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Layer Tennis

posted by Geert Leyseele
14 January 2008

Layer Tennis is a live design event. Originally called "Photoshop Tennis" this season brings Adobe Flash and After Effects matches, too...Gulp! Two designers swap a file back and forth in real time, adding to and embellishing the same piece.

Each designer has fifteen minutes to complete a "volley" and then the latest version is posted to the event site. A third participant, a writer, provides play-by-play commentary on the action, as it happens.

Veerle got to play too

Veerle Pieters, our founder and CEO got an invite to play against her good friend Cindy Li. Below you'll find an overview how the live design event progressed over time.

Volley 1

After winning the coin flip I was up first up, so that was kind of a relief for me and for Cindy as well as I learned later. My first task was to come up with a good idea to kick things off. I already decided in my head to use a bit of humor. So for my first volley I created Cindy sleeping and I picked up on the fact that she is always thinking about ideas and has a hard time shutting down her brain. The Alias Cindy refers to her dreaming that she was on a mission after watching too many seasons in a short time span. The Veerle voodoo doll was my idea of some healthy competition.

Click the images to see them at their original size.

Volley 1

Volley 2

I was quite nervous while I was waiting for her serve and the fact that she did it like in record time had me seriously worried for the rest of the game.

Volley 2

Volley 3

When I heard she was ready I immediately downloaded the file so I could start thinking up a way to respond. Remember you only have 15min so you have to watch time management carefully. A few minutes for brainstorming, creation and refinement if you still have time left. The evil rabbits gave me idea to use my evil streak and make the creatures eye snatching rabbits. I used the Alias Cindy from the first volley and drew a hole in her eye socket and created an eye in a pile of blood :) I also gave the orange rabbit some sharp claws. Pirates have their parrots and Alias Cindy has her chick :) It was my intension to let some blood drip from the rabbit's claw, but I didn't have any time left. I didn't even notice I've misspelled rabbit :)

Volley 3

Volley 4

Luckily Cindy changed the theme or who knows how this would have ended :)

Volley 4

Volley 5

I always had the idea in my head that Layer Tennis is about implementing elements from your opponent in your serve. So that's what I tried to do in volley 5. I took the look into the light theme and gave it a psychedelic twist by adding that flashy background and the pills. It was my intention that the cute chicken got stung by the cactus but I didn't have time left again to place it a bit closer so that the message there was more clear.

Volley 5

Volley 6

I love what Cindy did here with the background and the text.

Volley 6

Volley 7

Cindy has me a bit worried with her volley, because it didn't give me much to work with so I tried to respond to the "It will not save you". I knew that I was going to use my funny geeky dog sooner or later so this seemed like the perfect opportunity. I've also tried to add a bit humor by inserting a subliminal message about a my country. But it seems the joke could have been lost as Belgian chicory is better known in the States as Belgian endive. They often use the word 'chicory' as English translation if the veggie is packed, and if it's on there in English as well. Maybe it's because endive here in Belgium is something else all together :) At least I tried :D

Volley 7

Volley 8

This serve marked the return of the evil looking rabbits. The little touch of adding skis to my geeky dog was smart.

Volley 8

Volley 9

I thought, OK this is my last volley so I better make it a damn good one. I was glad that Cindy gave me the opportunity to use the old system 7 bomb alert box. Before beginning the match I already had made my mind up that I was going to use that in some way. By using the rabbits again I created an error "evil bunny overload" and called it "ID = <li>" which I think was funny. It could even have been better if I used </li>.

Volley 9

Volley 10

In her last volley Cindy introduced her cute animals and I was surprised it took her so long, I was expecting this much earlier. The cheese and carrot was a nice touch :)

Volley 10

Game Over

It's unbelievable how fast time flies and 15min feels like 2. You really don't have time to make everything perfect, which is kinda hard if you know Veerle :)

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