The Art of
For almost 30 years, Glen McIntosh has been bringing fantastic creatures to life in both sketches and on the big screen. Growing up in Calgary, the badlands and fossils of Drumheller always held a fascination for him. “Dinosaurs are both the creatures of dreams and the monsters of nightmares. I have been endlessly fascinated by not only what they represent, but how much we have learned, and how much we have yet to learn.”
Working as a 2D and 3D animator, as well as a concept and storyboard designer, Glen has worked on numerous Jurassic Park/World movies. For Jurassic Park 3 (2001), he was the supervisor for the raptors, as well as lead animator for the epic battle between Spinosaurus and T. rex. For Jurassic World (2015), Glen was the animation supervisor and also helped design some of the creatures, from the genetically modified Indominus rex to the flying terror Dimorphodon. For both Jurassic World and Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018), Glen worked on set with the actors and the visual effects supervisors, special effects supervisors, and directors to help bring to life the giant creatures that would be added months later in post-production. As well as animating and supervising numerous commercials for the Jurassic films, Glen has storyboarded sequences on Jurassic World (2015), Jurassic World: Battle at Big Rock (2019), and the upcoming Jurassic World: Dominion (2021), which is currently being filmed at Pinewood Studios in London, England.
Glen has lectured on dinosaur movement and locomotion around the world at the Society of Integrative and Comparative Biology in San Francisco, University of California Berkeley, San Diego, Turin, Italy, Amsterdam, and of course at the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology in Drumheller, Alberta. Before each dinosaur project, Glen makes a point of coming back to Alberta and visiting the Museum to sketch, study, and take inspiration from the amazing collection and exhibits of fossils. “All of the skeletons are displayed in such dynamic poses, and that is how I like to draw them for my renderings; as active and alive as I see the animals on the plains of the Serengeti or in Banff National Park. For literally millions of years, every day was a life or death struggle, and I always try to emphasize that in my palaeoart.”
In 1981, Raiders of the Lost Ark and Dragonslayer were released. The link between the two films was Industrial Light and Magic, George Lucas’ company that had been created specifically for the Star Wars films. But with Raiders and Dragonslayer, The ILM visual effects supervisors and designers worked on both films outside of Star Wars For Paramount and Disney.
"Dragonslayer was not the best movie I had ever seen, but unlike the Harryhausen films (Ray’s last film, Clash of the Titans, was released in the same year), there were a variety of techniques used to breathe life into Vermithrax, the giant dragon featured In the film as the evil monster that prays on an Anglo-Saxon kingdom. I am a huge fan of Phil Tippett’s designs. From the Tauntauns in The Empire Strikes Back to the alien bugs in Starship Troopers, Phil Has always created iconic cinematic creatures. One of the standouts though was Vermithrax, a dragon unlike anything we had seen on the big screen before. As a wyvern (a dragon with wings for arms), Phil created a dragon that felt REAL. As it stalked Galen, it moved Like a familiar animal. It ambled like a bat walking on its wings but with the weight of an animal weighing several tons. It is also interesting that many of the great cinema dragons SINCE Vermithrax have been variations of that same design. From the Reign of Fire dragons to Smaug in the Hobbit Films, the dragons had an anatomy, design and movement grounded in the natural world. But on top of the scary but realistic and reptilian design, the movement was revolutionary. Unlike the Harryhausen films that had a “fantasy quality” to their movement, Vermithrax felt like A real animal and if felt like a real animal that had been filmed as opposed to a stop motion creation. With the full-sized dragon on set, hand puppets and motion blur, they had taken an enormous leap to what would ultimately change the way visual effects films and fantasy creatures brought to life with Jurassic Park.”