Origins OF SkyRat

My partner and I decided to riff off of the "gritty urban vigilante" trope only instead of a crime fighter, it's a pigeon. I started by gathering references for the character.

SkyRat Images
SkyRat Images

Anatomy Studies

I started with a batch of semi-realistic drawings of pigeons from reference and observation to get a feel for animal's movements and mannerisms.

Small & Mean

One of the directions I explored early on was a small sturdy bird, varying between mean and punch-drunk. I wanted the head large so that it looked goofy, and to maintain focus on his eyes, but the challenge was to draw the beak correctly so that it didn't look like a hawk or owl.

SkyRat Images
SkyRat Images

Thick or Thin

Another direction that I explored was inspired by the idea of Kingpin from Marvel Comics, giving the pigeon a "mafia don" like quality. The challenge here was that he wound up looking more like a rotisserie chicken than a pigeon. The other extreme was making him look like a bowling pin, but the struggle here was edging too far into a goose or questionable territory.

The Skyrat, Himself

We went with a smaller bird to give him an "underdog" feel. Despite his large head we wanted him to seem unintelligent so there is no significant lift to his cranium. When animating SkyRat, I wanted to make sure his body was not static even while he was holding still, so I made sure to include an ambient breathing movement.

SkyRat Images

Putting it all together

Once the animation was complete and my group and I had rendered out the camera pans, I was in charge of compositing foreground and background elements. I was also responsible for mixing in the audio and animating the credits.

Copyright © Tim Grey