So Andi and I are set to work on the Knucker Dragon. The Knucker has been chosen because for our first dragon to model and rig, it was thought out best that with its long body and tiny wings.
Facts about the Knucker:
- Also called Draco Troglodytes
- Size is 3-6 feet high and 30 feet long
- They have vestigal wings and are coloured brown, dull red or a greenish blue.
- Their skin is leathery and their head is small.
- The call is a low gurgling or a bark in the mating season.
- They eat small animals though larger specimens have been known to take children.
- On average, they live for 120 years.
- They live in damp, deciduous woodland near rabbit warrens.
- The eggs are in various shades of green for camouflage and their chicks are largely aquatic.
- The Knucker uses its purple venom which is fifty times stronger than hydrochloric acid and can liquefy prey.
A baby Knucker dragon.
There are many existing references for movement on this dragon such as lizards, crocodiles or alligators.
From watching those clips it is interesting to see how the legs are picked up slowly then you can see the weight stomp down when they hit the ground. Also the way the tail drags on the floor, it doesn't just trail it rocks from each side as the weight is shifted. Squash and stretch are very present as the front leg comes back and the back leg meets as it comes forward the whole body will pinch in that point. In the Knuckers walk i don't think this would be the same because the distance between the feet are greater. So to find something where the legs are smaller and further apart would maybe cause the Knucker to take smaller and faster steps. Although the legs from the illustrations look thick and strong, so to carry the mass of the dragon maybe it could walk as gracefully as a alligator.
Existing animated dragons which spring to mind,
Love watching the movement for Mushu, he is a humanized style of animation in that he is walking on two legs, talks and his expressions are human like. What i thought was great about Mushu was the exaggerated body language, the eyes, ears, tail, the pose of the spine in that second clip when he was annoyed just emphasized the feeling for the audience. He is a believable character. Although Andi and I were not wanting to humanize the Knucker because that isn't how the character is written or described in the book, in the books such as Baby Dragons, or Tracking and Taming dragons, they are portrayed more as pets than a walking talking animal.
Merlin - Dragonlord
Looking at this dragon the face is very solid, the animation mainly is focused on the jaw, lips and some on the eye brows unlike Mushu.But this dragon is more photoreal in appearance and is in a serious context whereas Mushu is a comical character. So for the face animation i think it will be effected to the way the dragon is acting.
I just loved the overall movement to this dragon, it looked natural and the facial features were bold so when animated we got a strong expression. ILM made draco and i might have to look some more into this because i love the movement, maybe i'll try and get the attention of the animator and ask for some tips and difficulties they found.
I thought the shape of this dragon was relevant although our dragon doesn't fly.
So there were some things to certainly be considered when working on the model designs and storyboards so we know how we want the dragon to move and act.