Wildlife Conservation Society

Pablo Python

Pablo Python sheds his analog skin. Back in the 80s, Pablo Python (an early childhood life science program created by educators at the Bronx Zoo) existed as a mix of extensive physical materials — including hundreds of pages of content, and even a cassette tape — that were distributed through the mail to educators. Working with the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), we brought Pablo online to increase the reach of the curriculum, and introduce the friendly python guide to a new generation of school children.

  • Challenge

    Modernize the Pablo Python character through an educational experience that can be easily expanded and managed by WCS.

  • Solution

    Introduce Pablo to a new generation through an interactive digital environment that teaches key concepts in ecology and biology.

  • Results

    A series of beautifully illustrated habitats, featuring educational games that teach kids in a way only digital technology can.

How we did it.

  • Pablo's Facelift

    We created dozens of design variations as we reimagined Pablo as a modern, digital character, taking inspiration from the portrayal of snakes in video games, children's books, and cartoons. The challenge was to create a simple and kid-friendly character with emphasized features — such as the eyes and snout — while retaining some realistic details like a snake’s facial thermal pits.

  • Vivid Environments

    We spent time researching each of the four habitats we created for Pablo to accurately illustrate key features like vegetation, bodies of water, and rock formations.

  • Digital Painting

    To give the illustrations a look that was reminiscent of children's books, we painted each background with a Gouache brush from “Kyle’s Ultimate Photoshop Brush Pack" as a final touch.

  • Pablo is expected to show up in schools across the country that have varying technological resources and access to the internet. Rendering the large, rich visuals and ensuring that the complementary “interactives” remained snappy and responsive was one of our primary goals. We significantly reduced page weight by placing SVG outlines of the animals within the illustrated backgrounds, and used those outlines as hover/focus states.

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  • We drew more than 50 of Pablo’s animal friends to populate the four habitats — an extensive effort that required close collaboration with WCS experts at the Bronx Zoo to ensure our treatments were both fun and factual.

  • Each scene contains two game-like “interactives” to complement the educational material, reinforce key learnings about the species and habitats, and make the lessons come alive through audio and video. With an eye toward Pablo’s curriculum growth, we structured these components in a way that would allow WCS to create new habitats without a lot of additional investment.