Cell Animation

Snapshot from a cell animation

In our blog “Attention Spans and the Modern Jury“, we discussed the increased need for visual demonstratives at trial. With attention spans rapidly shrinking, today’s lawyers need help holding jurors’ attention and ensuring the jury will retain pertinent information.

Studies show that visuals improve information recall and allow people to process the information they receive faster. This makes animations excellent vehicles to convey complex or crucial ideas in a memorable manner. Today we will look at what it takes to create a dynamic trial animation.

Animation production is a multi-step process. To start, the clients sit down with the design team, either in person or via telecommunication, and present their case theory. The design team works with them to formulate those ideas into something that can be animated. The animator then goes over their information and develops the best visualization of the case theory.

The animator presents this visualization (usually in the form of storyboards) to the case team. The clients should review the storyboards carefully for any necessary changes, as revisions at this stage are easy to implement and much cheaper than revisions at later stages.

Once the design has been approved, the animator begins creating the model for the final product, adding color, texture, and sheen to the “models” – the component parts of an animation, whether characters, objects, or scenery. This is the most labor-intensive and time-consuming phase, often taking weeks to complete (depending on the complexity and detail of the animation).

As you can see in the pictures below, the animator begins with a wire frame base, then adds flat shading. The final picture shows what the animation will look like once it is fully rendered.

Trial Animation Bearings

Once the models are complete, movement is added to bring them to life. Proper interaction between the models is essential to an animation’s persuasiveness, making this the most crucial step.

With the hands-on work complete, the animator now renders the animation. Rendering is the process whereby computer(s) draw each frame of the animation, a process that requires significant computing power. Animations generally run at 30 frames per second, meaning a 2 minute animation will contain 3600 frames!

Once these steps are complete, the animation draft is sent to the case team for review. It is important that revisions are requested promptly. While small revisions generally take a matter of days, major changes could take weeks to complete. Sometimes major revisions mean starting the process over, which is why it is so important to review the initial design proposal thoroughly, preventing costly and time-consuming revisions later.

A good animation takes time to be properly assembled and lawyers should plan accordingly. The wonderful thing about animations, however, is that they are not dependent on face-to-face meetings for completion. Our forensic animators can do work remotely, creating animations for cases from Maine to California. You can view samples of our animations or contact us at consult@precise-law.com for more information on how our animations can help your case.