Visual Storytelling: Animation Strategies

Visual storytelling for particular audiences requires adaptation of insights from narrative theory, visual dynamics in art and design on each frame and editing techniques from video and film.

Animation is a form of visual storytelling involving sequential images played sequentially over time. Animation can take many forms in different media including eg line drawing, shapes, photography and video. Each of these can be manipulated in different ways to give varying degrees of ‘objective’ or ‘imagined’ representation of ideas.

Animation is inevitably a process of abstraction. It is not possible for the human eye and brain to follow infinite details in moving images. Even in video, motion blur between frames. a process and the malleability of time is its primary material. It is not the image, drawing or shape of each frame that matters in animation, rather it is the difference between the frames that generates the illusion of movement in animation.

It is the animator’s ability to control and play with these intervals between frames that matters. It is important to think in terms of intervals, rates of change and flux, rather than thinking in terms of still images or compositions.

The ways in which these principles of animated movement are applied varies depending on the types and style of animation in question.

‘Time is what prevents everything from being present all at once’ The animator seeks to control at what pace, rhythm and direction things appear.

Henri Bergson.

“What happens between each frame is much more important than what exists on each frame”

Norman McLaren, Computer Animation

Animation Approaches, Styles and Software padlet

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Visual Storytelling padlet

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Animation Principles and Process padlet

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Visual Dynamics padlet

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