As we move into animations this week, I thought I’d put something up about animation. There’s a Youtube channel named ‘Kurzgesagt – In a Nutshell’, which produces largely physics and tech-related explainers. Every now and then they venture into popular topics (which invariably get more views simply because it’s #relatable), but the format is always the same: 5-10 minutes of beautiful animated content narrated over with kurzgesagt’s soothing voice. It’s a winning combination.
It has a distinct visual style – popping colors, plenty of icons, and obvious spatial relationships between concepts or objects, which usually closely follow the arc of the audio (kurzgesagt’s narration). The animations carry very limited linguistic information, relying on icons and illustrated scenes to convey their intent. One of my favourites: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kP15q815Saw
One instance where I find the visual metaphor to suit the content really well is in their homeopathy video. In the previous scene, we’re exploring the success of homeopathy as a result of its personal interaction – patients are thankful for the empathy even if it offers nothing to actually treat their ailments. In this scene, we contrast that with modern medicine, a highly automated mechanical beast.
As the story delves into the workings of modern medical systems, this metaphorical contraption slides open and we visually plunge into its gears and inner workings. Without a single mention of ‘gears’ or ‘mechanical’ in the video’s transcript, this animation still makes perfect sense, and heightens my experience by offering coherent connotations to the story I’m following. That’s pretty good.