Graphic Design and Animation Graduates 2012

Online portfolio and print on demand catalogs for Graphic Design and Animation graduates from the Department of Design 2012. On this page you will find our conference presentations, and by hovering over the menu groups on the left you can read contextual documents. You are welcome to attend our Grad Show, opening on 29 November 2012 at 6pm, and daily from 30 November to 6 December 9.30am – 4pm.

Anita Ward

Shrinking Violet

An exploration of animated content incorporating live action film

Throughout my degree I have had a strong recurring interest in modern communication and its mediums, whether they be traditional, digital, personal or environmental. Alongside this is my constant interest in animation, film and motion graphics, hence the reason for this final year project. I have examined and explored how animated content incorporating video can change the tone of a story, or how using mixed media in this manner, can change how a story is read. In this final studio project I have raised a dialogue about the way we communicate today on and offline and have sought to express aspects of my research on this topic, technical exploration and findings through a short film/animation.

The key contextual references in my work originate from the readings of different animation styles including hand-made/drawn animation, vector/clean and info graphic etc. The use of these elements, as well as colour and layout allowed me to explore visually through animation ideas such as; darkness, humour, isolation, anger and confusion. Through elements of hand rendered line, a rigid colour palette, and a mix of live action and animated content I am also able to explore how people interpret these emotions within an animation or film. For example, the use of a black background with very little animation in the foreground gives a sense of isolation, darkness or impending death, where in the reverse (with a sparse white background) we see simple, fresh, and references to freedom.

Work by Sarah Cox

Hand drawn animation and live action (film) is used within my work to create a visual tension,  I am interested in imagery that represents different aspects of communication within video, both conceptually and aesthetically. For example, representing the concept of good and bad within social media. Aesthetically in live action footage, if we are presented with a live action character with a hand drawn thought bubble and hand drawn actions a more personal story is portrayed and the viewer develops a more personal connection because of it’s visual connection to thought and the personal, such as that of scriblings in a diary or the drawings you keep pinned to the fridge. I am drawn to a somewhat illogical style and expressing my opinion in motion very simply because this is something that is possible in animation, you can’t incorporate that wacky kind of  creativity in a live action film.

Converting hand drawn lines/illustrations into animation creates an organic and handmade aesthetic which can then be applied to video footage.  I have sort to incorporate this aesthetic in my work because it allows an element of experimentation and personalised style to be expressed. Representing opposing (or very separate) styles is something I have incorporated throughout my animation and through this I am able to explore in more depth different stylistic decisions made for different feelings or tones of a story.

The use of social media and its overwhelming saturation of our daily lives is a recurring theme throughout the research and development of my animation. Truth be told, the issue has never been more prominent and contentious than in today’s world of Smartphones and instant remote Internet connectivity.

In this particular instance the more sensitive aspects of social media such as relationship and self-esteem issues are moved into focus. Continuous use of social media and the growing popularity of creating and editing our online personas have led the research areas. Although the idea of how we use technology and communication today may be subtly represented in the final output these underlying ideas have strongly influenced my work, and the contemporary medium of video/motion graphics allows me to explore the modern conundrum of social media/communication as a contextual reference.

In a TED talk published this year, artist and designer Kelli Anderson from New York City states that she likes to find the “hidden talents of everyday things” and that she aims to make the viewer “reassess our expectations of reality” (Anderson, 2012). I have been influenced by this thinking and have applied it to my imagery, giving it new or unusual movements (eg. A keyboard typing itself rather than someone typing on it). [good an example – which can be a short piece of animation also placed on the blog]  Style always seems to be either an attitude of sophistication or a stance of defiance but in my case I have taken Anderson’s approach by using simple graphics in a way, which emphasises a certain feel, unfolding my story in an unexpected manner.

Within my animation the formal considerations has been given to composition of imagery and white space moving from one scene to another. Other elements that speak visually within my work have been codified through type, shape, colour and texture. A example of texture is the flat backgrounds within the animation, which move as if being scribbled. The use of simple elements, such as childish scribbles create continuity when the animation moves and changes. It also creates an emotional connection to the childish innocence referenced throughout the animation. Many images used have been simplified in order to keep a continuity throughout the animation which consists of many different styles.

I have chosen a Victorian inspired colour palette, this references and creates an emotional connection with the narration of my animation, which is an English males voice. Historically, the Victorian Era has always been associated with a colossal Anglo- Saxon Empire, thus this reference to Victorian masculinity is that of dominance, also to authoritarianism and a dictatorial male dominance – or moral imperative.. This Victorian reference paired with the use of a child as my main character again creates a tenuous contextual relationship between innocence and innocence lost within media and communication.

Work by studio Special Problems

Working in a professional context during my studies this year has affected my analysis of the principals of design present in my animation. I have been working for an Auckland based studio Special Problems and during this time have Learnt many animation skill sets and different processes of working from a treatment through to style frames, storyboards, animatics and animation. Working in this way allows me to analyse the scenes/style before beginning the animation and in Special Problems’ case and many other studios, the animation adapts and changes as creative decisions are made. This allows, in my opinion a more organic aesthetic style.


Richard Mia

During this final year I have been researching, testing and creating Shrinking Violet. I have chosen to create a mixed media animation because not only is it the direction I want to continue to develop after graduation but it allows me to tell a story using the techniques I have learnt in the last three years of my degree, at the same time it allows for experimentation within the animation process.  Techniques represented in my work are varied some are digital in origin, however, my stylistic influences are drawn from print based design as well as web and fine art, for example the print based work of Richard Mia has greatly influenced the layout of scenes within my animation, his compositions are centered and balanced always making sense as a still image.


During the development of Shrinking Violet my storyboard has changed dramatically to ensure that the graphics, narration and storyline sit cohesively. The development of the work has been an iterative process where I have repeated and altered small details at every stage of a scene. This approach to animating enables a unified feel/look to develop, which is essential when you utilize as many different types of media as I have in this work.

I have created this work with the intention of being able to take still images from my animation, which can sit separately and represent the style of Shrinking Violet. I feel both print and animation are complimentary processes and represent different aspects of my aesthetics and design style.







Anderson, Kelli. “Design to Challenge Reality”. TED: Ideas worth Spreading. N.p., Mar. 2012. Web. 7 Sept. 2012. <;.


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