Pony Thought of the Day: Repeat Cutie Marks

There’s a few cutie marks that show up repeatedly on background ponies, and sometimes I like to speculate on what they might mean about the pony who has them. Here’s a few.

  • Carrot: Excellent eyesight, proficiency at bad prop comedy.
  • Fleur de Lis: Snooty superiority, bad spelling, and frankly overrated cooking abilities, but a real knack for breakfast pastries.
  • Compass Rose: Unerring sense of direction, tendency to declare anywhere they don’t feel like going to be full of dragons.
  • Hourglass: Time Lord, natch.

0 thoughts on “Pony Thought of the Day: Repeat Cutie Marks

  1. I've noticed that the variety and uniqueness of background-pony Cutie Marks has grown quite a bit as the show has caught on. This is probably partially thanks to the increased budget and production values, but also because the animators (who, unlike the writers, are allowed to read fanon) started throwing Easter Eggs to the fans.

    At the start, half the background ponies were all palette-swaps of the same dozen or so character models.

  2. This is true.

    It's probably a combination of increased budget and increased production values, as you say, but also a steadily growing library of puppets. Because of the way Flash works, the amount of effort needed to reuse a pony is relatively low, which means every time they create a new pony (either to add to the background supply or as a one-off character) that's one more pony for fleshing out crowd scenes.

    That's probably also why they've been able to slowly phase out the palette-swaps. There doubtless wasn't enough budget at the start to make dozens of pony models, but if they make a new one every couple of episodes…

  3. That's the beauty of computer animation, you can store the character models and their movements separately.

    Grant Beaudette, in one of his animation-analysis videos, discovered that all the characters pretty much have the exact same facial structure and expression set (the eyes are different shapes, but they all can move in roughly the same way), and the main differentiating factor is simply which of the available expressions they employ… so their characterization is actually visualized.

    The other thing I've noticed is how the background cast actually seems to have become more focused, with a certain group (primarily the ones who became the principal cast of the Lunaverse) achieving regular prominence, rather than just having more random palette-swapped background ponies with no continuity. This makes things easier for them, and it gives the continuity geeks something to hunt for.

  4. I do like the use of consistent sets, but I wish they'd stick to using it in Ponyville, or have a palette-swapped set they use for other settings. That would avoid the weird side effects of reusing fan-favorite background characters in multiple locations, like the way Lyra appears to be stalking Twilight.

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