Luckily Framestore had some background on the topic, having won multiple awards for the BBC’s Walking with Dinosaurs series in 1999. VFX Supervisor Pedro Sabrosa was able to bring his experience of Dinosaurs direct to the Natural History project; ‘Personally, I found it was a great asset to have worked on the series’, says Sabrosa. ‘The anatomy, skin textures and movements of these creatures are all so specific that having a degree of knowledge from a previous project was incredibly helpful.’
Said experience did not diminish the immense amount of precision animation and CG needed to bring the Rhomaleosaurus and Giraffatitan to life. A team of four animators worked exclusively on the creatures’ movements, using a custom muscle and flesh skin system built specifically for the job. The biggest challenge proved the length of the sequences for the four minute experiences; each character was split into seven sections, each of which underwent a two-process simulation to provide the requisite muscle stretch and compression, as well as the stretch and slide of the overlaying skin layer.