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‘Minimal’ Animation Design Process

The animation that I created was inspired by very minimal, simplistic animations that are only created using simple shapes including circles and squares. After defining my concepts aesthetics, I moved to the research stage of design thinking and successfully found a colour scheme (earthy tones), a visual image and an animation to gain inspiration from. I also watched the Mickey Mouse Animation to help me understand motion design visually. This is an original, slow animation which allowed me to analyse the design fundamentals much more efficiently.

At this point I had a clear vision of what I wanted my animation to look like. This is when I decided to experiment and develop an understanding of the Adobe After Effects software by creating an animation prototype to improve my skills. This is where I created circles with integrating positions, and colour changes when they touch (by using opacity).

After experimenting with that animation, I decided to implement my minimalistic concept and bring my idea to life. The three elements that are shown within my animation from ‘Graphic Design: The New Basics’ include cropped, rotation and scale. One of the square shaped in my design overtime become cropped from the right side of the screen. I decided to implement this design idea as it creates the illusion of an extremely large object while also maintaining the balance on the screen with the provided white space. This object was made to be cropped by changing the scale of it to be extremely large. Finally, the beginning and main rectangle shape was designed to rotate to create more movement in the animation, enhancing its attraction to the audience and ensuring the viewers are aware of its importance.

(cropped and scaled)

As for the design fundamentals from ‘The Illusion of Life: Disney Animation’, my project demonstrates six main elements. These include:

  • Squash and stretch– This was demonstrated through the main square and triangle in my animation as they are repeatedly stretched and squashed by using the scale strategy.
  • Anticipation– This is and element that begins the entire animation as the leading white rectangles slowly join together causing them to change colour. This builds up the importance and anticipation of the colour change.
  • Staging– All of the shapes being used within the animation are staged in their perfect position that allows for the right amount of white space being displayed while also providing enough graphic design elements to attract the audience.
  • Slow in and slow out– Using the Adobe After Effects option of ‘easy ease’ made this technique very easy as it creates the slow and fast motion automatically to the selected keyframes.
  • Secondary action– An illusion of secondary action is created in the beginning of the animation with the first three white rectangles zooming out and making it seem as though the screen is coming out of the rectangles.
  • Timing– Timing is the main element in not just my animation but all animations in general. This is to create objects to move when they are needing to.

My animation in relation to ‘Innovation of Loneliness‘ has a couple similarities in regards to technical elements. They are similar through the use of simple shapes being used to visually grab the audiences attention. The use of ‘easy ease’ enhances their similarities as it creates a smoother effect allowing the object to slow down and speed up. Another similar factor is that they both are limited to colours, although they are completely different colours, the limit to 4-5 colours creates the same visual effect.


Ambrose, G., and Hartis, P., (2009), ‘Design Thinking’, AVA Publishing, Crans-Celigny, CHE.

Johnston, O., and Thomas, F., (1981), ‘The Illusion of Life: Disney Animation’, p. 576, New York: Disney Editions.

Lupton, E., and Phillips, JC., (2008), ‘Graphic Design: The New Basics’, Princeton Architectural Press, New York.

Published by Caitlyn Perrine

Hi! I’m Caitlyn Du Buisson Perrine

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