Storytelling For Flash Cartoon Animation
June 13, 2004
In our last article we looked at the and how to overcome them. In this article, we'll focus on storytelling expressively for Flash cartoons. Although the design part of a Flash animation project is important, a good story will reinforce any positive experience your user has. It will also make your wicked Flash cartoons cooler.
Storytelling is about how visual and audio elements move the story forward and built upon a plot. As well, as being optimized on their own, every visual and audio element has to reinforce and tell a story. For example, if one decides that all sidewalks in a project are yellow, how does this relate and help the story. Similarly, how does a soundtrack highlight the mood of a story?
Besides the obvious technical mishaps of several Flash animated projects, one area that suffers constantly, is the story. Often they stretch for hours without giving users any reward for staying. This I worse in projects with interactive timelines and options. In the sake of simplicity of production, animators and directors often subject users to long repetitions.
In projects where there are three paths offered to users, a single starting point is often used for all alternate paths. While very practical from a production point of view, it's not enthralling to users. Instead of progressing forward, they return to a starting point after navigating and experiencing the contents in one path. An evolving introduction would work best.
A solution could be to present users only alternative paths they haven't visited and to modify the look of this old introduction taking into account what the user has just viewed. The option to replay one could insert the last visited path directly at the end of the later. This would remind users of what he has just seen while encouraging him to move forward.
Interactive storytelling is also about making the user participate with the animated game. For example, to encourage users to make decisions quickly, small animations of a sand glass or an element going changing state can for them to react quickly and not remain idle in front of alternative paths.
Audio and Animated Storytelling
Soundtracks, sound effects and dialogues must be clear and not imposing. For example, a soundtrack should be more than a looping clip unrelated to events unfolding within the story. If the mood calls for suspense, so should the soundtrack. Sound recordings should be of good quality and well spoken, especially since audiences in the internet can come from anywhere.
One weakness of Flash cartoons is that they often ignore cinematography techniques in favour of more experimental shots. While trying to recreate may be fun for a young creator and explore methods of presenting a series of shots, users may not be as forgiving. If viewers can't tune in, they leave. Perhaps offering less innovative camera work is a better proposition.
To find out more about storytelling, you can register to Toon Doctor's Storyboard seminars. Our next series of articles on Flash cartoon animation will look at alternatives means to create cartoons on the Web.
Coolstreak Cartoons Inc.
Copyright ® 2004. Use of material in this document®including reproduction, modification, distribution, electronic transmission or republication®without prior written permission is strictly prohibited.