Life Savers - Transparent markeing strategy.

Candy can be really easy to sell when it looks good. The stained glass gem hoops in a life savers roll can practically sell itself, if you get the lighting right. This ad from 1959 shows us how.

Yes, nothing makes people run to the store to slam down their nickel faster than weeping fruit. I think in the politically correct see-no-evil atmosphere here in the future, an ad wouldn't make it to print in exactly this form. The advertising pansies, being afraid of their own shadow, and everyone else's shadow, would feel this ad was "reading a little dark, what with the crying food".

Setting that insanity aside, what a nice rendering! Getting fruit right is all about detail and texture. The, uuh, "orange peel texture" on the various citrus peels is perfect. The pineapple, however, would keep me up for a few nights wondering how I'd make it look right. That couldn't have been easy.

But the fun part - and the star of the show - is the candy. Maybe you're wondering how the artist made the product look exactly like the translucent colored candy in real life? Once you know the trick, it's easy and fun for the whole family.

In any 100 level art class, they make you shade a sphere. Hilight, shadow, reflected, done. That's not the half of it. Art 101 shows you how to shade a ping pong ball, but what about shiny plastic, or glass, or colored glass? These all present their own challenges that art classes generally leave to the individual to figure out on their own. Thank the maker I'm here! Let's grab an example of translucent orange candy and opaque orange frut and put them side by side and get all sciencey with their shading. Above them we'll show two shiny glass spheres, one translucent and one opaque. Click through the picture for embiggenment and enlegibilityness.

Look familiar? The icons on your iPhone all have this shiny glassy bubble kind of look. People love it. It's visually tactile and makes people want to touch them, only because they can't eat them. This look is often imitated, badly, by app designers who don't have a staff artist, or don't have a staff artist who understands what they're doing. Don't get me started.

Here's what the light is doing as it hits the opaque sphere on the right. Nothing too surprising. Light makes a bright pinpoint in the upper right, and the ball fades away into shadow as it curves away from the light source. On the far side of the orange moon, there's some light reflected back onto the ball from the table. The shadow is dark gray that gets a little orange at the edge as it picks up some color from the sphere.

Note that the basic shading of the sphere is reversed between the translucent and opaque ball. The opaque one is lighter near the light source, like you'd expect. The translucent circle is lightest on the side opposite the light source. Why oh why???  It's a crazy mixed-up world, man.

When the light hits the translucent sphere on the left, it's a more complicated story. A bright highlight happens the same as on the right, but the light goes through the surface and splashes against the far inner wall of the sphere, getting spread out and diffused on the way. Undeterred, some light even spills out into the shadow, bringing quite a bit of orange color with it. You can see the light inside the painted life saver following these same delicious, fruity rules.

Kind of makes you want some candy, doesn't it? Sadly, all I have in my desk are mints.


Craig F. said...

These posts on how to do things and stuff are awesome.


Guy who can't draw a stick figure

Anonymous said...

what craig said. -n.m.

PhilAreGo@gmail.com said...

Thanks, folks! These are fun to do. Sometimes easier than writing jokes.

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