In my animation I imagine the astrologer acting as a kind of bird watcher, scouting the night sky for prophecies of the future, as if they were rare birds he wants to document. Whilst drawing thumbnails, I realize that different species of birds could represent different types of prophecy. For example the swan could represent love, the peacock could represent wealth and the vulture could represent death. In terms of drawing style, I feel that using sharp, angular shapes make the birds resemble star charts. I also plan on using 2D animation for these as it creates a new dimension that separates the astrologer's world from the world of the stars. It also may save some time as I wouldn't have to model, UV and rig bird characters for the animation.
Below is a concept painting of the sky for the animation. I looked at images taken from the Hubble telescope, which depicted vast and colourful nebulas in space. I really want to use a nebula as the backdrop for the animation, as it introduces a new idea for the narrative. I can imagine the astrologer coming outside to look at the sky at night. He waits for a moment in the night where the sky suddenly bursts into the colours of the nebula and the prophecy birds appear. However after the thumbnails of the birds I realize that they may be drowned out in the bright background of the nebula, so I need to make them stand out more.
Below is an animation test done by an independent animator. Their account on YouTube is 'FiddleGriff Animation' and they are currently working on an animation about aliens. In this animation test, they show the alien fully coloured and animated with the backdrop behind. What I really like and want to know is how this animator got the texture for the alien creature. It seems to be some kind of mask that is used in After Effects, but I'm not sure. So if anyone knows how this is made, I'd really like to know as I'd like to test out a similar effect with the prophecy birds.
If I can replicate the effect in this animation test then hopefully I can get a similar effect for the prophecy birds.