Adventure Stories for Girls
Hope for Humanity – a vegan, pro animal rights animation
This project came about from a commission from Adventure Stories for Girls who were looking for a creative way to turn a long form blog post into a short animation.
We worked together to create a script that would have a circular narrative construct with lots of visual cues to allow the animator room for creativity in the visual representation of the dialogue.
Our MD, Adam Directed the animation and we worked with a very talented vegan illustrator animator to bring this to life.
The animation took the circular nature of the narrative and translated it into visuals. We start with an iris that opens like a mechanical eye. From there we brought in the concept of seeing things through a window or a portal. Whether we are looking through it out into the environment (like the city) or looking in through it into a factory farming place or some other internal environment, we are always looking through some form of window.
The work of animator Lotte Reiniger and the art of German expressionism was a heavy influence on our visual treatment and we looked at Nosferatu and Das Cabinet des Dr Caligari as touch-points for how to lead the viewer’s eye into the image, representing a dystopian view of the world. Wood carving imagery was also an influence, specifically for the protest scene.
Light boxes were also a huge reference to us and we looked through the work of so many talented paper artists who have created 3D paper cut backlit lanterns. Lightboxes are made from layers of paper, card, glass/acrylic, and a light source. We wanted to create a digital version of this concept where layers of digitally designed imagery will be layered within a 3D space and backlit with coloured lights to create a similar effect to real life lightboxes. The imagery is made from silhouettes with details cut out of them so the lights shine through. We used different coloured lights to emphasise the tone and emotions within each scene, and created greater impact in a more subtle way. Building the layered lighting in After Effects was a challenge that kept us busy for several moths but eventually we had perfected a technique that enabled us to replicate it for each scene.
The repetitive patterns, particularly of the animals, represents factory farmings treatment of individual sentient beings as a commodity. After the opening of the sheep marching to oblivion, we transition to see one caged lamb look us in the eye. Set against the red backdrop the image takes on the feeling of a hellish abattoir with the caged animal looking at the audience in an accusatorial manner. We used a single lamb because individual suffering is more relatable than mass suffering. But then we pull back to reveal the scale at which we have inflicted suffering on the animal kingdom.
The sound design and music were the last layers to be added. Here we wanted to move away from the obvious literal sounds of animals and use a distorted approach to represent the cacophony of animal noises heard in factory farming.
Ending the film on a brighter, positive note was important to reflect the fact that there’s still hope. That every person who is touched by this animation has the power to make positive individual change.
The circular portal theme also includes the view of the world which symbolises everything being connected together as one, including animals in the collective consciousness.
The world is then viewed through the eye of a lamb who this time, is set free to live. We then return full circle to the opening spiral, but this time it’s an organic, green, circular spiral in direct contrast to the grey, concrete, jagged, opening. Symbolising the hope for humanity that this film represents.