2:41 PM | Pubblicato da Emiliano Santalucia | | Edit Post
I'm not an hypocrite, I have nothing against fans website making money. People put lot of efforts in creating and maintain websites and basically help companies promoting their brands for free. So there is nothing wrong with a website using advertisements to generate some revenues.
And there is nothing wrong, at least in my opinions, if fans help out a site with voluntary donation, when such site actually need them, or a special fundraiser is done every once in a while to help with special updates and upgrades of the service offered. And that's what we did when I was still part of He-Man.org.
But what if the site doesn't need a direct help from the fans anymore in terms of donations?
In the middle of the recent Castle Grayskull credit cards debacle, HM.org "former" admin had the great idea of spamming HM.org users inbox with a message to help the site by using the Amazon referrals banner.
At least they then had the decency of trying to focus more on the actual issues with Grayskull, even if that didn't go that well at the beginning (Scott Neitlich didn't miss the chance to pick on his customers once again).
But not long after, users' inbox has been spammed with another message, by the newly appointed "administrator" of the site, Jon Kallis.
The message advises the users they will be receive more notices on how to help the site and changes and upgrade to the forum.
The former though, is another request to "help" the site.
My question at this point is: why does the site needs help by its users?
Less than 2 years ago, the site costed about $400 per month. I have an hard time thinking maintenance costs have gone much higher than that.
At the same time, the site was doing roughly $1200 per month through advertisement programs such Google adsense. I know this number for a fact because I was the owner to the Adsense account that generated the ads for the site.
So, we can easily say the site doesn't need help and it's turning a small profit for the owners.
Of course Val Staples believes that the cost of the site also means repaying him for all he has spent since 1998, way before he even considered ads.
That nonsense aside though, the question now is, why the site still needs "help" from the fans?
Where is this money going? Are the new collaborators of the site, including Kallis in his new position, being paid by Val? And so are we asked to pay for their compensation?
Why all of a sudden there is all this need to put an extra efforts to ask people to give HM.org even more money than what it already does?
Why we're asked to give these people money when the site actually don't need it?
One answer could be that profits went down considerably, but Val has been adamant about the traffic being consistent and "more than before". And my sources tell me the Adsense money shouldn't have changed too much, not to the point of not covering the site expenses for sure.
What we know for sure, is that we'll get more more requests in the future to help HM.org financially -well, you will, apparently I don't received that honor - a site that doesn't need it that help, but that of course will always refusea to disclose its financial situation to the people being asked for money.
But, everyone considering donating money or clicking on those Amazon banners should ask the question: where does the money go?
4:59 PM | Pubblicato da Emiliano Santalucia | | Edit Post
And I came across this one, taken at the BCI booth at the San Diego Comic Con in 2006. It was the second time I met Lou and this photo really says what I felt this man was: a wonderful, funny and sweet person, that has been part of my life for many years, even if I didn't get to meet him until I was a grown man.
I'm leaving to people much more closer to him and much more expert than me to remember his amazing life and achievement. James, Andy, Tom have written wonderful words about him yesterday, after we all have been saddened by the news of his passing away.
I can probably talk better about how Lou effected my life. See, to me He-Man had a few dads. Mark, Ted, Lou. All of them brought something to the world of Eternia. Lou brought the heart.
I was already a fan of He-Man when the MOTU cartoon by Filmation was released, and it took me some time to accept it. Over the years, I realized though how fondly I always remembered that show, and how much it had actually contributed to my beloved characters. But only until I got to really study it and understand the cartoon and Filmation, also thanks to my friends James, Alessandra and Andy, during the years of the work on the BCI DVD, that I fully realized the full impact of Lou's studio not only on the franchise, but also on me.
I'm not going to exaggerate things. Lou didn't do everything by himself. But that was one of his great merits. By what I can read in his friends and former employees' words, he was a great leader. He was able to surrounds himself with great creative people that he treated like family and made feel at home at Filmation.
And he had a vision. And through that vision, and the talents that worked with him, he contributed to shape magical worlds, awesome characters and wonderful stories.
My family was great, they gave me so much in terms of education and morality. But I know, I know, that deep down, the good heart of the Filmation Masters of the Universe touched me and thought me so much. And I know it must have been the same for many people around the world. Lou was a very open minded individual, and through his cartoons, he was able to transmit that and show kids how to embrace and accept diversity, how to be stand up people, how to sympathize for and take care of others. Filmation cartoons may seem a bit naive now, but if anybody take the time to look past the stock system, the slapstick humor, the simple stories, it will become apparent not only the amazing amount of talent the people at Filmation had, but the heart that everybody poured into the company and its productions. He touched all of our lives and also taught something to each of us at the same time.
I think that is an amazing accomplishment for a man.
Lou to me is one of the giants of animation, I will never forget the time spent with him. He was sweet, gentle, and kind. And made us laugh, which is something that should never be underestimated.
Lou was the voice of Orko.
I now like to imagine how Orko looks under the hat, and imagine he is actually looking like Lou.
Maybe Orko was just Lou all the time, fooling us all, because he could go out there and play the part of little kid, and be the kids' pal that invited us in his magical world.
Without Lou, I feel like there are less colors on the painting palette today.
Even if I'm not religious at all, I like to think he rejoined his beloved Jay, just in time to celebrate his birthday with her.
Addio Lou, grazie ancora di tutto.
1:01 PM | Pubblicato da Emiliano Santalucia | | Edit Post
I honestly can't think of an article that could be more misleading and insulting for our intelligence.
I will provide everybody a guide where the article fails to make sense.
If you were at Power-Con, saw the video from our Mattypalooza panel, or read the News story here, then you know we revealed some ridiculously awesome new figures, including Scorpia, Blade, and Glimmer.
When we got to Glimmer, some of you asked about her skirt and we promised to look into it. We did and here’s the deal…
First, the issue is that some of our newer female figures (Shakoti, Octavia, Glimmer) have wider and/or longer skirts compared with 2012’s Marlena or the paint master from the Four Horsemen for our 2014 Scorpia figure.
We spoke with design manager Ruben Martinez and toy designer Mario Aguirre and they explained Marlena was able to feature a bodysuit-style tunic because she doesn’t articulate at the waist. As Mario tells us, “Marlena has a full bodysuit and because this suit covers her entire torso, it has more rigidity, which helps the suit curve more closely to her body. To do this, it meant articulation of her abdomen and waist were sacrificed in the process.”
The articulation of her abdomen and waist have not been sacrificed to allow Marlena's bodysuit clothes curve closer to her body.
The tooling for that body already existed for Teela and Adora. It was the cloth that was adapted to the existing body tooling, not the other way around.
The rigidity is a false problem. Many males figure have the crotch piece curving at the bottom of the crotch, and they are not part of a full body suit.
Figures that use this are: NA He-Man, Fang Man, Kobra Khan, Snake Face, Icarius/Slush head, and to an extent Snout Spout and Photog, Man-E-Faces etc. They all have twist waist articulation.
On the female, Starla and Tallstar. The different kind of articulation for the legs on those 2 cannot in any way influence the curve or the silhouette of the clothes.
Fans and customizer have proven a number of time, just by cutting the cloth and curving it with simple heat, that the leotard-shaped cloth is perfectly possible, doesn't hinder any articulation, doesn't look bad.
Customizer AlesandraF was among the firsts testing this even on Adora, cutting the body suit in two, and readjusting the bottom part, which, even with the different articulation, remained perfectly close to the body.
Now in the case of Scorpia, what you’ve seen to date is the paint master provided to our design team by the Four Horsemen. A paint master is a hand-painted, hand-sculpted prototype figure that has zero articulation.
The Four Horsemen prototypes are fully articulated.
To be technical, the prototypes have full functional articulation points. They are not engineered for mass production, but engineering articulations means adjusting size and resistance of the pegs, how they extend and attach to the body parts etc.
It's extremely offensive and disrespectful that the writer of this article keeps insulting not only the Four Horsemen by selling short their ability to create fully functional toys, but also customers and fans that are supposed to be that stupid to believe such a gigantic lie.
Now, on He-Man.org you're not allowed to use the word lie because it is said it is too strong and in court you'd need to be able to support your claims with evidence.
Well, we have evidence. All the prototypes we've seen from the 4H at conventions and on pics released by Mattel itself we can clearly see the articulation points. I've seen prototypes with my own eyes and I even helped casting spare parts at the studio, so I know first hand that the prototypes are articulated (Mattel legal team can relax, that was way before MOTUC)
From the paint master, the design team creates a figure that’s ready for production.CONFUSING
While it may be true that the design team works off the paint master, it's needed to clarify what a paintmaster is. As the name suggests, the paintmaster is created to provide the factory with a guide on how to paint the toy.
The factory is also provided with a tooling pattern, which can be just an unpainted figure on which the engineering happens and that is used to create the steel molds.
The paintmaster is provided with the articulation glued in place. The Paintmaster is meant to be looked at (and often used for display purposes), so due to fragile nature of the materials uses in the prototype, it's just easier to glue articulations. But they articulations are still there.
My suspect is that the incompetence demonstrated by the person writing this article originally leads him to believe: glued articulation = zero articulations. And even if he has been called out on this many times now, he keeps his habit to reiterate a wrong information on which he originally had no clue. And if it originally we could have dismissed that as an uninformed guess, now it's just a lie.
Once the paint master is converted to an articulated plastic figure, features like how the tunic or skirt hangs naturally get modified, especially when articulation is added.
The paintmaster is a color guide. It's more correct to say that the Prototype is converted in a plastic figure. But the articulations are not added. The articulations ALREADY present in the prototype are engineered for mass production and to meet safety standards. That still can lead to modifications, but not the way it's being presented to us here.
We think you’d agree our design team does an amazing job staying true to the design of the paint masters, but it’s nearly impossible to machine-produce articulated figures with the same level of detail as an unarticulated prototype and stay at our current price point.LIE
I don't agree at all that the design team does an amazing job. With stuff like Sorceress, reversed shoulders and the Rock People, I think exactly the opposite.
But what is interesting is that this article introduces a new excuse for their incompetence, that sums up to: we don't have to money to produce the toys we sold you the subscription on.
Not only is wrong, but is such a glaring lie. Just taking as an example the independent produced Four Horsemen toys, like Ghotitropolis figures or Seventh Kingdom figures we can see how is absolutely possible to machine produce articulated figures with the same level of detail of the prototype. And the numbers difference makes up for any price comparison.
So please keep in mind when you see a paint master that it’s a pre-production sculpt that will almost never look like a production piece.
So, what they are telling us is that they will always sell us a subpar product. A product that is sold at a premium price, as a high end collectible item, and that is shown us in prototype form in order to sell us a subscription.
They want us to commit to a full year of products that are now promised to fall short of expectations. And those expectations aren't too high, because as noted above there is plenty of evidence that what we're asking is absolutely possible.
So what about Glimmer? Fan feedback told us that articulation was one of the most important features you wanted in our figures, so the choice was made to give her an articulated waist and forgo the tighter fitting bodysuit-style tunic.
Such choice was never made.
The Glimmer figure follow exactly the figure's built by the Four Horsemen. Like all the recent female figures, she was always supposed to have articulated waist and full bodysuit-style tunic was never considered. In no way having the leotard style, with the tip of the cloth curving inward at the bottom, could have influenced the waist articulation.
At this point, she’s ready to go into production so what we showed at Power-Con is how she’ll be manufactured.
Ruben and Mario have completed a thorough investigation and every alternative meant we’d have to sacrifice articulation to stay at our current pricing, which is just not an option. So, for the foreseeable future, female figures will continue to have more of a skirt than a fitted bodysuit.
After all said above, why are we supposed to believe that curving the tip of the crotch cloth - like done by many customizers - should cost more money or hinder the waist articulation.
It's hard to tell is what is written in this article is just the result of an incredible incompetence on the part of the article writer or they are simply not telling us the real reasons.
The fact that Ruben Martinez himself stated at Power-Con that he "wasn't aware of the problem" says a lot though. My question to him would be: so the figures looked right to you?!
Etichette: Four Horsemen, Masters of the Universe, Masters of the Universe Classics, Mattycollector.com, MOTUC, Toy Design | 56 commenti
5:00 PM | Pubblicato da Emiliano Santalucia | | Edit Post
The discussion started with this picture of Grizzlor redesign for the comic, which proved to be originated at Mattel. The discussion's starter was wondering why people were blaming DC and not Mattel for those terrible redesigns. Other fans noted it was easy to blame DC, simply because it's a DC comic book. I won't blame fans for assuming that.
Yes, not for a moment I thought the designs were by DC, and other people pointed that out too, but of course fans can only go with what seems the most obvious explanation.
They took it to DC. Now, surprise surprise, the truth is slowly coming out. Despite Scott Neitlich telling yet another lie (thanks Grayskull outside He-Man.org we can call a spade a spade) when he stated new designs are created at DC, other authors stated differently (and had no reasons to lie about it) and now Mattel releases images that contradict themselves.
To be honest, I'm less offended by the designs than what I am from these guys believing we're going to believe all stuff they feed us.
A point is made by my good friend, that the trouble with our community is that we want it all exactly the same as we were kids, and it is never gonna be. Alcala fans want that's style and tone, Filmation fans want it like that visually, 200x fans want that style so there is no way to keep us all happy,
I disagree on that for the most part.
First of all the designs. They are bad. They are generic. This Grizzlor is merely "furry trollish guy". Stratos is now "Flying guy", then we have Armor guy etc.
I get to redesign Optimus Prime and Megatron once, twice a year at least, I know a things or two about redesigning characters. Let's focus on this one. He has been stripped down of most of his specific design elements, from both the original and the 2002 version. Unlike the 2002 version, not much has been added/improved. Anatomy has become generic nineties superhero brute. There is no shapes vocabulary used, no focus points, no extras that add personality to the character. Let's look at the 2002 version, and you'll find all of that.
Once again the point is not the "new stuff" being new, but the quality of the new stuff.
I was there in 2002, I remember the backlash for the 2002 redesigns and it was nothing compared to the disgust for this new comic. That backlash eventually turned in acceptance and embracing for the most. This is growing at best, to indifference.
So, I think that leads to my disagreement with my fiend's conclusions: the fans don't always want it all exactly the same as we were kids.
We embraced a new take, that was done well in many ways and we were already adults. The point is that 2002 series didn't deviate too much from the original.
The problem is when a series deviates so much to become completely unrecognizable. When that is the case, the only chance to succeed is to be executed with great quality. That was of the case of Transformers Beast Wars for example. Completely different take on the Transformers world, great writing, innovative (for the time) cartoon, awesome toys.
"No way to keep us all happy" is a at risk of becoming the next excuse for poor quality and execution.
Three different takes that majority of fans eventually embraced and remained iconic are mentioned above. That alone proves that when well executed, new takes can be appreciated and successful.
A word about the style too. MOTU had a tradition of naturalistic representation of human body (naturalistic isn't the same of realistic) and an outworldy approach to the environment. That is probably because of the artists approach to illustrations, Alcala, the entire Filmtion, Rudy Obrero, Bill George, even Bruce Timm. And myself included. I started with a "western manga" approach on the comic and quickly shifted to a more naturalistic style.
The only real deviation so far has been the 2002 series, but somehow that worked (again, quality and right use of the new elements filled the gaps)
Fans of MOTU are just used and "recognize" MOTU because of this. MOTU was never a superheroes comic. And making them looks like superhero is not working in terms of representation and design. it's just not that kind of material. Manga style did, because Manga is not just one thing. It's a much broader culture for illustration and storytelling.
Others said we may be suffering in a way from the lack of so many reboots and redesigns. Something other franchises' fans (like Transformer-fans) have grown more accustomed to. That is true to an extent too. But again, it's a matter of quality. And not all the TF reboots have the same quality. The amount of thoughts and study that goes into a Transformers reboot (from the whole concept to the single character redesign) completely put to shame the ridicule attempt this Grizzlor sketch represents.
Some may argue Transformers can count on bigger budget. And so? There is less money for MOTU so we should accept half asses reboots and redesign? How Mattel should expect MOTU to be successful if they don't put resources in trying to create a quality product? Which doesn't necessarily mean lots more money. Sometime just better designers are the key. Eric Treadaway single-handedly successfully redesigned all the characters in 200x, with great quality.
Geekdom in general is always angry and can look like its worst enemy, but that doesn't mean fans bickering doesn't still provide feedback. Smart marketing and analysts would be able to see through bickering and understand what the weak spots are for the brand. Of course, we don't have that privilege in MOTU.
That lead to the last part I was commenting on the group, where a reference is made to a thread about the new comic on He-Man.org has been closed to keep stuff in-topic. In this thread, Eamon and others offered a lot of different opinion and harshly criticized not only the execution of the comic but also the way people look at it.
Saying He-Man.org needs their mods to keep it on topic is clearly the mandate Val gave to excuse a very poor handling of the situation. I was in the He-Man.org Private Forum, I know how things goes there.
Val was the first at going off topic in that thread, using the worst and most ridicule arguments (to the point he insulted his own professionalismI in order to defend a comic he never read and made fun of Eamon too). Which leads to the usual stuff: the attempt to force the site to be be not too critical towards Mattel.
At the end the result is in front of everyone that wants to see it: to "keeps discussion on-topic" the thread with the most critical voices has been shut down. And the other one opened on the same topic only allows positive opinions.
Maybe some of you will believe it's a big word to use, but is not: that is fascism. I'm not accusing anybody to kill people or to try to make a golpe with the US government. In this case, it's simple the way power is handled and people's rights and opinions are handled.
Some of the mods can keep saying they don't want to take sides. The problem is that not picking my sides of Val's. The problem is how some of them are okay with this stuff. By remaining silent on fascism behavior, they are remaining silent on bullying other fans. They are in a position to speak up or walk away from something that they obviously shouldn't approve (unless someone approves fascism), but none of them currently do anything. And so the line between remaining silent and being an accomplice gets thinner.
Etichette: He-Man.org, Masters of the Universe Classics, Mattel, MOTUC, MOTUC Designs, New DC MOTU Comics | 21 commenti
5:00 PM | Pubblicato da Emiliano Santalucia | | Edit Post
Following the previous post about the Generation figures I designed (also visible here), here comes Waspinator!
I could almost do copy and paste from the Rhinox's post:
I worked on these with Joe Kyde. The process was pretty straight forward, so there aren't other sketches of alternate versions.
I could almost do copy and paste from the Rhinox's post:
I worked on these with Joe Kyde. The process was pretty straight forward, so there aren't other sketches of alternate versions.
Both bot and alt mode translated wonderfully to toy form, I'm so proud!
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