The defining difference between graphic design, illustration, and animation is that the first two create essentially static images while animation adds timing, creates movement, and through these strategies controls the narrative of the scene. With good visual design a graphic artist can draw your eye to key points or messaging within an image, a good illustrator can infuse emotion or create the illusion of life in an otherwise flat image. With animation, however, we can take the same images add movement to catch the eye or bring a character to life as well as use timing to turn images and thus messages on and off as required. This allows us to build and tell a story as opposed to simply depicting one scene. The following are a couple of tricks we use to create movement and storytelling through animation.
A good example of controlling the narrative is in the following animation. We start with a black and white image of a city, notice that no object in the scene could be said to ‘stand out’. We introduce colour and a frame (in the form of a mobile phone) and use these elements to dictate what the viewer focuses on and, just as importantly, when.
In ‘Running with lasers’ we bring a character to life, and add action and drama to the scene by making him run. Depicting running is really all about feet on the ground, both feet on the ground equals walking while one or both feet off the ground equals running. And remember when you’re running ‘knees up!’.