Layer Tennis

I wanted to draw your attention to one recent example of the kind of back-and-forth collaboration that we’re encouraging in Unit 5, Layer Tennis:


Two competitors swap a file back and forth in real-time, adding to and embellishing the work. Each artist gets fifteen minutes to complete a “volley” and then we post that to the site live. A third participant, a writer, provides play-by-play commentary on the action as it happens.

The players may be designers, animators, illustrators or anything else, and they can do pretty much as they like. There are no real rules, the matches are generally competitive andcollaborative. Things progress volley by volley.

A match lasts for ten volleys and when it’s complete, everybody sounds off and together we declare a winner. To see LYT in action, get lost in the archive of past matches.

Matches happen live, in real time on Fridays, with play-by-play commentary from a third designer, writer, etc. There’s also an extensive archive of previous matches.

The example above is from one of my favorite matches, which unfortunately I can only find in this single image, showing Frank Chimero‘s turns on the left and Kate Bingaman-Burt‘s on the right. (Each volley was an animated gif.) One thing that was nice about this particular match is that Kate and Frank are good friends, and they were actually working side-by-side in the same studio (as you can see from their shared methods, props, etc.

Some other fun past matches, showing a variety of approaches and results…

Jessica Hische & Mig Reyes

Khoi Vinh & Nick Felton

Armin Vit & Sam Potts

Jason Santa Maria & Derek Powazek

Greg Hubacek & Aaron Draplin

Sam Potts & Aaron Draplin



One Response to “Layer Tennis”

  1. John Caserta says:

    Thanks, Ben… Also here is a link to The Design Office’s first Paper Football Tournament Poster Workshop. It used the idea of passing a design back in forth, but in an opt-in sort of way. Grab a sheet and work on top of it. By using a physical sheet (and not a digital file), one could only print over previous designs. Give it a look.

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