Audience: Prospective students and general lay audience

Client: Prof. Nicholas Woolridge, Dr. Erin Styles (content advisor)

In collaboration with Dr. Erin Styles, director of the Masters of Heath Sciences program in Medical Genomics at the University of Toronto, and fellow BMC students Natividad Chen and Annie Tseng, we have designed and animated a 3-minute video that explains what medical genomics is to a general lay audience, and addresses the emerging need for professionals who can generate, integrate and interpret genetic and genomic data. The animation is featured on the Medical Genomics website here, or just watch below!

Format:

2D animation, web

Tools used:

Adobe Illustrator CC

Adobe AfterEffects CC

Adobe Audition CC

Autodesk Maya

Completed on:

May 2018

Storyboard

 

After discussing goals, and addressing a target audience for the animation, we developed a script that was reviewed and approved by Dr. Styles. With Nati leading the storyboarding stage, we received multiple feedback from fellow BMC classmates and Prof. Woolridge.

Graphic Approach

 

To ensure visual consistency, we developed a style guide that consisted of colours and a moodboard.

 

Although our graphic approach is stylized, our primary aim is to communicate genetic information in a scientifically accurate manner.
Dr. Styles, as well as multiple references, were consulted to produce visual assets for the animation. Our main concern was representing DNA accurately but in a way that our general audience can digest.

Characters

 

With medical genomics as a growing and emerging field, we decided that the overall tone of the animation would be modern and youthful. With that in mind, Annie and I developed a character style that is diverse and approachable.

character designs

Animation experiments

 

While we were finalizing pre-production assets, I animated a few scenes to experiment with graphic tone and stylized movement, specifically for structures like cells and cilia.

3D model of the DNA

 

To optimize our workflow, we decided to utilize a 3D model of a double helix to animate its rotation. I used Autodesk Maya to model the double helix, and rendered using the Arnold Toon shader to maintain our animation's flat graphic style. The double helix was modelled with accuracy in mind, ensuring that for every complete turn, there are 10 base pairs, including the presence of major and minor grooves of the DNA backbone.

3D DNA double helix
Blueprint of DNA double helix

© Chelsea Canlas 2018. Somewhere in Toronto.