What is Hypertension?

Student Dr Angela Douglass has collaborated with Life Sciences Senior Lecturer Dr Craig Daly to create a short public information animation on Hypertension.

Angela is currently engaged in the Masters in Medical Visualisation & Anatomy course that runs between the School of Life Sciences and the School of Simulation and Visualisation at the Glasgow School of Art.

As part of the programme, students are required to produce an animation, app or similar for their final project and dissertation.

Dr Daly, an expert on the cardiovascular system who is interested in the use of 3D animation for teaching, has been a project supervisor since the degree's inception.

After he was contacted by Angela in early March 2020 to discuss working together on an animation for her project, Dr Daly suggested addressing patient compliance in relation to blood pressure medication.

It is a well recognised problem that hypertensive patients find it a challenge to take their medication on a regular basis because they often feel well without it.

A lack of understanding of what hypertension is, how it can structurally alter your blood vessels and why it is important to keep taking the pills, is, therefore, a major issue.

Following their initial meetings, Angela, who Dr Daly describes as a very gifted artist, produced a fantastic storyboard of what their proposed animation might look like (pictured, below).

What is Hypertension video storyboard gallery

With a few minor tweaks followed by hours of Angela’s time spent modelling an artery, building a digital 3D set, a boiler, the little guy, rigging the guy, and lighting the scenes, the duo had an animation.

All of the 3D assets were created by Angela in Autodesk 3Ds Max, Maya, and Blender, with the final clips composited in Adobe After Effects and Premier Pro before being uploaded to YouTube.

Dr Daly said: "This is a beautifully-constructed and creative animation that takes a very complex physiological process and simplifies it in a way that hopefully anyone can understand.

"Our principal objective was to convince patients that their hypertension could have resulted in a significant structural change in their cardiovascular system. 

"Although it does depend on the type of hypertension, it is extremely important that patients follow the regime prescribed by their GP."

Patients can offer anonymous feedback on the animation by taking the following survey: https://angeladouglass.wixsite.com/bloodpressure

Image: The figure shows the process of taking the storyboard ideas and creating 3D scenes which are then animated to produce the final video.  

First published: 18 September 2020