Mightybytes’ video makes waves at Shedd

When the Shedd Aquarium reopened its Oceanarium exhibit recently after a nine-month, $50 million facelift, it included a 3D animated video of a South African penquin habitat, created by full-service media design firm Mightybytes.

The 12-minute video, with two kinds of penquins, orcas, seagulls and a storm, serves as a backdrop to the Oceanarium’s new children’s “playscape.”

The animated environment is masked to fit a 25×15-ft. screen within custom rock.

The playscape, said Mightybytes owner/creative director Tim Fricke, “teaches kids about the 12 penquin behaviors, such as their nesting, sliding down glaciers and jumping into the water.”

The Oceanarium project began in June, 2008 when Mightybytes responded to the Shedd’s RFP for the exhibit. After being awarded the contract, Mightybytes began work in earnest last October.

A staff project manager and four staff and freelance animators worked on the job in-house, using 3d Studio Max, Photoshop and After Effects.

Mightybytes also developed two interactive kiosks with a one-week turnaround for the Oceanarium. One kiosk features a claw with which children can pick up objects and trigger an interactive video display.

The other kiosk, built within a miniature submarine, features a sonar screen and its own interactive video of underwater life.