Click on a picture to see the original version or the new version.

For more information about how this shot was created, see below!

Okay, this was tricky. Shot number 4 is of a VERY black panther against a dark jungle back drop. Not only are cats, in general, hard to sculpt and animate but, for budget considerations, I decided to maintain the same look as some of the other shots and go with clay animation. However, because clay doesn't support itself very well, and because the panther has a whipping tail and also has to leap across the screen, I had to do some serious thinking on how to best approach this shot. To start with, I decided to keep the size of the panther small to cut down on the weight of the clay.


I had some jewelry beads that I used for the eyes. They had a nice, glowing quality about them that worked well for cat eyes.


Getting the "look" unique to big cats was kind of tricky working in such a small scale.


The completed sculpture, ready for animation.


To compensate for the lack of internal armature and the over all lack of support common to clay sculptures, I rigged up a slanted blue screen. This allowed the clay panther to rest against the blue screen. The fact that the clay would stick to the glass screen meant that the panther would be self supporting during the frames where it leaped in the air.
(Click on the photo for a larger view.)


Another handy aspect of this set up is that the tail could be simply stuck to the glass screen during animation. It was never really attached to the panther but, from the camera's viewpoint, they aligned perfectly!


Here Brandi puts the finishing touches on the panther set.


The set as it looked during photography.


I put a bright, orange poster board behind the foreground plants. This allowed me to use the orange as a keying tool to separate the foreground plants from the background in Photoshop. This was necessary since the panther would be sandwiched in between.

And here are the separate elements for the shot:


The panther on blue is on one layer.


The background layer was given a slight "mist" quality to lighten it up so the dark panther would read better against the shadows.


Some beams of light help to sell the misty quality of the lighting.


The mid-ground area is given a diffused edge to blend against the moving background.


The panther must have a shadow!


And, finally, the foreground plants are racked slightly out of focus to sell the isolated look.


And this is what it all looked like! Click on the picture for a larger view.

The finished clip is at the top of the page!

Thanks for looking!


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For those that enjoy the creak of leather, click HERE for my gallery of western art paintings