This is a rather complex shot, and unfortunately it didn’t turn out quite the way I envisioned. Basically I moved Dennis’ cage to my turntable cyclorama. I removed the top gate, and drilled three eye hooks into Dennis’ back and butt, and suspended him via green fishing line. Up top, I connected the single stretch of rigging to a square wooden bar that I could use both like a pulley and a ratchet.
Then I animated The Ambassador flapping around like he was flitting and flying inside his tight little cage — bumping his beak, wings and legs off the bars as the cage rotates around in timed increments. The ratcheting allowed me to change Dennis’ elevation within the cage, getting his feet up off the floor.
It will take some time to remove all the visible rigging via Photoshop, so the effect will improve greatly once that process is complete. And no, I’m not looking forward to that menial task!
Oh, the best thing about this scene is that my brother-in-law (who voices James Bondáge) and his family were here for summer vacation. So he sat in the studio and watched me animate while we enjoyed a few beers.