The following project is a collaboration between myself and David Goodsell, structural biologist at Scripps Research in San Diego, California.
The goal was to create an animation as scientifically accurate as possible explaining the electron transport chain, a key process in photosynthesis.
David oversaw the science and that I stayed accurate to it along with supplying me with his signature style of unique illustrations for each of the proteins seen in the electron transport chain.
I scripted and voiced the VO myself while storyboarding and animating all the visuals seen in the film in addition to the music.

Intro Music

Outro Music

Why I made this piece and how it came to be

I initially reached out to David after hearing his name in a TED talk about animating biology. Not thinking anything would come of it, I sent him an email asking if I could ever assist him on future projects. He asked if I would be interested in helping him animate a video about the electron transport chain, a critical component in process of photosynthesis.
Over the course of the last few years, I chipped away at the piece. Not only did it grow from its original concept of simply showing how the ETC(electron transport chain) worked, but I thought it would be greatly elevated if the piece could have a back story about Jan Ingenhouz, one of the key scientists who helped discover photosynthesis. After all, being that it is a piece intended to help teach students, I knew it would be more effective in keeping ones attention and having a greater impact if it took on a more cinematic approach in addition to the scientific information which serves as the bulk of the video.
I believe there is an optimal cornerstone where education and art meet, a place where the viewer, listener or reader can receive the most from the time they spend learning, and I have often felt that education almost always lacks that cornerstone. So most often, education is not only seen as an "uncool" thing in most cultures, but the materials provided often lack the ability to compete with the visual and audible stimuli of the surrounding environments. Education is seen as nothing more than the foundation for ones future, but to approach education as nothing more than necessary is to approach the walls of a building as nothing more than the necessary means to support the admired glass facade of a building. Without that love, curiosity, and meaning found in the role of the carpenters and architects who designed the hidden walls and support beams, there is no guarantee the glass facade will remain intact over time.
I often ask myself, "why can't educational content like science and history be as well produced as the average shoe commercial with all its cinematic cuts and 3D VFX?" The answer in my 13 years of working as a graphic designer and animator is usually, to no surprise, lack of funding among other things. I hope this piece can serve as a bridge between what's possible when art and education meet, a combination that I would argue is now more necessary than ever.
Would you be more likely to remember something if it was important to your education (getting a good grade etc) AND it looked interesting?
So about 4 years after our initial conversation I am proud to present one of my most ambitious projects to date. A scientifically accurate education material (to the best of my researching capabilities) with what I hope to serve as inspiration to future projects of how art, science, and education can combine to create something that does more than looking cool and something more than just teach humans to memorize facts for a potential future job.
VO from the video:
"In 1779, just a few years after his colleague, Joseph Priestley had discovered oxygen and noticed the creation and absorption of gases by plants, Jan Ingenhousz while working in the same laboratory, placed plants underwater and using a transparent container, he noticed the leaves made bubbles when sunlight from a nearby window shined on them. When placed in darkness however, he noted that the plants mysteriously no longer seemed to emit the unknown gas. Holding a lit candle and exposing it to the unknown gas he had previously  collected, he watched in amazement as the candle would burst into a flame.
Ingenhousz would go on to make one of the greatest discoveries in all of science:  that every plant, every leaf, and even a single blade of grass possess the same incredible power. The power to produce the life-force behind every living organism on Earth: oxygen.
Though some other scientists would later attempt to claim the discovery for themselves and Ingenhousz’ work would not be recognized in his lifetime, it would be over another 100 years until the term referring to one of the greatest discoveries in science became known as photosynthesis."
Poster Design
Original Storyboards
Original title explorations
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