Lero Research Centre: Visualising Software Research

25 March
2020

Posted by
Lyndsey

Software research is an extremely exciting space right now, but how do you visualise intricate software concepts for presenting projects online?

This year Lero, the SFI Research Centre for Software, is 15 years old. Since it was founded in 2005, Lero has become one of the best-known, and most highly regarded, software research centres in the world. Piquant is delivering a campaign with Lero throughout 2020 to celebrate 15 years since the centre’s inception.

We have developed a year-long social and digital campaign to communicate and celebrate Lero’s successful journey and experience of working with many expert individuals and teams over the last 15 years. In realising the campaign we are producing a series of videos and graphic assets celebrating the entrepreneurs, researchers and innovators who have worked in Lero. 

Video production approach and visualisation requirement

Key content for this campaign is the series of profile videos that highlight researchers who have engaged with Lero during their 15 years in software research. The video series is a celebration of each individual and the part Lero has played in their success.

In these videos, we used stylized and empowering shots of the researchers to compliment their success stories. We combined a clean and smooth video style with a relaxed documentary approach that captures the researchers in their working environments and reveals their work practices and approach to research. 

We knew we wanted to include some element of visualisation that would create space for the viewer to experience the complex software topics and concepts and that would enhance the understanding and appreciation of the research.

Exploring stop motion as a concept visualisation technique

As we entered the pre-production phase of the video series, we explored visualisation techniques that could present complex research concepts in a visually simple way. We experimented with breaking down specific elements of the research concepts into simple shapes that would facilitate the viewer’s understanding and appreciation of the concept.

Our initial tests were done in stop motion animation. We used simple white shapes (rings, cones, beads) and minimal animation to explain our first topic. Although the approach of using simple objects and minimal animation was effective, our design team was not satisfied that the medium of stop motion had the correct visual tone for the subject matter.

From stop motion to 3D visualisations

Following an internal review period we decided to take our initial visualisation approach and apply it to 3D motion graphics, as we wanted to explore how their depth and sheen would complement and reflect the forward-thinking practices of the researchers.

We kept the graphic icons as simple shapes and spent time crafting the lighting, textures, environments, and the characteristics of the animations, resulting in disruptive visuals that connect with viewers, explore the software research concepts and remain harmonious with the Lero brand.

Dr Klaas-Jan Stol – Open Source Software Development

One of the videos developed for this series features Dr Klaas-Jan Stol, a lecturer at University College Cork. Dr Stol has published extensively within the field of software engineering research, specifically on open source software development, and his ties with Lero stretch back over 10 years. 

In Dr Stol’s profile video, he speaks about the benefits Lero has afforded him, his current career as lecturer in UCC, and his research with leading industry projects. Dr Stol’s research focuses on software development; in this video we visualised Dr Stol’s succinct explanation of InnerSource through 3D motion graphics.

Lero video and photography production

What Piquant Did

Piquant’s work on this campaign included developing a Campaign Concept that would sit under the Lero brand but clearly celebrate the achievements of the centre over the last 15 years. We developed a Campaign Strategy, where we planned to feature a different Lero graduate each month, and produced monthly Campaign Schedules, mapping out the post content and copy for each month.

Lero identified the graduates that would feature in the campaign and we worked with each graduate to produce a detailed written profile on them and their research with Lero. We produced documentary photographs and videos showcasing the researchers in their own environments as they talk about their work in the areas of software research. Read more about our Media Production services.

We applied the Lero 15 concept in the production of digital content relevant to each researcher and managed the placement of the content across the relevant social and digital channels.

If you want to chat to us about a social media campaign, feel free to call us, send an email, or message us on Facebook

View our Campaign Management work

Read more about our Campaign Management services