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I'm having a bad day....

One of my new projects seems to be DOOMED and before I throw it out, I need some advice. Here it is a short description of my project (and some other bla bla):
But if your not interested in the whole story, just scroll down and see if you can answer my questions.

Matt Hawkins asked me to be in a book about papertoys, there was an interview and the last question I got was: "What's the future of papertoys?".
I don't know exactly what I answered but one answer should have been, that EVERYBODY should have the opportunity to create a custom skin and not only people who have Illustrator (or other design programs) skilzz.
Another answer should have been: customizing the paper models shape.

The first answer is already done by papercritters which has +14000 (!!!) models (which is a discussion on it self: do you want quality or ... ).
The second answer is the one I'm focusing on right now!

The starting point of the papercraft model would be Grumm (of course!) but only the body and head will be used of the original Grumm.
My idea was to create simple body-parts by extrusion (for the people that don't know what I mean:
An extrusion example:

This would be done in Flash so everybody who can go online would be able to create a customized Grumm.
So I started to experiment with different shapes, searched for inspiration in Gundam/Mecha and decided that the hand and feet are nice to create this way. I made a system to connect the hands/feet to the body in a way that the builder (you!) could decide the posture of the model (create your own hands/feet AND the posture of the model!!). And I tried to keep it simple!

This project rocks! I started to experiment in Flash if it would be possible (yes, it is possible) and I created the first model...

Here it is: it's just a prototype but you get the picture.
I still think it's great!

I came across something that looks very similar to the model that I made but that project is a vinyl toy.
(I'm not going the tell you who or what.... but it's kinda spooky: he also got inspired by the same stuff, and the prints he used would have been my choice also)

My questions are:
  • Does the model I made remind you of something?
  • If you do know what I mean, should I stop this project?
  • Is this project to close to the vinyltoy?
  • Give me advice in what to do.

Remember this: this model is a example, but in the end the builder (internet user) will create it's own body-parts

If hope you could help me out, that would be great.
(I have put a lot of time into it, but if it's to close I will abandon this project immediately!)

:::::: Update #1 ::::::

The model that I'm talking about:

Nick Mannion's MOD:1 Robot Figure

:: Influenced by the early 80’s Transformers TV show
:: MOD:1 are Ultra Stylised Robots with custom graphics
:: Designed by Artist Nick Mannion
:: Features removable blaster/jet pack accessory
:: Toy stands 7" tall and 13" Wide
:: Comes in window display box

:::::: Update #2 ::::::

Thank you all for your comments.
I going to finish this project :) (oh I'm such a drama queen)

These are the comments that convinced me:

* This model is an evolution of Grumm (true)
* It's paper
* that inspiration sometimes hits multiple people
* the forms are perfect to build with paper
* The world of designer toys is crowded by robots, monkeys and mecha's
* Everybody seems to love this project (and I like it too)

So thx for the comments and I hope I can show you something soon!

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Dude, sometimes inspiration just hits 2 people at the same time.

Meanwhile, your toy is a project, his is a toy.

Ever since I saw "papercritters" I was hoping someone would pick up the gauntlet in creating a customizer that allowed for customizing body parts too. (I'm just not that technical, unfortunately)

Please keep on doing what you are doing.

PS: To me that picture looks like a evolution of Grumm, nothing else.
I saw your earlier flash tests for papercrafts, nice thinking. I've no idea about vinyl toys, therefore i don't know which one you refer to. My first to impressions about the shape was a) head is Grumm and b) hands/feets look mechano-robot like. I guess the thing with vinyl toys often goes in the same direction as papertoys: simple shapes. And there are only so many variations you can create while keeping it simple and in the same context - referring to robots.

IMO if both (paper & vinyl) just got inspired by the same influences and therefore look similar, just do your thing. If your shape evolved before you saw his toy, it's yours as much as his.I doubt they look that similar, but if you call it spooky probably they do.
Maybe while working further on your flash project the model will evolve further anyway?

PS: Dramatic is only the title, not the topic. ;)
PPS: I only realized now on the picture that you do very clever prototyping when it comes to the limbs. *creates mental note*
It kind of reminds me of a vinyl toy that I have been waiting to buy. I like that it reminds me of it and would love a chance to customize and build one. I don't think it's too close to that design to warrant you stopping the project. I think you should continue with it and let us all build it. I'm going to send you the name of the toy I think it resembles so i don't influence everyone's opinion.
Just another example of parallel evolution. Wisps in the noosphere. I say go for it. I don't know much about vinyl toys, (in fact I find the whole exclusivity of them rather annoying) so I can't say much about it resembling something else. It's very ambitious what you're trying to accomplish, but I think it's gonna be quite cool in the end.
Wow, this sounds like a killer project, what an awesome idea. I doesn't ring any bells as a vinyl toy, for me at least. I think it looks like the next evolution of your Grumm model. You have a history of work that shows this evolution and i think it would be hard to argue that you didn't come by it honestly, even if it does share some common influences with what another designer has done.
I ran into a similar situation with Comic Monkey model. I was selling them at a comic con and a little girl came up and said that looks like the monkey from Camp Lazzlo, a show on Cartoon Network. I got home and looked it up and sure enough they had a similar head structure. i know how you feel. For a little while i was just going to scrap it. But the more i thought about it, I felt like it was just an evolution of my work and was as valid as what some one else who came up with.
Besides the Vinyl toy thing is getting so directive that I see very few signs of originality in any of it.
So I say keep on keeping on with a great project.
Your model immediately reminded me of that new, "mech" looking vinyl, who's name I can not remember. But it is not the same thing. Your design is more "humanoid" where the one I'm thinking of is far more "robot". And, yours is paper. I would not worry about that in the least.
It is absolutely true, as Tephlon said, that inspiration sometimes hits multiple people at once. It happens to me much more than I care to admit. If I had a nickel for every good idea that someone else seems to have had just a moment sooner..... sigh. ;)

And it sounds like your digital model designer will be awesome! By all means, do proceed, please.
Hi Matthijs,

Think you mean the MOD:1model by Nick Mannion?

Some time ago i made some new toy sketches, During the process i found this model and damn ... the arms and legs looked like this model too. I think it's just a great model and the forms are perfect to build with paper...

I think, just like the other guys said, it's part of the evolution of Grumm and your design skills. Go on with it, I think loads of people [including me] can't wait to see the coming steps of your project!

;) Ring
Yeah, that's the one. MOD:1

Thanks Ring!
OK, took a look at MOD:1 and nope, I wouldn't have thought of it anyway. The head and torso are completely different. The proportion of the limbs as well. And agree with Marshall... a lot of elements will be shared among various toys.

Nick Mannion's MOD:1 Robot Figure

:: Influenced by the early 80’s Transformers TV show
:: MOD:1 are Ultra Stylised Robots with custom graphics
:: Designed by Artist Nick Mannion
:: Features removable blaster/jet pack accessory
:: Toy stands 7" tall and 13" Wide
:: Comes in window display box

So, he has similar shapes...

I am/was working on a "walker" that looks reminiscent of this/yours/the AT-AT's from Starwars. Inspiration happens.
...and when I looked at the mod1 I was immediately reminded of the work of a digital graffiti artist named Jeff Huang. I also think of what if the guy who designed the Qee didn't finish because it looked too similiar to the bearbrick, hehe, point is I say continue, if all goes well it will evolve beyond you anyway.

Of course I think the idea of a papertoy generator based on protrusions is awesome. You could even "try" to design a model that was reminiscent of a toy you liked or simply can't afford! Who would know, because the toy you made would be sitting on your shelf and different from everyone elses. And if the coloring works anything like Papercritters, the whole idea of it being too similar to another toy becomes kinda lost in the ether. Even sticking to "protrudable" (huh? is that a word? lol) shapes, it still looks like Grumm, indeed. If the generator works right, everyone's individual style will show thru just like yours did. I look forward to using it. ^^


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