It's helpful to remember that CG technology is constantly advancing. I'm sure that as I sit here and type this, some nerd in Silicon Valley has already upped the ante of the cutting edge.
Nonetheless, at the time that Disney Dinosaur was in actual pre-production, there was no satisfactory software that was capable of generating the feathers for all of the Velociraptors in a realistic amount of time for the film to be completed on schedule. The animators, the designers, the directors and even the producer had both considered and desired feathered animals: the technical people were unable to come up with the right solution. The major consideration is the MASSIVE amount of CPU time necessary to compute the feathers with the proper shape, color, and movement.
Ironically, just as production started, a new solution was found that would, in fact, have made it feasible to do the feathers on time and on budget. Nonetheless, a committment had been made to a certain look and it was too late to turn back.
The lemur "fur" program was a modification of some existing "fur" work that was refined for this film. The refinements included tools that allowed them to direct "wind currents" through the hair. Interestingly enough the historically innacurate grass seen at the end of the film was created using the lemur "hair" software. I mention that only to demonstrate that these effects and "textures" don't exist in a vacuum: they have to be founded upon some existing technology and not upon heartfelt wishes.
One would only suppose that given the comparatively miniscule resources of Framestore, WWD suffered from the same constraints.
Now the REAL question is... going forward in the next generation of dinosaur films and given the (at last!) existence of software that will produce feathers in an economical and time efficient manner... will the NEXT dinosaur movies have dinosaurs with feathers?
My guess would be: Absolutely YES. While I have virtually no information whatsoever about Jurassic Park III, I'd be willing to bet money that there will be feathered dinosaurs in that picture. And if there's not, I really can't think of any good excuse, and I'll eat my hat (well, not my hat, maybe, but probably my lunch which I hardly ever bother to eat).
Luis Rey wrote:
Concerning the Disney dinosaur movie and Walking with Dinosaurs, I'm aSNIPPED
little tired of hearing excuses of how difficult feathers or hair are to
treat in computer animation. If animators want to deal with real
animals, depicting small theropods without feathers or dinofuzz is (at
this time) more or less the same as depicting bald lions or naked
eagles... if they tried to animate bears or ground birds why would be
the excuse then? Lack of time and budget? Why the 'lemurs' in the Disney
weren't bald too? By this assumption, we would NEVER see a complete
animated movie with birds or mammals as stars.
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