Animation has enabled stories to be told in a unique fashion. No matter how old you are, the fantastical and magical world created by the animations can transport you to the field of possibilities. They inspire you to believe in good. If you are a storyteller, the animation is an engaging way to keep your audience hooked. This article talks about animations and their types. Learn how PuffBall Animations is making a difference in Pakistani society by talking about pertinent topics.
What are Animations? A Brief Introduction
Animation is defined as
A method of photographing successive drawings, models, or even puppets, to create an illusion of movement in a sequence.Because our eyes can only retain an image for approx. 1/10 of a second, when multiple images appear in fast succession, the brain blends them into a single moving image. In traditional animation, pictures are drawn or painted on transparent celluloid sheets to be photographed. Early cartoons are examples of this, but today, most animated movies are made with computer-generated imagery or CGI.
The appearance of the consecutive sequence should be seamless and smooth in animation. Even if they are hand-drawn and painted or computer-generated. This is why a number of images are drawn and developed to complete one scene. Moving characters are shot ‘on twos’. This means one image for the character is in two frames. This totals to 12 drawings per second. However, 12 frames for one image per second means that your animation will be choppy. This is why the frame rate is a good quality animation is 24 frames per image for smooth transitions.
Types of Animations
There are five different types of animations, namely:
- Traditional Animation
- 3D Animation
- 2D Animation (Vector-based)
- Stop Motion
- Motion Graphics
Puffball Animations: An Emerging Pakistani Animation Studio
Puffball Studios is an emerging Pakistani animation, sound engineering, and design studio. They specialize in 2D frame-by-frame animation. Their work mostly revolves around the Urdu civic-education-based videos that serve to empower the Pakistani population with the right information.
The diligent team at Puffball Studios has written, directed, and produced two animated short films that have received considerable critical praise. These films are Shehr-e-Tabassum (2020) and SWIPE (2020). In addition to this, the animation team has collaborated with in-house writers to develop short video content on the history of the Indian subcontinent. Their number about the Jalliawala Bagh incident received viewership and critical acclaim.
Creative Team of Puffball Animations
Puffball Studios are currently located in two major Pakistani cities, Islamabad and Lahore. However, they originated in Lahore. A team of enthusiastic animators, musicians, and designers have come together to create pertinent movies. Puffball is home to not only writers and engineers. However, it is a multi-disciplinary studio. A team of literature majors, political scientists, writers, and lawyers have come together. They create content that resonates with the people of Pakistan.
When their strong research core team comes together with the deeply imaginative design team, magic happens at the Puffball Studios and thrilling stories. Such as SWIPE and Shehr-e-Tabassum surfaces to educate and demystify.
Puffball is an open and inclusive workspace that gives a fair chance for everyone to succeed. They have a diverse team that works in a space that allows for engaging creative processes that serve the purpose of creating commendable art.
Puffball Studios’ Top Productions
Puffball Studios has done it all. From wandering in the dystopian futures and alternate realities through cerebral short films to developing informative documentaries. The documentaries are about the current socio-political situations and the violent histories of the past.
Their portfolio also exhibits a collection of children’s stories, informative explainers, videos on rights and education, and songs on citizenship and civics that can benefit the young and old alike. They make their own music and are famous for their cross-border collaborations to bring awareness to the crowds. Puffball is undoubtedly the pioneer in generating fresh and unique Pakistani art and design.
Here are some of the most notable and pertinent works of the Puffball Studios.
This is a meticulously hand-painted animated short film about the socio-political situation of Pakistan. It is developed by a team of 20 talented and inspired Pakistanis. A team of musicians, writers, actors, and animators made it over the course of 1.5 years. The animation has been written, directed, produced, composed, and acted all under the one roof of Puffball studios. The animation is their attempt at telling an important truth to the world, especially the Pakistanis.
Facebook WeThinkDigital Campaign
This informative explainer is in collaboration with Facebook. Facebook launched its new WeThinkDigital campaign in order to promote digital literacy and safety among the users of its services. This campaign focused on three social media applications, namely Facebook, Instagram, and Whatsapp. The mettle of Puffball Studios was proved when they took upon a dry subject matter, such as online privacy, cyberbullying, and community guidelines. They created a unique and engaging storyline and descriptions out of it in the national language of Pakistan, Urdu. So, that it is understandable by the masses.
Their animations for this project included both computer graphics and hand-drawn images. They used local characters and quirks in their 2D and 3D animations. Hence, people of all ages, especially the elderly, are able to understand the dangers of misinformation and ways to report cybercrimes. That’s the reason why we should all work together to create tolerant online communities.
Swipe is an animated short film about Pakistan. A team of 20 Pakistani animators, musicians, storytellers, and actors made it over the course of 1 year. Written, drawn, animated, composed, and acted all under one roof, Puffball Studios. Swipe is our attempt to confront a growing crisis resulting from a culmination of the nexus of technology, extremism, and fascism. At the heart of this story is a confrontation with increasingly hostile, alienating, divisive circumstances and a plea for greater empathy, before it’s too late.
HyperAllergic says about SWIPE that
SWIPE’s iFatwa mimics the language of extrajudicial violence, currently on the rise throughout the subcontinent as a by-product of a vicious strain of religious intolerance and unwitting adherence to the idea of protecting one’s honor. The app enables users to execute strangers via a simple gesture. Perhaps it’s no surprise that most of the cases on iFatwa are against women – a testament to an inherently patriarchal country’s pastime of suppressing the rights of women. (As per the Global Gender Gap Index 2018, Pakistan is the sixth most dangerous country in the world for women.)
The victims range from a female anchor on the app for incorrectly draping her dupatta to an elderly woman being caught making posters for a women’s protest march. Although anyone can submit a case on the app, a person is only executed once their case has amassed 10,000 swipes-right (swiping left bestows clemency, used sparingly in the film). Meanwhile, users who opt to kill most often are rewarded with the distinction of becoming a ghazi (warriors). Bloodshed essentially becomes a video game.
Haq Do was an interactive Rap music project that the Puffball Studios produced in 2019. The song revolves around the fundamental rights that every Pakistani citizen possesses. Their team of writers and musicians has come together to create this kind of music. So, it’s catchy, fun, and appealing. So that people of all ages and ethnicities understand what rights they have.
The music video of this song is hand-drawn. It features Pakistani youth from various walks of life and a parkour enthusiast.
How Do PuffBall Studios Make Movies on Difficult Topics?
While most filmmakers and animators want to create commercial masala movies so that they sell more, a few of them are always looking for opportunities to transcend the boundaries of traditions. Working on formula formats and tested scripts may gain viewership but this is not what wins awards and critical acclaim. Dealing with sensitive subjects can be a tricky business, but Puffball does it with magnificent prowess. It is a challenge to portray difficult subjects in a cogent manner that not only wins critical acclaim; but also remains with the audience for a long time.
Here is how Puffball Studios keeps it real with the audience.
Keeping Things Fresh
Anyone in the animation business will tell you that you need to keep looking for new ideas in order to present sentiments that are as old as humanity. Relevancy is the key here. Puffball Studios create animations that are relevant to their audience. They create for Pakistani audiences, so they make sure that the language and characters of a movie are relatable to an average Pakistani. Continually adapting to changing times is not an easy task. However, the creative team at the Puffball studios knows that developing animations is all about running your imagination wild because how an event unfolds in a picture is as important as the subject matter of the film.
Less is More
Scriptwriters often give the direction of showing rather than telling. However, in the case of sensitive subject matter, it is pertinent that a writer should know exactly how much to show. For example, if a movie needs to show a scene of abuse, it is not necessary that they show the entire abusive episode happening to their audience. This can trigger people with PTSD, anxiety, and depression. The alternative can be showing the character going into a room, scene cut, and then showing the character get out of the room in a disheveled condition. This is one of the many ways of showing how animation can relay the message without going too far.
Many filmmakers and animators do show scenes of gore and violence for shock value, but letting the audience think and reach a conclusion makes viewing a holistic experience where the audiences are more involved than just sitting and watching.
Puffball Studios’ animations ensure that they give a trigger warning in movies that have sensitive content. This gives people a choice of whether they would want to continue watching such content and make an informed decision based on their mental health.
Deciding Why an Animation wants to Show Something
It is near impossible to avoid offending people. However, if an animator has to make a point that everyone listens to, they need to scrutinize every scene. For example, in Swipe, a dystopian Pakistan is shown with a depiction of religion. However, they may not sit well with the ultra-orthodox factions in Pakistan. Nevertheless, the way of portraying the characters and scenes was such that it didn’t come off as offensive or derogatory to anyone. It is entirely up to animators to decide what they want to show and how they want to portray it.
Keeping it Simple
Adding too many elements to a movie makes it a hodgepodge of movement which is difficult to keep up with. Feature-length movies have ample room for multiple storylines to develop. However, the short film animations’ format leaves little room for a plethora of characters to propagate the message of the writer. This is why it is important to keep the story, characters, and their development simple.
Puffball Studios; animations are entertaining, but with the right balance of elements. They hold the audience’s attention while keeping everything linear and understandable. Keeping it simple doesn’t mean that a short film can’t have complex emotions and deep sentiments on display. The art of creating such films comes with experience and practice, which Puffball Studios has in abundance.
Deciding What is Important
Each animated film has a genre. It can be for entertainment, information, or education. Puffball has produced various short films and music videos under each category. The team does meticulous research. They have an in-house team for title score, writing, and production. Everyone is able to be a productive part of the process of development. When an entire team gets to have a say in deciding what is important, great things happen. Hence, this concrete work can be visualized in Puffballs’ SWIPE, and Haq Do.
Puffball Studios are making pertinent movies that are much needed in today’s Pakistan. Which is your favorite Puffball Studios movie? Let us know in the comments section below.