I was asked to develop graphics for a six minute narrated animation about WW1. The script mentioned lots of maps and military movements. With all the maps the challenge would be to keep the movie visually interesting. (A project in association with MADOC, Production Company for Exhibitions and Museums.)Madoc
We set up a small team of four people to work on the project. Two animators, a historian and the infographics designer. Because of the tight deadline both animations and graphics couldn't be too complex.
The six minutes were divided into 12 steps of roughly 30 seconds.
I've always been a great admirer of the work of Otto Neurath and Gert Arntz. A similar style would fit the historic content nicely and keep animations simple as well.
converting pencil drawings to vectors with only two sets of strokes. I started working on the storyboards and gather documentation. The storyboards were than past on to the rest of the team for feedback. To save time the animators first did a rough version of each step.
Coming from a print environment it was interesting to see how certain static solutions don't necessarily work out for animation.
I wanted to narrow down the use of color to just black and red. This meant completely ignoring the yellow color used throughout the rooms of the museum. The historian pointed out black and red were also the principal colors of the German flag. And what to do with the French and Russian flag not to mention the rivers? Adding blue was the only concession which I regretted later on.
The assassination of the archduke of Austria-Hungary. Coming up with creative transitions was a real challenge. The black clouds metaphor was used as the main asset throughout the animation. It was interesting to see how the animators took my artwork to a new level.
The German Emperor Wilhelm II losing his patience. Keeping up with the narrative wasn't easy and forced us to explore different graphic solutions.
Most assets had to be cut up prior to animation. The animators provided a doodle of how they wanted to have this horse cut up for animation.
Cutting up the horse and its rider and splitting everything up to separate layers.
Relieved faces attending the official opening of the museum. The two animators Maya Gouby and Pieter Coudyzer. Just a few days away from the opening event they were still processing lengthy lists of changes. See the entire movie here: World War One Museum Project