To End All War: Oppenheimer & the Atomic Bomb | NBC News Studios | Creative Mammals


Read the case study here.



Design Studio: Creative Mammals
Executive Creative Director: Robert Burroughs
Animation Director: Mike Sweeney
Art Director: Jonathan Hunt, Jeff Gess
Animators: Mike Sweeney, Jonathan Hunt, Jeff Gess, Shane Douberly
Producer: Katie Janse
Client: NBC News Studios
Showrunner, Director: Chris Cassel
Producer: Zeke Dunn
Production Manager: Amanda Moore
Post-production Supervisor: Alex Pilkington


From the creator:

Ahead of Christopher Nolan’s highly anticipated summer blockbuster, Oppenheimer, Creative Mammals was approached by Christopher Cassel, Executive Producer and Director for NBC News Studios, to create narrative animations, scientific explainers, and title treatment for To End All War: Oppenheimer and The Atomic Bomb. The feature-length documentary explores the lead-up and legacy of Oppenheimer’s creation of the atomic bomb, with select interviews from Christopher Nolan, Bill Nye, grandson Charles Oppenheimer, Hiroshima survivor Hideko Tamura, and more.

Despite ever-changing advances in modern technology, time travel still isn’t plausible; so we would have to use our imagination in building out the narrative aspects of the film to show viewers how different moments of Oppenheimer’s life may have played out. We began by researching the time, place, and people involved in each scenario to make the narratives feel as authentic as possible.

Understanding complex concepts of physics, like atomic energy and nuclear fission, is integral to Oppenheimer’s story. We needed to create simplified visual representations that could explain such esoteric information in an engaging way while maintaining visual cohesion with the narrative aspect of the film.

We were also responsible for the title treatment that would conclude the documentary’s cold open intro. Knowing that the edit for this cold open would end in an explosive finish, we needed to create a title treatment with design and animation that matched the energy of the edit.

We created animations that weave seamlessly between the film’s interviews, archival footage, and photography. The narrative sequences portray historical events while building emotional value; the science graphics simplify complex facts; and the title treatment punctuates the tension created by the cold open. Together, these graphics solidify the tone of the film and reinforce the time period by honing in on the grainy, tactile aesthetic of old film.