What is a collage animation?
It is a type of animation which consists of a mixture of real photographs and illustrations. It may involve the usage of more photos than illustrations or vice versa.
In the process of making a collage animation, artists cut-out pieces out of an image (e.g human, object, texture etc) and assemble them in animation software such as Adobe After Effects.
Then these image pieces are animated individually along with illustrations, cel animation and textures to create a unique collage look and feel. All these moving cuts made up what is called a “collage animation”.
Collage animation invention
In case you don’t know, the first collage animation appears to be made by Quirino Cristiani in an animated film called “El Apóstol” in 1917. It was followed by Lotte Reiniger’s silhouette animations which were produced in 1920. Terry Gilliam was the next artist who used collage animation in his film intro called “Monty Python’s Flying Circus”. What an amazing invention.
The popularity of collage animation grew from there. As the result, we can spot collage animation in many commercials and films these days.
Where do we stand today
Technologies have evolved significantly since the early days of collage animation. We now have computers and software that opened up tons of possibilities for artists.
In this article I gathered some of the most loved collage animations from around the globe. Some of these animations are made in the form of “explainer”. It means there is a narration (voice over) included. If you want to know more about explainer video production you may read it here.
Let’s jump in!
Black is a Beautiful Struggle
Made by Tony Browne, a talented freelance motion designer based in the UK, this collage style animation was made to celebrate Black History Month UK. It tells the story of the struggles (some beautiful) of a black person blending in as a minority.
This animation features bold use of the narrator’s photos mixed with stunning abstract and heavily textured graphics to tell a tale that is worth watching every second.
Space Sex is Serious Business
This calmly narrated animated video couldn’t show you the seriousness of sex in space any better. It follows a minimalistic approach and the use of 3D well-textured objects and of course photographs (black / white & colored).
Animated typography is also beautifully implemented throughout the animation especially the conceptualization of erection by stretching the alphabets. Creative right?
Project Ellis aims to educate the viewers about their rights as residents of Untied States and its Constitution. It is a very good source of information especially to raise awareness among immigrants. The use of the color blue and red reminds us of the political aspect of the video. I think this video couldn’t be as impactful if it wasn’t taking advantage of the collage style.
Dwayne Johnson – Back Against The Wall
This collage animated video tells part of Dwayne Johnson’s real life story, using his voice which was taken out of a speech given during #GeniusTalks at LA Lakers. The video follows a very literal approach to what was being said by the man himself with profanity included. So yeah, keep your kids away while watching this!
GE: An Apollo 11 Story
I always admired the use of a touching story by brands. Commercials shouldn’t be salesy. We don’t need to shout the brand name to make people remember us. This collage animation reads a letter of a GE employee to her late father who was also a GE employee and worked on some impressive machines for NASA.
This video was created by the award-winning folks at DRESS CODE, a production by design studio.
Georgia Lottery: Well Spent
Created by the Mill studio, this collage promo video shows everyone alternative ways to spend a buck or two dollars. Use it to buy a hot dog or enter to win big and hire your own hot dog guy instead. Needless to say, the video script is very clever and enticing. It is one of those fast-paced collage works that you can’t take your eyes off from.
It’s amazing to see how collage animation works with many different industries. In this video, we see the history of Mamos beer also known as “the Greek liquid holy bread” and its founder Mr. Petros Mamos. This collage piece is an example of a well-composited animation energized with some good camera deep dives and dolly zooms.
à la fin…
I call this an unorthodox and conceptual piece of collage art. It is surreal, absurd yet poetic. Collage animation is a remarkable tool to evoke emotions and connect the audience with reality (be it positive or not) around them.
It grabs the audience attention with its referencing of global warming and pollutions throughout the video. One thing that really stands out in Nicolas Lichtle’s à la fin is the use of keyed out footages instead of just still cut-out images.
The Interpreter Montage
Exploring the national identity, this collage video takes you from one country to another while asking intriguing questions about the origin of national identity. It was created by Ben Hill, a freelance art director/ designer/ animator based in New York. Read more about the Interpreter here on New York Times.
Marvin Chun – Decoding The Mind
A blend of wiggly doodles, fine illustrations and collage. Calmly narrated by psychology professor Dr. Marvin Chun, this video talks about tools to decode people’s thoughts and mind.
He explains about the use of MRI technology to interpret brain scans and cross checking the result against a database of records to guess what you are thinking about. Mind blowing technology!
El Chapo has been on the news all the time (although infamous). Thanks to him being the head of one of the richest drug cartels in the world. That explains the excessive use of paper collage from pieces of newspaper to magazine and photographs.
As you can see there are live action footages placed within the animated collage compositions that give more life to the overall sequence. Great job indeed!
Include a Charity
Static bodies and live action heads with a touch of surrealism. Definitely an interesting mix. This collage work was made for a non-profit organization (NPO) from Australia called “Include a Charity”.
Their ultimate goal is to encourage more people to include a gift in their Will to increase the funds invested in the charitable organizations.
Munn, After Losing
Munn, After Losing is a minimalistic handmade animated collage that is full of newspaper and cardboard pieces put together with a lovely music. It is a work of art by Nol Honig from The Drawing Room studio.
Unlike most of the collage animations above, this animated TVC comes with colored untreated images. It is fast-paced, colorful and intriguing.
The guys at Mellow Studio were asked to create a heroic style TV commercial to present the client and their educational program. I should say loud and clear, Mission accomplished guys!
La Effe Rebrand 2016 – Idents
This is a series of collage idents created for La Effe. La Effe is an Italian TV station that is available on Sky channel 135. This animation makes me sorridere (Italian word for smile). I personally love the use of bold typography and the choice of colors throughout the video.
A great style to explore if you are into re-branding.
A series of videos for Nerdwallet providing useful tips on how to save money. They are designed and animated by John Flores, a motion designer based in Toronto, Canada.
The Collage Travel
A zoom-out story taking you to a journey from the darkest caves to the pyramids of Egypt.
It’s a work of Tigrelab, a Spanish creative studio with focuses on new media technologies such as façade projection.
A Brief History of Rye Whiskey
Another history-telling collage animation but this time it is about the history of Rye Whiskey.
As mentioned, collage animation is a very good medium when it comes to history, especially when we have some black and white images from the past. In this case, these images are put against a vibrant background that apparently formed a pleasant look.
This video features the architectural attractions of Cuba. The blend of rhythmic shape animations and funky Afro-Cuban music created an eye-catching result. This collage animated video is created by PRAND, a Moscow-based animation studio.
Godfather of Harlem Title Sequence
The last but not the least. This title sequence stands out among many with its brilliant edit. Seamless transitions from live action footages to collage animation and vice versa are notable. A great source of inspiration for future collage animators.
This TV series title pays tribute to the contemporary collage arts created by American artist, Romare Bearden, during 1960s Harlem.
Need a collage animation for your business or organization?
We can help you make it. Not just make it, nail it. Not just nail it, but wow your audience. Well, enough of self promo. Get in touch with our team to discuss your project and have a coffee over a zoom call or in our office (once the pandemic is over).