Working as technology partner to the installation’s lead designer Bright White Ltd, d3t developed a set of digital museum exhibits for the new “Yorkshire’s Jurassic World” exhibit at Yorkshire Museum.
The project encompassed the animation of a lifelike raptor, and an Augmented Reality window to view extinct sea creatures as they would have looked when they lived.
The d3t Solution
Lead designer Bright White Ltd, needed a technology partner with the capability to animate some of the world’s most amazing sea dragons and dinosaurs for Yorkshire Museum’s “Yorkshire’s Jurassic World” installation.
Yorkshire Museum is home to some of the world’s largest complete aquatic dinosaurs and d3t built a window in time to view three of them. Utilising the latest augmented reality and hardware, visitors can peer into the past and see what these deep-water leviathans may have looked like when they lived.
Yorkshire’s very own raptor also springs to life, this time using a 21stcentury version of an old technology that originally spooked visitors into thinking they had seen a ghost, way back in the 1900’s.
To achieve this, d3t produced a high-quality animation for a photo real model of the raptor, resulting in the raptor appearing full size before your eyes, walking in the footsteps it left behind millions of years ago in the superb fossil in the York collection.
We used Unity and Augmented Reality technology to render the 3D models over the fossils in the exhibit, we overcame problems with low light conditions and reflections through glass that can interfere with the visual tracking.
Animating the raptor was a mix of technical and artistic endeavour and we used Maya and After Effects to produce it. Because of the real-world application, the raptor had to be accurately positioned and animated so that it’s foot placement matched that of the fossilized footprints and to ensure the technical limitations of the display were minimised.
The animation was developed in layers, starting with cyclic body movements such as breathing, and twitching, then the larger motor movements were blocked in. These were offset by the overall movement of the creature and once accurate, the movements were refined so that it looks lifelike.
These refinements include:
- Adding eye movement that precludes head movement
- Making sure the centre of gravity is respected
- All movements have an oppose reaction
- Adding impact vibrations to large muscles
- Smoothing animation curves
- Adding movement to any overly still areas.
Sir David Attenborough opened the installation at Yorkshire Museum on 23rdMarch 2018 and Sir David was also the first person to be shown around the exhibition. His feedback was very positive. Our client was very happy with the result and both installations fully work to spec and exceed expectations. We are exceptionally proud of this project and it was a privilege to be able to attend its unveiling.
Our team members who attended reported that children of all ages were delighted and excited to see dinosaurs come to life!