Thursday, January 10, 2008

Animating a hornbill

Thumbnails of heron in flight


Video I took of a Great Hornbill in the Bronx Zoo.

Lessons Learned:

-Flash artists know, if you're drawing with the pen tool in Flash, then the pen thickness will change depending on what zoom you're at. This has it's pluses and minuses, but generally I like it and use it to my advantage. Today, when I made the perches that the bird is sitting on, I zoomed in and drew the fine, lighter brown lines to give some texture to the shapes. I think it worked well.

-When the bird pushes off, it doesn't immediately pull up it's feet, nor is there some strong gravity effect on the legs ... they just remain limp and then are quickly pulled up.

-When the bird is landing, it sort of slows down and then suddenly drops in place. There is a distinct pause and jump during the landing. It's as if it stops flying, gives in to gravity, and just drops in place.

-And, I learned my lesson from the Tiger animation. Detailed frame-by-frame analysis of the reference and detailed notes are key. What was tricky in this case was that I had all the poses right, it was the spacing and positions of the keys that was the problem. I had the bird flying in a strange arch. I had it basically shooting itself at the next perch then suddenly slowing down at a random place and landing quickly. It was weird. Finally I worked it out so it had a nice arch. I eventually moved the perch to accommodate where the bird was landing rather than the other way around. That's not an ideal strategy, but ::shrugg:: you gotta do what you gotta do.

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