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Re: BBC Planet Dinosaur

  It looks like the body feathering was sculpted on, rather than the usual 
'hair simulations' that can be costly.  I could be wrong, as I've only seen a 
Youtube video.  Its not that the technology for making body covering isn't 
there, its just that during the rendering process things slow down (time=money) 
, and you can get interesting surprises such as fur flicker, collision, hair 
standing on end...etc.  That means you need to send the shot back a few times 
for rendering until you get it right.  Given the budgets of TV shows that is 
something that really needs to be considered.  It depends on what kind of deal 
you strike with the fx company, there are very few chances they allow (1-3 
usually) for it to come out right.  If you want to give it just one more try 
they charge you for it.  The same kind of rule goes for animation...so you 
REALLY need to spend the extra $ and get a good company because it may save you 
in the long run.  If someone knows of an FX company that values science over 
losing money please let me know.
  Attaching the primaries to the second digit is technically a challenge.  All 
too often the third finger will collide into the feather geometry above it if 
any movement other than curling is to happen.  The geometry that represents the 
individual feathers is usually ridged and unless its a special case, will not 
move as fluidly as a real feather does...unless you have all the time and money 
in the world.  
We had a second digit attachment in Dino Rev and ywe really had to watch for 
things like that.  It became a little limiting on the poses you could strike.  
I can see the temptation for an animator to rotate the wrist just so that he 
can get into his needed pose.  
  In general I liked the second Planet Dinosaur.  Far less headache-inducing 
camera moves and focus pulls/zooms than the first ep and the animation was 
better too. It was good science programing.  


On Sep 23, 2011, at 1:37 PM, Jason Brougham wrote:

> One big anatomical oversight is that the primary feathers on Microraptor and 
> Sinornithosaurus attach to the third, rather than second, finger. And the 
> wings don't fold so great. The Epidendrosaurus without feathers is a bummer.
> But overall I think there is a lot to like with these reconstructions. At 
> least they are lively little fellows.
> On Sep 23, 2011, at 4:31 PM, Habib, Michael wrote:
>> On Sep 23, 2011, at 2:03 PM, K Kripchak wrote:
>>> ...seeing Microraptor and Sinornithosaurus reconstructed as gliding animals 
>>> was,
>>> for lack of a better word, silly...  They looked silly. A waste of bio
>>> material. Not one arm flap... not one... Just a lot of scampering up
>>> trees and jumping into the air like lemurs or flying squirls with
>>> outstretched arms to glide from tree to tree. It didn't look right at
>>> all.
>>> Like I said, pointless observation in terms of science... but I tell
>>> ya... it just didn't look right.
>> Having managed to get some stills from the series, I am at least happy to 
>> see that the Microraptor model doesn't use an extreme sprawl in the hind 
>> limbs.  However, they hindfoils do seem undersized and the limb position is 
>> still a bit odd, so I think the animators may have struggled with the 
>> hindfoil situation a bit.  Still, a lot better than just about any other 
>> reconstruction currently available in that regard.
>> Cheers,
>> --Mike H.
>> Michael Habib
>> Assistant Professor of Biology
>> Chatham University
>> Woodland Road, Pittsburgh PA  15232
>> Buhl Hall, Room 226A
>> mhabib@chatham.edu
>> (443) 280-0181
> Jason Brougham
> Senior Principal Preparator
> American Museum of Natural History
> jaseb@amnh.org
> (212) 496 3544