Ostrich Skiing

image I know that ostriches can't fly. But can they ski? After seeing this video, I'm almost a believer. The rational part of my mind says that it has to be fake, but I can't see how they're doing it. Some kind of cg probably.


Posted on Thu Sep 30, 2004


wow, this is pretty sophisticated, as far as i can tell it uses a combination of three different tequniques: a CG ostrich superinposed upon the image/movements of a real skier, clips of a real ostrich edited into the backround of a ski resort, and, in at least one clip, a real ostrich trying to eat something at what appears to be a ski resort. The feathers are done particularly well in the cg, i'd be very impressed if this were an amature effort
Posted by mormagli  on  Fri Oct 01, 2004  at  03:31 AM
Although the clip itself is down when I checked, the screenshot looks precisely like am image I saw on an often-run commercial in Japan last winter. It was an adverstisement for a ski-vacation package sponsored by Japanese Rail: as such, it was very well done and had a LOT of money behind it.

As I recall, it did indeed combine some CG with real footage of a ski resort and of a real ostrich. Some of the stunts the ostrich did required movements an ostrich leg cannot do (without disarticulation).
Posted by T. Holtz  on  Fri Oct 01, 2004  at  08:37 AM
It was done with a software called Maya made by Alias. See the software demo at http://www.alias.com
Posted by Peter  on  Sat Oct 02, 2004  at  01:07 AM
the link doesn't go anywhere
Posted by john  on  Sat Oct 02, 2004  at  05:32 PM
See if this works:

Posted by The Curator  in  San Diego  on  Sat Oct 02, 2004  at  07:03 PM
Or this:

Posted by The Curator  in  San Diego  on  Sat Oct 02, 2004  at  07:14 PM
ah thank you
Posted by john  on  Sun Oct 03, 2004  at  04:29 PM

I have a theory about how this was done:
it's a man with skinny legs ski-ing backwards !

There's a shot where the ostrich is skiing backwards, and looks pretty similar to a man skiing forwards !

The interaction with the chairlift is interesting:
there's no way an ostriches legs would fit.
In the shot of the chair in motion, the ostrich appears headless.

The ski-boots seem too symmetrical:
not enough room for ostrich-toes, but plenty at the 'back' for human toes !

The man's head is at the bird's tail.
His centre of gravity is pretty far back.
There's usually someone close behind him as a guide - the exception is when the bird is skiing backwards !

An excellent stunt !

Maya ?
Maybe the legs were 'eroded' slightly ?
As a minimum, footage of someone skiing backwards was used as the basis for the kinematics.

I didn't find much skiing or many ostriches on the Maya site, but Maya has a demo of a NASA Lunar landing ...
Posted by Eric  on  Mon Oct 11, 2004  at  11:15 PM
Hello everyone,

Let me tell you how i think this was made. The most logical way to do this is as follows:

What is Real? Skis, ostrich body, some of the shadow

What's CG? Ostrich legs, head and the rest of the shadow.

A real skier was filmed doing all the tricks but he was wearing the ostrich body around his waist. The legs and upper body of the skier were digitaly removed. The parts of the Ostrich that were hidden by the skier's body were painted over. The head and legs were added after in CG, and the shadows were fixed to match. Overall, it is not a very difficult thing to do. The difficult part is to figure out the right technique to use that will give you the results you need. By the way, this means that the featers are also real, it is not easy to make them look and behave realisticaly in CG.

This is how I THINK it was made, but of course, I don't know for sure how they did it.

Hope this helps.

Posted by Konstantin  on  Mon Nov 29, 2004  at  12:57 PM
A link that actually works:

Posted by elander  on  Sun Mar 20, 2005  at  08:10 AM
Its a lovely video....
Posted by Holmes  on  Thu Mar 06, 2008  at  05:11 AM
Posted by Jon jonjonson  on  Wed Jan 13, 2010  at  05:41 PM
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