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The secret to a highly engaging education animation: a good story

Studious animation

Animation is a highly effective tool for delivering an engaging learning experience. I could write at length about its value in education but there is already plenty of evidence to support this.

So instead I will provide a brief insight into how we approach the pre-production phase of animation at Studious.

I was recently introduced to the German Agency ‘Kurzgesagt’ (German for ‘in a nutshell’). Their educational videos on YouTube, titled ‘In a Nutshell’, have all the elements of great informative animations. If you are unfamiliar with them, I urge you to look them up at https://kurzgesagt.org.

The need for a good script is neatly summed up by Kurzgesagt: “Nothing in the universe is boring if you tell a good story”.

How we start creating our animations

A good story, or a well-rounded script, is essential for an effective and engaging animation. Without a good script, the time and effort invested in the animation are wasted.

Here, at Studious, we put a lot of emphasis on this part of the process when creating our videos (available on Ryze). Writing a good script that flows well and avoids being bogged down by too much detail is an art-form. The skill is to hone in on the important stuff, stripping away the excess (leave that for the textbooks). The information is then distilled into key learning points, which are used to illustrate the core concepts and learning objectives.

Once written, the script is set out shot-by-shot in a classic two-column format: the dialogue in the left-hand column with the action on the right.

A voiceover artist is then commissioned. Great vocal tone and inflection are key for an effective voiceover. An engaging voice with expressive intonation can bring even the driest of subjects to life.

The next stage is ‘storyboarding’: simply put, a storyboard is like a comic book. Panels of action are drafted for each scene or shot of the animation, accompanied by the narrative. This is similar to the two-column script approach, but here the explanatory text is replaced with static illustrations and lines of action.

Storyboard example

With a clear script and storyboard, the animation process can then begin.

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“Nothing in the universe is boring if you tell a good story”.

- Kurzgesagt agency

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