british wildlife

I have decided that the animals I choose for my final animation will be inspired but my love of the british countryside. I have a fondness for the woodland and the lakes and rivers of the great british outdoors and want to show that in the animation I produce. To that end, today I have been researching british birds. One in particular caught my interest today and that was the beautiful Kingfisher. There were two things I found interesting about this bird, one was obviously it's plumage, the other was it's diet. It eats small fish, which gave me an idea of how I might like to use this in my animation. Imagine a predator, hungry and cold, tries in vain to eat this kingfisher. The kingfisher eventually shares it's meal with the predator, creating an unlikly friendship. Its just a beginning and something to play with but I like the idea of the contrasting animals and personalities, yet having something to link them together in friendship.

Kingfishers inhabit slow-moving, shallow rivers or streams which are clean enough to support abundant small fish. Fast-moving streams and polluted waters do not contain enough available fish, and hence do not contain kingfishers. Branches overhanging shallows make essential fishing perches.

erritory is extremely important for kingfishers all year round. Any bird that is unable to secure a territory with an adequate food supply is likely to perish. This is particularly important before the onset of winter. The birds start to contest territories by mid-September. A breeding pair will often divide their summer territory between them. Freezing weather can sometimes force the birds out of their territories, which often takes them to less suitable habitats or into conflict with other resident kingfishers.

Most kingfishers die of cold or lack of food a severe winter can kill a very high percentage of the birds. Traffic and window collisions are other known causes of death. The main predator is the domestic cat, but rats can also be a serious problem in places. Nestlings may be preyed on by snakes and other ground-dwelling predators, but kingfishers are aggressive birds and do defend their young against predators.

Known predators
  • owls
  • foxes
  • minks
  • dingoes
  • skunks
  • raccoons
  • chimpanzees
  • snakes
  • monitor lizards
  • driver ants
  • mongooses and relatives

There are relatively few records of adult kingfisher predation. Kingfishers are quick fliers, and probably able to escape most predators. Most known predators of adult kingfisher are raptors. Nest predators include foxes, minks, dingoes, skunks , raccoons, chimpanzees, snakes, monitor lizards, driver ants, and mongooses.

When threatened, kingfishers seem to employ one of two strategies; they either try to evade the predator by dodging behind trees or diving into the water, or they attack the predator directly, mobbing it until it leaves the area. A few species have alternative strategies; yellow-billed kookaburras raise their head feathers when threatened, revealing two black spots that resemble large eyes. When alarmed, young red-backed kookaburras assume a posture with their eyes closed and their beak pointed upward that make them look like the limb of a tree from above. Kingfishers aggressively defend the nest area against nest predators, often attacking intruders including humans.

One of these predators would be suitable as the second character if I was to use the Kingfisher as the first character 0 comments

The Tale of Despereaux

The Tale of Despereaux

If you know anything about fairy tales, then you know that a hero doesn't appear until the world really needs one.

This movie tells the story of a misfit mouse who prefers reading books to eating them, an unhappy rat who schemes to leave the darkness of the dungeon, and a bumbling servant girl with cauliflower ears - whose fates are intertwined with that of the castle's princess.

What I love about this movie is the different degrees of anthropomorphism. There is the mice of mouseworld, who grow up to be scared and timid. They learn to scurry and be afraid of everything. They act and think like mice (of what we imagine mice to think like I guess). Then there is the rats of ratworld. They are dirty and stay away from the light. They eat the scraps of revolting food and hate everybody and everything. These two groups have more animal qualities and act and make decisions based apon those qualities.

Then we have the heroes - Desperaux and Roscuro. Desperaux is a mouse, and unlike the rest of the mice in mouse world, he is brave and is curious about the world. Roscuro is not mean and dirty and most of all loves the light while the rest of the rats hate it. These two characters are much more human that animal, as they act, think and make decision based on their human qualities.

I like seeing these different levels of anthropomorphism in the same movie for it allows me to see to what degree I feel the character is believeable, to be thinking and have a strong character but to still allow its true animal nature and instints to shine through. For me I believe I enjoyed the mice from mouseworld the most in this movie. While they talked and wore tiny little mouse clothing, they still retained their basic mouse like characteristics and all their decisons were based around these qualities. I really enjoyed seeing this.


Reading list and people of note

Creating unforgettable characters - Linda Seger

Illusion of Life

Nine old men - p114 (telling you about how a character should be, Ward Kimbal on Mickey mouse)

Ward Kimbal - Disney
  • Spoke about his thoughts on Mickey Mouse

Stuart Samida - sony image works
  • different approaches to aimation
  • worked on alsan for the lion the witch and the wardrobe

Albert Hunter - Disney
  • Concept Artist
  • designed characters and settings for silly symphonies, snow white, pinocchio, fantasia, dumbo and the reluctant dragon
  • worked on peter pan and lady and the tramp before he died

The fox

For me I am interested in the Fox as the animal for my animation. I think they are wonderful creatures, and so I have been looking into some videos of them in different situations and studying their movements and reations.

this last one shows a fox catching little baby geese

Fox noise -
Fox hunt and eat -
Fox falling asleep-

This is an interesting documentary on animals and how they communicate and show their feelings to one another, and humans trying to replicate that.


A couple of things I found interesting today

a nice look into animal anthropomorphism, and it has nice pictures

some lovely animal character designs

and some morfe lovely animal character designs 0 comments

Pre-production Hand-ins for CA

Please take a note of this :)

This is the list I recieved from Mark of acceptable hand-ins for the pre-production module.

As each project is different in terms of the outcome he understands that everyone will have some varience on what they will submit, but this is a guideline for people to follow.
  • Script
  • Concept Art - Character and Setting
  • Storyboard and/or Animatic
  • Interactive Map (where appropriate)
  • User Journey (where appropriate)
  • Colour Book/Mood Boards
  • Target Audience demographics
  • Competitive Projects
  • Gantt Chart
  • Budget
Also not that he asks if everyone could submit this in one folder per person if possible.

I hope this helps everybody


What is my project?

It too quite a while for me to finally settle on what I wanted to study.

At first I thought about looking into personality animation. There was plenty of research avaliable for me to look into but I found it didnt spark my interest like I thoought it would and so I decided to look into something different.

That is when I persued my interest in interactive narrative. For me this is a very interesting topic and there is a lot of research behind it, and I found myself almost persuaded to continue with this topic based on my interest in the subject. My only problem, and it was quite a big one, was I wasn't very interested in producing a project based on narrative. I wouldn't say I have a strong interest in script writing and for that reason I struggled to visualise an end product. I still kept it in mind and did do quite a bit of research into the idea of interactive narrative vs a linear form of narrative.

But it wasn't until one night that I had a moment of clarity, and i knew what I wanted to base a project on.

For me I wish to study "Anthropomorphism in Animation".

I have always had a love for animated animals, and in particular the non-verbal variety. Although a love the ones that talk too :) And after some research I have definitely decided this is the topic I wish to continue my honours project on. The research is interesting and has already given me much to think about and on the practical side of things it is a chance for me to try my hand at rigging and animating animals, which is something I have not touched much yet. So I look forward to the challenge :) 0 comments

Honours Project Diary

I have set up this blog today to record all thoughts, research, concept development and any progress with my final project. It will updated regularly and will show my progress through my project for my final year.

Faye Wright 0 comments