although the animals in my animation take up less than 5second of footage, getting to their design was a lengthy process that I started early on in the project and I went through many stages of design until I created the finished look.
I visited Exeter museum to inspire my study of animals, looking at skulls and skeletons of animals gives a fresh perspective on how they look and allowed me to see animals that would look normal in a new light which was very helpful when trying to create design in future, I also took interest in the giant ammonite on display, the texture on the fossil was different to animals in England and only had a likeness to that of lizards or snails and although this wouldn’t end up being a part of the designs I feel it was worth mentioning.
the skulls of these animals are almost indistinguishable from the animals they belong to, the difference between the skull of the four horned antelope was the most interesting to me as its skull was quite frightening and the contrast with the animal was almost comedic.
As I had done when designing the enviroment, I chose to create a mood board to help visualize how I wanted the animals to look.
at this point, I Wasn’t sure what the world in which my animation would take place would look like, but by studying the animals in my local area I learned a lot about anatomy which came in use later when animating as well and figuring out that I wanted to base part of my animation on Devon, its wildlife, geology, and plants, which would keep the visual of the animation close to what I know as I traveled around the Devon countryside a lot in my childhood.
I studied the sheet and cows, which are farm animal and in no way wild, but their presence in familiar and looking at them again from the perspective on this project changed how I perceived them not just as farm animals but as interesting and vibrant animals, I took inspiration from both animals forward into my project but the sheep were more interesting to me, their dyed wool was what made them stand out even though this was from making them, the colours looked like decoration which made them look jewel covered, this is the main thing that inspired me to use a design highly similar to a sheep in my finished animation.
After photographing the animals I got to work using the photos to create thumbnails of what animals could look like, I had the idea of using the idea of the sheep as a starting point for a character but after I got to writing out the story and animating I realized there wasn’t space for this character to appear without making the story confusing so the idea was scrapped. I had also designed an animal to use in the animation, it was a mix of the fluffy dyed sheep’s wool and a deer style body, but this was scrapped in animation as well. the only thing from this page that I chose to use was the colorful sheep design,
I knew I wanted to use this sheep-like animal early on in the animation so I put it as one of the starting frames which set the tone and style of the entire animation, seeing as this is one of the first designs I came up with for it I thought it right to put it at pride of place.
I went through many different ideas for this scene, I had first wanted to have a plant-based monster, and after that I went to the idea of using the deign I had made earlier of the sheep girl, but no matter what the monster would be the scene would be the same, our protagonists would look with fear at the beast and then run choosing what they run from was secondly to the plot so I only chose what I wanted to animate once I started, I looked back to my mood boards and worked with the idea of some kind of rat-like creature.
I knew I would have to simply make a walk cycle and they loop it until of screen but this turned out to be harder than expected, after spending an hour trying to make this work I chose to find a reference which I found on youtube in the form of someone else’s rat animation, I chose to make the back legs move one at a time but used this video to animate the front legs.