Animanifesto: a burst of explanatory video

I started thinking when I saw this nice 3-minute infographic-y video perspective on “the future of computing,” via my bro at Crunchgear.

Trillions from MAYAnMAYA on Vimeo.

Interesting content, but I especially love the production – the way the animation matches up with the story-telling, conveying all the points more clearly by visualizing the metaphors. This is easy to do, but hard to do well, and they nail it here.

Question 1:
Is there a name for this type of short burst of video/animation with voiceover explanation or perspective of some sort? It’s not really interactive – it’s more one-way, like a manifesto. I lump videos like this together with the great Common Craft explanatory shorts and think of them all as pioneering a new type of manifesto production, the way ChangeThis was able to do for a variety of interesting content with their nicely-designed PDFs. I didn’t really “get” ChangeThis when it came out (and still don’t really), since it didn’t embrace the interactivity that the 2000s-era web enabled, but I do respect them for knowing their niche and focusing on it. Back to the videos – would it be terrible if I called these “animanifestos?” Google says 99 hits, so it sounds like it’s wide open territory, but of course that’s with SafeSearch on – God knows what I’d find if I turned it off.

Question 2:
What animation/design tools are the Trillions folks using? Are there custom tools that cater toward infographic-heavy static or animated production? If not, what might those tools incorporate? I could imagine some sort of deep Wolfram Alpha-like incorporation of data into the actual production tools that facilitate easy visual manipulation of information. I’m thinking at most basic a hopped-up PowerPoint/Excel…wait – now that I’m thinking about this, didn’t Hans Rosling’s Trendalyzer already get bought by Google? WHERE’S MY JET PACK?

End manifesto.

3 thoughts on “Animanifesto: a burst of explanatory video

  1. interesting little video. rather simplifying the way of the future but still interesting. too much information isn't the issue. and talking about an information age isn't the issue. sure, these are all interesting things and will be issues. but i think the future complexity will be far beyond "information"

    it would be nice to have a simplified tool that would allow us to create these videos from data streams. the trendalyzer is fascinating but doesn't let you produce little informational animanifestos. now, if this animanifesto were able to change based on the inputs…


  2. The animation could probably be done in After Effects, or Flash really, but either one would be a pain in the ass. It's probably a more specific tool. I've seen some really complicated stuff done just in post software like AE though.


    1. Yes – I think the Trillions piece was done in After Effects. I wonder if there are or could be more specialized tools if the animanifesto form becomes more codified.

      Like iClone or Animeeple for machinima. I guess you have to draw a distinction between integrating support for data (Alpha/Rosling-style, which Trillions does not delve into deeply though it does rely on some light info visualization) — and just enabling new expositional forms (which would be more like Prezi – the zooming, rotating, text-focused PowerPoint alternative).

      Although there is an argument that general tools are all you need to create animanifestos in the same way you don’t need a specialized word processor to write a short story (leaving aside Scrivener etc. and screenwriting for the timebeing). In this line of thinking, there is a fairly finite set of functions – easy animation creation/control, integration/visualization of external data sources, image manipulation, basic video editing, for example, that like Snarkmarket’s New Liberal Arts, constitute a New Office Suite.


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