Color Key Process Work

We’ve shown a lot of color keys, we let’s take a look at what went into the design of a few of the more complex ones.

The initial forest key we shared earlier went through a few different drafts, taking it from a more temperate forest that wouldn’t look out of place housing The Master Sword, to a more tropical one.

forest progression

The ferns and vines in the canopy help this one feel more congruent. The fact that it’s this dense is also intentional to show that this isn’t a normal wood she’s wandered into.

Next up the painted forest. We always knew we were going to do the kente cloth designs. Initially they were splotchy like graffiti.

blue progression 2

We streamlined the look to be able to put in more patterns, and make them look more like carvings or something very meticulous as opposed to the broad-strokes original version. As the image evolved the contrasts got deeper and gradients sharper, giving it a more cartoony look we hope to match the final more than the ‘soupy’ painting look in the middle.

Finally we come to the marsh which didn’t even exist in early drafts of the script. Instead we had a sequence where the Spider would create a scary fantasy sequence around Z, and then it would all fade away. Pink elephants.

The marsh is an updated version of the nightmare sequence that makes it a physical challenge as well as a psychological one. We felt this gave the sense that she was earning her happy ending as opposed to just having it be handed to her. It will also link back to the caravan scene in a meaningful way.

Marsh 01-Recovered

Once we knew we were doing the marsh, the concept came together rather quickly. A few iterations later and gabrielaepstein gave us the right sense of mystery and wonder while keep a foreboding mood about it.


The marsh also lets Zahara and Ayan go on a mini-adventure instead of him just going into exposition mode and explaining the plot right here. Show don’t tell.

If they’re going to be a hero sidekick duo let’s watch it grow instead of just having it be there.

Ck 12 Redo 2

More to come.


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