How to make Pteranodon Fly (requires a bit of magic from Photoshop)

Pteranodon is one of the most well known of all the pterosaurs (flying reptiles).  It was discovered in the 1870s and Pteranodon remains have been found in North America, Europe and Japan.  It was one of the last of the flying reptiles to evolve and with some species such as Pteranodon longiceps having wingspans in excess of 9 metres it is one of the largest pterosaurs known.  Until the likes of Quetzalcoatlus came along in the 1970s, Pteranodon was thought to be the largest flying reptile of all.

As a result of Pteranodon’s popularity it tends to be well represented in the series of prehistoric animal models that are available.  At Everything Dinosaur we have worked on a number of projects to do with pterosaurs, including Pteranodon and when it came to advising on the new Dinosaur Collection series which was launched this year, not surprisingly the manufacturers wanted to include a Pteranodon in the first batch of models produced.

No problem, there are plenty of designers and artists who can produce prototypes of this animal.  There are enough fossils for us to have a good idea of their anatomy.  Most of the models of this animal are of P. longiceps (the one with the backward pointing crest).

The Dinosaur Collections Pteranodon can be seen here: Everything Dinosaur.

It is all very well adding a pterosaur to a model series, but this does pose a problem when it comes to photography.  When placed next to the other models on the table, pterosaurs just don’t look very good.  It must be rather upsetting for a Pteranodon to have to be balanced on one side next to the land dwelling models in the collection, so for our recent photography work we decided to make our Pteranodon model fly.

You can see the results in the picture : “The Dinosaur Collection Set”.  To achieve the effect of the Pteranodon soaring majestically over the other models, we first tried holding the model by the finger tips in the shot.  The photographer took some shots and then we used “Photoshop” to remove the hand so that the animal looked like it was flying.  All in a days work when it comes to models of Pteranodon.

Giving Pteranodon a “hand” to fly

Picture courtesy of Everything Dinosaur

This did not give us the effect that we really wanted so we resorted to using a piece of thin cotton to suspend the Pteranodon in mid air above the rest of the dinosaur collection model series.

A Suspended Pteranodon

Pteranodon takes to the air.

Picture courtesy of Everything Dinosaur

It took a steady hand and a bit of patience but we were able to get the shot we wanted, but it was a great way to display this set of prehistoric animal models.

Many teams of scientists have spent huge sums of money making scale models of pterosaurs in a bid to understand how they flew.  Aerodynamics, bone structure, the effect of the crests on stability – all these factors have been studied by some of the keenest minds in science.  The girls were able to achieve their very own flying Pteranodon using a bit of feminine ingenuity and some cotton.  All in the aim of displaying Everything Dinosaur’s dinosaur and pterosaur models.

To view the Dinosaur Collection model series: Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal Models.