2D Animated Explainer
Agency: Swiss Tomato
Solve the greatest mystery known the man; the correct use of Der Die Das articles in the German language!
Fun, loud, and colourful, this video aims to bring something fresh and exciting to the tired language learning app scene by injecting some humour into the dry and infinitely mysterious topic of German grammar.
I adapted illustrations originally destined for use within the app to fit into video format, and added a few of my own images to spice things up (sheep). The trailer is finished off with some voiceover that I performed myself, no doubt causing concern to the neighbours as I bellowed about German articles, and Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture to really dial things up all the way to 11.
This was one of my first fully animated 2D explainers – and as such I look at it fondly but with a critical eye. There are several moments, transitions, entire scenes even that these days I’d do completely differently. Overall however, this video played a critical role in opening my eyes to the possibility of animated content; the fact that I could create an entire video with just my computer was such a liberating and exciting feeling.
Opening up this project five years later, I can get a strong idea of what Howard Carter was going through when he took those first steps into Tutankhamun’s tomb. The primitive methodologies in use here – from an After Effects archeological point of view – are truly fascinating. The concept of folders and keeping a project tidy hadn’t yet been discovered – and it seems I also hadn’t yet developed the means to directly import Illustrator files, so instead resorted to the insane solution of exporting images at disgustingly giant resolutions to make up for the lack of vector scaling capabilities. Thank Horus for progress.
With an animated explainer video you can get really creative with transitions between scenes – as this was my first run I was only just scratching the surface of what was possible. Playing with foreground elements of the same colour was a great trick I employed here throughout – so using the solid green of a digital screen to hide the cut to a leaf of the exact same colour.
2D animated explainers are pretty common beasts out there – so I felt it was important to keep things interesting with this one and draw audiences in with humour and overly extravagant voiceover – all in the name of building the idea of German grammar up to the status of some vast mystery.
While it somehow wasn’t eligible for specific awards at Switzerland’s Best of the Web 2019 edition, the jury were rightfully so impressed with it that they couldn’t help themselves but make up an award right there and then on the spot: the “Love at First Sight” award.