Crafting a Standout Medical Device Animation with a Napkin and the Right Production Partner

December 13, 2023

For over two decades, our journey in crafting animated content has been extremely rewarding. Yet, at the pinnacle of challenges, medical device animations consistently rise to the top. Why? Because, let's be honest, we're creatives, not doctors!

These projects demand more than just an intricate understanding of a device's technical intricacies; they require a grasp of its application in surgical or treatment scenarios.Our goal when starting a project is straightforward: when we wrap up a medical device animation project (or any project, for that matter), we aim for our clients to possess not just a compelling piece of content but also the feeling that they've partnered with a team who went the extra mile to breathe life into their visualization seamlessly.

In this article, we'll dish out some insights gathered over years of experience—tips and techniques that cut through the complexity of producing medical device animations, all starting with a humble napkin sketch. These methods not only speed up the production process but also nurture a smoother collaboration with our clients.

Why Medical Device Animation Matters in Marketing, Sales & Practice Development

As a sales, marketing, or practice development leader in the medical device industry, you're well aware of the pivotal role that highly visual medical device animations play in your sales, marketing, and education endeavors.

For your sales team, it becomes a game-changer, lightening their load in an already challenging environment. Pitching a product in a competitive landscape is no easy feat. A well-crafted medical device animation not only simplifies their job but also enhances their credibility with potential clients. It vividly illustrates the product's features and functionality, making the sales pitch smoother and more impactful.

In marketing, it's all about standing out, and a top-notch medical device animation does just that for your brand. Savvy marketers in the medical field recognize the potential of creating a single, outstanding piece of content that can be repurposed across various platforms — from social media snippets to impactful presentations and website assets.

Then there's the practice development teams. Their mission is to educate new clients on optimizing your product to foster business growth. A meticulously designed and well-delivered medical device animation becomes a powerful tool, eliminating the need for in-person demos, extensive phone calls, or other communication methods. It streamlines the process of helping clients comprehend your product.

In essence, a thoughtfully crafted medical device animation isn't just a tool for presale efforts. Its impact resonates throughout the entire sales cycle, providing substantial support from presale interactions to post-sale engagement.

The Napkin Approach to Crafting Difficult Medical Device Animations

When diving into a medical device animation project, whether with a new or existing client, setting the right tone from the beginning is key. In our early days of tackling product animations, our instinct was to dive straight into the design phase, producing intricate storyboards to define the animation. Little did we know, this approach was far from ideal. We soon discovered the pitfalls of striving for perfection too soon. Rather than exploring possibilities, we found ourselves investing excessive time in the quest for front-end perfection. 

Introducing the "napkin approach"—a method born from the need for a flexible and creative start. As the name implies, we sketch ideas on a napkin or paper, exploring concepts broadly before advancing to the next development phase. It mirrors the process used in Hollywood blockbusters, now tailored for B2B content creation.

The beauty of the napkin approach lies in its applicability to both our production team and our clients. It fosters a collaborative atmosphere, aiming for a shared journey in crafting a meaningful medical device animation. Surprisingly, it's a delightful process. Who wouldn't enjoy the charm of a good napkin sketch? We've encountered and shared sketches that may seem amusing, but these seemingly basic drawings often serve as the schematic needed to steer a project in the right direction.

Here's how it unfolds: initiate a conversation with your client to grasp the essence of what your medical device animation should convey. If clarity is lacking, propose, "Let's sketch a couple of ideas together." Whether on paper, cardboard, or a napkin, draft those ideas until a common ground is reached. It’s that simple. Once a schematic foundation is established, it's time to elevate it to the next level—design.

Sketch to Screen: Bringing Your Medical Device Animation from Napkin to Reality

Now that the foundation of your medical device animation is sketched out, it's time to breathe life into it. For us, we linger a bit longer in the sketching phase, taking it to the next level with a detailed storyboard.

The storyboard marks a crucial juncture in the medical device animation process, akin to how Hollywood films unfold. It enables us to swiftly sketch the entire flow, allowing for rapid changes. We're essentially crafting a sequence of ideas, moment to moment, so our clients can visualize how the animation will come to life.

Simultaneously, as storyboards progress, we're developing an animatic—a moving version of the storyboards. While rudimentary, animatics serve the purpose of illustrating the animation flow and establishing a sense of timing for the final product.

In the background, our design team collaborates with our 3D team to craft style frames that define the look of the animation. Creating 3D medical animations offers us complete control over the environment, allowing us to develop a unique animation style aligned with our brand and communication goals.

These two tracks—storyboarding and animatics, alongside the design phase—run parallel. Once aligned, we merge them. With an approved animatic for animation flow and timing and a refined set of style frames, we can embark on building out the full animation, whether in two or three dimensions, based on our chosen approach.

When executed correctly on the front end, the need for revisions on the back end is drastically limited. A pre-visualization of the final product reduces the revisions to minor finessing items, such as adjusting lighting or tweaking animations for a better angle. As a client, you're essentially sitting back and witnessing the transformation of what was once a napkin sketch into a vibrant, animated reality.

Showcasing Medical Device Animation Concepts

Over the years, our creative journey has spanned a diverse range of medical device animations, from intricate technical product animations to detailed surgical and orthopedic visualizations. Below, we showcase a glimpse of the transformation—from the initial pencil sketch to the final, meticulously rendered medical device animations. These examples represent the process we bring to our craft, with each animation evolving into a crucial asset for our clients' sales, marketing, and educational needs.

View project results here.

View project results here.

View project results here.

Choosing Your Medical Device Animation Ally

Hiring a 3D visualization company for your medical device animation can be as challenging as the animation process itself. If you're embracing the napkin approach, consider seeking a partner that isn't a large-scale animation company. Look for a creative shop where direct collaboration with senior leadership is a given.

Choosing a smaller production company offers the advantage of more personalized collaboration and flexibility throughout the creative journey. Given the intricacies of medical animations, a responsive and collaborative partner is crucial. Working with smaller companies often means establishing a relationship focused on creating exceptional work rather than nickel-and-diming every change.

When researching potential partners, ask direct questions such as organization size, direct collaboration details, pricing structure, and production process insights.

At Nuvue, we're intentionally small. We prioritize building lasting relationships over one-off transactions. When you work with us, a senior creative is dedicated to your project from inception to completion. Our transparent pricing structure, especially for complex medical device animations, provides an estimated range based on our experience. Throughout the project, we keep you informed about your budget, ensuring alignment with your expectations while delivering high-quality work.

If you want to discover more about how we assist medical device companies like yours in creating compelling visual animations, schedule a hello call today.