Layer Tennis

So I have placed this in the tutorial section, as although it is not strictly a tutorial, I did learn something from it, and after my initial thoughts of ‘What is this?’ and ‘I don’t get it…” once I grasped the concept I found it to be fun, stimulating thing. So what is Layer Tennis?

For those of you who don’t know what Layer Tennis is, I will direct you to here, where you can read all about it. A summary though is that one person creates a file that can be quite basic and can be created in say 20 minutes or so. They send it to the other person, who should take a design element, and work with to create their own piece. They send it back to the other person, and the cycle repeats.

So for this session there were three of us (yeah I’m not sure you can play tennis properly with three people but anyway… :P) who were doing this.

Here is the starting file.

Connor then edited the file to turn it into something different, so you can see he kept certain features, albeit heavily edited and bought in new ones.

Image courtesy of Connor Maynard

This then was passed onto Emily, who did the same process of changing the design, keeping some features but adding new ones. You can check out her blog here.

Image courtesy of Emily Viner

Finally, it came to me, and I made my changes. This was difficult as the design that had been created by Emily works very well I feel, and if I’m honest I did not want to alter it. But alter it I did, and as the idea of layer tennis can be to try out things and experiment (especially for the portrait project I am currently doing), I added in some extra detail to the sky such as the sun in one corner, progressing to a night sky in the other corner. I also added some ‘stars’ into the night sky, and moved the text to the bottom right corner, so it appeared to glow from the sun.  It is barely visible in this screenshot, so hey, maybe there’s something for the next person to fix. After all, layer tennis is about the evolution of a design, and it would be rude not to leave a starting point for someone wouldn’t it? 😛

Why do this and what did I learn from Layer Tennis?

  • With the limited time you are meant to have, you need to think fast. This can in some cases inspire creativity in a limited time, a helpful trait in industry.
  • It is a great way of trying out new concepts and ideas to gather opinion and to see whether they work or not.
  • I was inspired by seeing what other designers had come up with based on your work.
  • It is actually quite fun, think of it like a game of tennis, just focused on design instead.

So overall, I can see myself doing some more of this if I get a free moment. It may also be a quick way to trial ideas at the beginning of future projects with other people in my Graphic Design group.

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