Science Research Explainer: Fall Army Worm Crop Protection

We worked with the researcher Ruth Carter to communicate her research into crop protection against the fall army worm (FAW). FAW is currently one of the major crop pests globally with economic losses from FAW damage estimated to be up to $4.8 billion. FAW could threaten food security for millions of people. The moth is now a major concern in China, India and Africa. 


Ruth and other scientists are currently researching ways to protect crops from FAW without the use of harmful pesticides. 


This is one of the five animations we created for ENVISION PhD researchers in early 2020. In autumn 2019 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.


Style designs

Style frame design. An illustration of a corn cob on a plant
A style frame was designed to give an idea of how the final animation would look. 
The style designs were created in Adobe illustrator. 

Sketched Storyboards and Animatic Video 

Sketched storyboard frames for the animation
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 storyboard frames
Once the sketched storyboards were signed off, the storyboards were illustrated in the style design. 
The illustrations were created using Adobe Illustrator. 
Some revisions were made before moving onto the next production phase. 


Animation in Adobe After Effects
The animation phase started by preparing all the illustrations for animation. This involved separating artwork out onto layers and naming them.
The Adobe Illustrator 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.  


Ruth is using her animated video to successfully explain and engage people in her research. 
The animation was released publicly on Twitter and received positive feedback and engagement.