Sunday, 22 January 2012

Digital module- Infographics animation

For the second (and surprisingly final) part of my Digital animation module, I am required to create an infographic animation. An infographic, for those who don’t know, is a piece of graphic design aiming to convey information about a particular topic as simply, quickly and effectively as possible with the use of memorable and relevant imagery. The core idea behind infographics is that their aesthetically pleasing nature makes them draw and retain the viewer’s attention long enough to deliver key information ‘packets’.

As our lifestyles become increasingly hectic and we find ourselves ever more pressed for time to spare, delivering important information quickly is a growing need. Many people simply do not have the time to read a wealth of material to learn a few key facts. Infographics cut straight to the point. The use of diagrams, images, and text (in small measured amounts) aids in the retention of information, whilst their strong graphic design makes learning the information that more bearable- and sometimes, dare I say it, fun!

Here are two excellent examples of infographics animations:



It seems to me that there is indeed a blur between infographics and motion graphics, for many of the accepted animation techniques to create them can easily apply to both. With having learnt the basics of Adobe After Effects during my projects last term, both of my projects this term will provide ample opportunity to hone my skills and learn some more advanced techniques. The chance to use other techniques is still present of course (I am still looking to specialise in stop motion animation) and I hope to explore these if they suit the ideas I come up with.

When developing an infographic, it is important to remember to be selective. Not all information needs to be represented visually. Still image infographics often include written information in the form of easily digestible bullet points, which would translate well to an animated infogrpahic in the form of a verbal narrative to drive the piece forward and provide the framework around which to structure the imagery.

In order to deliver the key information effectively, the relevance of the images and diagrams shown is important. Being selective is crucial. The first step is to decide what information should be given- and to then decide which information can best be represented as an interesting image or animation. Creating the narrative first is an excellent way to start, since it helps judge pace and timing. The information should be delivered evenly and consistently, and should be presented in such a way that it is as entertaining as possible. Akin to the issues with timing found with motion graphics, the viewer should be provided with enough time to take in each of the facts displayed, without the pace becoming too fast or too slow.

Most of the time, the answers of what to show visually at any given moment can be found in the narrative. The visuals and narrative should complement one another, in terms of the information displayed as well as its tone. Simple cartoon graphics will better suit a light hearted or friendly piece, whereas a more reserved style with a muted colour palette would perhaps be more appropriate for a serious piece delivering very important information (though I should point out that infographics are almost always developed to be as light hearted as possible!). Nevertheless, it is important that the tones of the information and of the aesthetics do not contradict one another.

Here are some useful links providing tutorials and information on creating great infographics:



With this project brief, we were shown a range of example static infographics, and told that we could either base our animation on one of the examples or find our own topic. I came up with several potential ideas and considered each on their own merits, but in the end decided to base my project upon one of the examples- the following infographic, regarding the reasons behind traffic jams.


I already have some existing knowledge surrounding the subject thanks to a TV documentary a while ago, and have since found some very useful information online around which to base my narrative. Check out the link below for some pretty interesting facts!


We actually have a long time to complete this animation, and so for the foreseeable future it is likely I will be focusing my attention towards my other project, for which the deadline is much shorter. Nevertheless, I am currently planning this project and am in the process of creating a very rough storyboard. As always, I shall post it when it’s complete.

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