GM and !Bala,
We’re now a month and a half removed from the Azurian reveal, a day that our team and community will not soon forget. On the day of the reveal, after we finished our Twitter Spaces to discuss what went wrong and to listen to the opinions of our community, we drew up a plan to make sure we didn’t miss on Round 2 of the PFPs.
That plan consisted of a few key components:
- Get back to our roots and truly involve the community: We accomplished this by opening up 3 surveys that allowed the community to tell us exactly what they wanted to say. This led to the creation of 3 amazing moodboards.
- Stand up a Community Council: We announced 8 incredible community members who we are already collaborating with a ton. They will be the voice of the community without having 3,000 cooks in the kitchen.
- Stand up an incredible Artist Council: We announced our Artist Council comprised of 4 of the top artists in the space, all with varying styles. Simply put, these artists know what successful art looks like in the NFT space and beyond. They’ll provide a vibe check the entire way through.
- Bring on a world-class Creative Director and team of PFP Artists: Well, folks, that’s why we’re here today. Read on for more.
Introducing Ty Carter: Azurbala Creative Director
Without an amazing Creative Director involved, none of the other pieces of our plan can function effectively. It’s a Creative Director’s job to ensure that our PFPs tell a cohesive story, look like they belong in the world, pioneer a new and welcoming art style, set the direction for the whole collection, and then oversee the work of the PFP artists.
To that end, although Ty is an artist himself, his job as Creative Director for the Azurian PFPs is to bring them to life to fit within Azurbala the world and as Twitter PFPs. A great Creative Director’s personal art style should not define the end creative that we all work together to create. Ty will be leading us through a formal process that explores many different 2D art styles that each convey the community’s Azurian Jungle Punk preference differently in order to find the best one.
We are excited to announce that we’ve teamed up with creative director, Ty Carter, to develop the Azurian PFPs. We interviewed many Creative Directors and Artists with experience ranging from NFTs to large Web2 entertainment properties, but nobody blew us away like Ty.
Ty brings a wealth of experience and fresh perspectives. He’s worked on highly successful generative projects as well as some of the biggest blockbuster animated films of all time with studios like Disney, Pixar, Blue Sky and Netflix. Ty’s work includes: the Ice Age Franchise, Epic, The Peanuts Movie, Spies In Disguise, Toy Story 3, Cars 2, Bolt, Nimona (2023) where he served as a Visual Development Artist, as well as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (unreleased) and Tiana (2025) in the role of Art Director.
He first entered the NFT space as a curator for galleries at Art Basel, ComplexCon, and EDC. Since then, he’s contributed to many different successful generative PFP projects but is bound by confidentiality for what can be shared publicly with the community.
The team of artists that Ty has assembled to create the Azurbala PFPs consists of top talent from Gaming and Film (Ubisoft, Activision Blizzard, Epic, Warner Brothers, DreamWorks, Sony, Epic Games to name a few). We are excited to share more as we continue developing the Azurians.
Throughout his career, Ty has been trusted at the highest levels of entertainment to oversee large-scale visual development of characters and worlds to form a cohesive universe. He is thought to be one of the top and most sought after Visual Development Artists in the Animation space. Ty has been spending time diving into all things Azurbala and could not be more excited to captain this ship.
There are a few non negotiables we’ve told Ty that he needs to consider when developing the PFPs:
- They need to look like they come from Azurbala. We heard from you all that the PFPs looked nothing like the visual identity we had built for the world.
- They need to be guided by community feedback that we’ve already collected (2D, Jungle Punk) and further community interaction in the future. In fact, Ty is eager to survey the community about their preference in generative PFPs in the early phase of his creative process.
- We need to pioneer a unique style. Just because we’re reverting back to 2D doesn’t mean we want to make PFPs that look like everything else we’ve seen. They must be fresh and push the space forward, but also abide by best practices.
- They need to be amazing PFPs. Some projects are beautiful but simply do not work as PFPs. If we’re looking for our community to adapt Azurians as their identity, it needs to look great inside the Twitter UI and the appropriate sizing/zoom needs to be considered.
In the last 6 weeks, we’ve made a lot of progress against our initial plan. We’ve introduced you to our Community Council and Artist Council. We’ve collected rounds of feedback from hundreds of you. In short, the foundation has been laid. We have incredible community members and some of the world’s top character artists working on this project.
Now, the real work begins. We wanted to let you in on the process to give you a better idea of what to expect over the coming months.
Phase 1: Develop an Iconic Look & Feel for Azurians
- Ty will present us and the Councils with an overview of the Design and Color terms, processes, and techniques to better define what will make up the Azurian style (line, mass, pattern, hue, saturation, value)
- We’ll further refine the reference boards
- We’ll define the citizens of Azurbala and their occupations visually
- We’ll look to come out with rough compilations, sketches, colors, and ideas
- We’ll develop the final style approach and process
- We’ll build the “toolkit” and style guide that will guide what comes to life in Phase 2.
Phase 2: Design All Traits and Set Up the Generator Pipeline
- We’ll create a beginning to end pipeline for the NFT collection. This will give us the ability to generate a range of rarities as well as the ultra-rare Azurians in the collection. We’ll start to take the final trait designs and run them through the generator to begin spitting out desirable combinations.
- Artists and Devs will collaborate on best process for generation
- Test out trait combos in a controlled setting to ensure cohesion
- Lock in final number of traits and attributes
- Complete all individual assets
Phase 3: Complete Generator, Produce Final Avatars
- Set weights up for the generator, dial in render pipeline
- Finish all 1/1’s
- Marketing assets/teasers/trailers
- Quality control reviews
- Paintover fixes
As you can see, we’re going to make sure we do it right this time around. Every step of the way you’ll all have insight into the process and a voice in how things are going. But of course, we’ll also balance the element of surprise to ensure that the PFP reveal is as fun a moment as can be. In working with Ty to outline the above phases, our eyes are already opened to how many of these crucial components were missing from our original Azurian PFP process.
Our Promises to the Community
As we embark on this journey, we have a few promises we’d like to make you:
- We’ll provide the most realistic timelines that we can. We know this is a setback from a timing perspective. We were so close to having Azurians out in the world. We’re going to take however long we need to this time to ensure they’re iconic PFPs that you are excited to rock. We’ll over communicate here.
- We will lean on our Councils. The Community Council has the best interests of the community at heart and the Artist Council are each at the top of their field. We’ll include them in the process, hear their feedback, and work together. They are not involved for optics. This will be a collaborative effort.
- We will not keep the community in the dark. Last time we wanted to surprise and “wow” the community with our PFP reveal. We had positive intentions with that idea, but we know it ended up having a negative impact. We’re going to continue to keep the entire community clued in. We’ll continue to lean into what defines Tally Labs and our broader community which is to involve everyone in crafting creative direction and providing feedback at key touchpoints. We’ll make sure everyone knows what phase we are currently on and has an idea of how Azurians are coming together. We’ll get more comfortable building in public and showing things that aren’t finished products to gather feedback.
And now it’s time to get to work. We appreciate everyone who has stuck around with us, who helped contribute to the PFPs with survey responses, who nominated themselves or someone else for the Community Council, and who have added to so much more.
We’ll leave you with this: we know what’s expected of us, we know what the stakes are, and we know we can deliver for you. We’ve sourced the absolute best of the best to tackle this with us and we’re excited to continue doing this with the community’s help.
They say everything happens for a reason. Well, now the stage has been set for a comeback, and it’s time to prove that right.