How To Train Your Dragon 2 – Behind The Scenes

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How To Train Your Dragon 2 – Behind The Scenes

How To Train Your Dragon was released to a huge box office success, and went on to become the most critically acclaimed Dreamworks Animation Film ever. Studio, now equipped with next-gen software and team of skilled artists they produced the second installment. They introduced host of new locations and new species of Dragons which meant that the Vikings had entire northern hemisphere to explore.


Behind the Scenes

  • Over 300 artists worked on the crew for How To Train Your Dragon 2 for 27 months.
  • The flying Sequence that reintroduces Hiccup and Toothless for the first time were originally a short sequence, but turned out to be twice as long as original length.
  • When the Dean DeBlois  told the team that the flying scene was going to be extended and that Hiccup would be using Flying Suit, Finkelde took the research a step further. Over two and half years, he learned to skydive and how to fly a wingsuit himself. He made his friend to shoot a video which proved to be the perfect reference for the animators.
  • To animate the dragon into the film, every animator spent two weeks studying the physics and mechanics of flight as well as practicing animation test in what was called flight school.
  • One of the most difficult shot to animate was 40 seconds long.It featured all the dragons flying into battle, with the viewer seeing it all from back of another dragon. It took around nine months to create.
  • Following the release of first trailer, fans of the film postulated that the new fins under toothless chin were sign of his age, much like Hiccup’s new tufts of stubble. Although these fins were not modeled intentionally to show an older version of Toothless, Baxter liked the idea and decided to add it into the movie.
  • Working with engineers from HP, Dreamworks developed a new software architecture that would allow the new tools to take advantage of the graphic cards and multiprocessors in the artist ‘s computers. How to Train Your Dragon was the first Dreamworks film to use the next generation of tools designed in-house, such as Torch and Premo.
  • Before the Updates, the basic architecture of some of the program went back 20 years. Underneath the hood was kind of old and they had fancy stuff on top of that, so they decided it was time to start from scratch and really take advantage of what computer can do now in terms of dual processing.

Animating a Dragon

There would be no point in animating the other movements of dragons to seem so real and alive if their flight felt unbelievable- and how a bird flaps its wings is surprisingly complex movement to reproduce.

Every animator spent two weeks studying the mechanism of flight. Then animator had to do certain animation tests, like a simple flying dragon. There was also a part where animator would make dragon land and take off  and learn to animate transfer of weight in the movements.


How they made dragon fly: Important Theories and Techniques

1)      The Bernoulli Principle – The first thing animators needed to know is how the Bernoulli Principle works. Every wing has a boomerang shape. It basically means that the air pressure from air flying below the wing will be higher than above the wing, which creates dynamic pressure, and that’s what creates lift.

2)      Analyzing references – Flight School was all about seeing when something is not working. Animators looked at a lot of live action bird footage and tried to pick up things that were not working out for them.

3)      Stay Consistent – Animators do a lot of experimental animations before they start movies. They usually try to set the style of each characters through this.

4)      Step by Step Approach – First animators do a simple version of animation be setting the poses to show the intentions of animator to directors. Animators then show it to directors three four times while refining the animation. They knew how the creatures move, so they just used the combination of references for ideas.

5)      Uniqueness – Animators looked at all these different animals and tried to give them different pattern of flight and different wing behavior on top of everything else.

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Amod drinks lots of coffee and writes articles. A student by day , blogger by night. When a team needs a gum to hold itself together , he is there to chew it.