5: Participatory VisCom

Graphic Design Trends 2019

2019 trends relevant for a simple development – focused style

  • handdrawn illustration
  • ink
  • cut up
  • single stroke design
  • open compositions
  • asymmetrical design
  • realism and flat mix in photos
  • monochromatic and white high contrast single colour
  • minimalism
  • focus on content

Van Dusen

  • black
  • metal
  • ink for human effect
  • warp
  • ??
  • cut up
  • animation of logo
  • numbers

Will Paterson

  • 3D design and typography
  • single stroke design in a single width
  • abstract poly-shapes
  • MidMod design
  • saturated colours
  • subtle modern gradients
  • renaissance of serifs for a human effect
  • very bold typographic elements

Design and typography 99d

Agence Green Star

  • bold colour
  • asymmetric design
  • animation
  • gradients
  • isometric illustration
  • natural photos
  • contour illustrations
  • extra depth to semi-flat design
  • duotones
  • 3D art
  • handdrawn art
  • artful photographs

Start for Art

  • fluid and liquid
  • open compositions
  • unbelievable 3D
  • anti-gravity floating elements
  • vivid colours
  • metallic
  • maxi typography
  • typographic outlines
  • realism/flat

Graphic Mama

  • open compositions
  • depth/3D
  • anti-gravity
  • vivid and dreamy, enchanting
  • metallic
  • fluid/liquid
  • maxi type
  • outline type
  • text with background
  • alternative art
  • realism and flat mix in photos
  • living coral colour

AJ&Smart UX/UI Design

  • minimalism
  • time-saving
  • focus on content

Inner Geek

  • monochromatic and white high contrast single colour
  • organic shapes drawn icons and mix of organic and geometric
  • more subtle gradients
  • serifs
  • deconstructive type and design – have to figure out what it is trying to tell you

5: Participatory VisCom In Process Technical Resources

WordPress blogs

How to upload an Adobe Animate file to Wordpress

4: Transforming Tales In Process Narrative inspiration

Iranian feminist animation and film

Marjane Satrapi (Persian: مرجان ساتراپی‎) (born 22 November 1969) is an Iranian-born French graphic novelist, cartoonist, illustrator, film director, and children’s book author.


Persepolis 2

Chicken with Plums



4: Transforming Tales Narrative inspiration

Psycho: Hitchcock and Bass


Theories of montage:
Montage: assembly of pieces of film that move in rapid succession
Juxtaposition of shots in rapid succession eg shower scene 75 shots in 65 sec

The trailer

Interesting because it operates within the constraints of modesty of the early 1960s.

Bl;ack and white




Shower Scene

Music and sound



4: Transforming Tales In Process Narrative inspiration

Eastern European animation


Czech animators are considered pioneers in film animation. Czech animation began in 1920s. Most early animation was commercial and some children’s animation. , but there were some experimental films such as Myšlenka hledající světlo (Thought looking for light).

The “Golden Era” dates between 1950s and 1980s. The roots of Czech puppet animation began in the mid-1940s when puppet theater operators, Eduard Hofman and Jiří Trnka founded the Poetic animation school, Bratři v triku. Czech animators include Jiří TrnkaKarel ZemanBřetislav Pojar,  or Jiří Barta. Czech animators have employed Cutout animationPuppet animation and Clay animation. Animated films were funded by the State during Communism but were censored and many projects couldn’t be realised as a result.

3D animation is seldom used due to lack of finances and trained 3D animators. This led to downturn in the years after 1989.

Film industry was privatised after 1989 which resulted in lack of finances for animated films and limitation of films produced by Czech animators. On the other hand, there are still successful films made. Jan Švankmajer made films such as Faust. Other successful animators include Aurel KlimtPavel Koutský or Michaela Pavlátová.

Jiří Trnka

Jiří Trnka was a part of Puppet Films Studio. He made 3 full-length and some short animated films in the end of 1940s and was one of the most productive animators in the world. His films in the 1950s such as Prince BayayaOld Czech Legends or A Midsummer Night’s Dream earned him nickname “the Walt Disney of Eastern Europe”. His final film The Hand was declared the 5th best animated picture in history.

Jan Svankmajer
Břetislav Pojar

His debut film One Glass Too Much was successful worldwide.

(1981) A giant statue of the letter “E” arrives in the park. One man sees it as “B”; they are preparing to cart him off to the looney bin when a doctor arrives and determines the man needs glasses. Then the king arrives; he also sees “B”. He tries on the glasses, sees “E”, and pins a medal on the doctor then has his goon squad come and bash on everyone’s head until they too see “B”.

Karel Zeman

Zeman’s films mixed animation with live-action actors. His films drew inspiration from novels Jules Verne.[10] His The Fabulous World of Jules Verne is considered the most successful Czech film ever made

Second animation studio was based in Zlín. Karel Zeman and Hermína Týrlová are considered the main figures of Zlín animators. Týrlová earned fame for her children’s films. Her most famous film is The Revolt of Toys. .


Estonian animation tradition dates back to the 1930s when the first experimental films were made. The only surviving short film from the era is Kutsu-Juku seiklusi (Adventures of Juku the dog) (1931). After the Great DepressionWorld War II, and Soviet Occupation interrupted its development, Estonian animation was reborn in 1958. Elbert Tuganov founded a puppet film division Nukufilm in Tallinnfilm Studio. The first film was titled Peetrikese unenägu based on a Danish writer Jens Sigsgaard’s children story Palle alene i verdenJoonisfilm a traditional cell animation division of Tallinnfilm was founded by Rein Raamat in 1971. Films like Põld (1978), nominee for Golden Palm at the Cannes Film Festival in 1979; Lend (1973), the winner of Special Jury Award at the Zagreb World Festival of Animated Films; the Suur Tõll (1980), 2nd place at Ottawa International Animation Festival in 1982 and Põrgu (Hell) (1983), the winner of FIPRESCI Prize and Special Jury Award at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival made Raamat the first internationally recognized Estonian animation director.

Since Estonia regained independence in 1991 Nukufilm and Joonisfilm continued to operate as private companies owned by the filmmakers. During the era internationally most successful Estonian animation director has been Priit Pärn[1] the winner of Grand Prize at the Ottawa International Animation Festival in 1998 for Porgandite öö (Night of the Carrots). Crocodile by Kaspar Jancis was selected to be the Best European Anima film at Cartoon d’or 2010. The other film of Jancis “Villa Antropoff” was awarded with the Special Mention on Scancroma Festival[

The country’s animation industry got under way in the 1950s, under the aegis of the state film studio. The first directors were amateurs: trained biologists or wannabe architects who learned to animate by improvising in the studio. Steady funding from above gave them the leeway to experiment. On the other hand, scripts had to be approved by Moscow mandarins, who tended to ban films they didn’t like and take credit for those they did. Censorship fostered a flair for coded satire among many Estonian filmmakers. The country’s location on the fringes of the USSR let them get away with more than artists closer to Moscow, while also putting them in touch with western culture through such media as Finnish television.

Tuganov1959. Atmospheric hero and ring fairy tle in puppet animation.

Pars Nails animation political satire scenes of seduction and violent confrontation are acted out by two pliable nails. The risqué subject matter troubled Moscow, but it was the virtuosic manipulation of the props that caught my eye. You wouldn’t guess that the nails are made of rubber.

Rein Ramaat

Avo paistik

Priit Parn

Commercially and creatively, however, it has been eclipsed by cel animation. This is mostly due to the output of one man: Priit Pärn. Starting out as a caricaturist, Pärn flourished as an animator in the dying days of the USSR, by which time his art was stretching the censorship laws to breaking point. The characters in Triangle (1982) and Breakfast on the Grass (1988) are ugly and poor, and dream of being elsewhere. The films enliven their dreary routines with garish colours and a fiendish comic timing. Social realism this ain’t.

After the USSR crumbled, Pärn turned his sharp sights on everything from capitalism to movies themselves. His masterpiece 1895 (1995) marked the centenary of cinema by skewering it, arguing that it has warped and falsified our historical memory. A grim, absurd humour permeates all his films, saving them from mere political didacticism. The retrospective of his works in Hiroshima was enhanced by the presence of the man himself, who came in a Je Suis Pärn T-shirt and spent the week casually flouting the decorum of our Japanese hosts.

Pärn’s films are hugely charismatic, his crude visuals easy enough to imitate, and almost every major Estonian animator in his wake bears his influence. This was very apparent at the festival, where I watched his shorts and those of his acolytes Ülo Pikkov and Priit Tender in quick succession. In their positions as teachers at Estonia’s sole animation school, Pärn and his wife Olga continue to train the country’s youngest artists – including foreigners who have moved there to learn from them. The Pärn style has gone global, impressing itself on everything from Rugrats to a whole generation of Japanese filmmakers (just watch Nihei Sarina’s Small People with Hats, 2015).

Priit Parn 1984. Surreal Daliesque animation on nonsensical but often funny transformations about absurdities of life.
Ja Teeb Trikke 1978
animation is like poetry. No favourite technique. The story comes first. Then see what style fits. But sometimes you find a technique you like and then the story comes.
4: Transforming Tales In Process Narrative inspiration

Japanese Animation

Studio Ghibli

Isao Takahata

To feel the reality within the drawings rather that think the drawings themselves are real.

Grave of the Fireflies: distancing mechnisms

Hayao Miyazaki

Yoshifumo Kondo



You Tube

Post on manga styles. Importance of drama and perspective – eg cropping of photo cartoons

5: Participatory VisCom

Visual hierarchy

Design elements may be explored in their own right, but are generally considered in terms of relationships between one or more element. The following are just some things to think about, taken from a range of sources and experience/thoughts on previous courses in art and photography.
Key Sources:

  • Michael Freeman:The Photographer’s Eye
  • Alan Pipes: Foundations of Art and Design
  • de Sausmarez
  • Ian Roberts ‘Mastering Composition’
  • Theories of Paul Klee, Arthur Wesley Dow and Henry Rankin Poore

Principles of relationship

Unity/harmony:When all elements are in agreement, a design is considered unified. No individual part is viewed as more important than the whole design.

  • Symmetry
  • Asymmetrical produces an informal balance that is attention attracting and dynamic.
  • Balance: It is a state of equalized tension and equilibrium, which may not always be calm.
  • Radial balance is arranged around a central element. The elements placed in a radial balance seem to ‘radiate’ out from a central point in a circular fashion.
  • Mosaic form of balance which normally arises from many elements being put on a page. Due to the lack of hierarchy and contrast, this form of balance can look noisy but sometimes quiet.

Hierarchy: A good design contains elements that lead the reader through each element in order of its significance. The type and images should be expressed starting from most important to the least important.
Scale/proportion: Using the relative size of elements against each other can attract attention to a focal point. When elements are designed larger than life, scale is being used to show drama.A subject can be rendered more dramatic when it fills the frame. There exists a tendency to perceive things as larger than they actually are, and filling the frame full fills this psychological mechanism. This can be used to eliminate distractions from the background.

  • Cropping
  • distant cropping, close cropping
  • boundary  relationships

Dominance/emphasis: Dominance is created by contrasting size, positioning, colour, style, or shape. The focal point should dominate the design with scale and contrast without sacrificing the unity of the whole.
Similarity and contrast: Planning a consistent and similar design is an important aspect of a designer’s work to make their focal point visible. Too much similarity is boring but without similarity important elements will not exist and an image without contrast is uneventful so the key is to find the balance between similarity and contrast.
Similar environment: There are several ways to develop a similar environment:

  • Build a unique internal organization structure.
  • Manipulate shapes of images and text to correlate together.

Perspective: sense of distance between elements.
Similarity: ability to seem repeatable with other elements.
Continuation: the sense of having a line or pattern extend.
Repetition: elements being copied or mimicked numerous times.
Rhythm: is achieved when recurring position, size, color, and use of a graphic element has a focal point interruption.
Negative space: Give the eye somewhere to rest
Color: Contrast: the value, or degree of lightness and darkness, used within the picture.


Repetition has a peculiar but generally very strong appeal, particularly when it is unfamiliar to the viewer:

  • rhythm or dynamic repetition: the movement across a picture (or more properly, the movement of the eye through a picture). Rhythm can be made more dynamic by encouraging a figure or point to break the rhythm. As the eye in Western culture naturally follows a rhythmical structure from right to left to right, it is often best to place a point on the right so that the eye has time to establish the rhythm before noticing it.
  • pattern or spatial repetition: essentially static and concerned with area. Ordered rows of large numbers of things produce regular patterns, but the slight variations in detail maintain interest. If the placing is irregular, the framing needs to be tight on the objects if they are to form a pattern.

Viewpoint (leading the eye): The position of the viewer can strongly influence the aesthetics of an image, even if the subject is entirely imaginary and viewed “within the mind’s eye”. Not only does it influence the elements within the picture, but it also influences the viewer’s interpretation of the subject.

Division of space

informal subdivision
high low horizons
Rule of thirds, golden mean, rebatement of the rectangle: The objective is to stop the subject(s) and areas of interest (such as the horizon) from bisecting the image, by placing them near one of the lines that would divide the image into three equal columns and rows, ideally near the intersection of those lines. The rule of thirds is thought to be a simplification of the golden mean. The golden mean is a ratio that has been used by visual artists for centuries as an aid to composition. When two things are in the proportion of 1:1.618 (approximately 3 to 5), they are said to be in the golden mean. Dividing the parts of an image according to this proportion helps to create a pleasing, balanced composition. The intersection points on a golden mean grid appear at 3/8 in and 3/8 down/up, rather than at 1/3 in and 1/3 down/up on the grid of thirds.
Rule of odds: The “rule of odds” states that by framing the object of interest with an even number of surrounding objects, it becomes more comforting to the eye, thus creates a feeling of ease and pleasure. The “rule of odds” suggests that an odd number of subjects in an image is more interesting than an even number. An even number of subjects produces symmetries in the image, which can appear less natural for a naturalistic, informal composition. Related to the rule of odds is the observation that triangles are an aesthetically pleasing implied shape within an image.
Baselines and ground contour: foreground, middle ground and background division.ensure that you indicate the contours of the land, even if it appears flat. Use variations such as differences in soil colour, texture, vegetation, wind in grass etc. Light and shadow on land.
Overlapping forms: overlapping forms give a feeling of depth to space. If forms do not overlap there is no depth.
Tie together: If you have a distinct division of space that extends from one side of the painting to the other, tie the two divisions together by crossing the division with something in the foreground.


Images with clutter can distract from the main elements within the picture and make it difficult to identify the subject. By decreasing the extraneous content, the viewer is more likely to focus on the primary objects. Clutter can also be reduced through the use of lighting, as the brighter areas of the image tend to draw the eye, as do lines, squares and colour. In painting, the artist may use less detailed and defined brushwork towards the edges of the picture. Removing the elements to the focus of the object, taking only the needed components.Merge shapes that have similar values into larger shapes of one value.

Creating movement

Movement is the path the viewer’s eye takes through the artwork, often to focal areas. Such movement can be directed along lines edges, shape and colour within the artwork.

  • turbulent shape arrangements.
  • variety in division of space.
  • repetition with variety: pattern, rhythm
  • active, passive mix. Need place for the eye to rest. But depends on overall aim of picture.
  • odd number groups – maybe we like to see things in pairs, so we look for completion? Variety in threes.

Rule of space: The rule of space aims to give the illusion of movement, or which is supposed to create a contextual bubble in the viewer’s mind. This can be achieved, for instance, by leaving white space in the direction the eyes of a portrayed person are looking, or, when picturing a runner, adding white space in front of them rather than behind them to indicate movement.
Other techniques that can act together:

  • There should be a centre of interest or focus in the work, to prevent it becoming a pattern in itself;
  • The direction followed by the viewer’s eye should lead the viewer’s gaze around all elements in the work before leading out of the picture;
  • The subject should not be facing out of the image;
  • Exact bisections of the picture space should be avoided;
  • Small, high contrast, elements have as much impact as larger, duller elements;
  • The prominent subject should be off-centre, unless a symmetrical or formal composition is desired, and can be balanced by smaller satellite elements
    the horizon line should not divide the art work in two equal parts but be positioned to emphasize either the sky or ground; showing more sky if painting is of clouds, sun rise/set, and more ground if a landscape
  • Variety: no spaces between the objects should be the same. They should vary in shape and size. That creates a much more interesting image.

Focal point:

  • staccato focal point: a small point or line that the viewer’s eye gravitates to
  • focal area: a specific area of colour or value

focus may be achieved by:

  • directing lines,/intersection of lines or implied lines,
  • contrast in colour, saturation, temperature,
  • texture, moves to areas of high density and detail.
  • shape or relation of shape to boundary, value. Isolation. rule of thirds.

A composition may have primary and secondary focus of interest. Not all images have to have a focal point or focal area. Or focal area may be large. Or there can be more than one and the interest is in the relationship between the two.
Eye movement
the aim is to keep the interest of the viewer and keep their attention in the frame.

  • types of path: C forms, S forms, I forms.
  • entry point, often in bottom left . Avoid splitting painting in two.
  • avoid leading eye into a corner, take it back in and around.
  • avoid trapping the eye in one part of the frame.
  • repeat colour spots. Linking lights, guiding darks and lights
  • let the brain fill the gaps.
In Process

Sound design

Foley sound

Sound libraries

4: Transforming Tales Creative translations In Process

Visual Storytelling

Narrative theory

structure of stories

Visual Dynamics

directing the eye: composition, colour

Grammar of the Shot

camera, lighting, editing, timing

Narrative Theory

A narrative or story is an account of a series of related events, experiences, or the like, whether true (episode, vignette, travelogue, memoir, autobiography, biography) or fictitious (fairy tale, fable, story, epic, legend, novel). Narrative theory or ‘narratology’ is the study of narrative and narrative structure and the ways that these affect human perception. Narrative structures were first described in Western cultures by Greek philosophers such as Aristotle and Plato.

Structuralist literary theorists including Roland Barthes, Vladimir Propp, Joseph Campbell, and Northrop Frye attempted to argue that all human narratives have certain universal, deep structural elements in common. The Russian Formalists distinguished: fabula: the “chronological order of events or the raw material of a story” and sujet or syuzhet is “the way a story is organized”.

Poststructuralists such as Michel Foucault and Jacques Derrida asserted that such universally shared, deep structures were logically impossible.

Gustav Freytag (1863)
  1. Exposition – fixes time and place, shows us who the main characters are, something about their lives. Shows the main character and their goal within the story and sets the mood. A backstory may be alluded to. Exposition can be conveyed through dialogues, flashbacks, characters’ asides, background details, in-universe media, or the narrator telling a back-story.
  2. Rising action: is a build up of events as the main character moves towards their goal. An exciting force or inciting event begins immediately after the exposition (introduction), building the rising action in one or several stages toward the point of greatest interest. These events are generally the most important parts of the story since the entire plot depends on them to set up the climax and ultimately the satisfactory resolution of the story itself. Conflict occurs when there is a disagreement with one or more people.
  3. Climax: the crunch point which changes the protagonist’s fate. If things were going well for the protagonist, the plot will turn against them, often revealing the protagonist’s hidden weaknesses. If the story is a comedy, the opposite state of affairs will ensue, with things going from bad to good for the protagonist, often requiring the protagonist to draw on hidden inner strengths.
  4. Falling Action: During the falling action, the hostility of the counter-party beats upon the soul of the hero. Freytag lays out two rules for this stage: the number of characters be limited as much as possible, and the number of scenes through which the hero falls should be fewer than in the rising movement. Although the catastrophe must be foreshadowed so as not to appear as a non sequitur, there could be for the doomed hero a prospect of relief, where the final outcome is in doubt.
  5. Resolution/’katastrophe’: happy or sad ending. Gives a feeling that this is the end, all strands have been ‘united’/drawn together and everything that needs to be explained has been explained.

Die Technik des Dramas (1863) published in an English translation as Freytag’s Technique of the Drama: An Exposition of Dramatic Composition and Art in 1894

Vladimir Propp (1928)

Propp analysed 100 Russian folktales from the corpus of Alexander Fyodorovich Afanasyev and identified a number of basic elements:

Types of character

7 abstract character functions

  1. The hero — the character who reacts to the dispatcher and donor characters, thwarts the villain, resolves any lacking or wronghoods and weds the princess.
  2. The villain — an evil character that creates struggles for the hero.
  3. The dispatcher — any character who illustrates the need for the hero’s quest and sends the hero off. This often overlaps with the princess’s father.
  4. The helper — a typically magical entity that comes to help the hero in their quest.
  5. The princess or prize, and often her father — the hero deserves her throughout the story but is unable to marry her as a consequence of some evil or injustice, perhaps the work of the villain. The hero’s journey is often ended when he marries the princess, which constitutes the villain’s defeat.
  6. The donor — a character that prepares the hero or gives the hero some magical object, sometimes after testing them.
  7. The false hero — a figure who takes credit for the hero’s actions or tries to marry the princess.

Morphology of the tale, Leningrad 1928

Functions or elements of plot: After the initial situation is depicted, any fairy tale is composed of a selection of the following 31 functions, in a specific, consecutive order:

Absentation: The hero or a member of their community or family leaves the security of the home environment.
Interdiction: The hero is warned against some action.
Violation of interdiction: The hero did not listen to the command or forbidding edict and the villain enters the story via this event. Reconnaisance: The villain (often in disguise and/or testing the hero) makes an effort to attain knowledge needed to fulfil their plot. Delivery: The villain succeeds, gaining a lead on their intended victim.
Trickery: The villain attempts to deceive the victim to acquire something valuable.
Complicity: The victim is fooled/forced to concede and unwittingly/unwillingly helps the villain.
Villainy or Lacking: The villain harms a family member and/or a protagonist finds they desire or require something lacking from the home environment.
Mediation: One or more of the above negative factors comes to the attention of the Hero.
Beginning counteraction: The hero considers ways to resolve the issues and they begin to fit their noble mantle.
Departure: The hero leaves the home environment, this time with a sense of purpose and begins their adventure.
First function of the donor: The hero encounters a magical agent or helper (donor) on their path, and is tested in some manner through interrogation, combat, puzzles or more.
Hero’s reaction: The hero responds to the actions of their future donor and/or knowledge of the villain.
RECEIPT OF A MAGICAL AGENT: as a consequence of their good actions.
GUIDANCE: The hero is transferred, delivered or somehow led to a vital location, or to the villain.
STRUGGLE: The hero and villain meet and engage in conflict directly, either in battle or some nature of contest.
BRANDING: The hero is marked in some manner, perhaps receiving a distinctive scar or granted a cosmetic item like a ring or scarf.
VICTORY: The villain is defeated by the hero – killed in combat, outperformed in a contest, struck when vulnerable, banished, etc.
LIQUIDATION: The earlier misfortunes or issues of the story are resolved; object of search are distributed, spells broken, captives freed.
RETURN: The hero travels back to their home.
PURSUIT: The hero is pursued by some threatening adversary, who perhaps seek to capture or eat them.
RESCUE: The hero is saved from a chase by someone or something. UNRECOGNIZED ARRIVAL: The hero arrives, and is unrecognised or unacknowledged.
UNFOUNDED CLAIMS: A false hero presents unfounded claims or performs some other form of deceit.
DIFFICULT TASK: A trial is proposed to the hero – riddles, test of strength or endurance, acrobatics and other ordeals.
SOLUTION: The hero accomplishes a difficult task.
RECOGNITION: The hero is given due recognition – usually by means of their prior branding.
EXPOSURE: The false hero and/or villain is exposed to all and sundry.
TRANSFIGURATION: The hero gains a new appearance – from ageing, labours, branding etc.
PUNISHMENT: The villain suffers the consequences of their actions, perhaps at the hands of the hero, the avenged victims, or as a direct result of their own ploy.
WEDDING: The hero marries and is rewarded or promoted by the family or community, typically ascending to a throne.

Morphology of the tale, Leningrad 1928

Tzvetan Todorov (1969)

Franco-Bulgarian historian, philosopher, literary critic and sociologist in 1969.

  • Equilibrium: where everything is as it should be and the characters lives are normal
  • Disruption of Equilibrium: when the state of equilibrium is disturbed by an event occurring.
  • Recognition of Disruption:  where characters recognise that the equilibrium has been disturbed/damaged by an event.
  • Addressing/solving the disruption: Characters attempt to repair the damage.
  • New equilibrium

TODOROV, T. 1969. Structural Analysis of Narrative. Tzvetan Todorov and Arnold Weinstein NOVEL: A Forum on Fiction Vol 3 Issue 1 pp 70-76.

Visual Dynamics


In traditional animation when an object, character or scene is at rest it is not still or motionless, it ‘boils’. Boiling is the term used to describe an animated effect in which the outlines or surface of an otherwise still character or object are made to wiggle or quiver in drawn animation. This is achieved by the looping together of several tracings of the same image (usually between 3 to 8 drawings). Boiling movement is used to sustain the illusion of movement in the animation overall and provide the impression of life or liveliness.

Questions about boil

  • What ‘boil’ technique is used? Why do the lines move and what elements, if any are allowed to be still?
  • Does the pace of the boil emanate throughout?
  • What emotional or narrative purpose does the use of boiling serve? Does it make for a more lifelike effect or is the boil deployed humorously?
Frame rate

It is most common in animation to draw on twos, this is both because drawing on ones is double the amount of work and because working with twos lends a smoother appearance to slower actions, avoiding unnecessary jitter that can accompany shooting on ones. It is generally thought that working on twos adds a particular liveliness to a fast action rather than working on ones, which can make an action appear more leaden.

Cycle, loops and layers

Cycles can loop, oscillate, or even appear to be stationary. The use of cycles is often motivated by economy because it saves on drawing time. But the type of cycle that you use also make up the meaning of your film.

Looped cycles are most commonly employed on particular layers within a frame. Sergei Eisenstein described this layered looping within a frame as ‘vertical montage’:
“The simultaneous movement of a number of motifs advances through a succession of sequences, each motif having its own rate of compositional progressions, while being at the same time inseparable from the overall compositional progression as a whole” Sergei Eisenstein, Eisenstein Volume 2: Towards a Theory of Montage (London: BFI Publishing, 1991)

  • ‘Dumbland’ (2000), David Lynch purposely used cycles of animation to represent the breakdown of social structures depicted in his film.
  • Francis Alÿs, Jordan Wolfson and Owen Land work extensively using loops to communicate meaning.
  • Katie Dove’s Luna, 2013
Eye trace

All animation is an exercise in applying the principle of ‘eye trace’. This is a principle of film- making in general but one that is essential for the illusion of animated movement to work. ‘In The Blink of an Eye’ by Walter Murch, (1995) sets out the principle that the viewer’s eyes will focus on a particular position on the screen and editors exploit this to allow less jarring edit when one shot follows another by ensuring that the action or image is located in the same part of the screen.This is also known as ‘registration’ in animation. A keen awareness of eye-trace allows the animator to play with the audience’s expectations and surprise them. The registration protocol was developed for hand-drawn animation to ensure that each subsequent drawing uses the same co-ordinates so that the illusion of movement between frames is not interrupted. In other animation the registration is looser and is intended as such to draw attention to the variation that ‘eye trace’ allows.

Grammar of the Shot


  • ABBOTT, H. P. 2008. The Cambridge Introduction to Narrative, Cambridge, New York, Melbourne, Madrid, Cape Town, Singapore, Sao Paulo, Delhi, Cambridge University Press.
  • BACHER, H. 2013. Dream Worlds: Production Design for Animation, Burlington MA and Abington Oxon, Focal Press.
  • BARTHES, R. 1977. Image Music Text, London, Fontana Press.
  • BLAZER, L. 2016. Animated Storytelling: Simple Steps for Creating Animation and Motion Graphics, Peachpit Press.
  • COBLEY, P. 2001. Narrative, London and New York, Routledge.
  • GLEBAS, F. 2018. Directing the Story: professional storytelling and storyboarding techniques for live action and animation, London and New York, Routledge.
  • LINDA SEGER 1992. The Art of Adaptation: Turning Fact and Fiction into Film, New York, Henry Holt and Company.
  • MADDEN, M. 2006. 99 Ways to Tell a Story: Exercises in Style, London, Jonathan Cape.
  • NANCY LAMB 2008. The Art and Craft of Storytelling: A Comprehensive Guide to Classic Writing Techniques, Cincinnati, Ohio, Writers Digest Books.
  • OPEN COLLEGE OF THE ARTS 2015. Commenting on Artists, Barnsley, UK, Open College of the Arts.
  • QUENEAU, R. 1958. Exercises in Style, London, Alma Classics Ltd.
  • SANDLER, M. 2018. Visual Storytelling: how to speak to your audience without saying a word, Studio City, CA, Michael Wiese Productions.
  • SWANSON, M. & BEHR, R. 2013. Ten Thousand Stories: An ever-changing tale of tragic happenings, San Francisco, Chronicle Books.
  • WALTER MURCH 2001. In the Blink of an Eye: A perspective on film editing, Los Angeles, Silman-James Press.
3: Lines Talking In Process Technical Resources Workflow experiments

iPad animation software review

The animations on this blog are on the iPad, based on photos of community drawings or my own sketch drawings. Most of the software, insights and techniques from iPad can be replicated on any tablet and many smartphones.

Software features checklist

My list of key things to look for when choosing animation software:

  • Drawing tools vector drawing tools for creating motion and scaling and/or pixel-based tools for more artistic effects. Including image import so that backgrounds and other features can be created from photographs, artwork or imported images from other drawing and painting aps.
  • Symbols or re-usable elements, including import from other software.
  • Tweening or smoothing/interpolation of animation between drawn key-frames, including control of the number of before/after frames, colouring and opacity.
  • Onion-skinning: viewing of previous and following drawn frames to facilitate accurate drawing of current frames
  • Layers to be able to create scenes with background, foreground and multiple animated elements with different animation rhythms.
  • Timeline features: control over frame speed and duration, easy addition and deletion of frames.
  • Audio features to import music, narration and sound effects – preferably onto separate layers for multiple sound effects, music and/or voice over.
  • Text features to add titles, captions, credits and additional text overlays.
Useful overview that guided my initial review of the software – subsequently extended in the list on the left.

Frame-by-frame/cel animation/
digital flipbooks

Rough animator

by Jacob Kafka for hand drawn animation application runs on Android, iOS, Mac OS, and Windows.


  • Well-designed timeline with unlimited layers, easily adjustable exposure length of individual drawings, for pose-to-pose or straight-ahead animating
  • Onion skinning
  • Preview playback and scrub along timeline
  • One audio layer for importing audio and lip syncing
  • Import video for rotoscoping animation
  • Customisable brushes
  • Export animation to Quicktime video, GIF, or image sequence
  • Export projects for import to Adobe Flash/Animate, After Effects, and Toon Boom Harmony


  • Limited brushes
  • Only one audio layer
  • Transformation features with numeric position, rotation and scale, but limited flexibility and without registration point


Developed by Visual Blasters LLC for both android and iOS. This is a much more robust animation software designed specifically for animation.


  • very quick and easy drawing and frame by frame animation with anime style marker and brush, onion-skinning etc
  • multiple layers for each frame to do complex moving backgrounds and camera effects
  • easy selection and transform tools to move objects around in space with registration point
  • easy timeline manipulation
  • can import, add and remove video
  • multiple track audio including import and recording of own audio as well as in-App sound libraries.
  • has a video capture to export a record of the animation process
  • export as MP4, GIF, IMAGE SEQ


  • separation of timeline and layers makes animation quite time-consuming.
  • limited brushes biased towards anime style
Good overview of a more complex layered animation process of one scene in manga style from rough drawings from sketches through inking on layers to colour. Including video capture of steps. Music very distracting though.
Shows the process of drawing and colouring a simple one layer animation with several scenes.

Procreate 5

For short artistic cel animation and/or artistic redrawing of animations from more specialised animation software. Only available for iPad.


  • Sophisticated drawing, painting and image creation tools including infinitely customisable brushes and smudge brushes, blend modes, masking, flexible selection and transformation tools, effects and ability to import photographs and video to timeline.
  • Timeline with assignable foreground and background layers, and possibility of separate frame-lengths for each frame.
  • Layers for each frame produced through grouping in a separate layers panel.
  • Onion-skinning flexible options of number of frames, colouring and opacity
  • Text tools
  • Export of creative process videos.


  • No audio
  • Complex to use unless you are very familiar with procreate drawing and painting tools.
  • Animation features are a bit clunky because of the separation of timeline and layers panels.
Very good basic introduction to animation in Procreate with use of layer groups, foreground and background and workflow.

Motion Book

Very simple easy to use programme for digital flipbooks. Its simplicity makes things quick and easy to produce minimalist animations that can be exported to Procreate and other programmes if needed. Very good for learning basics of animation.

  • 4 basic brushes
  • basic timeline without layers but can allocate a frame for background and import photos and movieclips to it for rotoscoping.
  • inApp purchase of selection and transform tools.

But a bit basic for my purposes, though was good to learn on.

Animation Desk

Animation desk by Kdan is another animation app that allows to create animations and cartoons on android or iOS device. It is free and easy to use app where you can

  • good selection of 45 different brushes
  • easy frame by frame animation with easy alteration to frame timing etc and storyboard labelling and export
  • create animations on videos, images, PSD layers.
  • on-line Kdan cloud community


  • no audio
  • not text
  • no layer blending

Stop Motion animation


Lego-style 3D animation developed by Google for android and iOS users.

This is a very simple App that is an entertaining introduction to 3D storytelling with narration and mood music. Movies are inherently amusing because they have the feel of children playing with lego figures:

  • You have the option of different scene numbers but are guided to have a beginning, middle and end. But these can be swapped around and extra scenes added.
  • Each scene is recorded live with a set length and stop watch while the director moves the characters around and does a voice-over narrative or adds live sounds.
  • You can zoom in and out of scenes with a somewhat jerky movement. The inbuilt scenes are quite complex with different floors of buildings and moving parts. You can draw your own very simple coloured backdrops – one brush, eraser, paintbucket and large set palette of colours.
  • There are an array of inbuilt characters that walk, talking mouths, can be scaled and moved around. Arms and feet can kick, hit and hug, but limited actions. Colours and certain parameters of each character can be changed. Only one character can be moved at a time – like children playing with lego.
  • You can draw your own characters and objects that can be extruded to be 3D but with no moving parts.
  • There is a choice of mood music – one per scene – with volume control. If you want your own music this would have to be input at the time of recording. There is no facility for importing your own sounds.

Stop Motion Studio

Stop Motion Studio

Stop motion studio is a popular animation apps for android and iOS users which allows make animation video on your device. It is an easiest app to get you into stop motion movie making for android and iOS users. It is also used as slow motion video app to make slow motion video with different video editor options. App has lots of attractive features, which makes it super easy to get into stop motion video. It has different modes as overlay mode, grid mode, integrated movie editor and others.

Tweened animation

Stick Nodes

Stick Nodes is a tweened IK stick animation Apdeveloped by ForTheLoss Games, Inc for Android and iOS users. It is a powerful but also quite clunky and complicated stickman animator app with:

  • options to construct fully animating kinematic stick figures and/or import ones ready made. These can be exported to a library for re-use.
  • add one background image per project
  • automatic frame-tweening with ease and stretch
  • sound effects using sound effect apps 
  • text captions
  • virtual camera to move and zoom.

It is a possible Ap to use if you do not have more professional Aps like Adobe Animate. But time for the steep learning curve is substantial to do more than a few Japanese kick box animations with text (see below). That time is better spent leaning Adobe Animate.

I include these tutorials here because some of the techniques can be applied to cel animation figures also.

Official tutorial 1
Official tutorial 3
Official tutorial 2
Official tutorial 4

Timeline and longer animations

Background animation

PicsArt Animator

PicsArt Animator

PicsArt Animator is a GIF and video maker app which allows you to create animations & cartoons on your android or iOS device. You can easily click snap using your 3D camera apps and use them to create beautiful animation video on your smartphone. It allows you to draw frame by frame animations and see animation timeline with play mode option. There are some advance drawing and sketching tools listed in this app which can be used to make beautiful animation video for free. Along with these you can also use multi-layering for complex animations and also control animation length and speed.


Animates loop photos and cinemagraphs.


Movepic is a popular photo motion apps for android and iOS users which allows you to easily create live photo with animate effect. It is available with both free as well as app to purchase option with lots of features. It brings fabulous photos & gifs into your social life with various animated effects and beautiful filters. You can easily animate anything in loops photos simply by drawing a path , and make your still images into awesome loop photos & cinemagraphs. Along with these it also allows you to adjust the speed of the loops photo animation.


Featuring @spaghettinoodies fun animation! To be featured use #flipaclip in your post! #art #animation #fyp #foryoupage

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