Childhood Cancer Trust
Every year, countless children are diagnosed with cancer, making early detection and awareness of cancer symptoms crucial for saving lives.
Just over 4,000 children and young adults receive this life-changing diagnosis annually in the UK. Using the most effective communication tools to educate and engage the public is vital. This is especially true as many people would prefer not to think about cancer.
Animation, especially high-end 3D animation, is one such medium. It has proven highly successful in capturing attention and conveying difficult-to-view messages in an easy-to-understand and visually appealing manner. Animation is effective at stripping away many elements that cause distress, such as showing photos of cancer symptoms, while retaining and enhancing the core message.
In this case study, we'll explore how we partnered with Grace Kelly Childhood Cancer Trust to create a captivating 3D animated video to raise awareness of cancer symptoms in children. We will show you the step-by-step process involved in making this high-impact animation.
The first step in creating any animation is research. We worked closely with the team at Grace Kelly to gather accurate information about cancer symptoms in children and the early warning signs parents and caregivers should be aware of. This information was crucial in developing the initial proposal. The proposal outlined the core objectives, the message structure, look and feel and a strategy to maximise the impact of the animation through marketing and organic spread.
With the research in hand, we began writing the script. As with most animations, the script is the most critical part of the production. Without a compelling script, an animation will struggle to create an impact, no matter how good it is. It was also critical that the final animation would be both informative and medically accurate. The Grace Kelly Childhood Cancer Trust team played a pivotal role in this, not only in terms of accuracy but how the information might impact people emotionally.
3D Character Creation
The Grace Kelly Childhood Cancer Trust already had an existing character illustration, which they used in their promotional material. We used this character as the basis for creating a 3D version of the character and named her Daisy. We modelled, rigged, and textured Daisy, bringing her to life in a three-dimensional space. Daisy would become the central figure in the animation, guiding viewers through the critical information about cancer symptoms in children.
Using an animated child to explain cancer symptoms in children was a strategic choice rooted in psychology. There are several psychological factors at play that make this approach effective:
Relatability: An animated child character allows the target audience, which includes parents, caregivers, and even children, to connect and relate to the content easily. This relatability fosters an emotional connection, making the information more memorable and impactful.
Empathy: A child character can evoke strong feelings of empathy and compassion in the audience, as most people naturally feel protective towards children. This emotional response can increase the likelihood that viewers will pay closer attention to what is said and take the message seriously.
Reduced anxiety: Cancer is a challenging and sensitive topic, especially when it involves children. Using an animated child character to deliver the message can help reduce anxiety and make the content more approachable. The animation provides a layer of separation from reality, allowing the audience to absorb the information without being overwhelmed by the severity of the subject matter.
Engagement and attention: Animated characters, especially children, can be visually appealing and entertaining, capturing the audience's attention more effectively than other forms of communication. For example, we utilised Daisy's body language to add subtle humour to the animation. Humour is highly effective in reducing reduce stress and anxiety. So, by reducing the anxiety created by the message, we ensured the animation could keep viewers engaged, increasing the likelihood that they would retain the information presented.
Educational value: Utilising a child character in animation can create an educational atmosphere, encouraging viewers to learn and absorb the information. This approach can be particularly effective when targeting younger audiences or creating content for school settings. For this reason, we cast Daisy as a presenter.
In summary, using an animated child character to explain cancer symptoms in children taps into the psychological aspects of relatability, empathy, reduced anxiety, simplification, engagement, and education, making the content more effective in raising awareness and promoting understanding.
3D Environment Creation
WAKSTER created three environments for the animation. As with everything each environment were carefully considered and desgiend to served a specific purpose:
A beautiful park for the opening scene.
Here we wanted to create a strong sense of story to engage the audience. At the same time, we used this tranquil setting to introduce them to the importance of the message. Here we tell them that childhood cancer is one of the biggest causes of death of children in the UK. The park, a symbol of community, growth and renewal, acts as a counterweight to this reality, suggesting this is a message of hope and safety.
The second environment was a plain, graphical scene.
This is where Daisy would explain the signs and symptoms of cancer. We wanted this environment to be as unobtrusive as possible, so all the focus remains on Daisy and her message.
The third environment was Daisy's room.
The human mind has a remarkable ability to avoid or repress potentially distressing thoughts, feelings, or memories as a means of self-preservation. This psychological defence mechanism is known as avoidance or denial. By blocking out or minimising the significance of such experiences, the mind seeks to maintain a sense of emotional equilibrium and protect itself from overwhelming psychological distress. We wanted to overcome the possibility that people would ignore the message because the thought of finding cancer in their child was too distressing. So we countered this, offering hope by revealing that the delightful Daisy survived cancer.
Motion Graphics and Icon Integration
The next step in the process was to create 19 icons to represent the signs and symptoms of childhood cancer. Motion graphics are a powerful way to visualise complex information simply and engagingly. Graphical icons, like animation, are brilliant at stripping away things that can trigger distressing emotions while retaining the message.
The combination of 3D character animation and motion graphics allowed us to have the best of both worlds: a highly engaging character full of emotional nuance to present the message and high-impact graphics to support the message in an accessible way. This balance was essential in keeping the audience engaged while ensuring they received the important message the Children's Cancer Trust wanted to convey.
The narrator's voice was done by Coralie Hudson, Grace Kelly's own community and corporate fundraiser. Coralie's warm and genuine tone lent an authentic touch to the animation, reflecting the deep care and commitment of the Trust towards raising awareness of cancer symptoms in children. Her clear and empathetic narration effectively guided viewers through the important information presented in the animation, making the content accessible and engaging. Using a voice from within the Trust has the advantage of fostering authenticity and credibility, as it demonstrates the organisation's genuine investment in the cause and creates a stronger connection with the audience.
The audio was recorded by Steve Carrigan at Load Street Studios. They claim to be the musical hub of Worcestershire and have all the recording facilities and equipment you could wish for.
Check them out here: https://www.loadstreetstudios.com
The bulk of the animation was in the Daisy character's subtle body language and facial expressions. These played a pivotal role in maintaining an emotional connection with the audience. Daisy's carefully crafted movements and expressions allow viewers to easily relate to her, helping them better understand the gravity of the subject matter. By focusing on these visual cues, we could convey complex emotions and communicate the urgency of recognising early warning signs without overwhelming or distressing the viewer. This delicate balance of informative content and empathetic storytelling is what made the animation engaging and highly effective in raising awareness about childhood cancer symptoms.
Finally, we reached the post-production stage. We fine-tuned the animation, added visual effects, and incorporated sound design to create a polished final product. This stage is essential in ensuring the animation is seamless, visually stunning, and effectively delivers the intended message. We brought together 5 374 frames of 3d animation with the audio recording, motion graphics, sound effects and music to create a final animation of 9 567 frames.
In conclusion, the high-end 3D animation we created for Grace Kelly Childhood Cancer Trust has provided them an invaluable and enduring resource for raising awareness about cancer symptoms in children. The Trust can consistently engage and inform audiences about this critical issue by leveraging this captivating animation across various communication channels, including their website, social media platforms, and email outreach.
The timeless nature of the animation ensures its continued relevance and effectiveness in generating awareness, making it a truly lifesaving tool. As the animation continues to educate and inspire action, it stands as a testament to the power of creative storytelling and cutting-edge animation in making a tangible difference in the lives of countless children and their families.
We feel immensely privileged to have been given the opportunity to produce this animation for Grace Kelly Childhood Cancer Trust. Thanks, guys and thank you for what you do for the children and their parents.
Working with WAKSTER on our childhood cancer awareness animation was an exceptional experience from start to finish. Their team's creativity, professionalism, and dedication to understanding our mission made the collaboration truly remarkable. The final animation exceeded our expectations, delivering a powerful and engaging message that resonates with our audience.
WAKSTER's exceptional skill in combining high-end 3D animation with emotionally impactful storytelling has resulted in an invaluable resource that will continue to save lives by raising awareness about cancer symptoms in children. We have not been involved in work of this type or quality before but it was carried out in a simple and undaunting way so you don’t need to be an expert to get exceptional results with the support and expertise of WAKSTER.
We highly recommend WAKSTER to anyone seeking a top-notch animation partner who genuinely cares about making a meaningful impact and wants to work with an organisation you can truly trust. We would not go with anyone else now. Thank you so much WAKSTER.
Dr Jen Kelly, CEO of the Grace Kelly Childhood Cancer Trust