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Settings Design Evolution- Paradise Estate


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 Hello Everypony,


This is Cast Executive Director of Equestrian Tales, we'd like to start bringing to you a small series of behind the scenes visual articles, to help the fans learn how this stuff is done, or simply for anyone thats had an interest to see the process. We have hosted several panels since 2014 on the animation process in hopes of educating others, and sharing a little bit of the fun that goes into our stories

 For today's example I'd like to use a setting many original generation fans should recognize. Paradise Estate, she was the home of the original cast of ponies fro the generation 1 tv series, and will be returning to the MLP universe within our story. Our pilot and main story begins in the old Ponyland found in the original generation, if your interested in seeing more plans are to post another article tomorrow about the re-imagination of Dream Castle another original location also playing a part in this new series.

Hope you enjoy, if you have questions please ask. Lets get into it!

First up, for those who have never heard of Paradise Estate, this is the original design and how it looked in generation 1-


(sorry for the small image)

 Firstly our crew wanted to try to preserve the original design and feel of the structure, as well as pay respects to the generation that started all of this. As a team we researched the entire series to find as many shots and angles as we could of this structure, including the toy that gave us a great 3D perspective on the entire building, and its layout. From these our settings designer Ruffu began to draw a few ideas that would start the process of its re imagination.

These are the first drawings to come from this process-


As you can see the structure is nearly the same as the original design from the TV show, however adapted with the over grown forest and broken elements as our story takes place many years in the future of the generation 1 time line, so we took into account the passage of time, how it would effect a mostly stone structure left unattended or cared for over many many years. 

In this next image, we decided for the scene in the pilot this structure will first appear in we needed only one of these angles as the rest of the scenes containing this build take place inside it, we picked a zoomed out shot, then added the needed extra elements to it for the scene to play out as we intend it to.

 Here is an example of the changes to the image, from its original concept drawing-



 As you can see the image was shaded to bring the depth of growth and how far the forest has invaded the structure, we also added the river in front of the building that will also play a part in part 2 of the pilot episode. This was the final image to be approved before going to coloring, where all the details are added.

 Here is the fully colored setting-


At first we wanted to maintain a direct link to the original show, keeping to the pink colors and blue accents of the structure in the original design, but making aged and broken. This was a once happy home loved and cared for by the ponies, ponies now long gone, we wanted to preserve memories, also have that reflect in the design. This estate is broken, left to time as are the contents inside, a forgotten memory longing for the day ponies return to fill its halls with laughter once again.

 As much as we loved this design we realized we needed to update it to serve the story being told later in the series, so Paradise Estate went through one final over hall, and redesign. Much of the elements of the original were carried over however we wanted to give it the sense of majesty and beauty that we wanted to represent the characters, creators and fans of the original show. 

Here is the final design that will appear in the pilot-


 This is the final design as stated before, combining the elements of the original design, bringing in the river element, the over grown forest, as well as other elements we needed for the animation of this scene. With the intended new animation and design style of the series we needed to up the scale of the design and the colors to reflect as a tribute to the original show. When put with one of the characters the blend and effect convey everything we hoped it would, and will show a small example of what the animation style of this new series will look like once the traditional backgrounds are put with the character rigs. We will not vector these backgrounds, we want to maintain a level of fantasy and an older time, so we wanted to bring in as many traditionally drawn and designed elements as we could to help farther the story we are wanting to tell.

Final Design with character Ink Heart as a test subject- 


This has been a small look at the behind the scenes of creating a setting for an animated production, for each and every setting thats added into the world we spend a great deal of time researching everything from basic architecture to make sure things are looking and operating correctly in animation, to spending hours watching MLP to get everything right, and understand what made it special to the show, and the fans it created. If not for Gen 1 we wouldn't have FiM, mlpforums, and lets face it many of our lives would be pretty different right now, so this is our way of honoring and paying respects to those that came before us, and making sure they are never forgotten.

That concludes today's article.

If you like the art you have seen here please pop over to our crews site at https://ruffu.deviantart.com/ he has a lot more art then just pony, and we are truly blessed to have him with us for this production.

 If you have any questions about this process or any others about animation or story production please leave a comment, or fill free to PM me. 

Tomorrow I'd like to bring to you another article on the development of Dream Castle and the kingdom of Old Canterlot, also based in the original generation. 

Thank you for your time and hope this helped in some way, these articles will get better as we keep writing them.

Keep it Pony everyone.

  • Brohoof 3
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AWSOME, signed the petition.. and sent you a PM,

Cant Wait to watch the series of Equestrian Tales, I'm desperate to watch this program so EPIC ... I'm tired of all the politically correct stuff being crammed on our kids... we need a future generation with morals and common sense, with a love and desire to think for themselves and be creative. 

I look forward to your reply..

Edited by RaphLuna
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Ruffu's work truly showcases the amount of effort put into each piece, from the artist's hand to he team's input.

I'm truly glad to see the direction of this project, and it is vehemently appreciated that you chose to share details to assist others in field. It's heartening to see that the community is still going strong in such matters.

Have a lovely day and the best of luck!

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  • 5 years later...

I know this is an Uber late reply, but I just came across this article and LOVE the idea of Paradise Valley being some sort of ancient ruins in G4/G5 Equestria. Some of my favorite fanfics use similar ideas. Would love to hear more about this project provided it's not long gone like a lot of the big pony projects ended up being


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