Setting the Scene

In animation, each and every visual element has been carefully considered, created and placed. While characters and dialogue often take centre stage, the scenery and background are equally essential in setting the tone, establishing the environment, and enhancing the overall narrative of an animation. In this blog post, we’ll explore the significance of scenery in animation and how it can contribute to creating visuals that resonate with your audience.

Contextualising the setting:

One of the primary functions of scenery in animation is to contextualise the setting and provide a sense of place for the story. Whether it’s a bustling city street, serene countryside, or a futuristic townscape, the background sets the stage for the characters’ actions and interactions. By carefully crafting the scenery to reflect the mood and atmosphere of the narrative, animators can immerse the audience in the world of the story from the very beginning.

For example in a recent animation we made for Glass for Europe, we aimed to shift perceptions of glass by vividly portraying the contrast between summer heat and cool temperatures. One scene depicted people in an older building, battling heat with fans and closed shutters, while another showcased a modern glass structure equipped with solar control technologies. The two juxtaposed settings highlighted the benefits of such innovations for indoor comfort. (Read more about this project here.)

Relatability Through Backgrounds:

Another crucial aspect of using scenery in animation is its ability to create visuals that resonate with the audience on a personal level. When the background reflects familiar environments or everyday situations, viewers are more likely to connect with the story on an emotional level. Familiar backgrounds, such as a laboratory for scientific research or the home comforts offered in a nursing home for the elderly, resonate emotionally with viewers, enhancing their engagement with the story and its themes. 

Moreover, ensuring that scenes include accurate and recognisable elements is vital for building trust with a professional audience. When viewers feel their workplace is depicted correctly, they are more likely to trust the information presented and engage with it more deeply. 

Enhancing Visual Storytelling:

In addition to setting the scene and establishing relatability, scenery in animation also plays a vital role in enhancing visual storytelling. The background and props within a scene can provide valuable context, foreshadowing, or symbolism that enriches the narrative and deepens the audience’s understanding of the story. For instance, subtle details in the background or carefully placed props can convey information about the characters’ personalities, their jobs or the overarching themes of the story without the need for explicit explanation.

Creating Engaging Visuals:

The scenery in animation serves as a visual anchor that helps capture the audience’s attention and keep them engaged throughout the story. Vibrant and dynamic backgrounds can add visual interest to the animation, drawing the viewer’s eye and enhancing the overall viewing experience. By carefully designing the scenery to complement the characters and action on screen, animators can create visually stimulating sequences that captivate audiences.

In our animation  for Mental Health Europe, we crafted a vibrant and colourful townscape, reflecting diverse communities. Each detail, from musical instruments to walking sticks, portrayed individuality, while a guiding ribbon symbolised community interconnectedness and narrative flow.

Scenery in animation is a powerful tool for creating immersive and engaging visual narratives. By contextualising the setting, establishing relatability, enhancing visual storytelling, and creating engaging visuals, animators can craft compelling stories that resonate with audiences on a profound level.