Extinct but Still Swimming Prehistoric Nautiloid

28 05 2009
  Rayonnoceras Espeyense - Prehistoric Nautiloid
 
Commissioned by the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust, I was tasked with breathing life back into this extinct 2 million year old sea beastie. Its real name is Rayonnoceras Espeyense but was lovingly called ‘Ned’ throughout the project. This sequence (edited version seeen here) loops on a plasma screen next to the actual shell fossil within the museum and is the first time I’ve animated a ‘creature’; especially one with tentacles. The whole sequence took roughly four weeks.
 
 
Here’s an inside look at the bones and springs rig I set-up for my Nautiloids tentacles.
Attempting to animate over 200 bones by hand would have been very time-consuming so I needed to find a way of controlling the tentacles using the minimum amount of key-frames. This hierachy of bones connected to springs method in 3dsmax allowed me to control almost all the tentacles by wriggling their parent bone. To add subtle differences between each tentacle I also keyframed each root bone. This rig didn’t work when I had to jump the creature forward, at this point the tentacles would fly backwards into it’s head. For this shot I used a mixture of hand keyframing and ripple spacewarps.
 
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