Behind the Scenes - Bush Turkeys of QCA

This project was a uni assignment for the "Alternative Animation Techniques Course" at Griffith University. The client was the Griffith Film School. The Brief was to create a 15-30 second "signal film" (or logo sequence) to play before Griffith live action films when they go off to festivals. 

I pitched the idea of a bunch of turkeys stealing food from a QCA student. Which is a common occurrence around South Bank here in Brissy. So it seemed appropriate to play off that and turn it into a heist slash jurassic park inspired comedy.

 Bush Turkeys of QCA - Still

Bush Turkeys of QCA - Still

My main concern for this film was the deadline which was about 4 or 5 weeks away. So I was looking around for interesting ways to cut corners. I came across a product called "Bake and Bend Sculpey" which in theory should've be a quick way to make the turkey without moulds and silicone. I tried it a few times and it kept cracking when I bent it. Even with shorter baking times I still was unable to achieve the bendability required. So to fix the problem for this film I covered the cracks with plasticine.

 1. turkey parts made from bake and bend sculpey. 2. Early mock-up of the turkey 3. Bake and Bend Sculpey

1. turkey parts made from bake and bend sculpey. 2. Early mock-up of the turkey 3. Bake and Bend Sculpey

For the main character I made a simple wire armature with detachable arms for convenience. I also added a rigging point at the hips because the feet don't have tie downs. The silicone hands I took off an old puppet to save time (and recycle).

 armature diagram

armature diagram

3D printing is a fantastic way to speed up set/prop building. The printer can make things while you're making something else. It's like having you're own assistant. I find the printer good for geometric stuff that's difficult to sculpt by hand. For example the chairs, I modeled in Maya and printed 6 of them. Each chair used 20.3g of ABS (which costs about $2), taking just over an hour to print (on the UP mini 3D printer).

 1. 3D printed chairs, unpainted. 2. Early layout with the finished painted chairs and tables.

1. 3D printed chairs, unpainted. 2. Early layout with the finished painted chairs and tables.

With only a week left, I finally started animating. I animated on 2's and 3's without any drafts or blocking. Which is unfortunate, but that was the only way I could get it done with time to edit and render etc. 

 1. Motion Control Rig. 2. The set. 3. Birds eye turkey rigged up.

1. Motion Control Rig. 2. The set. 3. Birds eye turkey rigged up.

Post-production took longer than expected. I had green screens to key out, rigs to remove, multiple turkeys to comp in, along with colour enhancements and so on. This is one of my favorite parts of the process, where everything comes together like magic. Below is the final film: