A request has come up to create a short, snappy bit of communication. It's about raising awareness and clarifying a concept, rather than skills or learning as such. There's no intent to make it interactive, or longer than 3-4 minutes.


The kinds of 'role models' I have in mind are Common Craft (not strictly a animation, I know),  RSA Animate, or Shift Happens (the Xplane version)


Do any of you have experience of creating this kind of thing or working with companies who do it?  I think the main ingredients are more to do with graphic skill and great copywriting than software but it would be interesting to know what software is used. I've been asked to get a ballpark cost for external production but the likelihood is we'll need to do it inhouse, low-budget.

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Hi Norman!  Hope you are well.


It's worth checking out M62 Visual Communications:  http://www.m62.net/  They do some great stuff but come at a price!  That said, they also have a great website with lots of useful ideas and research which may help you should you have to go for the internal route.


Good luck!



Thanks Jonathan.  I'll have a look.

Hi Norman, 


Powerpoint  Can create great effects and animation if you know how. Shift happens and some sort of RSA Animate can be done on powerpoint . 

Get in touch if you want to get ballpark cost or hints on how to do in-house





Thanks Nigel, I'll be in touch.

Hi Norman!


Take a look at Xtranormal: http://www.xtranormal.com/  I've used these in lots or orgaisations and if you get the script right the animations will get the message across.    I like xtranormal because you don't have to be an animation or graphics expert, you just need to experiment with the tools to get something that works reasonably well.  If you want to discuss further - give me a shout.  It's low cost and you get credits when you register so you can experiment without spending any of your budget.

Kind regards


Thanks Julie - I'd forgotten about 'State'!  I downloaded it shortly after it first came out, with a view to making a video for a song, but of course it does lend itself well to a message, and more so because you can get some dialogue (beginner asks expert, sceptic quizzes enthusiast, and so on).


Looks like it's moved on a lot since I last looked at it. Thanks for the tip!

Hey Norman,

Try using the curved line in powerpoint to do your outline image, then duplicate the slide moving the lines a little with the 'edit points' on each subsequent slide-- I've attached an animated self portrait in powerpoint and an animated gif, to show the finished version.  Holler if you need some help, JohnO'

Hah! That's nice, John.  I've always been too bad-tempered to draw with bezier curves! But this looks a bit easier - I'll have a go. Thanks.

Agree with Nigel: Powerpoint is a surprisingly agile animation tool; Here's a nice video tutorial: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-oZLG81YEzY


Also, along the lines of xtranormal, you may want to check out goanimate.com, it's a slightly different offering with a good tutorial to get you started. 

Just following on from other peoples suggestions about using powerpoint.


there is a piece of editing software i use (camtasia) which has an addon to record powerpoint presentations and produce them in other formats e.g. .wmv .avi etc. There is even an option to produce it in a format appropriate for ipods.

I like it because you can add narration, music, images, video, PIP (picture in picture)

There is a 30day trial of the latest version; and to be honest the licence is pretty reasonable anyway.

Check it out at http://www.techsmith.com/camtasia/?gclid=CPbOjsznj6oCFUFC4QodoWE2yw (if you like)


If you need any help with using camtasia, or an example of its use, just shout.



p.s. love the demo ppt by John (above) 

Another vote for PowerPoint here!


You could use a combination of graphics and motion paths you make things move around on screen - most graphics you could probably find for free and the learning curve would be minimal.



Hi Norman,


Don't use PowerPoint.  It constrains too much.  If you must do it yourself, use Camtasia for Mac.  Different beast to the Windows version and more suited to this.


However, all this is useless unless you (or someone) have the following:

  1. A great source of inspiration/muse. Decide your style and stick to it
  2. Writing for voice over skills.  This is key.  It's very different (apologies if you know this already)
  3. A good, defined style and format guide, including word limits, resolution sizes etc.
  4. Graphic design skill
  5. Animation skills.  At the very least you need to be able to envision how the piece flows
  6. A good voice over artist. Either find a talented amateur or hire a studio and someone good.  Costs, but audio quality is key
  7. A decent network to deliver it in.  Expect file sizes to be bigger, the higher quality you go

I've done a load of these, so feel free to message me and I'll share experiences.




Andy Jones



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