Immersive Animation for World Autism Awareness Week
The Like Minded was tasked by Autistica to create an immersive animation that allows viewers to gain insight into the everyday challenges faced by Autistic people. The animation needed to be highly shareable and acted as the centrepiece for Autistica’s ‘World Autism Awareness Week 2019’ campaign. The campaign needed to reflect both the issues faced by Autistic people, as well as the value they can bring to society.
In order to create an animation that would accurately depict the experiences of an autistic person, we worked closely with Autistica and their supporters.
Together we conducted surveys and a focus group of autistic children, adults and the parents of profoundly autistic children to provide specific guidance and insight.
This insight formed the spine of our concept and informed our choices across the entire creative process, from lighting to sound design.
We received continued feedback from the group throughout the animation process to ensure that the final output was highly accurate. The animation itself was lent further authenticity with a voiceover provided by the autistic actor Jules Robertson, star of Holby City.
Check out our ‘Making of’ video below
To create an immersive, sensory experience for the viewer, we combined a range of audio and visual techniques. Driven by insights provided by our research, one such technique was the use of dynamic textures; moving scribbles and patterns.
During moments of heightened tension for the protagonist, the textures and scribbles accelerate and swell, reinforcing the emotions of the protagonist and helping to build a visceral understanding of their world.
During the calmers sections, the textures reduced in numbers and complexity and were replaced with softer patterns and moved in a much calmer fashion.
As mentioned by our focus group, autism results in heightened senses. As a result, employing strong audio to the immersive, sensory environments was a crucial factor. Creating a tapestry of layered, uncomfortable and chaotic sounds while utilising crescendos and tempo changes helped dictate the flow of the animation.
Rather than relying on a constant musical score throughout, we chose to instead pepper the animation with light musical flourishes. This helps to convey calm in the areas where the protagonist was relaxed, whilst dropping out completely to allow the obtrusive sound effects to take centre stage in the more chaotic scenes.