Envision Science Animation: Measuring oxidative stress to aid primate conservation

We worked with the primatologist, Zoe Melvin, to communicate her PhD research into the Zanzibar red colobus monkey.

By comparing oxidative stress levels between monkeys in the forest and those exposed to human pressures, scientists can identify the groups that are most in need of conservation action and which human pressures are having the biggest impact on the survival of the Zanzibar red colobus.

This video aims to communicate Zoe's research to the general public and with stakeholders and research partners in Zanzibar conservation.

This is one of the six animations we created for Envision PhD researchers in 2021. In autumn 2020 Envision ran a competition where candidates submitted a brief for an animated film. The winners were selected by a judging panel and the prize was to have an animation produced about their research work.

Production Process


Script

We wrote a script with Zoe for the animation based on the competition entry that explained the research work. 

Style design 

A style frame was designed to give an idea of how the final animation would look. The researchers gathered urine from monkeys using bags on sticks so they could measure the oxidative stress levels. We wanted showed this for some comic relief! 
The style design was created using Adobe Photoshop.

Sketched Storyboards and Animatic Video 

Sketched storyboards Measuring oxidative stress to aid primate conservation
A storyboard was sketched out based on the script. The storyboard images were then put into a video sequence with a draft voiceover recording so we could test the timings and ensure the script and images made sense when played together.
At this point we made some script and image revisions before moving to the next stage. 

Illustration of Animation Assets

Illustrated storyboards Measuring oxidative stress to aid primate conservation
Once the sketched storyboards were signed off, the storyboards were illustrated in the style design. 
The illustrations were created using Adobe Photoshop with textured brushes.
Some revisions were made before moving onto the next production phase. 

Animation 

The animation phase started by preparing all the illustrations for animation. This involved separating artwork out onto layers and naming them.
The Photoshop files were imported into Adobe After Effects then animated. 
A professional voice over artist recorded the script then the audio track was mixed and edited so it could be animated in time to.  

Results

Zoe is using her animated video to successfully explain and engage people in her research. It has been shared through social media and in public engagement seminars/webinars to introduce the topic and encourage the audience to learn more about the research.
The animation was released publicly on the Envision website and Twitter and received positive feedback and engagement from peers in the science community and members of the public.

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