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The Sonic SatAM Animation Archive Thread

Discussion in 'General Sonic Discussion' started by Fieryfurnace, Dec 4, 2022.

  1. After around five months of searching, I’ve put together an amateur Sonic SatAM animation archive containing every still preserved image of production media from the show, as well as additional information rescued from defunct or obscure websites. I will eventually do the same for the Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog and Sonic Underground. I believe I’ve reached the limit of what I can accomplish searching alone and am asking for help from other fans.

    Here is the link to the archive, currently hosted on Dropbox. It’s also backed up on my hard drive, in case anything happens to the online version. All materials are organised by character and episode:

    The plan is that once the SatamHistorian has completed his book about the production history of the show and its fanbase, the archive will be moved to that book’s website. Here are some previews of what you can expect to find (the image links are fixed now!). Many of these images aren’t hosted anywhere else:


    When the concept art, model sheets, and colour scripts for DiC’s 90s Sonic cartoons were sold by POP KING-inc on eBay back in 2014 (which was posted about on the forum), there was no comprehensive effort to save images of the materials. Most have now been permanently lost, with only a fraction posted on forums or saved in lower quality by the eBay auction site Worthpoint. If the auctions ended, and the auction images weren't re-hosted anywhere else, and were, as far as I know, not saved by anybody, then those pieces of concept art are gone forever. Here is one example of a page saved through the Wayback Machine which contains a Knothole concept art that now only exists as a low quality thumbnail as far as I know. Here is a forum post on Sonic Stadium where people discuss a "cute, Japanese-looking Sonic with a cake on his head" SatAM concept that has never been re-hosted anywhere and is lost unless somebody saved it. At one point, almost 250, if not more, SatAM-related materials were on sale.

    SatAM in particular is important because it was the first Sonic cartoon to be approved and enter production (much earlier than you would think) and the only one that Sega of Japan had direct involvement with, with Sega of America translating scripts into Japanese for feedback and revisions. When these concepts appeared on eBay, forum users were (understandably) more focused on the zany, out-there looking early concepts, and didn't post or discuss the backgrounds, environmental concepts, model sheets, or high quality developed concepts, leading to a lot of genuinely great work being lost (some of which was re-discovered very recently, thanks to Twitter user BrainBot, who had actually saved some of the bit-crunched, thumbnail images I identified through the Wayback Machine in higher quality). These lost materials also provide context for other Sonic media that DiC provided SatAM materials for, like Sonic Spinball, the Archie comics, the 90s Golden Books and Troll Associates books, and even AoStH and Underground, which re-used or re-interpreted SatAM materials during their pre-production.

    I was a young teenager back in 2014. I’m hoping some older fans had the foresight that these materials, which were likely sourced from an old DiC warehouse clearout, would never be sold again and would be lost if nobody hit right click + save as. Theoretically, there may be other sources for materials that had multiple copies made for staff, like model sheets, storyboards, and backgrounds (the Pixel Games Squad recently acquired a SatAM prop model sheet folder which they plan to scan. I have also contacted several people both directly and indirectly involved with the show who may have materials to preserve). But for concept art, there is no alternative source but these 2014/2015 auctions.

    If you saved ANY images from this time, or know anybody who may have, or bought any items and would be willing to take pictures or make scans, please provide them in this thread or make a Google Drive/Dropbox and link it! Alternatively, you can contact me on here or send me a DM on my Twitter account PlaceandH. SatAM pilot model sheets will have the generic Sonic the Hedgehog brand logo in the corner, while Season 1 and Season 2 model sheets will have the show’s logo. If you are unsure whether the images you have saved are SatAM related, please share them anyway, if you’re willing! It will help when I move to AoStH and Underground as well.

    I can appreciate that just dumping a lot of media into the ether with no context or supplied information can be unhelpful, especially where there is so little information available about the production of SatAM, including on Sonic Retro itself. I will be making weekly posts about particular aspects of the show’s production in this thread, which are EXTREMELY obscure (like, only two or three people may know these things, obscure). If you found yourself reading this post and went “huh, SatAM stuff was translated into Japanese and sent to SoJ???” then this is the thread for you haha. I hope that, even if you aren’t into animation history or SatAM itself, you may find some enjoyment from my esoteric weekly postings here and it may help you understand why particular aspects of the show are the way they are. I will also be making a follow-up post about the naming conventions used and providing credit to every person and website which was sourced from to make this archive, which materials are incomplete and pending completion, as well as pointing out which things were provided by me directly (I don’t own any SatAM production media myself unfortunately, but I did help edit, digitise and write-up various things).

    Last edited: Dec 15, 2022
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  2. saxman


    Oldbie Tech Member
    Are you familiar with @Quexinos? I don't think she frequents these forums, but maybe she'll get one of those e-mail notifications when you direct message her or something. Anyway, I thought I remember years ago her showing some of the stuff she had. I don't know if those are in your collection here or not.

    Great stuff. I've seen some of it, but some of it is brand new to my eyes. Love behind-the-scenes things like this.
  3. Pretty sure SatamHistorian said he was in touch with Quexinos and most of the old SatAM community during the writing of the book and gathering materials too. So this is all ending up an amazing time capsule. I've been digging through Sonic materials in general for a while and pretty much everything I have is all of the known and cataloged stuff sadly. Though I'll dig through my image drives later to make sure.
  4. JaxTH


    Pudding Deity Oldbie
    Los Angeles
    Jack shit.
    Like saxman said, I would only know of Sonique and the old FUS community members since she was the leader of the SatAM community back in the day.

    Nice to see that this is happening though.
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  5. Pengi


    The main Dropbox link works, but the spoilered images don't. What was repurposed for Sonic Spinball?
  6. I tried contacting her on Twitter, since I've noticed that she's not really active around here anymore, but she hasn't responded to my DM unfortunately. Looking through her previous posts on Sonic Retro, I can't find any of her sharing SatAM production materials. Various script outlines, pilot model sheets and the March 1992 revision of the Series Bible were posted on the FUS website and those were her scans, I believe. If she has anything else, they're not in the Dropbox archive.

    You may have images that are of higher quality than the versions I've managed to find, since Worthpoint only saves eBay auction images in low quality thumbnails a lot of the time. I've made a folder on Dropbox with the EXTREMELY low quality images that I hope some day in the future can be replaced. If you have any DiC Sonic materials saved, you could put them in a Google Drive and I could compare the quality with the versions I've saved?

    I genuinely don't know how to get individual image links on Dropbox working. They work when I click on them, even when I'm not logged in. I'll see if I can re-host the images on Imgur tomorrow and update the opening post with new links. For Sonic Spinball, the "Veg-o Fortress" is inspired by the "Veg-O-matic" or "Veg-O Machine", which was the original name for the Roboticizer. The name was kept for Spinball, but not SatAM past the pilot. I'd linked a concept painting from 1992 of the Veg-O-matic marked "obsolete". You can find it in the concept art section.

    Anyway, since I've been extremely busy last week to now, the weekend SatAM information post wasn't posted, but it should hopefully be finished this weekend. In the meantime, I've put together a master-list post of every website and user which has been sourced from to make the archive, along with contextual information about where they got their stuff from. I've put it in a spoiler below, since it's long and only tangentially related to the history of the show itself, but crediting people is important and if you're interested in where cels and production media in general come from, and how it gets sold, there may be some interesting information here for you.

    Provenance of Sonic SatAM production media in the online archive:

    The earliest SatAM production media released to fans was sold directly by DiC in 1993. These included cels and pencils of the “Heads or Tails” pilot opening (not included in the version of the pilot aired as episode 13 of Season 1) and the final opening used throughout the show. These 1993 cels and related materials may have been distributed by Royal Animated Art of Burbank, a company owned by Cola-Cola Telecommunications Chairman Herman Rush, which had a monopoly on DiC cel distribution in the early 1990s, before the “cel market” bubble burst around 1995 and the company folded. You can identify these materials by the black DiC seal of authenticity printed on the acetate, and the certificate of authenticity that comes with them. Over time, some of these materials were traded or resold, usually on eBay. Scans of these materials featured in the archive were made by Ledastudios and Max6464646464. Pictures are mainly sourced from Worthpoint’s eBay auction back-ups; a few were from Slysonic and a few were uploaded on Facebook and sent to me by SatAMHistoran.

    The second batch of SatAM production media which made its way into fans’ hands was a small collection of layouts, pencils, corrections and cels from a specific scene in Episode 3 – the watch synchronisation sequence in Sonic and Sally. None of these materials have the DiC authorisation seal printed on them, because they were illegally sourced. According to Kattywampus, a buyer, these materials were stolen (probably from a storage warehouse) and then sold sometime from 1997 to 1999. This is not unusual: “underground” stealing and selling of cels has been occurring regularly since the late 1980s. There is a high likelihood that the cels sold together aren’t even matching cels: the distributor painstakingly attempted to assemble the cels together that they “thought matched”, since all the materials were dumped out of order in a container. The distributor chose to mount the cels on backgrounds they thought “looked Sonic-y”, which Kattywampus speculates to be from Go-bots or M.A.S.K.. Scans of these materials are again from Ledastudios and Max6464646464, along with Nightwolf. Pictures are from Facebook sent via SatAMHistorian.

    The third batch of SatAM materials sold were whole storyboards of various Season 2 SatAM episodes like “No Brainer” and “Blast to the Past”, sold directly by Ben Hurst in 2004 on eBay via old Sonic chat-rooms. There are no scans of these materials available anywhere. Ben Hurst may have also sold scripts, pilot model sheets, backgrounds, and a series bible revision around this time, which is where Sonique’s materials on the FUS website and the materials on are sourced from (Saturdaymorningsonic’s gallery is now defunct, so I had to do something weird with the Wayback Machine urls to get high quality images). I’m not sure about this though.

    The fourth, and by far the largest, batch of SatAM production media sold was an entire warehouse worth of concept art, model sheets, and background scans from every DiC Sonic cartoon, sold by POP-KING inc on eBay from 2014 to 2015. Practically every piece of SatAM concept art ever available for purchase was distributed by POP-KING. POP-KING inc are a bulk re-seller of animation materials: this company likely buys out warehouses previously owned by now defunct animation studios and sells their contents. Murky legal waters, but they seem to be doing fine. They also make distribution deals with individual artists, which is why episode 7 “Hooked on Sonics” storyboard artist Dan Kubat’s Sonic-themed work is sold by them. Most of Dan Kubat’s work in the archive is sourced from these eBay auctions or Worthpoint’s back-ups of them, but four pictures of storyboard pages were sent by Dan Kubat to me by email, as well.

    There was no comprehensive effort by fans to keep back-ups of the POP KING eBay auction images: as a result, most were lost once the auctions ended. I have scoured the internet high and low for anybody who may have saved the images POP-KING uploaded, or made scans of the sold materials themselves. The sources are: Sonic Retro posts discussing the sales, Sonic Stadium posts discussing the sales, Worthpoint, the Wayback Machine, the now defunct FUS forums, Ledastudios, Adamis Fox (for Sonic Underground location model sheets which re-use assets from SatAM, as well as saving various POP-KING concept art images), Robotnik-Mun (for saving various POP-KING concept art images), Brain Bot (for saving many POP-KING model sheet and background scans, including some I had previously found in low quality through the Wayback Machine), this random image list (who is this???), Lemurboy123’s Pinterest model sheet collection where he (luckily for me) mistakenly identifies some SatAM materials as AoStH materials, and assorted pictures taken by James Gray, mothpoff, and edited Worthpoint images by me. I also screenshotted model sheets from this Youtube video covering the sales.

    Finally, a fifth batch of SatAM materials have recently been released, consisting of a small number of SatAM location model sheets and pilot “Heads or Tails” storyboard pages sold by Animation Legends, a company bulk re-seller of animation materials, in the past year. Images were saved by me.

    There are also materials not released to fans, but given to the staff at Archie to aid in the production of the Sonic the Hedgehog comic book. Certain SatAM model sheets were included as extras in the Archie Sonic Legacy volumes, or as decorative elements in other Archie Sonic releases, like Beginnings. Ken Penders posted the first 11 pages of the last SatAM Season 1 Series Bible revision, along with various SatAM location model sheets on Twitter, which were sent to him when he worked at Archie. I asked him if he could scan the rest of the SatAM series bible pages, and he said he intends to, but it's been months. Michael Gallagher had several pilot model sheets sent to him in mid-1992, which he mentions in an interview conducted for Beginnings, but I contacted the Billy Ireland Cartoon Museum, which has his papers, and the materials weren’t in the boxes I asked them to search. Other materials not released to fans include pre-production documents in the Shout Factory Complete Series DVD release, which are briefly and only partially shown on screen as flavour images during interviews. As much as possible, I have attempted to digitise these documents.

    Jesus, that’s way too much writing, but at least it’s out so the sources are credited. The merchandise pictures are a whole other can of worms, so I’ll stop here.
  7. Obscure Origins: Sonic’s Red Racing Car Bed

    One design element that repeatedly appears in Western Sonic media is Sonic having a bed shaped like a red racing car. In the 2020 and 2022 live-action Sonic the Hedgehog films, Tom Wachowski gets Sonic a brand-new bed, which looks like this (on the far-most right):


    The director of the films, Jeff Fowler, states in the first film’s Blu-ray commentary that this bed is a reference to the Archie comics, where Sonic is repeatedly and consistently shown sleeping in a red racing car bed in many issues across the comic’s history. Its first appearance was in Issue #51, published in July 1997 (also note the poster with two chili dogs and the circular rug adjacent to the bed, it’s important for later):


    Where did the Archie team get the idea for Sonic to sleep in a red racing car bed? Usually, it’s extremely obvious when the artists at Archie used the SatAM model sheets DiC provided to them as the basis for their environment designs. Many backgrounds in the Archie comics heavily reference or even trace from SatAM model sheets. Take Super Sonic Special Issue #2, “Brave New World”, for prevalent examples. As a rule of thumb, if any background element in the early Archie comics looks weirdly consistent between issues, it probably comes from a SatAM model sheet (because only DiC, and not Sega themselves, provided environment reference sheets to the Archie team when they asked for them):


    But Sonic’s red racing car bed being invented in early 1994 by the Season 2 SatAM creative team isn’t at all obvious, because it never appears in the show itself. We never see the interior of Sonic’s hut in the show, but Sonic, and all the Freedom Fighters, had their hut interiors fully designed with objects reflecting the personalities and backgrounds of the characters. Tails’ room has models of planes and space shuttles, Sally’s room has a full bookshelf, a treasure chest, and a large holographic monitor that interfaces with Nicole, etc. Here is the model sheet for Sonic’s room (unfortunately only in low quality – if somebody saved this image in high quality back in 2014/2015, please share):


    You can see that he has a bed shaped like a racing car, a poster of two chili dogs, a circular rug, trophies on a shelf, etc. We actually see several elements here re-used in the Archie comics, not just the bed; check any appearance of Sonic’s room in the Archie comics and you’ll find objects scattered around that are strangely consistent between issues. The fact that these other props, like the poster with two chili dogs and the rug, re-appear along with the bed proves that the design of Sonic’s bed is taken directly from the SatAM model sheet and wasn’t inspired by other instances of Sonic appearing with a red car, like 1994’s Sonic Drift. Below is a compilation of images of Sonic’s room from various issues across the comic’s history, with consistent and re-appearing props (that are inconsistently coloured). Based on these Archie images, I think it's likely that there is another SatAM model sheet, which wasn’t preserved, that shows Sonic’s room from a different angle and includes a surfboard, basketball hoop affixed the wall, and baseball glove (the baseball glove might actually be in the SatAM model sheet I’ve shown above – but it’s too bit-crunched and low quality to tell):


    Like Sonic’s love of chili dogs, this is another case of an element originating in SatAM’s production media publicly appearing first in the Archie comics, and thus falsely being considered an invention of the Archie team.

    So, why did the environment designers of SatAM decide to put a red racing car bed in Sonic’s hut in the first place? Like many elements of SatAM, the creative team at DiC was drawing inspiration from the materials Sega provided them – that is, the Sega of America Sonic the Hedgehog Bible provided to licensees in late 1991 and 1992. In that document (of which three revisions are preserved on Sonic Retro, and where its influence on SatAM is not documented), one of Sonic’s favourite things is listed as “fast cars (red convertibles)”. The StH Bible also mentions that Sonic enjoys “fast food” (which SatAM pre-production writer Len Janson would transform into “chili dogs”) “bodysurfing [and] windsurfing”, and competing in sport events and winning lots of trophies, interests reflected in the objects of Sonic’s hut. Meanwhile, in Japan, the first instance of Sonic’s association with red cars comes in 1994’s Sonic Drift, where Sonic drives the Cyclone.


    The bed still remains a strangely persistent, but West-only, object associated with Sonic. It’s actually very endearing and I’m glad it still gets cameo appearances to this day. (Teens nowadays will probably see it and think it’s a reference to Papyrus’ bed from Undertale haha).

    See you all next week for another in-depth, obscure SatAM knowledge post drawing from materials in the Dropbox. Also, the images in the first post have been fixed!
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2023
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  8. Blue Spikeball

    Blue Spikeball

    I remember cringing upon seeing that racecar bed in Archie. I could see a little kid sleeping in that kind of bed, but a teenager? How did Antoine never make fun of it?

    Unrelated, but could there be any relation between Rotor and the scrapped turtle sidekick in Sonic 2 called Boomer? Rotor was originally named Boomer, and he acted like Sonic's sidekick in the SatAM pilot.
  9. I mean, Antoine sleeps with teddy bears. If anybody was going to make fun of Sonic's bed, it definitely wasn't him. (I don't actually know if this also applies in the Archie continuity, but for the Season 2 SatAM continuity - yes, there's more than one SatAM continuity, I'll get there eventually - his bed is even more childish. The model sheet for Antoine's room hasn't been saved by anybody; it may have been designed differently for Season 1, because Antoine's character was changed):


    I don't actually agree that Rotor was ever intended to be Sonic's "sidekick" in the early 1992 material. He doesn't act like Sonic's sidekick in "Heads or Tails" - it's Tails who accompanies Sonic to the Big City. In fact, Boomer isn't mentioned at all in the story outline for "Heads or Tails" included with the second revision of the SatAM series bible (or any of the early conceptualized episode summaries, in fact); it was always intended to be a story mainly about Sonic and Tails. Boomer's size and slowness, in general, would make it hard for him to fulfill any sidekick role to Sonic - "Sonic says I move with all the speed of a lava flow. Actually, that's true, but in the water I'm a torpedo! Nobody can beat me. Actually Sonic can beat me. He can run fast under water, too." But they are close friends. In the previously mentioned revision of the series bible, Boomer says he and Sonic are best friends who grew up next door to each-other in Mobotropolis. (But Sonic doesn't talk about him at all, hah.) On the other hand, Tails' entire character revolves around Sonic in the pilot material. I would say that Sonic was always intended to have no sidekick at all in SatAM, and the show was more concerned with the Freedom Fighters as parts of a whole unit. I'll get into the pilot material, and when SatAM was actually developed and made, next week. I wanted to start off with something a bit mundane before jumping into the pre-production.

    Boomer's name, in the pilot material, was a joke about how high-pitched and quiet his voice was. That's the in-universe explanation for it, but the only person who could give any information about the origin of the name out-of-universe would be Len Janson, and he's very private individual with no online presence whatsoever, who's impossible to ask. So this is purely speculation on my part: I think it's probably a coincidence that Sonic's old turtle sidekick was also named Boomer. Then again, there are other coincidences with the Freedom Fighter names corresponding to material conceptualized or released in 1992. Antoine's name is very similar to Anton, a regular character in the Sonic manga contained in Shogakukan's Study Magazine from April 1992 onwards until 1994. The role Antoine and Anton play is quite similar: they're both hopelessly outclassed "rival" characters who unsuccessfully attempt to woo the affection of Sonic's main love interest - Sally in SatAM, Amy in Study Magazine - but can't do anything to really compete or stand up to Sonic (who in the manga, is the heroic alter ego of a boy called Nicky). Design-wise, they're completely different looking, but I wonder if there is a common origin for Antoine and Anton somewhere. There's also Uncle Chuck sharing a name with Chuck Yeager, a pilot that Sonic was originally going to be a children's book interpretation of or a reincarnation of depending on which version of in his original Japanese origin story you read - which is why the Sonic the Hedgehog game logo looks like something you might see on a flight jacket. But this one is definitely a coincidence, because Chuck is actually named after Chuck Menville, one of Len Janson's close friends who was supposed to have (or may have?) worked on SatAM's pre-production before he became extremely ill and unfortunately passed away of cancer in mid 1992. Sally Acorn comes from the June 1991 revision of the SoA Sonic the Hedgehog Bible. And Bunnie Rabbot...? Well, I think that's just a corny pun lol
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  10. AstroSeedP


    Not sure if this is the place for it but didn't know where else this would go...

    Someone is selling a well-known promotional SATAM cel, it seems to be missing its blue background commonly seen elsewhere.
    Not sure if it's worth the selling price considering that, but if anyone's interested well there you go.

  11. qwertysonic


    creating the biggest sonic collection
    I got a few AoSTH cels about 10 years ago. They weren't super great, but they were like $10. $1000 seems like a lot of money.
  12. ashthedragon


    Sonic Paradise Researcher
    Sonic Paradise & Sonic Ages
    I got some AOSTH cels too, they are pretty common, but SatAM cels is pretty rare to come by. I wouldnt pay that much for a cel but.. to each their own
  13. SatAM Pilot and Season 1 Prop and BG Model Sheets Folder Scanned – what is prop design and why is it important in animation? Also, what’s up with some of the location art in here? (Part 1 of 2)

    Prop design – an omnipresent role:

    I’ve split this post into two, because it’s quite long. I’ll post the second half tomorrow morning. Sorry for the delay in posting here; I was caught up at work. But I do have an interesting addition to the SatAM Dropbox archive to share, and some 1992 materials being prepared behind-the-scenes for preservation over the next two months.

    Some of you may remember that a few months ago, a group of retro collectors called the PixelGameSquad discovered a Sonic SatAM prop and background model sheet folder being sold at a swap meet in California. I contacted them privately and paid some money, and they’ve agreed to share the scans they made of this folder for preservation – with credit for their efforts, of course.

    You can find the @pixelgamesquad digital file of scans in the “Props” section of the Dropbox archive now – it’s almost 500 images. It should be noted that any props which can be classed as “outfits” for the characters weren’t included in this folder. Here is a direct link:

    Even among animation enthusiasts, “prop design” is a rarely talked about facet of show production – but you see this work constantly on screen, in nearly every shot, in every episode. A prop designer is responsible for the everyday objects that occupy the world the characters exist in; tables, chairs, food, plants, trees, rocks, tools. They read the script for a given episode then create designs for every object mentioned directly in the script; for example – a catapult and cotter pin written in the “Heads or Tails” script. They also design objects that could feasibly occupy a mentioned location – if characters sit down at a kitchen table, what might be on their plate? If they walk into a room full of posters, what might these posters look like? They create illustrations for how these objects may work and how large they are in comparison to the characters, while following a show’s style guide and art direction.

    In the digital era, the role of “prop designer” is often combined with FX design (for things like smoke, rays of light, water droplets, mist). It can be an entry level position which is often used by aspiring animators who want to get their foot in the door. Other times, prop design is directly carried out by a show’s art director to streamline production, especially if the studio is smaller.

    For the pilot “Heads or Tails”, there were three prop designers – Brad Morris, Wayne Schultz, and Warren Manser. For Season 1, Brad Morris was retained as the sole prop designer. Strangely, Brad Morris would later re-use his prop design work on “Heads or Tails” in Spider-Man. He also has a bit of idiosyncratic size comparison and name work here, which I assume were inside jokes?


    By the way, you can easily tell which materials are for either the pilot or Season 1 by looking at the top left logo – pilot materials all have the generic Sonic the Hedgehog brand logo and the production code #238-010, dated 1992, while S1 materials have the show logo and production codes #238-200 to #238-212, dated 1993. (“Heads or Tails” was copyrighted under the production code #238-213, which never appears on any model sheet, for reasons I’ll explore in a later post).

    Tomorrow morning's post will be about the location model sheets in the second half of this file. Prop design may not be a massively exciting topic, but I hope I did a decent job explaining.
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  14. SatAM Season 1 and Pilot Prop and BG Model Sheets Folder Scanned – what is prop design and why is it important in animation? Also, what’s up with some of the location art in here? (Part 2 of 2)

    Location model sheets – purpose and art degradation:

    In these scans, you will also find location model sheets for the “Heads or Tails” pilot and Season 1. For the pilot, Glen Tarnowski and Vladimir Spasojevic were credited as background designers. For Season 1, Vladimir Spasojevic was retained and Enzo Baldi is newly credited. Although, when I contacted Enzo asking if he had any materials he would like to share and preserve, he searched and said he had nothing for Sonic, which indicated to him that he was only involved in the very early stages of Season 1’s BG production and that the bulk of the work was done by Spasojevic (who I tried to contact but haven’t been able to get a hold of). For my part, I strongly suspect that Enzo is responsible for this interior design of Ironlock Prison. It very much reflects the style of drawing seen in his Avatar: the Last Airbender location designs:


    These were mass produced for internal use so while most of the artwork is preserved well, unfortunately, due to a combination of scan quality blowing out the fine details and the nature of the model sheets themselves, they can be a poor representation of the artists’ work – especially for the fully shaded pilot artwork.

    In the digital era, it’s easy to send original art of backgrounds and location designs to whoever needs them via email or store them in the cloud. But in early 1990s analog production, when everything was done and stored on paper, art degradation was a serious issue. The location art in these model sheets are, at the very least, photocopies (and potentially, photocopies of photocopies – weird, right?) and the copiers used were not the best quality. This is because model sheets would have to be given to a large group of storyboard artists before boarding begins, so they knew how to draw locations and props beforehand, as well as to background painters and external animation studios, and even, in Sonic’s case, to Archie Comics. For larger pieces of art, black and white photocopies were made of the original drawings to create the “original” model sheets, which were then photocopied again and widely distributed.

    For an example of how model sheets were assembled, on the left is an “original” model sheet of Knothole’s lift – this image was saved by me. You can see that the original art has been taped directly on the sheet (which would only be possible for smaller drawings – for larger ones, a photocopy would be taken of the art and downsized to fit). On the right is a copy of the “original” model sheet in the internal DiC folder scanned by @pixelgamesquad. There’s nothing wrong with the copy here, since the art was in black and white to begin with and the shading isn’t too fine:


    For a larger piece of art, here’s an example with the Ring Grotto – the original art, the photocopy in this DiC folder, and the (likely) photocopied photocopy that Archie Comics were sent when they asked for reference material. We lose detail with every iteration:


    In some cases, photocopy-ception has destroyed the art to such an extent that you can’t really tell what’s going on anymore. This aerial of Robotropolis was particularly badly affected, since its line art is very fine – the version in the folder is really unfortunate looking:


    This is why it was really important for Sonic fans to have saved the eBay auction images from Pop King back when the original art was being sold in 2014/2015, and despite posts about their sale on the forums, seemingly nobody did comprehensively. Thankfully, @ForcedUserX saved a portion of SatAM’s background art eBay auction images; if they hadn’t, I couldn’t have made the previous comparison at all. Behind the scenes, I’ve been contacting people involved in SatAM’s production and art dealers who have sold Pop King’s original inventory, to make sure these materials are preserved – though it will be a fraction of what was sold.

    I’ll point out some of the badly affected location drawings that I really hope can be re-discovered in the future. They were probably sold on eBay by Pop King in 2014/2015 as well – if they were, then these are the only versions we will likely ever see again (but I’m still trying to find them):


    Anyway, if you got this far, thank you for reading. I’ll try to get another post done close to the end of the month, exploring the production timeline of the “Heads or Tails” pilot and SatAM’s scenario writing.
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  15. shilz


    getting my daily allowance of vitamin kk
    Makes me think of all the school work I'd be given looking like that.
  16. David The Lurker

    David The Lurker

    For some mysterious reason... Administrator
    Random piece of trivia

    Page 137 of that PDF, "Computer Screen Gibberish." In the episode itself, they're just squiggles, but on the model sheet, you can make out random words.


    With a little bit of Googlin', I found the source - an article from the Los Angeles Times, dated June 3rd, 1993. It's about the Jerky Boys and prank phone calls in general. Honestly, what's more 90's tude than weird prank phone calls?
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  17. Blastfrog


    See ya starside. Member
    You're doing God's work, Fieryfurnace. I'm a season 1 fanboy, never cared much for 2 in execution (lots of great concepts though). Preserving all of this production material is awesome. It really goes to show just how much thought and effort they put into constructing this world and its characters, and how little of it actually made it to screen.

    Say, can anyone recommend a SatAM centered community based around this kind of deep digging and deeper appreciation? I'd like to have some serious conversations with others of the same interest. I briefly looked at the Sea3on Discord, but at a glance it seems to be full of irritating children that cannot stay on-topic even if their lives depended on it.

  18. Thank you! I'm actually more of a Season 1 fan than a Season 2 fan myself too, but I do appreciate how ambitious Season 2 was in telling a linear story at a time when American cartoons usually didn't. I just prefer the character dynamics and setting the pilot/Season 1 team was working with a bit more - production-wise, Season 1 and Season 2 are separate entities with nearly entirely different production teams. Even the director of the series left after Season 1 and was replaced.

    You're definitely right that a lot of the effort that went into constructing the world and characters didn't make it to screen. I think part of it is a consequence of the small number of episodes SatAM was greenlit for by ABC (only half-season orders at 13 episodes, with an extensive cast of eight central characters to juggle), and a short production schedule in general for anything past the pilot. (There were other problems compounding this, but I'll get to them in a future post sometime).

    Haha, Discord is definitely more chaotic than forum posting. I'm Gen Z myself so it doesn't bother me as much - but there are some down-to-earth people in the Sea3on Discord that you can have serious conversations with I think. Even if you don't feel like posting with the younger members, there's still interesting events and art beyond the Sea3on Project itself if you have a deep appreciation for the show. Currently, there's an upcoming livestream with Rotor's Season 1 voice actor Mark Ballou and there are questions for him currently being taken on the Discord. So if anybody here is curious about early 1990s voice acting in general or what was going on in the booth for SatAM, you can join the Discord and submit questions for him.

    And there's definitely fantastic art there inspired by SatAM's production media in the "Creation Station" subchat. My favourites are Nex's really detailed SatAM-inspired drawings for his upcoming Knothole comic:


    And AmeixaRoxa's map of SatAM's Mobius, in more of a fantasy style than the actual maps made for the pilot and incorporating Season 1 locations. It has two moons as a deep cut to some really early SatAM concept art envisioning Mobius as an alien planet with humans and Mobians co-existing on it (which apparently still survives in AoStH and Underground - the two moons thing I mean - but I'm not actually familiar with both those shows yet to be sure):


    F0XShadow's musical compositions - which are cleaned up and re-interpreted versions of SatAM's soundtrack - are also really cool and he posts tracks in there too.

    But for discussions about the show's lore specifically, you could try posting in the "Sonic Shows" subchat - I'm not actually sure if there are any other places for deep digging into the show's setting and development than there. Granted, I'm not really online often. There's also the @SatamHistorian on Twitter who I collab with behind-the-scenes, who posts obscure early Sonic media related to SatAM and conducts interviews with people involved in the show for his upcoming book. It's obviously not the same nature as forum or Discord though. Sorry if this wasn't much help Blastfrog.
  19. Blastfrog


    See ya starside. Member
    Wouldn't it be cool if there was a "Season 1-ification" project as an extensive edit of Season 2? At least cosmetically, even if the writing stays the same. Isolate the voices and SFX, drop in Season 1 style music, redraw Rotor (and redub him), remove Sally's jacket, simplify the irises, give Robotnik back his creepy metallic reverb sound, etc. Would probably be far more effort than it's worth, it still wouldn't fix Dulcy's existence or the more one-dimensional writing of the characters in general. Or how annoying the 5 year old Sonic and Sally were in the time travel episode.

    Eh, I'm just rambling. :P
    I suspected some staff got moved around, but wasn't sure of the extent. That sure explains a lot.
    Actually, your entire response was very informative, thank you! I'll give Sea3on Discord another shot, I probably judged it too quickly.
  20. Shoemanbundy


    Chicago, Illinois
    selling shoes
    I don't have much to add other than I want to say I appreciate this. This is just one of many obscure facets of preservation that is sorely overlooked. Hopefully more materials can be obtained as time goes on, though it surely doesn't appear often for that to be possible.