Best Animation Shorts & Ads From 2016
I've always been interested in animation from a young age watching old Betty Boop and Popeye cartoons but it wouldn't be until 15 years later I would take my first animation class and gain a whole new respect for the industry. The amount of hours put into the most miniscule details is almost mind-boggling but this type of dedication is what creates the most endearing animation. I only broke the surface of animating and haven't really dabbled in it since but the amount of admiration I have for animators has only grown since learning more.
Animation continues to stride forward creatively as technology and programs provide better techniques for expression. That's really big words for; these cartoon graphics are getting crazy good!
As video content is on the rise, businesses see an increased need to stand out from the pack when creating media. Viral videos and cooking clips seem to be leading the market today but we've also seen a huge upsurgence in animation this year.
We owe the recent rush of animated videos to the internet. Online marketing has begun to greatly outreach traditional television advertising. With a switch to social media marketing, the standard 30-second advertisement has lost it's constrictions!
Freed from the constraints, agencies and clients are now able to tell longer stories, allowing them to engage more audiences across multiple platforms. These short films often don't get given the large production budgets of television advertisements. As a result the style of animation has to become more graphic and stylized to be financially possible. These budget limitations have created some fresh and unique styles in the industry, this year has seen a lot of really great creative ad campaigns because of this trend.
Coca-Cola's "Man & Dog" brilliantly portrays a dog's view of the world and finds a way of visualizing smells in a really creative way. Those bright illustrative scent clouds make me want to follow those smells too! Other than the Coca-Cola logo popping up at the end, this really does feel like a world I wanna explore more of.
"Nautilus | France A. Cordova" from Colin Hesterly is a beautiful piece of 2D animation with a very strong, clean graphic look in a limited color palette. It perfectly ties together the ideas of science and the artistic representation in an oddly inspirational way.
Morton Salt "Neighbors" revisits a familiar theme of pets have a social life beyond people. The character animation performances are absolutely delightful, and the look is a fresh 3D take on what would have usually been done in 2D. This one is sure to win over dog lovers everywhere!
Harvey Nichols "Shoplifters" meshes CCTV footage with simple animated faces to create a marvelous anti-theft and rewards app ad. The background music and progressive story keeps our attention while we watch semi-animated crooks unsuccessfully trying to shoplift. Just a really good example of a animation assisted video.
Not all great animation this year came in the form of advertisements. On the contrary, the amount of amazing independent and studio shorts is wonderful. From high-concept and experimental to stunningly illustrative, there are plenty of shorts to choose from, here are just a few of my favourites.
Sander Joon's "Velodrool" is a playfully abstract animation that follows the bizarre journey of a cyclist on a quest for cigarettes. Racing against three other competitors, our nicotine-hungry protagonist battles against crowd-interference, deadly starter pistols and a transforming track as he pushes himself to his limits for a pack of his favourite smokes.
Continuing the (unintentional) canine animation trend I have going already, we have "Hound" by Georgia Kriss. Feeling more like a dog-centred variety show than a short with a cohesive narrative, Kriss' film takes recognisable characteristics of particular breeds and exaggerates them with hilarious effect.
While the title might put the wrong image in your mind, Leonid Shmelkov's "Very Lonely Cock" is actually a family-friendly film following the abstract adventures of one man's perplexed poultry. Essentially the tale of what happens to a farmer's chicken when it's routine is unexpectedly interrupted, Leonid Shmelkov's film really excels in the unanticipated direction it takes. Unleashing a series of bizarre events for his feathered protagonist to face, "Very Lonely Cock" is laugh-out-loud funny and pretty stylish to boot.