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Work / Animation

Yukai Du transports us to galaxies far, far away in TED-Ed animation

Animator Yukai Du has created a short film for TED-Ed about the Hubble telescope and how in 1995 it captured over 150 hours of one area revealing images of over 1500 distinct galaxies in one minute part of the universe. Yukai was tasked with animating educator Alex Hofeldt’s narration and she was given complete visual freedom “as long as the images went well with the voice over”.

“The client provided a script and the voice over, and I started with storyboards, style frames and coloured boards, then I moved onto the animation shot by shot,” explains UK-based Yukai. The animation, titled How small are we in the scale of the universe?, has been created in the animator’s textured and vibrant style which uses pattern and smooth movements to create pace. The biggest challenge for Yukai was designing the transitions between the scenes. “As the script was about the scale of the universe, I had this idea to use a camera zooming in and out all the way through,” she says. “Some scenes just didn’t connect well and I had to spend some time working out a solution.”

The composition throughout the animation is thoughtfully executed as Yukai manages to communicate the huge scale of the topic she’s animated. Using rich yellows, blues and reds the illustrator transports us to her interpretation of the universe, in all its technicolour glory.

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Yukai Du: How small are we in the scale of the universe? (still)

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Yukai Du: How small are we in the scale of the universe? (still)

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Yukai Du: How small are we in the scale of the universe? (still)