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Re: Featherless Velociraptor on Nat'l Geographic Channel Feb. 8

--- On Sat, 1/24/09, David Krentz <ddkrentz@charter.net> wrote:

> From: David Krentz <ddkrentz@charter.net>
> Subject: Re: Featherless Velociraptor on Nat'l Geographic Channel Feb. 8
> To: ralph.miller@alumni.usc.edu
> Cc: VRTPALEO@usc.edu, dinosaur@usc.edu
> Date: Saturday, January 24, 2009, 10:22 PM
> Feathers are a pain to do ( a lot of rendering time) but not
> impossible on a smaller budget.  I think DInosaur Planet did
> a great job of the feathers for a low budget.  I've
> worked on a couple of movies with feathers involved and the
> problem was that every guy who's job it was to create
> the feathers always felt he/she had to reinvent the wheel
> and create their own "better" version of a feather
> program which has eaten production time up.  Given time the
> results are amazing.  Even movies as far back as Stuart
> Little 2 have had great results.  I believe that there are
> decent feather generating programs or plug-ins out there,
> but again, its render time.  Realistic feathers have
> irridescence and all kinds of render time sucking properties
> for each feather to be created.  There is  extra time needed
> to make sure no feathers collide with each other or making a
> clean matte if the creature needs to be against live action
> footage..  The hardest thing to do is show an onscreen wing
> folding.  You might notice the shot will cut just before
> that happens.
>   Often CG dinos look furry, which is the easy way around
> it but it makes them look like terror-muppets.
> David Krentz

Muppets or not at least they'd have the right body covering. Poorly animated 
feathers are better than none at all. If animators decided to render their 
wolves bald because "capturing the subtle translucence of fur silhouetted 
against the sunset is too time consuming" or whatever, we wouldn't accept 
*that* excuse. 

Similarly, there's no excuse for leaving feathers off the proper dinosaurs in 
this day and age. None. We've known about dino feathers for 13 years now, 
explicitly anticipated them 20 years prior to *that*, and had very strong 
reason to infer their existence from 1862 when Archaeopteryx was formally 
described. Somehow this information has to trickle out to the general public 
*eventually*, and I thought that was supposed to be the job of documentary film