To describe the common project phases of a medical animation production, we are using the example of a 3D animation on the topic of "esophagectomy". The steps are divided chronologically into: concept development, graphic storyboard, creation of organs and devices, pre-visualization, rendering and compositing of the final film.
The beginning of the project was a meeting with Dr Albayrak at St. Anna Hospital in Wanne-Eickel. In this conversation the surgery was described, using sketches and models. By the use of an endoscopic video the steps of the surgery could be much better understood than would have been possible through a pure description. The outcome of the meeting was then fixed and approved afterwards.
In the next step MedicalGraphics created a storyboard to transfer the developed film concept into a visual language and be able to fix motifs and chronology.
PDF of the Storyboard
Defining the look and graphical content
In this step, 3D models of the equipment used on the basis of photos were created, and the 3D models of organs were shown. In addition, the planned "look", ie the graphical style of animation was specified.
In the following pre-visualization phase the necessary animations and scenes were created and edited together into a rough preview quality film. Such pre-visualizations allows scenes, sequence and "timing" of the animation to judge. Ideally, the voice recordings are available at this stage, so that even now the text and image can be matched. With the pre-visualization inconsistencies or problems with the scene arrangement are frequently exposed. Especially in this production, the previsualization phase was enormously helpful, improved the later film critical and avoided late corrections.
Rendering and compositing
In the next step, the scenes were rendered, which means the 3D software creates the final images in maximum quality. This process may take considerable time depending on the length, resolution, quality and complexity of the animation. That´s why it´s so important to identify problems in previous production steps. In the last step, the individual image elements, such as shadows, image masks, depth information, etc. were assembled and edited into a movie in the so-called compositing (post-production).