Mel Birnkrant's
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Copyright Acknowledgment: All images of THE OUTER SPACE MEN , THE WORLD OF THE FUTURE and other Products and Images, created by Mel Birnkrant, are Copyright (c) MEL BIRNKRANT


 
ZERO GRAVITYTM
         Zero Gravity is the most popular and jocular of all the lunar astronauts stationed on the Dark Side of the Moon.  His lighthearted and uplifting personality elevates the spirits of his crewmates, Terra Firma, Jack Asteroid, and Luna Eclipse, aboard the Starship USA.  Always jovial and upbeat, Zero Gravity lives up to the promise of his name.  Laughing, even in the face of danger, he is never glum or grave.  His Puranium powered back pack enables him to navigate the Moonís glowing subterranean cities, and levitate above this ancient satelliteís bleak surface, buoyed up by the force of levity, while floating freely, through the realm of Outer Space.  
 
         I put a lot of effort into hitting the right note for this character.  I hoped to convey the fact that he is extremely good natured, and even, to some degree, a joker. I visualized winning grin, which is something that, in my very limited involvement with action figures, I have never seen.  At the same time, I was afraid that his big grin would come off as goofy or sardonic.  I think the drawing gets it pretty much all right.  He looks handsome, heroic, and dignified.  But Eric, I love the fabulous look you brought to Jack Asteroid.  Please feel free to add any nuance to Zero that inspires you, or you see fit.
         Here too, I think it would be nice if the whites of his eyes could glow, But I so like the perfect highlights in Commander Cometís eyes, I would gladly forgo the glow to repeat that perfect painting Zeroís eyes.  I guess all the rest is self-explanatory.  The same suggestions that I described on Lunaís page apply.
         And here are Luna Eclipse and Zero Gravity together.  They will now be passed on to Eric Treadway.  Once he works his magic, the figures will be returned to me.  Then these web pages will continue.  Eric, the size of these heads may be a little large in these drawings.  When sculpting them, please make direct comparison to the actual figures of Jack and Terra to make the new heads are consistent.
         They will be painted by Eric, following the above color guide, and photographed by yours truly. Then the new packages will need to be created, again that is a task that I will undertake.  At that point, Luna, Zero, and Astrodite will head for Hong Kong.  The new mold that will be created will incorporate all three, and one additional head that will be chosen from the existing characters that were not completed.  Which one will it be?  The answer lies on the next page.

         
Here is Ericís first computer sculpted image of Zero Gravity.  My feeling was that he got it 99% correct. I felt a little guilty, a little greedy, asking for a few minor tweaks.  I remember the days when I encountered art directors who had to get their two cents worth in, making changes that were arbitrary, just for their own sake.  And I readily admit that what Eric did would have been fine just as it is. So have I become one of them?  If that is the case, so be it.  I had suggestions, nonetheless. 
Hi Eric,
here are some suggestions and observations on the new heads, which, all in all, look GREAT!  The
easiest is Zero Gravity.  The tissue, more or less, conveys my comments, but just to convince myself
what I was asking for would work, I did some playing around with Photoshop.  This is just a second
level that stretched here and there with the warp tool, trying to make him look even more congenial,
giving him a bigger deeper smile with mouth a little more tucked in and up, in the corners.  I also made
his eyes smile a little bit more by slightly raising his lower lids.  I realize that in that tiny scale these
nuances most likely wonít show, but I'm offering them anyway.
         The quick change view below, does not represent changes Eric made, but rather the changes I was asking for, visualized by playing around on my computer.  Admittedly, they were subtle.
          Eric, am I correct in assuming that you havenít addressed his neck yet . It looks like this might be the basic cylinder that starts the sculpting.  I didnít play with it much, except to move it forward a little under his chin.  But it really needs a some muscular anatomy. I tried to indicate it a little. He needs some diagonal muscles and perhaps an Adamís apple.  Assuming that you havenít finished the neck, I didnít play with the back view
         Eric wrote back: ďOn Zero the transition from neck to cranium will be fused together and smoothed out when he is finished. They are currently two separate pieces which will be combined in one of the final steps. The process is somewhat final, so again I want to make sure that Iím ok to move forward before fusing the parts.Ē
        
And here is his final computer rendering of Zero:
          To which I replied: First let me comment on Zero Gravity.  As Popeye would say, he looks ďPerfik.Ē  Thank You! I get it now, about the neck, so tricky!
Regarding both the human heads, when you size the computer generated images please use Terra and Jack as your guide. Iím not sure that their heads in my drawings are the right size.  Also please cut down and fit the necks, if necessary, to make their heads look as comfortable in the helmets as Terraís and Jackís do. They might be right on already, but please examine them with the possibility that the necks might be a little long in mind.  With that large collar, proportions are tricky.  Terra and Jack solve the problem nicely.
         
And now, Iím waiting for finished painted figures of Zero and Luna to arrive!  Here is a sneak peek at Zero:
MOUSE OVER TO SEE BACK OF CARD
          And several weeks later, he arrived.  In an effort to make my job easier, Eric had the figures painted with a thick coat of glow in the dark paint.  He didnít realize that I would create the glow in Photoshop.  Therefore, they required a lot of touching up.  The figures in production will be as smooth and perfect as the White Star one above.
          Last of all, here is a side view.  I incorporated this pose into a final scene.  And that will end the page for Zero Gravity.  These new figures were a long time coming, but I believe they were worth waiting for.
           Here is the equivalent of the patriotic pose that Luna chose.  Zero looks good from every angle.  I used this photo on the package, in a scene combined with a Lumina lit cave.