A collection of shots and animation tests I animated for 'How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World'
1. Hobgobbler performance test - I Rigged the Hobgobbler face with a non-standard face rig. Since the range of expression was less complicated than needed for the hero dragons, I designed and implemented a simpler dragon face rig. In order to prove the system would work, I animated this quick performance test, which became a hit and helped define the personality of the hobgobblers.
2. Warlord Camp establishing shot. I animated this shot that serves to help showcase what the fate of dragons would be if the warlords win. I animated the three dragons, (screen left Gronckle, the Rumblehorn in the middle, and the Deadly Nadder that gets shot out of the air) as well as the guard wrangling the Gronkcle and the screen-right guard that restrains the Rumblehorn. I used a lot of different animal reference, including dogs, rhinos, and abused circus elephants. I even had production install bull hooks in place of spears for some of the guards to help make that connection to circus elephants. I hand drew a quick net to sell the Nadder being shot out of the sky, since the actual net was done later by the Character FX department.
3. Collection of Hidden World shots - I had to create a number of regaling behaviors for various dragons as they praise Toothless's homecoming to the Hidden World. This required researching a number of animal threat displays and courtship displays, and then adapting them to the strange anatomies of the individual dragon species. I also had to use the rigs to design new variations of some of the creatures depicted so they didn't look identical to the hero versions of those species seen elsewhere in the movie. This was done for the Goregutter in the background of the first shot, and the Lightfury duo and Rumblehorn in the second shot.
4. Goregutter boat animation - This was part of a massively complex shot that had 7 different animators working on it to finish in the time allotted. My sole responsibility was to animate the Goregutter dragon timidly leaving his cage and escaping throughout the length of the shot. It took a lot of planning to coordinate with other animators to make sure it lined up with the various sections of the shot. Due to the final look of the shot, complete with thick fog, a lot of the work is obscured, but I wanted to showcase what I did for it, including the custom walk cycle I animated for the dragon. To help sell the weight, I put on my rigging hat and added a rudimentary muscle-jiggle rig to the body, which I then animated by hand.
5. Deathgripper Airship - Because of the complex parenting relationships for this asset (4 heavy dragon rigs pulling the dense airship model, with a full human rig standing on it, and two more dragons dangling from chain and harnesses below it), I was tasked with creating a hovering animation for use in the background of various shots during the third act. This helped the animation team animate incredibly complex and character-dense shots faster, and allowed them to focus on the more important elements in the foreground of each shot.
Special thanks to the following animators for their help and guidance: