Animal Fact #164 - Why Do Chicken Bob Their Heads?

Nimble Collective recently completed a Blender animation project (utilizing ‘bendy bones’ as well) to test our virtual streaming collaborative animation platform (read: work though a browser. No software installs). We’re CRAZY happy with how it turned out.

You can read more about how we made the short here:

Plus we’ll be posting tutorials on that page as well as we roll them out. Hope you guys like it.

That was kinda funny.

Thanks! We’re super proud of it and knowing it gave folks a chuckle is just icing in the sweet, sweet cake. =)

Nicely done! I like the visual direction, and overall execution looks great, from modeling, surfacing, to animation and editing. How long did this take from conceptualization to final video?

Thanks for the question!

I had a similar question over on cgSociety, so I’ll repost it here :slight_smile:

We actually started originally working with Iryna Korshak ( quite a while ago. I had seen her art on Behance and thought it looked really beautiful - and absolutely loved her rooster drawings!

As a test, I tried modeling one of the roosters in Blender and we tried texturing it… just to see if we could get the look. Once I felt confident we could match her artwork and design in a model, I reached out to her to see if she would be interested in designing a chicken in the same style. We hired her to do that and then pretty soon she was involved with helping design the look of the entire project!

So the modeling of the car and environments was done not long after that, but then we sat on the project for a while because other items were coming up which were taking presidence. About 2 months before siggraph we started back in on it, remodeling the chicken - then haley started working on the textures.

By mid June I had a rigging plan in place, and was starting to figure out how to use the Bendy Bones in Blender. I was learning the rigging aspect of Blender as I was going, so there was a little trial and error, but for the most part I had the neck planned by the 24th of June. Then I re-worked the neck feathers (initially they were going to be modeled as thick geo - but ended up using planes with textures).

By july 1st, we had a complete rig and texture for the chicken.

The initial animation for the farm shot was done in a day, but after finding the music I went back later and added a few things. So it was probably a total of 2-3 days of animating for the farm shot (including the birds, the sheep motion, etc). Lighting was pretty quick on that because Haley is amazing and the art direction was so specific and perfect.

The chicken’s car rig was also done in a day or so - not too long, since it was a relatively simple rig - the “tough” part was figuring out the squash on the tires - and learning to use the constraints correctly.

I think by July 10th the short was pretty much done, then it was just animating the title sequence (lots of fun to animate a chicken dancing!) and then just rendering and tweaking. Haley did the comps and was able to whip those out pretty quick… again, because she’s a rock star.

So all in all, most of the production part was done in just a few weeks, with some early production work of modeling the environments, textures, building & rigging the secondary cars, etc done earlier in the year, probably taking just a few weeks of desk time (spread out).

That’s a long answer to your question… but hope it makes sense!

I will definately keep an eye out for those. This is a pretty funny short, I especially loved the bit where the chicken is driving

Just so everyone knows, we’ve started releasing some tutorials… two so far, one on planning for rigging and one on how to use Bendy Bones in a way that keeps them stable.

First - how I went about planning my rig:

Second - How I use Bendy Bones in a stable way:


Thank you, sounds good. Real lovely animated chicken^^

Hey this is just such a lovely work. I don’t know how I missed it when it first appeared
Great animation and such a wonderful look to the whole thing. Beautiful design work by Iryna Korshak. I hope we one day get to see more from this Chicken. There seems to be a farm. I’m wondering what the other animals there are like ?

I loved the little tutorials too and thanks for doing them. I’ve been following an similar modular rigging paradigm for years, although in my case it’s always been scribbled flowcharts on bits of paper.

It will be interesting to see how the new Bendy Bones work for uses where you would use more traditional spline based rigging methods. Also in the near future uses for things like basic … ( actually user friendly ) muscle systems and other secondary movement features. From what I’m seeing it looks very promising and there seems to be a huge potential for them.
I wonder if they could eventually contain a soft body dynamic in some way. This would be especially useful if it could be wired to a slider controller and animated in changing intensity on the fly for fast and slow character moves.

I’ve been using my own take on a stretchy, twisty IK spline Spine solution in Blender for a little while. I still have a simple demo file with my signature. The demo rig in the scene is IK only to keep the set up simple and easy to grasp. Ideally it should be used in a joint FK spine set up of course.
It’s originally based on a method I used for many years in 3DS Max which in turn was a Max based adaptation of the classic Maya ribbon spine method. From seeing your videos, it will be interesting to see if Bendy B Bones will grow to largely replace a lot of these sorts of methods in Blender now.

Anyway all the best.

Thanks for the video, I am in no way a natural rigger my knowledge of rigging is extremely limited I can get by with lots of blood, sweat and tears but I am in no way proficient at it. So it’s always nice to expand my knowledge pool a bit by seeing way more skilled people come up with interesting techniques like this.