Mayo Clinic “The Power of Answers” Spot by Shane Griffin and Psyop
Starting with Diffusion MRI imagery from a brain scan, director Shane Griffin and the Psyop CG crew create an intensely complex and anatomically accurate model of the brain and its neural interactions for The Mayo Clinic thru TBWA/Chiat Day.
Shane Griffin: “I wanted to separate this as far as possible from the typical medical visualization, and bring an element of emotion and hopefulness to it.
“That said, it still needed to be anchored in science, so our first task was figuring out how to accurately represent the fiber tracts of a human brain, it’s incredible how specific they are, and how intricate the neural pathways grow.
“We used data from diffusion tensor imaging scans, and imported that to a program called Trackviz, designed for representing DTI images in three dimensions.
“Danil Krivoruchko, our amazing Houdini artist, figured out a way to translate this data from Trackviz to Houdini. From there we had an anatomically accurate brain scan that was ready to animate and simulate.
“We had several layers of information within the brain that needed to be created to tell the story, from the microscopic neuron level, right up through the axons, to the exterior brain shape scattered with synaptic terminals on top.
“There is a moment in the middle, where we crash-zoom out from our neuron level, through to this sort of nebulous galaxy, which shows us a vast and complex network of electronic pulses. This was one scene where we took complete artistic liberty to communicate the scale and the tumultuous nature of a brain in an anxious cognitive state.
“Nebulas are just something I’m fascinated with in general and wanted to create this subtle metaphor between the great unknown in the cosmos, and the great unknown within our minds. What’s really interesting is that the whole web of complex neurons you see at that moment are actually all connected together.
“Light played a huge role as the catalyst for transformation here, pulsing through the brain like a wave of positive energy, relaxing and soothing the erratic signals in our worried brain. The light acts as the visual metaphor for answers, showing how they can be contagious as worrying thoughts.”
Client: Mayo Clinic
Agency: TBWA/Chiat Day
Executive Producer: Andrew Linsk
Senior Producer: Angela Foster
CG Lead: Brendan Fitzgerald
Houdini Artist: Danil Krivoruchko, Philipp Pavlov, Shane Griffin
Lead Nuke Compositor: Carl Mok
Nuke Compositor: Manu Gaulot, Chris Gereg
Editor: Loren Christiansen
Storyboard Artist: Trystan Pease
Voice Over Talent: Viola Davis