Curtis Opticians are an award-winning, local family based company in Derry, led by forward-thinking and innovative owner and optometrist, Ian Curtis, specialising in eye care and the sale of specialised eye products since 1928.
Curtis Opticians have recently invested in an Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) machine which allows them to perform in depth medical imaging from within the retina. This particular OCT scanner has been used to perform standard retina examinations, however Curtis has recently realised the capabilities of this equipment and has identified an opportunity for innovation, short animations to provide clear concise information that will educate and inform, enhancing customer experience and representing an additional revenue stream.
Curtis Opticians lacked the animation skills to realise their ambition to produce these short animations, which can be presented to clients after their examinations. The aim of this product is to provide clear concise information that will educate and inform enabling client especially parents, to identify early sight issues with their children and provide valuable information on how parents can improve their child’s condition.
To overcome this Curtis approached the North West Regional College (NWRC) to explore support options.
The North West Regional College (NWRC) were able to support Curtis Opticians through the InnovateUs programme, funded by Department for the Economy (DfE), which equated to 30 hours of technical training support from Aaron McKeever, NWRC Creative and Digital Media Consultant to realise this new product.
This involved Aaron delivering skills training to Curtis, upskilling on the fundamentals of animation including using sourced photorealistic images from the OCT scanner and converting them to SGVs for animation. The exporting such artworks, layers and styles for animation, integrating multiple software to achieve desired results.
On completion of the project, Curtis successfully gained skills for creating vectorised artwork for animation purposes and using magnetic timelines on various editing software packages. Using moving artworks from various Adobe applications to after effects, Curtis was in a position to use a combination of medical images from the OCT scanner to help create the medical animation. This new product has enabled Curtis to offer new services, expanding existing services and increasing turnover and their client base.
The skillsets used to create the new product, which is now available in the business, will help to build future animations to increase their products and service portfolio. Currently, Curtis Opticians are exploring additional funding option, such as Invest NI funding, for future innovation projects they have in mind.