jelly...

It is actually impossible to comment on the artistic merit of the jelly koi, because the transparency (or lack of it) has effectively made this pet a blob of brown goo. It's possible to assume it was intended to be orange jelly, which is fine, but the translucent orange on a grey background has resulted in a mess, quite frankly. I'm actually amazed that no one picked up on the problem before it was released- and the staff member who posted the news and let it pass must have been half asleep. Thankfully there is no dung pet colour yet, but until this koi gets fixed it's doing a rather good impression of it.

Hopefully it will be possible to re-review these colours when they are fixed, and not without great delay. Until then, anyone labbing a koi should cross their fingers and hope the lab scientist is merciful.

Discuss these colours here

Checkered and Desert for Moehog Day, second opinions

Checkered's not a colour that I've ever been especially interested in and I don't think this moehog is going to change my mind about that. In its favour, the checks are actually following the contours of the body - you'd think that would be a given, but apparently it's not. The subtle checks on the mohawk are a rather nice touch too. My main complaint is that I just find it all too... busy. It's a bit overwhelming, and it's actually remarkably difficult to see the details and lines of the pet in amongst the black and white. Inevitable I suppose, given the colour.

Overall it's not exactly a stellar "so *that*'s what I should paint [pet]" type colourfill, but it's not awful either. It's just rather... forgettable, I suppose. If you asked me in 10 months if there's a checkered moehog, I'd probably not remember. Then tell you to paint your moehog skunk if you want a cute grey/white mix moehog.

Desert, on the other hand, is really rather lovely. Nothing revolutionary, just a nice competent execution of what is, at its best, one of my favourite colours. The palette works well - the sandy brown body working well as a backdrop for the little touches of bright gold and turquoise, the kohl is not so heavy-handed as it can be and the snake headdress is rather cute. It's not overloaded with accessories but nor does it look overly bare. My only real complaint is the band on the leg - whilst it looks like it's been drawn very nicely, it's far too fine detail compared to the rest of the pet, so it looks like it's come from a completely different drawing altogether. But that's a pretty small complaint in a generally very nice pet - and once the customisation's working properly you could even remove it if desired.

I must confess I was a little surprised to see that Moehogs already had 36 colours, leaving only a handful available for release - and most of them are the 'novelty' ones like biscuit, snot, custard and chocolate. When's the last time they made a gold pet anyway? Not to mention the ever-popular invisible.

With that in mind, I'd say this is a pretty excellent moehog day.

I must admit though that the most exciting thing about these moehogs is that they're almost filling the 150x150 square! It's now only a few pixels smaller than the old happy moehog. Compare: userlookup size moehog, new checkered moehog, old happy pose. Glad to see that TNT have realised that only allowing us to preview colours in the '80x80' pose (as was) is frankly rather silly.

Agree? Disagree? Have your say in the discussion thread.

Checkered and Desert Moehogs

First of all, a big thanks to TNT for finally giving us larger images to look at! Those tiny ones were going to make this job difficult.

Discussion thread.

So, checkered first. It's not that interesting, like most checkered pets (sadly, because doing all the checks is a lot of work for the artist and you'd think they could do something better with their time). There's nothing obviously wrong with it. The checks are neither too small nor too large. An average pet.

Colors can be a little tricky when they try to add a lot of accessories, so desert shows admirable restraint. I count three: a bracelet, a headdress, and a cape thingy. They will all no doubt be detachable. The color choice is nice, with the turquoise contrasting nicely with the gold, though the snake's eyes on the headdress I think might look a bit better in a darker color. The hair hanging down behind is a little odd. I've never liked hair on Neopets. However, it could be worse: witness the cybunny or ixi. And moehogs do have their mohawk to start with, of course.

Overall, desert is well drawn and likeable. If you remove the accessories, you're left with a tan moehog with a black mohawk, and eye makeup, which could make for an interesting base for other clothes.

News Posting

We now have three news posters who'll be updating this blog: daisybell, EofS, and oogabooga. They'll be giving their opinions on new colours and occasionally new features on Neopets, so I plan to hand this over to them and never post again :)