It’s About Time: Temporal Problem Solving With Static Drawings in Animation Design

AbstractDrawings and diagrams have long been researched as supporting design thinking in many domains. However, real-world design that deals with, in, and about “time” as part of the process and outcome is less studied. How do designers in authentic practices use static drawings to think about time in different frames of reference? With a view of situated, mediated cognition as in Activity Theory, this presentation is a case study of an expert animator at the National Film Board of Canada. It focuses on the use of static drawings in finding temporal problems in the key frames of references used in creating narrative animation. The study suggests that the icons forming the basis of his drawings are used strategically, as indices to his design process, the fictive motion, and the sequence and duration of actions that must be seen at 24 frames per second.

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