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How to simulate raining bird poo?

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john lynn
How to simulate raining bird poo?
on Feb 7, 2010 at 7:10:43 am

Hello

I was wondering what was the best way to simulate rapid fire bird poo raining vertically? With After Effects or props. (I'm doing this for a school project on seagulls and campus trash and all I have is a camera, tripod, a TV studio, and $50.)


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Joseph W. Bourke
Re: How to simulate raining bird poo?
on Feb 7, 2010 at 5:10:09 pm

Hi John -

Having spent a lot of time as a kid on an island off the coast of Maine, I have first-hand experience with seagull poo (actually being hit by it, as a matter of fact). I've spent a fair amount of time watching it as it spreads and splatters (I know...).

The texture of it is sort of like melted soft serve ice cream, whitish with some grey and black in it (this is from the Herring Gull by the way...my only direct poo experience). It comes out of the gull in a stream, then quickly spreads into a flat, inverted bowl with the edges almost like the milk drops you see in high speed photography, but less symmetrical (think Harold Edgerton -

http://web.mit.edu/Edgerton/www/HighSpeed.html)

If you can do a single After Effects layer of the stream sizing and scaling into the flat shape, then make a couple of variations of it, you can make those layers part of a particle system, and repeat as needed to create the "rain".

The shooting it option will only work if you can get a perfect blue sky day, and cooperative seagulls. If you can get near where there's a crowd of them, then lock off your camera to just below where they're flying, you might luck out and get some useable shots that you could then key in AE, and then use the layers in a particle system as above. The only problem will be whether your camera can be adjusted to shoot at high speed - otherwise, you'll probably just get a white blur.

I am truly amazed at the trivial garbage we retain from when we were 12 years old. I forget the important stuff, but remember what seagull poo is shaped like. Go figure!

Joe Bourke
Creative Director / Multimedia Specialist
B&S Exhibits and Multimedia
bs-exhibits.com


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Michael Szalapski
Re: How to simulate raining bird poo?
on Feb 7, 2010 at 8:12:02 pm

I would see if you could get a local ice cream place or grocery store to donate you some cookies and cream ice cream (or some other white-colored ice cream, but then you'd need to put in crumbled Oreos, dirt, or some other dark crumbly stuff).

Then let it melt a bit and squirt that crap out!

- The Great Szalam
(The 'Great' stands for 'Not So Great, in fact, Extremely Humble')

No trees were harmed in the creation of this message, but several thousand electrons were mildly inconvenienced.


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Jim Arco
Re: How to simulate ..... use the new bird poo plug in
on Feb 8, 2010 at 3:46:44 am

I wonder how soon there will be a bird poo plug-in?

I can see it now, "The all new Bird-Poo plug in has selectable bird species and can be tweaked for wind direction and bird flight path. Can also can be used to simulate melted ice-cream, mud drops, and molten volcano drips. Special introductory offer...."



(I'm sorry, but I couldn't resist.)


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Joseph W. Bourke
Re: How to simulate ..... use the new bird poo plug in
on Feb 8, 2010 at 2:49:36 pm

Say Jim -

Does this new Bird Poo plugin you're developing have the ability to splat when it hits an alpha channel? Or can you set it up so that there's a floor it can splat on? I really hope there's a hummingbird preset...

Joe Bourke
Creative Director / Multimedia Specialist
B&S Exhibits and Multimedia
bs-exhibits.com


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