Animating Flow

on Apr 20, 2020

For most attorneys who are considering the use of animation in their courtroom presentations, the only real question is whether to use animation or to use traditional illustration. Once the decision is made to use animation, there’s not much thought given to style or technique.

But there are many variations in animation technique. Some are more clear and schematic, while others are more realistic and dramatic. The style of the animation created can change based on both the objective and the personal taste of the presenter.


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For our purposes here, let’s limit our discussion to the differences in animating the flow of liquids or gases.

Of course, in traditional illustration, movement or flow is typically represented with arrows. Arrows are a universal symbol for both movement and direction.

For this reason, arrows are also an option for animation. Yet, even though these arrows are a simple solution for animation, an even more schematic option exists.

Sometimes, flow and motion are best represented by the movement of dots. In this sample, we clear appreciate the movement of CO2 through an artery by watching these dots flow up from the heart to the brain.

Dots also effectively represent the flow of pain impulses up the spinal cord in this example.

But often, the movement of dots is not enough. If a more realistic approach is needed it is often necessary to animate the movement of liquid or gas in a less schematic fashion.

In this sample, we can clearly appreciate the blood flowing through the artery as a liquid.

Here, we can easily recognize the movement of air down to the lungs as a cloud of gas. These effects give a more realistic appreciation of the nature of the material that is shown while still effectively representing the flow of motion.

Finally, let’s look at another animation technique. If a realistic approach is preferred, but more detail needs to be shown beyond the simple flow of liquid or gas, it may be necessary to incorporate particle effects.

In this style, we zoom in until we achieve a microscopic view of the material. This microscopic view allows us to appreciate the individual particles that make us the material being animated.

The best example are animations that reveal, not only blood as a liquid but the individual blood cells themselves. Details at this magnification can not only represent flow but also represent events that occur within that flow.


If you need an illustration or animation for your case feel free to browse our large library of stock exhibits and/or contact us to assist in the creation of a custom exhibit.