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Behind The Scenes: The King Penguin Redesign


In case you missed the big announcement on Instagram, the King Penguin had a little bit of a makeover. We decided the penguin was feeling a little... scary? There were a variety of decisions that went into the process, but we wanted our KP to feel more in line with the brand. Suave, cool, stylish, and with a full head of hair. So, a few months ago, we set about the process of a redesign. And we figured, as with most of our projects, we should give you a peak behind the curtains.

First things first, we went back to pen on paper, and got some sketches going of what we wanted in the new-look Penguin. We needed more Elvis, less Mr. Clean, but that still left a *lot* of room to maneuver. We tried a lot of different looks, sticking with a pretty consistent facial structure, but trying on a lot of different hairstyles. Each 'do presented pros and cons, from how the style contoured to KP's head, to how it looked from a straight-on shot, to how difficult it would be to texture it in 3D form. Out of all these designs, we settled on a couple, and went towards the next steps.

Once we had solved the hairstyle quandary (kind of), we moved onto colorizing, as well as creating an actual, computerized render of the Penguin. We dabbled with a few hair colors, and we think we settled wisely on just fully leaning into the white-and-grey color scheme. We added finer details to the hair and facial features, attempting to hit the perfect amount of realism without it getting *too* real. And of course, we kept in mind that we needed to soften some of KP's features to make him seem friendlier.

Now, of course, the face was important. It's the money-maker. But we also love to get our King Penguin movin' and groovin'. So, in order to make sure he could shake a little tail feather, we had to create the full 3D model. We sculpted KP's full body, complete with a sleek tuxedo, so that we could rig him to perform all the actions we needed -- from the dance floor to the gym to the baseball diamond, the King Penguin leads a pretty active lifestyle. The KP got the same treatment that any of our Sport Science figures do, starting out with the clay model, before moving into finer detailed versions later in the process.


Most penguins molt their feathers. Here at King Penguin, it requires a bit more technology, but with the same results. So keep an eye out for the new, more stylish KP, this holiday season and beyond!

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