Case Study

Dayton Children's Hospital: What to Expect

Dayton Children's Hospital logo in the sky.

A Message of Importance

Right now is tough. No doubt. So now, more than ever we need to know what to expect when we go anywhere. We were presented with the challenge of helping parents understand how important it still is to take their children in for routine and necessary appointments, even during a time of uncertainty and heightened awareness about germs and safety.

When Dayton Children's first approached us with the idea of helping tell families what to expect at the hospital right now, the whole team was excited to get started. We love thinking differently and right now - we couldn't put a camera to this because of distancing and filming rules - so it had to be animated. We also felt a responsibility to tell this story in a fun, light-hearted way to help ease some of the concerns that both parents and children have right now. COVID-19 has highlighted the importance of providing great healthcare in a safe and clean environment, and that's something that Dayton Children's has always prioritized. But now, more than ever it was important to share with the community how safe Dayton Children's is. But with this really important messaging - came a very short time frame - so we dove in right away.

Love the Process

Our first step in every project is to come together as a team and try to hone in on what story we want to tell. These days, that looks a lot like hopping on a Zoom call, throwing around different ideas, cracking a few jokes, and eventually coming to an exciting, and interesting storyline that we believe will captivate the audience we're after. For this piece, in particular, we drew a lot of inspiration from our own childhoods, recalling some of our favorite fables from those times. And Kelly also really likes to rhyme.

Boom Crate Team on a Zoom call.

Putting it on Paper

Once we land on a good story approach, we usually pass the project off to our very own Kelly Mercer. Within a day, Kelly came back with a script that blew the team away. It highlighted all the important modifications that Dayton Children's has made to make each visit as comfortable as possible for every single patient, but still had a whimsical touch that provided a much-needed lightness to the story. After a few pieces of feedback, the team took that script and ran with it.

Kelly, owner of Boom Crate Studios, recording the voice over.

Bringing it to Life

Throughout the next few days, our team worked together to gather design inspiration and start flushing out the look and feel of this piece. We took inspiration from an illustration style we'd already established and used for Dayton Children's projects in the past but tried to build on it. The goal was to create scenes that had both warmth and whimsy, while still being clear with the information. More specifically, we focused on creating meaningful interactions between caretakers and patients and used those interactions to influence our design decisions throughout the rest of the story. We then took all of our sketches and put them together in one solidified document, outlining each style frame that needed to be designed. Then we got to work translating our sketches into finished designs. We really dove into Jake's beautiful character design, Hunter's insane animation ideas and scenery layouts and Anna's stunning color usage.

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A collection of final styleframes for the Dayton Children's: What to Expect Animation

Walk the Walk, Talk the Talk

Once we had our final boards prepped for animation, our team spent the next couple days bringing the designs to life. Animation can be very tricky to nail down because there's so much that is communicated in the small nuances of movement. As animators, our job is to lead the viewer's eye through the story using some of our favorite software. We did our best to minimize background movements and focused more on character interaction and their surrounding scenery. Here, we also started to add in custom sound design and texture, to push our story even further into reality.

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The Final Piece

Wrapping it Up

Overall, working on a limited timeframe presented an exciting challenge we met head on, and we're extremely proud of how this piece turned out. In just shy of 17 days, this story went from a moment of 'what can we create?' to a fully realized, beautiful piece that our team is wildly proud of. We had an amazing partner again with Dayton Children's and each time we work together feels like magic. It just goes to show that even with everything going on right now, sharing stories is perhaps more important now than ever, and our team is up for the challenge.