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Animation isn’t just an entertaining medium — it can also be a tool for driving positive social change. A team of architects in Coral Gables, Florida used Vyond for exactly this purpose. Their award-winning video has the potential to significantly improve life in their city.

The group of architects — known as The Laboratory of Everyday Things — won first place in the Smart City Solutions Competition. Hosted by the University of Miami and the City of Coral Gables, the contest was created to help the city become more efficient and sustainable.


For this year’s competition, entrants were asked to submit a proposal, including a five-minute video, for relieving traffic-related problems in Coral Gables. The Laboratory of Everyday Things was selected based on their proposal’s feasibility, impact, and originality, among other qualities.

DLGV architects

Rogelio Cadena, a project manager at DLGV Architects, is a member of The Laboratory of Everyday Things. He and his colleague Claudia Ansorena were responsible for using Vyond to transform the team’s ideas and storyboards into animation. We caught up with Rogelio to learn a bit more about what the video creation process was like and his advice for fellow video creators.

Describe the team behind this video.

R: The team met while teaching a joint architectural studio class between University of Miami and Tsinghua University. Three of the team members currently teach architecture at the University of Miami School of Architecture, while the other two team members teach architecture in China.

Three of the team members also have their own independent firms. I work in one of them, DLGV Architects, as a project manager.

How did your team discover Vyond?

R: We knew that we had to create a video for the competition, so we began researching and discussing different ways of approaching the video. Our team decided that animation would be the best medium, since it provides a wide range of visuals to communicate architectural ideas.

We consulted with a colleague who is familiar with animation and learned how expensive and time-consuming outsourcing this video to an artist would be. Knowing that the project must be completed in three months, we opted to find a software that would allow us to create our own animations.

The Architectural Director of our DLGV office referred us to Vyond. He had used the program for a competition in his MBA program and won first place, so he only had good things to say about the tool.

Talk us through the process from start to finish for making this award-winning video.

R: The entire process of creating and presenting the video for the competition was three months long.

We brainstormed ideas and conducted research by meeting with city officials and collecting data maps using ArcGIS software. Once we had worked through our ideas, the team members based in the US started storyboarding the video in weekly Friday meetings.

After the storyboards were complete, my colleague Claudia Ansorena and I started animating the ideas in Vyond. It took us roughly sixteen hours to create the first version of the video and about 90 hours to create the final video.

Which Vyond feature was the most helpful when creating this video?

R: The ability to customize the way characters look and assign them unique actions. It was a deciding factor when we chose to use Vyond. These character features gave us so much freedom and allowed us to move quickly as we tested out different ideas for the video.

Additionally, the ability to import other types of media was incredibly helpful for us. We were able to add architectural drawings from outside programs seamlessly.

Which tools did you use in conjunction with Vyond?

R: To create custom drawings, we used Photoshop, Illustrator, SketchUp, RoughAnimator, and AutoCAD. We also used a voice recorder app to capture the voice-over audio.

Was collaborating with multiple team members to create the video challenging?

R: Not at all. Vyond creates a link that you can send to show others what you’re working on, so it was easy to share the video at each creation stage with team members. This sharing feature was especially useful for remotely collaborating with our Chinese team members. We were able to instantly send them our videos, so they could give us feedback on how to improve the messaging of the video.

What advice would you give to others who want to make a video?

R: Don’t expect the process of creating the video to be linear. The trajectory of making the video that you initially imagine may dramatically change as you work through your ideas. If that happens, be open to making revisions, even if they’re last minute. There were a few scenes, for example, that we initially thought would be long, but ultimately were cut down when we realized they weren’t so important.

What are your future plans for using Vyond?

R: We’re currently in the process of translating this Vyond video into Mandarin for our Chinese audience. Additionally, we intend to enter the video into several competitions later this year relating to urban planning and architecture.

Looking to the future, I see our team using Vyond again for future competitions. The tool was easy for us to use, yet still powerful enough for us to create a high-quality video with multiple types of media.

Creating positive change with animated video

The winning video from The Laboratory of Everyday Things shows that animation isn’t just a tool for teaching concepts — it’s also a medium for challenging ideas and creating positive changes. Instead of opting for a traditional slideshow, use video in your next proposal to engage your audience and explain the improvements you wish to see — whether they’re for your community or your company.

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