Fossils and Layers
Dinosaur National Monument
Client: Dinosaur National Monument
Production Company: Northern Light Productions
Role: Storyboarding, graphic design, 2D and 3D Animation, modeling, rigging, texturing, lighting, rendering, fluid simulation, visual effects, compositing
Credits: Produced by Barbara Seidl, Associated Produced by Morgan Wynkoop, Cinematography by Jesse Beecher, Edited by Tim Raycroft and John Sherrer, Initial 3D Layout and Stegosaurus Carcass/Texturing by Nichalous Ito, Fossil Wall tracing by Simon Wang
For the Dinosaur National Monument in Utah, I had the opportunity to develop two animated scenes, using a mix of 2D and 3D techniques, as part of a film produced by Northern Light Productions. This project involved seamless collaboration with scientific experts for accuracy and stylistic consistency with the museum's existing content.

First Animation: The Journey to Fossilization

This animation depicts a dense 3D scene, illustrating dinosaurs' transition before and after a significant drought. It visualizes how carcasses and bones were dispersed by floods, buried under sediment, and ultimately fossilized. This segment required a range of 3D techniques such as rigging, modifying, and animating various dinosaur assets, environmental modeling, and advanced fluid simulation. I utilized Vray proxies, instancing, and Maya MASH networks for efficiently filling out the environment with large quantities of plants.
The ending fossil representation was crafted directly from footage of the actual fossil wall at the park.
In designing and customizing the overall look, it was crucial to align with a large painted mural at the park. This mural guided us in accurately depicting the dinosaurs' appearance, including their colors and positioning, as well as the types of vegetation present. Ensuring this visual harmony was essential for consistency with the park's existing educational resources.
Second Animation: Earth's Layered History

Blending 2D and 3D methods, this piece focuses on the earth's transformation over time. It highlights the formation and compression of geological layers containing fossils, leading to an impressive finale featuring original footage of the park's exposed strata.
We referred to the museum's existing stratification column in order to match its textures and colors, and consulted with experts for geological accuracy.
Final Thoughts

This project was a testament to the power of collaboration, with each team member playing a crucial role to pull everything off. Everyone involved made invaluable contributions, from facilitating communications to providing essential content and reference material. The careful attention to detail and expert input from the client were instrumental in ensuring the project's success and scientific accuracy.
You can view the full film, "River Reflections", for free at
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