A Signalnoise Odyssey: Part VII

Part VII: Long Live the Orbinauts!

Dear reader, I want to send along a sincere thank-you if you have been taking the time to keep up on my posts outlining the lengthy process of A Signalnoise Odyssey. What started as a few sketches a number of years ago had slowly evolved into a little project I am quite proud of. With this post, the timeline I have been talking about reaches the present day.

A number of months back I enlisted my pal Jonathan Mitchell, a very talented 3D visual effects artist, to help me realize my Orbinauts designs even further by creating photo-realistic depictions of the toys. I had never designed anything to be re-created in 3D so the process of working with him was new and exciting. Jonny surpassed all of my expectations (which were pretty high to begin with) by creating flawless models of the characters so I could see exactly what they might look like sitting on my desk.

Working with a like-minded artist like Jonny truly added life to the project. Check out what he did:

The Orbinauts by James White

The Orbinauts by James White

The Orbinauts by James White

The Orbinauts by James White

The Orbinauts by James White

The Orbinauts by James White

Things have come a long way since my original little doodle over 2 years ago.

The Orbinauts by James White

As I said earlier, this brings us to the end of the road so far. I have taken my conceptual toy designs as far as I can for the time being, of course the final hurdle being the actual creation of the designs as toys. So where do I go from here? Over the next couple of days I will be exploring the options I have available, to see what my chances are of making this project a reality.

Given the future of this project is fairly uncertain, I would like to ask a favor . . . if you have been reading my Signalnoise Odyssey posts and would like to see the Orbinauts toys made available someday, feel free to take a few seconds to leave me a comment. I might need a bit of your help at this stage, and any buzz I can muster surrounding the Orbinauts will certainly help my chances of seeing these little guys come to life :)

Thanks so much, everyone. To be continued . . . ?

Need to catch up on the previous parts of A Signalnoise Odyssey? Be sure to check out:

Part I: A Long Time Ago
Part II: Rise of the Brothers
Part III: Here Come the Bad Guys
Part IV: Creating a Planet
Part V: A New Start
Part VI: Stranger in a Strange Toyland






30 responses to “A Signalnoise Odyssey: Part VII”

  1. John Avatar

    :D Those look really neat. Kind of reminds me of an alien Castle Crashers.

    I hope we get to Part VIII and I have an opportunity to buy one.

  2. kyle steed Avatar


    I have enjoyed seeing the progression over the past month, through this series, with your characters. It’s been a really great adventure and I hope you have the chance to make these 3D renderings a reality.

    Actually, when I saw the first one of them all on a desk, I thought for sure you had already made them and were telling us we could now order our own. (Jonathan does some incredible work.)

    Well, I have already retweeted this article, and please let me know if there’s anything else I can do to help you gain momentum.

    Take care.

  3. Adii Rockstar Avatar

    If you’re willing to ship me a little box off to South Africa, then I’ll order a few! :)

  4. pienose Avatar

    fantastic! I read it all the way though and really enjoyed seeing how you work on a long personal project. I look forward to seeing these in the store, but only after I’ve got enough money to buy a poster! =P

  5. Abe Avatar

    Super nice, I really like the icons on each of the characters!

  6. Karinne Avatar

    These look fantastic! For a second there I really thought you had them made! Great work!

    I RT’d as well and I would love to have those little guys on my desk! If there’s anything else, like Kyle said, to help you get this off the ground, let us know! I’m always up for helping a fellow Canuck with amazing talent!

  7. Mbithi Masya Avatar

    Its been great keeping up with all the work you put into this project and I really hope it pays off for you in the final toys becoming a reality!

    If you would like to see how they would physically look, there’s a great company, shapeways.com, i know you’ve probably heard of them but they do great 3d printing, an they are relatively cheaper than most other options. Check em out if you haven’t already.

    Great work once again James. Hope this goes all the way into a toy a range!

  8. Arnór Bogason Avatar

    This is great, I love the look of these characters. I’d definatly order one if they were to be produced.

  9. Kev Gilmour Avatar
    Kev Gilmour

    Hey James, I just recently discovered your stuff and I have to say I’m loving it – you’re one of those guys that makes me feel guilty for not keeping my own site & work so up to date & out there!

    If you are looking to get your toys produced you should check out Clutter Magazine (if you haven’t already), there are lots of talented toy makers and enthusiasts out there who would be interested in helping you I’m sure. http://www.cluttermagazine.com

    One quick question – who does the prints that you sell online? I’ve had bad experiences with many printers and was love some tips. Also what do you use for color proofing? I’ve been looking at the ColorMunki but I’m not sure yet.

    Take it easy.

  10. Marco Fesyuk Avatar

    Amazing . . . I’m really excited for you and all the hard ork that has one in on all this . . . I hope they actually do get created as real toys

  11. Ruben Avatar

    Wow these are incredible i would love to have one someday.
    Great work!

  12. Graeme Mac Avatar

    Yes. I would be interested and I know a few others who would be too.

  13. Tim Gengler Avatar

    Count me in as one of the many readers who has really enjoyed your detailed journey from the initial concept to these fantastic renders.

    While I have no particular experience in the field, a cavalcade of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles figures have advised me that differentiating the characters a tiny bit more might make things more tempting. Perhaps Care Bears is a better guide in this regard, as you’ve got the whole belly symbol motif going.

    With these in mind, I think the key is incorporating a bit more personality into each one. Anything from different eye or ear “expressions” to changing the condition of their suits (“The Grizzled Veteran” and “The Shiny, Enthusiastic Young Recruit”) to making the helmets removable to adding an accessory or tiny sidekick… in that regard, even a little card accompanying each figure illustrating them in front of an appropriate background could do a great deal without you having to touch the figures any further (and more James White artwork is always welcome).

    Best of luck! I’m looking forward to seeing what happens next.

  14. Jerko Avatar

    Dude, they’re like Battle Beasts, but awesomer!

  15. Daily Designs Avatar

    Hi James,

    =D They look awesome =D
    If they are ever being sold on huge scale, I definitely gonna ask a blue one for my birthday :)


  16. Daily Designs Avatar

    Sorry for the double post, but atm the links to parts V and VI are the same, maybe a little upgrade so it are different links to the correct article? =D

  17. olivier Avatar

    Well when my daughter (8) saw me looking at one of your earlier posts about these she ran off to grab some paper and pencil and started drawing them (with a few of her own changes :) ) So big mark of approval from over here in NZ. Good luck getting the little chaps made!

  18. Joseph Cotten Avatar

    Most certainly buzz-worthy. I and others would put down money to have these. They have a cross-generational appeal. I’ll be retweeting this, and simultaneously putting it on Facebook.

  19. Michael Avatar

    Hi James,
    These guys are great! I couldn’t stop reading the posts. Very exciting story! I love when these little guys come from our imagination to the real world and there’s just no stopping them!

    As a designer myself I have been going through that creative experience myself recently. But your project has taken over my imagination. I hope for you all the best with your project and if there’s anything I can do to help Just give us a shout!


  20. Jonathan Avatar

    If you made a series of vinyl toys I would definitely get them.

    I have been a designer for about 5 years now, and a vinyl toy collector for little over e year and my collection has grown quickly (mostly toys by Jamungo & Strangeco). These would be an awesome addition to my collection, especially if they each came with a mini-poster ;)

  21. […] A Signalnoise Odyssey: Part VII […]

  22. Colorburned Avatar

    Wow James! I love those 3d renderings! So awesome!


  23. Benjamin Avatar

    Hi James,

    I saw these toys, and thought of yours.
    Similar full-rounded character feel – lots of personality!



  24. Gus Avatar

    This is awesome, congratulations.

  25. Grant Avatar

    I love these I really hope they come to reality soon.

  26. […] coin on them, I love the designer toy scene and even tried my hand at designing my own line called The Orbinauts. But knowing that guys like Zeitgeist are out there, the bar has been raised far beyond. I sure […]

  27. Ryan24567 Avatar

    James, these are the best looking toys ever. If you ever manufacture and sell the Orbinauts, I would buy all four. And I think the villains would make great toys.

  28. Davi Rocha Avatar

    I just loved the toys! I wish they were a little more different from each other, but I think this will eventually come along. Still, Im totally hoping I can have one of those crazy guys soon on my shelf!

    Excelent work, James! Keep Rock’n!

  29. Jorden Tually Avatar

    Seriously need to get these in the shelfs! With the right advertisement… they will be a massive hit! We will have a movie before you know it!

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