Case study of Sappi | An animation for a high-quality nano-cellulose

7 Minutes



CLIENT: Sappi is a global company that is focused on providing dissolving wood pulp, paper pulp or even paper-based and biorefinery solutions to its clients over around 150 countries. This company is one of the industries that are at the forefront of technological innovation.

SERVICE: Our client wanted to explain a micro/nano fibrillated cellulose brand called Valida, where it comes from, how is it produced, how does it work and even its applications. To do so 3DforScience, has produced a 3D scientific animation explaining all these points of this cellulose product.


Valida is the name that receives the high-quality nano-cellulose that Sappi has produced and that we at 3DforScience have turned into a high quality scientific animation. As everyone might know, cellulose is the most abundant organic polymer on earth. This polymer is made of wood pulp, and wood pulp is produced from trees. In fact, Sappi grows trees in South Africa leading to the production of Valida a natural, green and sustainable product.

sappi cellulose

Once we had all the information provided by the client, we started elaborating on the script. This script was based on all the project as it was the starting point to create all the visualizations. This script described everything that needed to be explained in the video, from the procedure to obtained Valida until the applications in which it was going to be used.


Valida can be used in a wide range of industrial and everyday products because of the way it can improve the properties of materials with which it is combined — for example, thickening water-based products such as coatings, paints, adhesives, and concrete. Its thixotropic rheology profile and high storage modulus assure good spray ability and excellent antisagging performance. The extensive fibre network facilitates in-can stability and storage stability of finished products.

Because of Valida’s low oxygen and grease permeability, Valida is a potential replacement for plastic films in the next generation renewable packaging. Valida may also contribute to properties required for flexible and rigid packaging such as strength, resistance to cracks as well as barriers.

Valida serves as a multifunctional additive with superior and cost-effective performance in foods, personal care, and home care products. Valida is effective in suspending and stabilizing particles and pigments whilst providing creams and serums with a unique texture.

Other applications include additive manufacturing for 3D printing and containing films in lithium batteries and touch-screens. As cellulose is inherently biocompatible and bioabsorbable, there is considerable potential in biomedical applications such as wound dressings and regenerative medicine.

sappi scientific 3d animation

When all the ideas were clear, one of our creative designers, put into images all the text, he created the storyboard with a strong presence of storytelling as a marketing tool . In this phase, you can have an idea of how the video is going to take form. Nevertheless, small details such as the texture and the colors of the elements that form the video are not appreciated until the visualizations, in which everything is translated into the cellulose 3D animation. It is in this step then when it is really well seen how the micro- or nanofibrils form a 3D fiber network in water and aqueous systems such as coating, paint,  cosmetics, food, etc., via physical entanglements and hydrogen bonding. This 3D fiber network accommodates solid particles (such as TiO2, pigments), oil droplets or even air bubbles within its cavities as a scaffold leading Valida to be used as an excellent stabilizer for stabilizing fillers, pigments and oil/water emulsions.

sappi nature 3d animation fibrils

It is important to highlight that part of the video in which the tree breakdown occurs was one of the most complicated ones at a graphic design level, not even to say to animate it. The animation is the last part of the process and the one that in fact gives life to the video as it takes all the little pieces together like the voice over, the music or the different scenes. In this case, all the little particles of the bark needed to spread correctly simultaneously. Additionally, another key point was the representation of the networks as they become loose when a shear force is applied. This needed to have in mind to acquire the right texture and feel.

case study of sappi

In this way, the 3DforScience team has created the great cellulose 3D animation video explaining Valida, the new Sappi technology, its multiple applications and benefits. For further information, please visit the Sappi Valida brochure.


3DforScience is a scientific communication company specialized in digital content for the pharma and biotech industries. Our passionate creative team works alongside an in-house scientific team to provide cutting-edge medical animations, scientific illustrations, virtual reality, etc.

Our extensive experience within the field ensures all the content we produce is scientifically accurate, innovative, engaging, and pitched at the right level for the target audience. Would you like to bring your scientific messaging to life? Contact us. We would love to help you create something unique.

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