Honours Project

Creature design has become an important part of film making given todays technology, allowing any creature imaginable an existence. The design of these creatures is very important as the audience needs to make a connection with them, whether they have a specific role within the film or not. Unfortunately, whenever a creature either does not suit their environment, their role or even their own anatomy, it starts to break down the suspension of disbelief for the audience. This is the suspended judgment that the audience takes concerning the implausibility of the narrative or creature and the willingness to overlook the limitations. Once this is broken, the audience is no longer connected to the creatures, characters or even world within the film; a poor cinematic experience will occur.    

 

My Honours project is to create a collection of creatures that have been purposefully designed, to suit their environment and be believable. All of these creatures have been designed to live on a Earth like planet, ie. they breath oxygen, drink water etc. I intend to continue with this project to create a second tree of life that will live on a planet with different chemical elements that will allow me to explore and push my designs.    

Creature 1

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The Iratus Horn lives in a hot climate where grass and water is very sparse. The female of the species (the creature on the left side of figure 20) protect territories of land for themselves to raise their young. The larger their horn is, the better their chance is of fighting for better land, land that has more water sources and lush grass. The females are slightly bigger with bigger horns than the males, because of how regularly they fight for land or fight off competitors for their own land. The males spend their entire lives roaming in search of food and other females. The only time they fight with other Iratus Horns is when two males are after the one female. As the males rarely fight, they are slightly smaller than the females with smaller horns, they do however, have thick manes around their neck to make them appear to be bigger. The colour of their fur and the stripe pattern is to help them blend in with the dry earth and grass. The Iratus Horns are herbivores and are prey animals; blending in with their surroundings is extremely important to help them survive. Although female adult Iratus Horns, who have large territories full of lush grass tend to stand out against the green grass with their orange fur; they are powerful with their fully grown horn and most predators will stay clear of them.

The Iratus Horns body is very powerful; they have large muscles in their hindquarters that are used to push the huge weight of the horns on the front of the body forwards. The tail is large and sturdy which acts as a counter balance for the weight on the front quarters. The tail is extremely important for when they are charging, it helps them to keep their balance as they lower their head and use their powerful hind legs to push them forwards.

Creature 2 - The Glowing Simia

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The Glowing Simia is a mammal that lives in two different types of environments at the one time. Much like amphibians, they cannot live in one without the other. These creatures create their home underground by digging burrows with their long fingers and strong forearms, so they can have a safe place away from predators for them and their young. The burrows are made in an extremely hot and dry desert climate; the burrows also protects them from the sun as they have sensitive eyes and are quite small, nimble creatures that can overheat easily and die. The second environment that they live in are caves, these caves provide them with food such as insects and small lizards. The Glowing Simia have sensitive eyes that can see well in the pitch black darkness of the caves. To travel to and from the caves they must leave their burrows and into the harsh bright light of the desert sun. The caves are too cold for the Glowing Simia to live and raise young ones, therefore burring underground in the sand allows for both warmth and protection from predators. Their fur are light tan and brown colours which reflects the light off of their body, to help keep them from over heating. They also have long black hairs under their eyes, which absorbs the light, rather than reflect it into their sensitive eyes. The colour of their fur helps them to camouflage and hide from predators while they travel to and from their burrows. Once they are inside a cave where there is little light, the light tan and brown colours of their fur does not hinder them hiding while hunting.

To hunt, they use a lure at the top of their head, which glows with bioluminescence. By twitching the lure, it mimics a cave firefly that are a Lizards favourite meal. The Glowing Simia find a good position in one of their well know hunting spots and wait for prey to come to them. They learn of the best hunting spots while they are babies; these creatures live in a family society with one dominant pair, the rest are that pairs offspring and other close relatives. Each creature take it in turns to clean out the burrow, look after the babies, go hunting and guard duty; they all work as a team.

 

Creature 3 - Laetus Squid

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The Laetus Squid is a cephalopod who lives in the sea amongst the coral. A Cephalopod is a creature that can change colours such as Squids, Octopuses and Cuttlefish. Their skin contains cells of the colours red, yellow and brown with reflectors underneath to create the greens and blues. These cells are called Chromatophores and are made to change colour by the contraction of muscles. These creatures can also change the texture of their skin, to resemble rocks and other bumpy surfaces and they can change their body position to mimic other creatures for protection. The Laetus Squid has one tentacle at the end of its face that it uses to grab nearby prey; the tentacle has suckers on it, much like an octopus has. The Laetus Squid uses that tentacle as an arm to put caught prey into its beak mouth. This creature does not hunt as such; it hides amongst the coral and seaweed as it camouflages itself by changing its skin. They reproduce by laying eggs and burying them into the sand and then leaving them to fend for themselves. This usually happens about once a year and can lay up to 6 eggs. Once they hatch, they swim as fast as they can to the coral where they hide and begin to eat small creatures.

The Laetus Squids’ need to feed is greater than the need to move because it spends most of its life hidden and still in the coral. This resulted in Mosaic Evolution where its ability to camouflage and its use of the tentacle has developed a lot faster than its ability to move. Eventually, it will evolve to move more easily and by that, it opens up more prey options and it could possibly change even further.

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