A little trick that helps humanise our animations

At Cognitive we focus on three main elements to bring a story to life: a brilliant narrative, strong visual imagery and eye-catching animation. A great example of this is the recent film we animated for the BBC and Radio 4 What Did the Suffragettes do for you?

Matt Truefitt one of our talented animators

Matt Truefitt one of our talented animators

At a more overt level, animation helps to land the key messages in a story by emphasising key points. But less obvious is how animation can help to bring humanity and emotion to a story, making the whole piece feel so much more engaging. To help explore this we spoke to one of our top animators here are Cognitive, Matt Truefitt, on one technique that he uses to add a little extra.

“At Cognitive we like to push animation even further adding subtle yet effective ways to give your animations more personality and emotion. One way we do that is a technique called easing. Easing is a way to control the movement of any piece of animation, so that it follows the basic idea of weight in movement creating more natural fluid and appealing animation.

Take a look at the mocked up example above. You will see two arms moving in a pointing motion, of the two the right-hand one has been animated with easing, both elements have the same timing and motion the only thing that has been altered is that the key-frames between key poses have been eased.

You can tell how much easing effects the movement and message behind the animation, immediately it looks less robotic more natural and (in my opinion) more appealing to the viewer. With easing you have so much control over how you want the elements to move on screen. However, before you go crazy with the easing, make sure you start with a good understanding of how things move and interact with things in real-life. Watch how things move, the speed, the anticipation to the start of movement. Dial this in and your easing will create more fluid and interesting animations,

Melding your understanding of how things move in real-life along with how and when to use easing can elevate your animations and allow them to express their message effectively. Also it looks great!”

At Cognitive our goal is to ‘supercharge your story’ and because we build our animations to the specific needs of our clients’ individual projects (whether they are the BBC, RSAnimates or other projects) we always build in time to target easing in the animation to add maximum impact at the right time to drive home key messages. Something off-the shelf explainer videos will struggle to do.

To make your communications super-engaging for your audience, easing is an invaluable technique that adds both eye-catching movement and emotional depth - we believe both are vital for a rich story. Happy Easing!