Fox Hunt – Process

Lot’s of people always seem interested in process, I certainly know I am, and I’m continually told that as an aspiring theme park designer it’s what people who are in the hiring (or grad school admissions) positions really want to see. And while that’s very much one of the purposes of this site, I think perhaps it’s useful to dive in deeper when I have opportunities to do it. And this is one of those cases.

I don’t think I’ve ever made a post specifically about my process, or how I get from vague idea to a somewhat final coherent thing. Then again I’ve only been approaching design from a non roller coaster tycoon angle for a year or two. It’s really not all that different then then, just perhaps a bit more detailed, and more work happens on paper than just jumping in and planning in my head. The most recent Fox Hunt scene took quite a bit of brainstorming before starting on visualizing the actual scene and I’ll use it throughout this post.

First sketch I did when starting to plan out the Fox Hunt Sequence in detail.

I really like overhead plans and almost everything I do starts out with one. I’ve been doodling these since probably I was 10 and to me, for designing something that inherently takes place in a physical reality and is so much about staging, motion, and the relationships between everything, they’re essential. They’re also extremely quick to draw, at least for me, unlike say a front view or storyboard sketch of a building or character where suddenly you’re faced with thinking about perspective, details, how to draw a horse when you’ve never drawn a horse and don’t have reference ready, etc. I want to be able to design at the speed of thought, and plans are the only thing that really allow me to do that. That being said, I’ve come to realize over the last few years that plans also have their downsides. Namely, that they lack detail, and aren’t very effective at communicating the vision in your head to someone else. They also aren’t great at dealing with the 3rd dimension.

Came up with this really quick storyboard to try to visualize all the elements of the one scene

So lately, at least for complex scenes that I don’t exactly have everything worked out in my head already, I’ve taken to making extremely rudimentary sketches of elements or storyboards of what I’m thinking that make sort of a composite array of everything that needs to be in the final idea. In the future I foresee tools like sketchup becoming essential to this early formation and staging. I’ve actually already begun toying with it a bit for more complicated objects and sets to assist in various respects. The model I’ve made of the rough shape of the umbrella mobile has been essential in the last few pieces of art to help place it in various positions. 

After the storyboard I made one more sketch with a bit of a refined track and set layout to get a more explicit idea of how the scene will work once built, and also of what I needed to show in the art. And just a little bit of how the animatronics and effects might work.

So yeah that’s just a little overview of some of the stuff that happened to design the scene. Hope its informative. As always I love feedback or questions.