Quick-Draw Dinosaur #4: Miragaia

It's back and bigger than ever! Having listened to the feedback from our loyal viewers, QDD documentaries have now been extended to a full 20 seconds of footage!

In this episode, we take a little look at Miragaia longicollum; a moderately-sized stegosaurid from Portugal. Miragaia takes its name from the Miragaia region, where it was found and the fact that it has an extraordinarily long neck for a stegosaurid.

The original concept behind QDD was to have a series of "turbo-projects" which would show only a few seconds of footage, but would be humorous and easily achievable in a day. But as day-jobs and other commitments have intervened, we've been moving towards making longer and more detailed episodes which will be released more sparingly. Hence, for this episode I spent a lot more time working up the artwork and animations than I did for previous titles; delivering hopefully more bang-for-your-bucklandi!

Miragaia artwork used in the animation. Copyright A V S Turner

Another purpose behind this series is to use each instalment as a testing-ground for new animation techniques. In this instance I used the Duik plug-in for Adobe After Effects to rig the puppet; considerably lengthening the production time (even with Duik's incredible automation it still takes a long time to correctly build a custom skeletal rig for a quadruped, especially when you're not too familiar with the tools) but also enabling me to achieve more complex movements without having to calculate everything by eye, so saving time and effort in the long-run.

Admittedly, now that the project is published I can already see where I could have rigged my assets in a better way, but these are lessons I can apply to the next episode...


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