Visualizing the virus

Mission Possible

Client

The Documentary Group, Pfizer, Nat Geo

The COVID-19 virus has dominated conversations over the past year and a half, so when our friends at The Documentary Group approached us with an opportunity to collaborate on the film they were creating in partnership with Pfizer and National Geographic, we were all ears. The film was created to document the research and development of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, which was brought to market in record time.

Mission Possible

Attacking the build

3D Visualization

3D Visualization

As Pfizer and National Geographic had the foresight to film their process, we had a great amount of information and footage to inform our graphic contribution. Our role involved visualizing portions of the film’s narrative that were focused on delivering the audience scientific information, ranging timelines to actual models of the viruses and how they operate. Designing for a topic that has been so relevant culturally for the past year was an exciting challenge that we tackled head on.

From the outset, we knew there would be a massive 3D lift when it came to explaining the coronavirus and the effects it had on the body, which would transition to the vaccine science as well. BigStar 3D artists Connor O’Brien and Brian Landisman developed a variety of initial explorations around making the actual COVID-19 virus. Our clients latched on to one specific style and from there we pushed all in on executing the scientific explanations graphically for the film.

01/03

Getting the details of the science right required a crash course for our team that was provided to us by The Documentary Group and Pfizer. We learned everything from how the Coronavirus attacks cells in the body to how vaccines work to what differentiates an mRNA vaccine.

Having the bones of that scientific skeleton enabled us to build in 3D with an informed perspective. Pfizer was even so kind as to provide us with some 3D models they had on hand, so it was a collaborative process to get that science precise.

Check out some of the microscopic imagery we received from Pfizer below:

Pfizer

While we established the look and feel of the 3D imagery quickly, we focused and dedicated a fair percentage of our time on the project to finessing the detailed 3D renders and giving them the heaviness and weight we felt the visuals necessitated. Adding these layers and focusing on details brought the 3D design to the next level and showcased the science in an informed and entertaining way.

Influenza v. COVID-19

In addition to our 3D lift, we did a fair portion of work in 2D to illustrate the timelines and history of the mRNA vaccine as well as the passage of the vaccine from trials to market. Taking a mixed approach of 2 & 3D allowed us to be super clear in the messaging.

01/02

Thank you to to our partners at The Documentary Group, Pfizer and Nat Geo for bringing us on board to create a momentous and informative piece.

Props where props are due

Credits

Thank you to our BGSTR team who made it happen.

Mission Possible Credits
  • Executive Creative Director
    Josh Norton
  • Executive Producer
    Carson Hood
  • Head of Production
    Virgil Conklin
  • Producer
    Kristen Pritchett
  • Sr. Art Director
    Mark Thompson
  • 3D Design
    Conner O'Brien, Brian Landisman, Theo Daley
  • 2D Design
    Doug Chang, Mark Thompson
  • 2D/3D Animation
    Brian Landisman, Casey Drogin, Nicolas Donaetelli, Conner O'Brien

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