Smile Doctors is an online resource for dental patients seeking help with a number of treatments including braces and aligners. Dental Monitoring is their mobile service partner that provides a platform for at-home care. During this project, we primarily worked with Smile Doctors to personalize their brand experience on the Dental Monitoring platform.
Smile Doctors came to us ready to launch a new branded app. Initially, they were going to go with a live-action approach but had some doubts that large images of teeth and gums would match their fun and witty brand. Also… close-ups of teeth and gums can be kinda scary. ????
When teaching a new patient how to use their platform and device to do things like weekly scans or messaging their doctor, the user sees a short instructional video on their phone. Each video needed to feature specific activities in an informative, but fun way.
When going through previously used instructional videos for Smile Doctors, we came across a great video created by Dr. Eisenhuth which featured a kid playing the banjo on his braces. This video became a big inspiration for us throughout the project and helped us understand the humor and personality we needed to bring.
When thinking of fun ways to bring this project to life that would compliment the Smile Doctors brand, we decided on going with a handful of 3D characters who would walk the patient through each step of their treatment. We’d feature a somewhat minimal and modern environment that would help bring brand colors into view, without distracting from the focus of the videos.
Then, getting into character design, we needed each character to be able to move in certain ways, and have a clear set of teeth, some with orthodontic appliances. For the sake of efficiency, we could also use one character’s body structure as a base in order to easily repeat features and technical rigs. So, even though all of the characters look very different, they share the same body and head shape.
Something VERY important was figuring out how the characters’ mouths would look, since the camera would spend quite a bit of time in there.
Once the Smile Doctors team was in love with our characters and environment designs, it was time to build it out in 3D. For this project, we primarily used Cinema 4D and Redshift.
After we built out the characters, we rigged them so they could have the ability to move around in a scene and have their own personality.
Once we thoroughly tested out rigs, it was time to add materials and lighting to the scene, and figure out how we wanted to present the scene to the viewer.
Then came the most fun part of developing animation for each shot. Every camera angle was carefully selected to make sure it is easy to visually read what’s being demonstrated, and with a clear focus.
For the final step, we had to render ALL the 3D animated scenes. Averaging about two minutes per frame, we put our computers to the test exporting about 12,024 frames in less than a week ????.
Clocking in just over eight total minutes of animation, this is one of the largest projects we’ve completed to date! The project included six characters and loads of personalities.
Overall, this project was a challenge on many levels but ended up as one of our favorite projects of all time.
Working with the Made by Things team was a dream from the start. They understood our vision and our desire to create an engaging, fun experience for patients of all ages but what’s more, every member of the team was highly engaged in our project at every phase of development, painstakingly working through the clinical details with the same talent and humor they brought to character personalities’ and environment design. I couldn’t have asked for a better partner in this project and our Doctors and patients are delighted with the result!
- Joseph Cleveland (Creative Director at Smile Doctors)