A short animation created that addressed one of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals, a set of goals challenging countries to create a better future for all. I decided to focus on SDG 13, Climate Action. Specifically, I tackled the issue of “climate dread,” or how people become overwhelmed with the negative news and lack of progress around climate change, which leads to their inaction. I wanted to convey the message that even though this may seem like an impossible fight, we are strong together & can make a difference.
For this project, we were tasked with creating a video that somehow addressed one of the SDGs, and that worked within the UN SDG brand guidelines. I started by reading up on the larger goals of the SDGs, as well as individual goals that interested me, but around the same time that I was conducting research the IPCC report on climate change was released. After reading many articles about how little time we had left, as well as seeing a lot of fatalistic reactions on social media, I realized that I wanted my video to try to address this phenomenon, and encourage people to take action despite seemingly overwhelming odds.
I also wanted to convey my message non-literally, since my focus was fairly vague and complicated and I felt that that might have a stronger impact for this particular concept. After storyboarding several ideas & receiving feedback from my peers I settled on framing the narrative as a heroic/ fantasy story, since this would also use tropes familiar to my target audience of young adults and would present the message in an engaging manner.
Throughout the project I put a lot of consideration into the messaging of the video. Since most of the video would be text-free, I had to revise my writing to ensure my message was conveyed to the audience. During this process I also decided to include a link to 350, an organization that connects people with grassroots movements in their area to fight for climate justice, at the end of my video. I felt that this went along well with the message of video, and helped provide viewers with an actionable next step.
Visual design & Animation
Once I had settled on a concept, I began thinking about the visual design of my video. My narrative had a main character, and I wanted to make sure that this character didn’t fall into outdated stereotypes for heroic fantasy figures (e.g. only white men)—if my message was that everyone can work together to a greater effect, I needed to also represent more people. It was also important to me that the character be either feminine or gender-ambiguous. While I wasn’t able to fully explore different character designs for my video due to the time restraints of the project, I tried to achieve these goals with the designs I decided to go with.
I then created a rough animation of my storyboards in Photoshop to get a better sense of the pacing of the story. I had originally planned to animate the final video in After Effects, but after some tests I felt that the quality of my frame-by-frame animation better matched my overall designs and concept.
I had originally envisioned the video as almost monochromatic, to reflect the brand color used for the Climate Action SDG. After creating a draft of the video, though, I decided to color the animation to better reflect mood of the narrative while still keeping the colors relatively limited and using earthy hues. The final video is animated and colored in Photoshop, with text and some additional adjustments done in After Effects.