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Work / Animation

Andrew Khosravani unpacks how to design a particle accelerator for the Royal Institution

Animator Andrew Khosravani has created a film for the Royal Institution that aims to explain how particle accelerators are made, how they work and who designs and builds them. The film is narrated by Suzie Sheehy, a particle accelerator designer and she discuses how they work and what form they take. “It was tough to get my head around it,” says Andrew. “Particle physics is super complicated and unfortunately for me I am not a particle physicist. Luckily though the guys at the RI and Rutherford Appleton Lab were an amazing help and provided a wealth of knowledge."

The challenge of distilling the science and technical language through imagery and symbols was by far the most challenging aspect of the project. “I spent a lot of time just staring at a blank screen waiting for some inspiration. Myself and the guys at the RI really wanted to create something educational but fun and interesting to watch, and utilise the freedom of expression within animation,” Andrew explains.

The animator worked with the RI to work out the logistics of the film, but Andrew was keen not to be too literal with the topics being explained keeping it “fairly playful and symbolic”. Throughout the film soft shapes and icons are used to convey the less tangible ideas presented, which is interspersed with more character-based action. Andrew’s style is lighthearted yet informative and here his colour palette of different shades of primary colours keeps the film engaging as we glide from scene to scene.

In total the animation took ten weeks to make. “For the project I was lucky enough to work with the incredibly talented illustrator and animator Clara Cebrian who assisted me for large periods of the film,” says Andrew. “We did about a week of preparation work with storyboarding and animatics. Then once it we had it all planned out Clara and I began working on it scene by scene. It was a really fun process and we had a great time doing it.”

Andrew created another film for the Royal Institution earlier this year that depicted what astronauts dream about, and it’s continued to be the “perfect” relationship between client and creative. “The RI has always allowed me a lot of creative control and never micromanaged every detail, instead allowing projects to form organically,” he says. “It is a really great organisation with a fantastic attitude towards the development of science and science communication in general. Importantly for me, they really understand the power of art and design and are constantly creating brilliant videos, animations, sound pieces and illustrated project that fuse science with art… They are both creative processes that complement each other so well.”

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Andrew Khosravani: How to design a particle accelerator, Royal Institution (still)

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Andrew Khosravani: How to design a particle accelerator, Royal Institution (still)

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Andrew Khosravani: How to design a particle accelerator, Royal Institution (still)