Design and animation for the interactive film and augmented reality exhibit

The Attenborough Studio is a revolutionary new communication centre, where innovative technology, museum specimens, live animals, spectacular natural history film footage, and museum scientists come together to create an inspiring programme of daily films and live events.

Built as a key exhibit in the Natural History Museum London's new Darwin Centre 2 building, the theatre was designed to be a permanent legacy to Sir David Attenborough's amazing career as a naturalist and educator. The auditorium comprises of three large-scale HD screens, and personal handheld displays with an integrated Augmented Reality system that allows the audience to explore complex subjects in accessible ways. Shadow spent six months designing and creating graphics and creature animations for the groundbreaking Interactive film 'Who Do you Really Think You Are?' 

Working with a panel of experts from the NHM, BBC, NHU, and other leading institutions, Shadow reconstructed several extinct species for the Studio's 40" piece. Shadow's work spanned both creative and technical, working closely with the NHM and BBC IT teams to deliver content across a wide range of platforms for the project. Shadow's design and animation team created both the CG creature reconstruction animations for the main auditorium screens, and the low-polygon, augmented reality animations that allow the audience to explore the exhibits rendered with the room in real-time. 

The joint project between The Wellcome Trust and the NHM opened to the public in January 2011. Since going live, the film as regularly attracted large crowds, and won two prestigious global museum awards for innovation and education. The work from the project has been spun-off into several new exhibits around the museum, and the human ancestor animations and formed the centre point to a major series of BBC films.

Sir David Attenborough comments, "In 50 years of filming, I have been lucky enough to see many amazing and beautiful things, from birds of paradise, to extraordinary dwarf chameleons, and had the opportunity to bring these sights to so many people around the world. Advances in technology and communications have the potential to transform the way we explore the world and share our discoveries. This studio, with its state-of-the-art equipment, will enable us to understand the natural world in new and unique ways. It is my hope that by sharing such experiences, we will be able to inspire the next generation to take a step towards securing our planet's future".

The film won a 2012 RTS award for 'Best Digital Innovation'.

View the trailer and learn more about The Attenborough Studio and The Darwin Centre.