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  • Method

    • It all begins with a story.

      Whether you need to explain the flight path of charged ions through a mass spectrometer, why a SNP can cause so much trouble, or just how a bacterial pathogen avoids detection by the immune system, there's always a story to tell.

      And that story is fascinating.

    • Now that we know the story...

      We write it up in a form known as a treatment. Generally one or two pages that describe the story, and what you will see in the animation.

      This gives everyone a good idea of what the project will entail, and leads us to the next stage...

    • Budget

      Here's where everybody comes to an agreement on what the scope of the project will be, and whether the client's budget will support that.

      If not, then we look at the storyline again to see if we can bring expectations into alignment with the budget.

    • Script

      Even if you don't want to have voiceover narration as part of your project, we feel it is essential that we have a script to work from.

      This is because we need to know how long to make each shot we'll create. Plus, there've been lots of times when the client didn't initially want a voiceover, but... then they did. And it's hard to retrofit voiceover script to an animation that's already done.

      We can write it, you can write it, we can all write it together, it's your choice. But it's time well spent.

    • Storyboards & Styleframes

      This is where we first begin to visualize what the animation will look like. The storyboards do two things - they define what the objects in the animation will be, and they dictate what they will do.

      The styleframes are still images that define what the overall look and feel of the piece will be. We ask clients to refer us to work they've seen that they like... and don't like, as well as why.

    • Voiceover

      Not every animation needs voiceover, but it often helps to explain particularly difficult concepts. And people respond most easily to the human voice, so we think it's generally a really good idea to have it.

      Also, since not everyone learns the same way (some people focus on the visuals, others on the audio, still others on text) it's great to have it all packaged into one cohesive experience that'll hit everybody where they live.

    • Animatics

      Animatics give people who haven't worked on 3D projects before a tiny moment of heart failure. It's so, well, grey. Is that what it's going to look like?

      Relax. Two things are happening - we're blocking the movement of the objects in that shot. We may use simple stand-in objects, so we can quickly render the shot to see if the motion is right. And we're checking camera motion.

      We post all work throughout the project to a password-protected website for review and comment, making it easy to track progress.

    • Modeling

      Using reference materials and client direction, we start building the 3D models that will populate the animation. It's important to know at the outset what the models are supposed to do, since there are many ways of building objects in 3D.

      And do these models need to live somewhere, or are they just floating in space? If they need an environment, we'd build that at this point as well.

      Initially, they'll look grey, like the animatics. But once you've signed off on the shape of an object, it's time to move on to the next step...

    • Animate

      There are a lot of different techniques for animating models in 3D, but suffice it to say that we use whatever flavor is best for that particular animation, often a combination of techniques.

      But regardless, we bend them to our will, and they dance.

      Scale is an interesting thing. How do you make something look incredibly small, or amazingly large? Especially in the molecular world, where scale is difficult to assess, because none of the visual cues are ones most people recognize.

    • Texturing

      Here's where we apply all the visual goodness to the models. We can make things look shiny, transparent, gooey, dry, lighter than air, massively heavy and more - whatever is required.

      In fact, the art of texturing has come a long way from the days when you just slapped a bitmap on an object and called it a day. Now you can “paint” textures and colors directly onto objects that give them much more detail and believability. It's all in the wrist...

    • Lights!

      Actually, in a typical 3D project, animation, texturing, lighting and camera work are often done in parallel. We just broke them down sequentially for simplicity's sake.

      For instance, lighting will impact the way textures look, so we'll tend to go back and forth between the two until we get something we/you like.

      And we may need to tweak camera moves programmed during the animatic phase. It's an iterative process.

    • Camera

      Think of it this way - the camera is you. What do you want to see?

      The movement of the camera is a wonderful tool for telling a story, and given all the bells and whistles of what 3D can do, sometimes a forgotten player.

      The camera tells the story, just as much as the 3D objects in the scene.

    • Render

      Persistance of vision. It's what enables your eyes and brain to stitch the images together, making a continuous movie in your mind.

      In our world, that translates to thirty frames per second, or 30 fps, and that's what rendering is, computing each frame, thirty frames a second, sixty seconds a minute, to make an animation.

      Well, sometimes it's twenty-four frames per second, or 24 fps. But that's for another day...

    • Post

      Where everything comes together. Rendered frames, music, voiceover, text, and more, brought into our compositing software and delivered to you in whatever format you need.

      And if we've done it right, you get something that's much more than the sum of its parts.

      The production process is one of constant refinement, and we never feel we're really done. But the deadline comes, and it's time to say goodbye to our creation, even if we don't want to. Just one more tweak...

  • Work

    This reel highlights some of the work done over the past several years, including projects done for Roche Pharmaceuticals, ABSciex, Nature Reviews Group and Nature Education, Exiqon, Stratos Genomics, and Life Technologies, among others.

    While the majority of the projects shown are of a scientific nature, there are also a few pieces included that are whimsical.

    Arkitek has created descriptive animations and interactive content for science and technology companies, universities, and institutions for the past fifteen years. Our forte lies in taking complex systems and reducing this information to engaging, thought provoking content that speaks to diverse audiences worldwide.

    We created this animation of ABSciex's novel mass spectrometer using many of the very components used in the actual manufacturing of this product.

    ABSciex used this extensively during their 2009 marketing campaign, on the net and in tradeshows and symposiums.

    Arkitek has refined the process of using standard manufacturing Step, SolidWorks, and other CAD files to render completely accurate models and animations that detail form and function of the product

    “Beth exudes professionalism. She successfully orchestrates our projects with expert recommendations, excellent communication and she always makes the process a pleasure.”

    Steven Peters,
    Global Marketing Services, Manager, ABSciex

    Stratos has developed a novel method for reading long strands of DNA rapidly, accurately and at lower cost than present methods.

    Creating an animation that correctly illuminated the distinction between this technology and others currently on the market required close collaboration between Stratos and Arkitek.

    “Arkitek successfully translated our technology into a thoughtfully produced, elegant animation that helped us explain to potential investors why our method is superior to competing technologies. It has helped us significantly in securing funding, and I would highly recommend them to any company with a difficult story to tell.”

    Al Stephan, CEO
    Stratos Genomics

    Riken CDB wanted to create the world's first high-end freely available 3D animation for scientists and lay public alike, to describe adult and embryonic stem cell differences and similarities, and new ways of harnessing their power therapeutically. We collaborated with stem cell researchers from around the world, who lent their considerable expertise to express the best current understanding of stem cell biology.

    “Working with Arkitek has been a true pleasure. They rendered a complex set of molecular phenomena that is simultaneously easy to understand and visually stunning. The Arkitek team brought an extraordinary combination of scientific knowledge and technical artistry to the project, which made the entire experience not only professionally satisfying, but just as importantly, fun.”

    Doug Sipp, Operations Manager, Riken Center for Developmental Biology,
    Kobe, Japan

    Nature Education engaged Arkitek to create animations for their genetics courseware on their newly launched Scitable website. We keyed off of work we'd done initially with Nature Reviews Genetics in London on the popular RNAi animation, to tell the story.

    “Arkitek combines superior creative ability with superior technical talent. The are a pleasure to work with because they truly enjoy what they do. We were thrilled with their contribution to Nature Education.”

    Ilona Miko, PhD, Senior Life Sciences Editor, Nature Education-NPG


    How to convey the correlation between genetic alleles and drug efficacy in asthma patients, and make it comprehensible to the lay public? Dr. Scott Tebbutt, Ph.D., of UBC engaged Arkitek to create two animations on the molecular, cellular and tissue dynamics involved in asthma attacks, and how genetic variations in the patient can lead to adverse drug reactions.

    “The combination of experience, technical expertise, artistic talent, and an overarching wish to bring the wonders of biological science to society through the use of graphical animation, makes the team at Arkitek Studios an obvious choice of partner for the project...[it] has been a wonderful collaboration.”

    Dr. Scott Tebbutt, University of British Columbia, James Hogg iCapture Centre for Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Research

    Getting ongoing real-time measurements from live cell populations is tricky. xCELLigence has created a novel method using electrical impedence to track cellular and subcellular changes over time. Arkitek created this animation that shows the value in being able to follow and record changes throughout an experiment versus the standard method of capturing only end-stage data.

    “I was launching a new technology to the scientific research market and needed an alternative way for scientists to visualize how it worked. Arkitek designed a video based on my vision which lives on our web site and is used frequently in the field to easily relay how xCELLigence technology can help improve cell based assays.”

    Steven A. Hurwitz, Marketing Manager, Cell Analysis Systems, Roche Diagnostics Corporation, Applied Science Division

    This animation, done for LSBC, explained their Geneware technology, which used genetically altered tobacco mosiac virus to infect tobacco plants, commandeering the plant's machinery to produce novel therapeutics.

    As with the Human Protein Index animation project, this piece also proved quite successful in helping the company raise venture capital.

    We created this series of three animations for Nature Reviews Microbiology on three dangerous human pathogens: Listeria monocytogenes, Legionella pneumophila and Mycobacterium tuberculosis.

    Each piece focuses on the unique method that microbe uses to evade the body's immune system.

    NRM makes this freely available under the creative commons license, for non-commercial use. There is also an interactive version on the Nature Reviews Microbiology site:


    We created this animation for Generation II using CAD files of the actual device. This knee brace was singular at the time due to the fact that it allowed rotation of the knee joint in all three axes following surgery, something other knee braces didn't allow, (and which tended to cause downstream post-surgical problems).

    DNA normally is rather wobbly, as its backbone shifts back and forth between the S and N conformations. Exiqon has created a propreitary version of DNA, called LNA, or Locked Nucleic Acid. This version of DNA enables far higher temperature ranges when using DNA probes, allowing much greater specificity.

    Arkitek built this animation in close collaboration with Exiqon, journeying to Denmark to confer one-on-one with their scientists in order to understand their technology in detail.

    One of the first scientific animations we ever did was for Large Scale Biology on the role of proteins in the human body

    Arkitek Studios created three very powerful animations for us explaining basic biology and proteomics, and the results were spectacular. I've shown them to nobel prize winners (who enthusiastically approved the content), investment bankers (whose enthusiasm took on more tangeable form), and construction workers (who finally understood what we were doing in the facility they were building). It always helps to have a showstopper, and that's what the brains at Arkitek, out of science and art, elegantly put together. It's been a pleasure every time.

    Dr. N. Leigh Anderson, Ph.D.
    President, Large Scale Biology Corporation

    Life Technologies asked Arkitek to create an animation that described their Plexmark technology, which uses flourescence biomarkers to identify chemokines in the urine that signal potential kidney damage.

    This animation shows how these biomarkers bind to chemokines, and are then read, giving an accurate measurement.

    Of all the proteins in the human body, plasma proteins have been the least studied, yet might be the key to understanding many human diseases.

    PPI has developed a unique biomarker assay called SISCAPA™ that can isolate and quantitate extremely small amounts of plasma proteins, and then identify them quickly using mass spectrometry. This animation explains the process of sifting through thousands of protein types to separate a single protein type.

    In 2003, RNA interference had become the focus of intense interest, as scientists worldwide grappled with the possibilities of its use. Not a simple subject, RNAi requires lengthy explanation.

    Arkitek just wrapped production on the new version of the popular RNAi animation originally created for Nature Review Genetics, and explores new information discovered over that past several years about the function of RNAi.

    “Arkitek has the rare ability to take complex scientific concepts and turn them into accessible and engaging multimedia formats. Their standards of professionalism and their ingenuity far exceed your expectations. It was a real pleasure to work with the Arkitek team, for whom their work is clearly a passion.”

    Simon Fenwick, Deputy Production Editor,
    Nature Reviews, London, UK

    Since its introduction in the 1970's, the K-II centrifugal rotor has been a mainstay in vaccine production, producing the world’s first highly purified influenza vaccine - more than 400 million doses to date.

    The K-II has been used to make many other types of vaccines, including one for hepatitis B, and purified virus preparations.

    Understanding centrifugation is not an easy task, requiring knowledge of fluid dynamics, engineering, metallurgy as well as how to separate biological components.

    Many thanks to Dr. Norman G. Anderson, who invented the K-II along with support from the Oak Ridge Gaseous Diffusion Plant group, for supplying Arkitek with invaluable information toward the creation of this animation.

    “We were aware of Arkitek based upon an RNAi animation they had done for Nature several years ago. The Arkitek team worked closely with our clinical and R&D teams to develop a script and computer animation that explained our product candidate for the treatment of chronic hepatitis B infection.

    Physicians conducting the clinical trial and IRB's overseeing the trials at various clinical trial sites welcomed this use of computer animation to aid the education of prospective clinical trial participants and ensure participants who enroll in the trial have been consistently and fully informed of technology being evaluated within the clinical trial.”

    C. Satishchandran, PhD,
    Chief Operating Officer & Executive
    Vice President, Nucleonics, Inc.

    Dr. Steven Skates engaged Arkitek to create a series of animations illustrating his landmark study in the UK on 200,000 women who're being tested at intervals over a 5 year period for ovarian cancer.

    “My project with Arkitek has turned into a great collaboration – it has been a joy to work with them. I needed to explain to multiple audiences with diverse backgrounds, which include patient advocates and clinician researchers, a new statistical method for transforming biomarker levels measured over time into a risk of having cancer.

    My hope and expectation is that audiences will gain a new confidence in the method via understanding how it works due to Arkitek's creative and yet scientifically accurate presentation.”

    Steven Skates, Ph.D.
    Massachusetts General Hospital

    Dr. P.L. Senger, Ph.D. has over 40 years of experience in the field of teaching reproductive physiology to veterinary students at WSU in Pullman, WA. So he knows exactly where students fail when it comes to understanding physiological processes.

    “Current Conceptions, Inc. has engaged the services of Arkitek Studios during the past 4 years in the development of highly animated programs describing complex concepts in reproductive science. Their exceptional service has been characterized by the following: a passion for high quality [and] a high degree of output in the face of unforgiving timelines (they have never missed a deadline). The compelling feature of Arkitek Studios' service is their desire to form a TEAM with the client that provides a synergistic relationship. This inevitably results in a superior product.”

    P.L.Senger, Ph.D. Pres., Current Conceptions, Inc.

    Cadherins are Nature's Velcro. They bind cells together, enabling multicellular life.

    Dr. Masatoshi Takeichi, Ph.D., of the Riken Center for Developmental Biology, best known for his discovery of cadherins, which are of fundamental importance in the mechanisms of intercellular recognition and adhesion, gave Arkitek invaluable insight and guidance in creating this animation on the nature of adherins molecules in the human body.

    Riken makes this freely available under the creative commons license, for non-commercial use. There is also an interactive version on the Riken CDB site:


    Anchor Therapeutics (formerly Ascent Therapeutics) asked Arkitek to create an animation describing their technology, which regulates GPCR (G-Protein-Coupled-Receptor) proteins in the body, by down-regulating their signaling activity, potentially helping to alleviate inflammation.

    We developed this interactive BLAST tutorial in collaboration with Bellevue College in Washington State. The premise casts the user as a graduate student connected with the CDC in Atlanta. The team travels to Hong Kong to find out about a new outbreak of unknown origin, and it is the duty of the graduate student to help

    This interactive takes awhile to load, please be patient.

    This Flash tutorial was created by Arkitek for the Northwest Association for Biomedical Research (nwabr.org) in Seattle, WA as part of their Department of Education iTEST Phase II grant.

    Students are shown how the faulty BRCA1 gene can, if inherited from both parents, result in the formation of defective BRCA1 proteins, which fail to detect and repair DNA damage.

    In addition to creating the animation series on the role of cadherins, Nature's velco for keeping cells together, for Riken, we also decided it would be good to have additional information within an interactive user interface, so we built this one.

    To view the interactive version, please click here.

    In 2005 we created this series of three animations for Nature Reviews Microbiology on three dangerous human pathogens: Listeria monocytogenes, Legionella pneumophila and Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Each piece focuses on the unique method that microbe uses to evade the body's immune system.

    To get the most out of the experience, we also built this interface. To view the interactive version on Nature's site, please click here.

    In 2005 we created this series of three animations for Nature Reviews Microbiology on three dangerous human pathogens: Listeria monocytogenes, Legionella pneumophila and Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Each piece focuses on the unique method that microbe uses to evade the body's immune system.

    To get the most out of the experience, we also built this interface.

    To view the live, interactive version on the NRM’s site, please click here.

    Arkitek was asked to create a virtual lab for McGraw Hill Publishing's Higher Ed. division. This particular project centered on performing gram stains in the lab. The user could access video footage and 3D tutorials, taking them step by step through the process of gram staining.

    To see the live version, please click here.

  • Press

    We've been busy! Arkitek is now starting on two new animations for Nature in London, cannot disclose the content, but due to launch toward the end of 2015 and early 2016. This will be the fourth and fifth in a series of animations describing immunological processes at work in different areas of the body. Previously completed animations include Immunology of the Gut Mucosa, Immunology of the Skin, and Immunology of the Lung, as well as an animation on Cancer Cell Metabolism and the popular RNAi animation..

    We've also completed new work for AB Sciex in the Bay area on their TripleTOF 6600 + SWATH technology. We're also in the final throes of finishing our new site, which will post next month, stay tuned.

    And now that Arkitek Scientific is based in Central California, we're meeting and learning about the many astonishingly cool companies and institutions here. We're only three hours from both San Francisco and Los Angeles, in beautiful wine country that looks an awful lot like Tuscany... 805connect just wrote an article about us on their site, thanks very much for that.

    To be a world-class design resource that contributes to the advancement of understanding in science and technology.
    To skillfully blend education and entertainment to create effective, universal communications.
    To create accurate work that captivates, educates and ignites the imagination of people of all ages around the world.
    Beth Anderson
    Beth Anderson

    Beth formed Arkitek Studios with co-founder Doug Huff in 1997. In other lives she has been a professional ballet dancer, musician/composer and biotech instrument manufacturer, but finally found her niche in 3D, where art and science are equally important.

    Doug Huff
    Doug Huff

    From creating visual content for high profile broadcast projects like Monday Night Football, the World Series and National Geographic to illuminating scientific discoveries such as RNAi for Nature Reviews Genetics, Doug’s goal has always been to both enlighten and entertain the viewer, using his unique cinematic design sensibilities.

    National Science Foundation Science and Engineering Visualization Award - Honorable Mention: Interactive

    Gordon Conference on Science Visualization - Visualization Grant Awardee

    Gemini Award - Microsoft

    Emerald City Award - Gold Award of Excellence in 3D animation

    Monitor Award for Television Production Monday Night Football Open - Doug Huff

    Patent - Navstrip: flight instrumentation N.G.Anderson, Doug Huff, Beth Anderson

    Patent - Clonepick: bacterial screening method N.G.Anderson, Beth Anderson

  • Contact

    Arkitek Studios Inc.

    Mailing address ONLY:
    P.O.Box 4551
    Paso Robles, CA 93447

    Phone: 206/286-0337


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