On the heels of Framestore’s character work on the Fantastic Beasts film franchise and mixed reality projects, our team is proud to showcase a series of fantastical creature projections for a new exhibition at the Natural History Museum in London.
Fantastic Beasts: The Wonder of Nature is a partnership between the Natural History Museum, Warner Bros Consumer Products and the BBC Studios Natural History Unit. Visitors to the exhibit will enjoy a truly immersive digital experience that draws links between animals in the natural world, and mythical creatures with their fictional counterparts from the Wizarding World of J.K. Rowling’s Fantastic Beasts and Harry Potter.
The Framestore team in New York worked directly with the Natural History Museum and its production company, NewAngle, to deliver the Erumpent, Niffler, and Bowtruckle creature animations that were heavily featured in 2016’s VR experience, originally promoting the release of Google Daydream and the second Fantastic Beasts film.
For this project, the team re-rendered existing animations of the Erumpent and Niffler on simplified environments so that the museum’s team had the ability to project the creatures across a variety of backdrops with flexibility and ease, from video playbacks to holograms.
A physical set was built around the Niffler animation, giving audiences the ability to interact with various physical objects that are then digitally shared with the Niffler to add to its pouch or hoard.
The museum also explored the animal kingdom to find real species that shared similar behaviors to the Erumpent, like dancing as a courtship ritual. The exhibit then chose to juxtapose the Peacock Spider, a real species, alongside the Erumpent to highlight these parallels and marry some of the similarities between the mythical and real species.
Three new animations were also created and re-rendered by Framestore for the Bowtruckles to showcase a wider variety of defensive behaviours that are triggered when visitors approach the tree on which they live. This gave the museum the opportunity to further explore the behaviors of species in the natural world with similar tendencies, and promote the importance of conservation.
Visitors unable to attend the exhibition in London are able to experience elements digitally via the Google Arts and Culture platform which allows viewers a virtual walkthrough and access to a series of exhibit-themed games.