Intro: The Science of Online Adoptable Pets
Very few people know about the world of online adoptables, and those that do know may be curious about it but hesitant to look deeper. These people may not even know how to begin discovering this interesting community of online adoptable pets. So this is a guide explaining the science behind these adoptable pieces of art and how a person may start to make their own.
I only recently discovered the world of adoptables so I know some of the questions a person may have. The term 'adoptable' refers to virtual pets that are created by artists and then sold, auctioned, traded, and even bred with other adoptables. This is all an online operation, though it is possible for a person to get merchandise made of their adoptable species. If you've ever come across Neopets then you can understand how adoptables work a little better. But the world of adoptables as a whole has much fewer rules than Neopets and these rules change from person to person, situation to situation.
There are two sides to the world of adoptables: the artists and the consumers. This instructable is made with the side of the artist in mind, because that is the side I have personal experience with. But I do know some things about the consumer side of the adoptables world. As a consumer you want an original piece of art that is well made. Not everyone is capable of making beautiful art or well developed stories, this is what the consumers are purchasing when they buy and collect adoptables. The consumer may buy adoptables from different artists and have them interact with one another in their own made up stories, or they may have their purchased adoptables interact with the adoptables of other consumers. It all depends on the individual consumer and what they want out of their adoptable pet.
As the artist your job would be to make something you enjoy making with a story you enjoy telling to people all while keeping the consumers' interests in mind. An artist can make any kind of adoptable creature they want. Most often an artist will create their own species and then close the species, which basically means they copyright it. No one else can claim they made the species or make any kind of profit off of it other than the creator themselves. As a rather creative art student myself I jumped on the opportunity to create my own creatures for auction. But, I would learn that it's not that simple. There is a science to making a successful adoptable and I will break down that science now.
Step 1: Research: What Makes a Successful Adoptable?
First it helps to look at adoptables made by people who already have some success in the business. The best place to look is Deviantart where you can then search for them and join groups for adoptables. The first person I ever saw on Deviantart that makes quite a nice wage off of her adoptables is someone called Bananamantis. If you go to Deviantart (here: http://www.deviantart.com ) and search 'Weaver' you'll probably find the little creatures that she created and now sells to patrons. Take a minute and see if you can find Weavers on your own...
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To some this may seem silly or like a hobby that isn't worth the effort, but it is quite a rewarding experience and if anything it gives artists a chance to practice their craft, get into something new, and exercise their creative mind-muscles. Another artist on Deviantart by the name of Hauket makes another species of pretty successful adoptable creatures called 'Ren Fair Monsters'. These guys are very different form Weavers. They are more sleek and you can see that the two artists that made these two species have different styles. Another type of adoptable on DA that is rather successful is a little creature called a Starfish Pup as well as the Lantern Dragon, Lucky Chimes, Tsimus and Luminah. I would recommend looking up all of these adoptable creatures at some point during your adoptables journey.
One thing that is important to learn is how to search for adoptables that already exist and are successful. So I encourage you to go out and see if you can find these adoptables and the artists that make them without any help. Because this community is so unique it can be hard to find adoptable pets unless you know where to look. Once you know the key words to look for you'll be able to find more adoptable pets on your own. So try looking up some of the pets I've mentioned and go from there!
Step 2: Where the Adoptables Community Come From
After doing a little digging around and exploring you will be ready to start making your own species. Better yet you will be ready to start thinking about making your own species.
One thing I discovered during my time of researching and observation was that adoptables, in general, originate from any of four flourishing groups/subcultures that already exist within pop culture. If you ever come across an adoptable it was probably inspired by:
1. The Lion King fandom
2. The My Little Pony fandom
3. The Furry fandom (anthro and feral animal related art)
4. The Pokemon fandom
These four fandoms have inspired the bulk of all the adoptables out there. Even if an artist technically has nothing to do with any of these fandoms most adoptable species can relate to at least one of the above groups mentioned with the most popular adoptables being wolves or canine-like creatures. Odds are, without you even having to think about it, your adoptable will fit into one of these fandoms. But that doesn't mean you should start drawing lions, ponies, anthro creatures, or fake-mon. I simply mentioned these four groups so that you can better understand where adoptables are coming from.
Step 3: How to Make Your Own
Another observation I made during my time researching other adoptables is that each one has these things in common:
1. They have something unique in their body structure
2. Their base design is simple enough to customize later
3. Their body type is somewhere between sleek and cute looking
4. They have a small set of characteristics that makes them stand out as a species
5. The design is nice but the colors make the adoptable
Let's take Bananamantis' Weavers for example. If you haven't already let's go check out a weaver:http://bananamantis.deviantart.com/art/Valentine-E...
1. The above is a weaver Bananamantis sold for auction already. If you'll look you'll see that her species has an extra little leg behind its primary set of legs. This has been done before, even Hauket's Ren Fair Monsters has an extra leg or two stored away. But it has not been done the way Bananamantis has done them here and that is what makes her species unique from others. (Remember: No adoptable species is 100% original. The idea has already existed somewhere else. It's the artist's job to make the idea their own) Take the leg away and I'm sure they would still be successful as a species but they wouldn't be as influential or as memorable. Even if the extra leg may make you feel uncomfortable at first I bet you won't soon forget it and that is what makes her species stand out.
2. Next let's look at the design of the weaver. It's simple. Like an adaptation of My Little Pony they have long legs, and a sleek body with rounded edges to make the weaver cute but also cool looking. The weaver's body itself is big enough and simple enough to fit clothing and accessories ( a must if you plan on selling your species to the general public) but the body type itself is still recognizable. The weaver only has two little extra legs added to make it unlike any animal we've ever seen but it still has a head, four legs, a space for a tail, a mouth, two eyes, and all the other traits that we know animals to have. So weavers aren't too outlandish in the way they look and they keep a pretty simple body type.
3. Weavers tend to lean more towards 'cute' while Ren Fair Monsters (pictured here: http://www.deviantart.com/art/Seafoam-Ren-Fair-Pri... ) lean more towards 'sleek'. If you imagine a spectrum where "sleek" is on one end and "cute" is on the other it's best to fall somewhere between those two without leaning to much to one side. You can lean towards either side but don't make your adoptable so cute that all the 'sleek' people become disinterested and vice versa.
4. What makes a Weaver stand out as a species of animal? A few things. They are called weavers because they have silk glands in their mouths that they use to make clothes. They aren't strong so they make clothing and give it to others as a way of making friends. The males have horns and the females do not. There are poisonous Weavers and those are designated by their long scorpion tails... These are most of the characteristics that makes a weaver stand out as a species.
5. Colors are what people really want. Colors determine the mood of the character and the more complex the blending and the patterns are the more people will flock towards it. Also colors are what make a thing attractive. Think about something you like right now and I'm sure the color of the thing is a key component of what you like about it. I would suggest using the site http://www.colourlovers.com/ to help with finding interesting patterns and alluring color palettes.
Step 4: Most Importantly
I know this all is a lot to take in at once. You have to think about what the people want in their adoptables while also making one that is unique and still a reflection of who you are as a person. My most important piece of advice to you is to take all the above information and make it secondary to what you want from your adoptable. Just sit down and start drawing something that feels right to you.
This is the last thing I learned before I was able to make my own adoptable pet species. The creature you want is already there inside you, so set all the other advice and tips aside, put your pencil to your paper, and draw what feels right to you. Then later if you want to apply a few changes to it by all means go ahead, but at the center of it all you need to have a creature that is a reflection of who you are as an artist.
Here is my Deviantart page for the adoptables I've made. I chose to create an entirely different Deviantart from the one I originally had. This page is specifically for my adoptables and it is common for people who are interested in making adoptables to create an account completely dedicated to the adoptable.
Another note: If you plan on making money off of your adoptable you will need a Paypal account. PayPal is what's used to transfer money in exchange for the purchased adoptable.