Friday, October 3, 2014

Emotional Stick Figures: Animator Vs. Animation

A few years back, a video called Animator Vs. Animation became viral. This video features a self-aware stick figure made in Flash fighting with its creator. A huge hit, the creator, Alan Becker, released two more episodes over the following couple years. Just a few days ago, after years of nothing, Becker released the fourth installment of Animator Vs. Animation.

Each Animator Vs. Animation video has the sentient drawing interacting and fighting with its environment. There is a narrative occurring across the four videos, but each video can easily be watched standalone. Stickman also interacts directly with Animator via Animator’s cursor and together they wreak havoc on whatever venue they’re in—be it the desktop, Solitaire, or, in the new episode’s case, Facebook and an iPhone. Stickman takes tools from Flash to use as weapons, he hits ‘Likes’ statuses on Facebook, he knocks around aps on the iPhone. The final scene of the newest video is Stickman high-fiving Animator by Animator choosing the Hand tool in Flash.

Not only is the animation really cool and really clever, the use of relatively non-verbal storytelling is pretty cool. Especially in this newest video, though there is text present throughout, much of the narrative relies heavily on just visuals and sound effects. It’s amazing that we can catch the emotions of a faceless stick figure, but body language and head angle really does a lot.

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