The Living Soils 

Yucan Lu MA

Our Ally Against Climate Change: Soils

Visualizing the connection between human activities on soil and climate change.

Gestalterisches Mentorat
Alessandro Holler

Anett Hofmann,
Environmental Systems Science,
ETH Zurich

The biology of soils plays an important role in global warming. Therefore, keeping soils healthy is a strategic contribution in the fight against climate change. In this project, I have created an animated movie clip for students, visualizing the interaction between soil and climate and the huge influence of human activities.

Educators often struggle when teaching complex processes because typically they have only two-dimensional tools to teach in the classroom. Research on learning has demonstrated that visualizing such processes in three dimensions aids understanding. I am addressing these questions through methods such as design workshops, online surveys, and mood boards. Results have shown that students learn more from animations than from static images. The presentation of data charts in animations can effectively convey information and provides a reference from which students can appreciate the knowledge presented in the animation. With this project, I hope to have an impact on knowledge communication in schools and universitites and on the way students learn. With the topic I also want to raise awareness on less mainstream environmental topics such as soils, which are equally important for achieving an environmentally sustainable future.

Soil has three layers: topsoil, subsoil and parent material. Soil consists of approximately 45% mineral matter and 25% of each air and water plus 1-30% of organic matter.

Dive deeper at 1mm scale to see decomposition of organic matter by bacterial respiration leads to carbon dioxide emission into the atmosphere.

The heavy weight if the machines creates a high pressure just below the plow layer on the ground and increased bulk density, also limited of penetration for roots.
After soil compaction, there will  reduces the amount of oxygen in the soil and release greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere.

Hand drawn
3D modeling
Graphic design

Hand drawn

3D modeling

Graphic design

Process of design keyframe
By changing different positions, adjusting the transparency of bio film, and the density of carbon dioxide particles to achieve the most ideal visualization effect

Visual style of diagram, graph, pictogram Working with two-dimensional graphics, I tried to find the design of the spatial relationship between graphics and animation, such as how to visualize the soil profile and the proportion of the soil composition, I tried to do some experiment with pie charts, bar graphs and different colors to find a way that how these two different media forms convey information in the same picture naturally.