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Win-win: Using animation during product development

It's common to see beautiful animations for products on the market, touting all the features and benefits of a company's new gizmo, but animation can also be used to great benefit before the product goes into production.

Flix Productions Medical Animation (www.medflix.com) is located here in Austin and has been producing medical animation since 1990. One of the common types of projects I do is producing animation for medical devices or pharmaceuticals that are still in development. I have often seen medical devices that are in the prototyping stage - a table covered with strange looking parts that will one day be used to treat a medical condition in a novel way. While these prototypes might impress other engineers, they are a confusing mess to potential investors. That's where animation can step in to clear the confusion and present the investor or other lay-people with a clear vision of what the pile of parts will eventually do. Which can lead to investors getting excited and opening their check books.

The potential for an exponential return on investment for the company developing the product is enormous. An animation that cost $10,000 can lead directly to venture capital in the millions of dollars. A huge "win" for the client and of course work for the animation producer - another "win".

The medical device animation that is used early in the product development cycle can also be used later in the product's life. Early on, it can be used to attract venture capital through small investor meetings or even at trade shows - showing a table full of loose parts isn't going to engender much confidence in the product's potential - but an impressive animation showing what the product will eventually do does get the desired attention at your booth.

Later, the animation can be updated to show the final product, and used for marketing or even training doctors on how to use the device. Frequently the animations are also used to educate patients on the procedures they will have using the medical device, which can put the patient at ease, as well as freeing up the healthcare professional from having to explain the procedure over and over the each patient. This is good for the client - existing animation can be re-purposed saving time and money, and good for the animation studio since they have developed a working relationship with the company and have become familiar with the product from it's early stages.