While it would not have been my first choice for subject matter it did lend itself very well to the project-based learning path and provided an instantly recognizable product. I also learned a thing or two about how demanding 3d animation is on a computer. The above animation is just over 8 seconds long, 198 frames to be exact and it took a full 48 hours to render. The settings I used for the output included a lot of motion blur which adds dramatically to the render time. The smoke effect for the engines' exhaust also bogged things down a bit. In the future, I plan to use output settings that may not look as polished, but will give me a little more flexibility.
I am currently going through another Series from Digital Tutors on how to model a cartoon character in an animation friendly way and then how to rig and animate the character. The finished product of this series will be a chubby cartoony police officer. I have plans to start on an anthropomorphic tree after that.
I've been looking at this for ideas. I particularly like the idea of an animal being a tree's tongue. I think I might use an owl instead of a lizard if I use that idea.