Anders’ Dino World

It started with a viral YouTube video featuring dinosaurs engaged in battle. From there, claymation artist Anders Visser turned his love for dinos into a craft that takes time, research, and a healthy dose of imagination.

“What personally really appeals to me about dinosaurs from an artistic standpoint is — it’s kind of a combination of real science and using your imagination.”

Video Transcript

Anders Visser: Well, I’ve been really interested in dinosaurs since I was a little kid. There’s a mystery to them because they’re extinct animals, not being around anymore. We only have bits and pieces of evidence of what they were like based on fossil skeletons.

The dinosaur that I am making here is called Psittacosaurus. This is a dinosaur where the coloration is actually known from fossil evidence.

(Holding up image on phone) Here’s a good reference of what Psittacosaurus looks like. These would be its actual colorations. What personally really appeals to me about dinosaurs from an artistic standpoint is it’s kind of a combination of real science and using your imagination.

(Turning clay dinosaur towards camera) It looks good.

There’s stuff to learn about the real world by studying dinosaurs, and it also kind of challenges you in a creative way to try to imagine what they were like. In order to make these animations seem like real animals, I try to take a lot of inference from real animal behavior.

For example, I did a video where a Stegosaurus takes a mud bath and then rubs itself against a giant rock, which is something that a lot of animals do. I saw videos of wild pigs rolling in mud and rubbing up against either big rocks or termite mounds. Animals do that to clean themselves, get rid of any parasites. I also had one where I have a dinosaur with horns, scratching its horns up against tree trunks. Kind of like stags do.

You kind of have to paint the picture yourself using your imagination and using inference from stuff you can find in the real world.

(Holding up painted backdrops) This one is supposed to be like a bamboo forest. There’s a little savanna here. I think this is the one I’ll use for this particular demonstration. And this music stand in the back here — lower it down, and set my background on it like this.

(Setting up scene) Cover this area here. I got a couple of rocks here that I keep on the porch.

These are some little cycad props that I made for a previous project. It’s basically toilet paper rolls with printed out pictures of cycad bark — which I then cut out, crumpled up the paper, uncrumpled it again, and wrapped it around the toilet paper roll to give off the texture.

There you go, that ought to do it. This is basically what I’m going to use for this little test. I’m going to set up my guy here, and with that, pretty much all set up and ready for shooting.

(Taking camera shots of clay dinosaur) All right.

I think that stuff in nature can oftentimes be just as interesting, if not more so, than fantasy stuff because there’s a lot of strange things in the natural world that you wouldn’t know of.

(Editing the claymation video) Just a few more times now.

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