Mar 21, 2018

Minibeast Heroes- Tiny but mighty

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Exploring emerging 3D production tools.

In 2017, ABC R+D collaborated with ABC Education to trial making educational content about insects using real-time animation and photogrammetry.

We worked with the Deakin Motion Lab research team to develop a project using their virtual production pipeline, which utilises motion capture, facial capture, 3D virtual worlds and real-time visualisation to produce 3D animations. To that, we added another layer of experimentation by making our 3D models using ‘macro’ photogrammetry, a largely untested technique.

The Minibeast Heroes project produced a series of content experiences, each one exploring a different model for learning—from traditional animated explainers to room-scale VR.

Minibeast Heroes


In this six-part series, a tiny jetpack-powered bug enthusiast (played by ABC Science presenter Carl Smith) introduces kids to six ‘tiny but mighty’ invertebrates, who play a critical role in our ecologies.

Each episode is designed for classroom use to support primary-school teachers covering insect ecology, and to be entertaining enough to make it work for kids on ABC iview.

Now available on:





We were interested in the potential for virtual production pipelines to have an impact on how media companies might choose to make visual content in the short-to-medium-term future.

Importantly, this project was funded by ABC Education, who had very specific outcomes in mind. They needed fresh, high-quality content designed for teaching and wanted to explore new approaches for engaging an audience who can sometimes be slow to adopt technology in the classroom. In addition to R+D’s own research outcomes, we needed to deliver maximum value in terms of audience-facing content.

R+D had three research questions we wanted to answer. See the results here