Beasts

Faelivrin

Well-Known Member
Their coloring could be different. It's true that most of Morgoth's evil animals (such as wargs) look so similar to normal animals that it's hard to tell the difference. But there are also black swans, Thuringwethil, and Carcharoth.

Perhaps Sauron or Morgoth changes the evil lions to give them a coloration more useful for stealth in forests and plains at night. So they could be jet black. That would then be awkward if they go out during the day after the Sun Rises, though. Dark brown with spots?

The reason I want to avoid the Lost Tales giant cats is because they are, literally, huge house cats. Which have proportions that work at a small size but would look silly at giant size and also not make them graceful. And because housecats are cute.
 

Ange1e4e5

Well-Known Member
Their coloring could be different. It's true that most of Morgoth's evil animals (such as wargs) look so similar to normal animals that it's hard to tell the difference. But there are also black swans, Thuringwethil, and Carcharoth.

Perhaps Sauron or Morgoth changes the evil lions to give them a coloration more useful for stealth in forests and plains at night. So they could be jet black. That would then be awkward if they go out during the day after the Sun Rises, though. Dark brown with spots?

The reason I want to avoid the Lost Tales giant cats is because they are, literally, huge house cats. Which have proportions that work at a small size but would look silly at giant size and also not make them graceful. And because housecats are cute.
One of the troubles with designing the wargs for The Hobbit films was not making them look too doglike, otherwise the audience would sympathize with the warg rather than with the dwarves.
 

Marielle

Well-Known Member
Their coloring could be different. It's true that most of Morgoth's evil animals (such as wargs) look so similar to normal animals that it's hard to tell the difference. But there are also black swans, Thuringwethil, and Carcharoth.

Perhaps Sauron or Morgoth changes the evil lions to give them a coloration more useful for stealth in forests and plains at night. So they could be jet black. That would then be awkward if they go out during the day after the Sun Rises, though. Dark brown with spots?

The reason I want to avoid the Lost Tales giant cats is because they are, literally, huge house cats. Which have proportions that work at a small size but would look silly at giant size and also not make them graceful. And because housecats are cute.
I agree about the housecats thing. It's hard to take seriously, especially when placed among the much more serious or dread elements of the story that we're also including.

We could preemptively give them spots/coloring that works in the Sun, or... we couldn't. That could be one of the more tangible ways the Sun helps the elves/hurts Morgoth and his minons -- his super-stealthy spies are suddenly super-spottable.
 

Faelivrin

Well-Known Member
Dark, near-black brown with true-black spots might be more camouflaged in starlight and firelight than pure black. It would still work at night. But the Sun is a big problem for Orcs, probably for the giant bat things/vampires... it can totally be a (less severe) problem for demon-cats too.

If they're lions, which looks cooler/scarier? Black lions and lionesses, or dark dark brown with black spots?

Photoshopped black lion (African):


Spotted black lion (with short mane, perhaps more like a cave lion):


Actual black leopards (stand-ins for spotted black lioness):
 
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MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
Real-life black maned Ethiopian lion:



With no sunlight or moonlight, camouflage is less important. Any color scheme is stealthy under starlight, basically.
 

Faelivrin

Well-Known Member
Well, pale colors like white, silver, and bright yellow probably aren't.

Maybe they aren't all the same color.
 
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MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
In dim lighting, the only part of the giant cat you're going to see is movement...and the flash of their glowing lamp-like eyes. Camouflage only becomes necessary after the rising of the Sun and the Moon.
 

Haerangil

Well-Known Member
well T. was "black cat with a collar of gold". doesn't mean his comrades were of the same colour... can#t recall any of the others colours arementioned.
 

Haerangil

Well-Known Member
well T. was "black cat with a collar of gold". doesn't mean his comrades were of the same colour... can#t recall any of the others colours arementioned.
 

MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
I did like the solution of a lean tiger's body (no stripes) with a bit of mane that the Hosts came up with at the end of last Season for Tevildo.



And we're back to eagles! (first page of this thread)

Nick has suggested that we allow the Giant Eagles to do a four point takeoff (like a pterosaur) to help make their flight more believable (considering how much weight they have, taking off can't be easy!) So, I wanted to look at that and see how that would affect the audience's perception of the eagles.

First, here is what a bird of prey (osprey) looks like when it takes off in slow motion:

There are some details of that that look ungainly, while the overall effect is efficient grace. Certainly, I've not spent much time thinking about how the feet of a bird are not entirely useless in flight, but have to be manipulated to maintain appropriate center-of-mass, etc. I would say that if I were asked to describe a bird taking off (without the benefit of the frame-by-frame provided here), I'd probably say that they flare their wings out and jump.

Some video of pigeon, peregrine falcon, and barn owl taking off and briefly in flight:


So, as long as we can maintain something that is what the audience 'expects' to see, we could cheat and give our giant eagles a slightly different skeletal structure from a bird.

Here is what happens during a 4-point takeoff. The pterosaur uses it's 'arms' to help launch, which is the difference between a person jumping, and a person polevaulting. Definitely helps propel the critter into flight!


However, I'm not sure a particularly large pterosaur could take off that way. It's possible their wings were too fragile to pull that off. This simulation depicts an alternate (and rather ungainly) method of taking to the skies:


But, here is a visual depicting both small and large pterosaurs doing the 4-point takeoff:


Is there a way we could do a more 'eagle-friendly' variation on this that will show the giant eagles launching with some form of assistance from their wings touching the ground?
 

Nicholas Palazzo

Well-Known Member
I did like the solution of a lean tiger's body (no stripes) with a bit of mane that the Hosts came up with at the end of last Season for Tevildo.



And we're back to eagles! (first page of this thread)

Nick has suggested that we allow the Giant Eagles to do a four point takeoff (like a pterosaur) to help make their flight more believable (considering how much weight they have, taking off can't be easy!) So, I wanted to look at that and see how that would affect the audience's perception of the eagles.

First, here is what a bird of prey (osprey) looks like when it takes off in slow motion:

There are some details of that that look ungainly, while the overall effect is efficient grace. Certainly, I've not spent much time thinking about how the feet of a bird are not entirely useless in flight, but have to be manipulated to maintain appropriate center-of-mass, etc. I would say that if I were asked to describe a bird taking off (without the benefit of the frame-by-frame provided here), I'd probably say that they flare their wings out and jump.

Some video of pigeon, peregrine falcon, and barn owl taking off and briefly in flight:


So, as long as we can maintain something that is what the audience 'expects' to see, we could cheat and give our giant eagles a slightly different skeletal structure from a bird.

Here is what happens during a 4-point takeoff. The pterosaur uses it's 'arms' to help launch, which is the difference between a person jumping, and a person polevaulting. Definitely helps propel the critter into flight!


However, I'm not sure a particularly large pterosaur could take off that way. It's possible their wings were too fragile to pull that off. This simulation depicts an alternate (and rather ungainly) method of taking to the skies:


But, here is a visual depicting both small and large pterosaurs doing the 4-point takeoff:


Is there a way we could do a more 'eagle-friendly' variation on this that will show the giant eagles launching with some form of assistance from their wings touching the ground?
To clarify, I was more entertaining the idea than suggesting it. :)

And the flight characteristics of large pterosaurs have always been controversial. I realize, @MithLuin , that you have taught on subjects like this in the past, so I beg your indulgence on anything I'm unnecessarily rehashing here.

Quetzalcoatlus was initially thought to be incapable of true flight, and to have leapt from the tops of cliffs to glide. Then modelers found that flight was possible for it, but they still thought that an unassisted takeoff was not possible.

This seemed to work, because it was initially thought that they fed by skimming the ocean surface for fish. The problem came in when someone calculated the caloric requirements of that kind odd feeding method. It seems likely to some that they employed a hunting method more akin to modern cranes, using their height and long necks. This would mean that they executed most of their takeoffs from flat ground. There does not appear to be a consensus on the matter, though.
 

MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
Yeah, the reality is that we don't exactly have a ton of pterosaur fossils, so we're left with a lot of conjecture to figure out how things worked. And since this isn't how birds fly/take off, it's not like we can look at live animals for examples. For the models...it depends what parameters you feed them, and there's a bit of guess work. So, the bigger the pterosaur, the more question marks arise about how flight would work. But...I don't think anyone is currently arguing that they were flightless, so much as arguing how that flight worked.

I don't think it's bad to entertain ideas like this - creature design means taking inspiration from unusual places, and then finding a way to integrate it subtly. And even if we don't end up using this for the Eagles, we could certainly consider using it for dragons or the Nazgul's steeds (since we know that Tolkien based the latter at least in part on pterodactyls).
 
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Nicholas Palazzo

Well-Known Member
If you want a better idea of what a bird that could do a four-point takeoff would look like, Myth Beasts on Netflix has an episode titled Bird Monster. I think it is episode 3 or 4. In the last few minutes, they show the animation I showed you guys the other night, but they talk through their reasoning about halfway through the episode. The animation is ... not great quality, so a bit of imagination is still required to get to what a top quality DFX studio would produce.
 

MithLuin

Administrator
Staff member
I did like the solution of a lean tiger's body (no stripes) with a bit of mane that the Hosts came up with at the end of last Season for Tevildo.

So Bre introduced me to the Pallas cat, and now I have to share that with all of you. Just look at these guys!!










Just look at these guys! So while I'm in no hurry to alter the 'tiger's body with a bit of a mane' idea,' I would *love* to add 'and with the face of a pallas cat' to the description of Tevildo's cats! Their faces are very expressive, and their eyes (oddly) are not 'cat's eyes' and have a round pupil. Maybe that's partly why these guys look like they want to talk to you?
 
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