Protein Export Through the Nucleus


Media: Cinema 4D, PyMOL, Adobe After Effects CC

Skills: Storyboarding, 3D Modeling, Animating, Post-Processing

Scroll down for process images

1. The Project

To create an animation depicting the basic process of protein export through the nucleus. Because the animation was designed for an audience of college level introductory biology students, only the most important proteins involved in the process were animated. 

2. Primary Literature Research

Primary scientific literature relating to protein export from the nucleus was researched in order to ensure accuracy in the animation. This clarified the entire process as well as the most important characters involved in the story. Accurate models of the proteins were uploaded into PyMOL (a molecular visualization program used by structural biologists) using the protein data bank (PDB). Measurements were taken of each molecular structure to ensure proper sizes within the animation.

3. Storyboarding

I created several animation sketches. After critiques involving classmates and faculty, one was chosen to be expanded into a detailed storyboard that included descriptions on audio narration and video. 

4. final design

Accurate models from the protein data bank were imported into Cinema 4D using PyMOL as the intermediary. 3D modeling was done within Cinema 4D and post-processing was completed using After Effects. 

5. Reflection

After showing the final animation in a room with an audience of 7 students and several faculty, it was found that some in the audience were still unclear as to what happens to each protein element in the final segment where they are interacting outside of the nucleus. Although the number of protein elements involved in the story presented is quite low, the unfamiliar terms are only defined once when the proteins are first introduced earlier in the video. A reintroduction throughout is likely needed, along with a slower pace of storytelling in the final segment to allow the audience to digest the information being presented.