Medical animation beware, Jellyfish are creeping into the waters.

Jellyfish Pictures, an independent visual effects, animation and motion graphics studio based in London, has been raking in the awards for their groundbreaking visual effects on the BBC’s “Fight for Life.” The 6-part series detailed the dramatic story of how the human body triumphs in crisis, told from both the inside and the outside.

So far, the prestigious awards given to Jellyfish include:

Winner of the Visual Effects Society Award for outstanding visual effects in a broadcast series
Winner of the 2007 Royal Television Society Award for best digital effects
Winner of the New York Festival Gold medal for outstanding special effects

Phil Dobree, director at Jellyfish, accepted the most recent VES award on February 10th, at the Kodak Theater Ballroom in Hollywood at the Visual Effects Society Awards hosted in honor of Steven Spielberg.

Phil Dobree accepts VES award

Jellyfish faced a monumental task to create the photo real body interior shots of organs and babies, a believable microscopic world, and to seamlessly integrate the special x-ray “trauma vision” with real video.

Jellyfish faced a monumental task to overcome four different challenges when completing the animated shots for “Fight for Life.” First, they had to create photo real internal organ shots. This included buying and tweaking 3D models, studying and photographing pig hearts and livers, and developing new animation techniques for getting realistic movement.

Second, they had to create a believable microscopic world. By far one of the best microscopic animated worlds I’ve seen to date. What made the shots so effective were the added splats to the camera lenses, floating particles, and condensation. Everything combined effectively to make it feel as if you were submerged in the microscopic world.

Next, they needed to create the special x-ray “trauma vision” that had to be incorporated into live action shots of real patients and doctors. This required having 3D body models of all shapes, sizes, ethnicities and ages.

Baby trauma vision by Jellyfish Pictures

And finally, one of the most challenging parts of the entire production was creating a realistic baby.

Ultimately, Phil says that

“the end result is really the marriage of subtle and believable animation, good texture painting, and solid shader construction, believable yet well designed lighting, and again creative compositing of the 3D ingredients.”

“Fight for Life” has certainly pushed the envelope in terms of what medical animation can accomplish. Jellyfish Pictures looks to do more projects for the medical and pharmaceutical industry and I have no doubt that we’ll be seeing more incredible and limit pushing work from them in the future.

Congratulations Jellyfish!

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