Kelly M. Kage


The art of avian flight is incredibly complex and sophisticated. It is one of the most energy-intensive modes of animal locomotion, and requires specific anatomical and physiological adaptations. I believe that in order to truly comprehend the beauty and complexity of avian flight, it is necessary to clearly visualize the anatomical adaptations found in birds. To aid in the visualization process, I set out to produce a series of educational animations that focus on the biomechanical requirements for flight. These requirements are numerous and complex, often making the flight process difficult to visualize and understand. The artwork and animations that I have created for this thesis are intended to visually portray the major aspects that are involved in avian flight. The majority of artwork created for this project is comprised of 3D models created and animated Autodesk Maya, including a complete pigeon skeleton, the musculature involved in flight, and the anatomy of the avian respiratory system. These 3D models present the viewer with a completely unique view of avian anatomy that provides a relatively complete overview of the various aspects involved in avian flight. The final movie is composed of three animations that focus on the following subject matter: general adaptations to the avian skeleton, the specialization of the avian wing, and the importance of the avian respiratory system.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Birds--Flight--Pictorial works; Computer animation--Technique; Wings (Anatomy)--Mechanical properties--Pictorial works

Publication Date


Document Type


Student Type


Degree Name

Medical Illustration(MFA)

Department, Program, or Center

Medical Illustration (CHST)


James Perkins

Advisor/Committee Member

Glen Hintz

Advisor/Committee Member

John Waud


Physical copy available from RIT's Wallace Library at QL698.7 .K34 2014


RIT – Main Campus

Plan Codes