An animated conversation — with no words

The global marketplace presents many challenges to Canadian companies. How, for example, do you boil complex molecular science down for the layman — without using any words? The sales and marketing team at CSL Silicones Inc., a Guelph-based manufacturer of silicone coatings, lubricants, compounds and adhesives, used presentations with two-dimensional images to demonstrate how the coating functions — a fairly standard approach.

But the company needed to find a way to communicate with a global audience —regardless of language or technical expertise. It wanted explanations that transcended language, designed for visual learners. They brought that challenge to a research team at George Brown College’s Centre for Arts and Design.

A team of students from the game development program was set to work developing an animation that would capture the complex science behind CSL’s products in a visual presentation easy for anyone—layman or expert—to understand.

The first animation focused on the flagship coating, Si-COAT® 570™ High Voltage Insulator Coating, which protects insulators from damage caused by weather, moisture and pollutants. The students worked in two groups, one focused on designing graphics and the other on developing animation, parsing out the exact science behind the product and how to explain that in a simplified, visual way.

Three game development students— Xuan Zhang, Megan Mattes and Thuc Phuong Lu—and one George Brown graduate, 3D artist Emanuel Melo, worked on the animation. They were supervised by the principal investigator, Billy Matjiunis (a game development professor) and Alexis Rodziewicz, the project manager.

The team at CSL Silicones is looking forward to doing further animations across multiple products and market projects, and anticipates this innovative approach could change the way they promote and sell all their products.

“In approximately 2½ minutes, you get a seamless story of the product value proposition, a visualization of the science, its application and supporting benefits. It takes our team about 3½ hours to do the same thing to a roomful of people,” said Rae Townsend, vice-president of strategic business initiatives at CSL. “What this animation allows us to do is grow from serving a global English-speaking audience of 350 million people, to an audience of over 6 billion people overnight.”

Partner(s): CSL Silicones
Funded by: College and Community Innovation Program, NSERC

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