Motion Comic Effect

Hello everyone - I've been immersing myself in learning more about motion comics as I would love to use this storytelling format for a Privacy Compliance course I'm developing.  I would love any input, resources or suggestions on how to go about doing this in Articulate, Powerpoint or any other application (I'm on a very low to no budget).  I've explored NARR8 app for ideas and searching for "free" versions of software I can test out (e.g. Motionartist by Smithmicro).  I came across a great sample that depicts the look and feel I'm looking for:

I also came across David Anderson's post on this 5 years ago - so David if you're reading, I would love your input!

My biggest obstacle is the curation of characters to use.  I'm not an artist that can draw free form (and even if I was, i don't have the time).  Does anyone know of any 'character collections' I can access/purchase that might mimic this comic style?  I'm extremely excited about the possibilities of how this format can engage the learner and elicit emotion. 

Thank you everyone


29 Replies
Richard Presley

Here are some of the things we did for a comic-style interface:

  • Download stock characters drawn in a style that met the client's preferred look. Shutterstock and iStock have plenty to choose from, but there may be a provider you prefer. You might even contract with a budding designer via Behance or Deviant Art. Yes, it will cost, but it's a pass-through to the client. 
  • Use Photoshop to color, position, or alter the characters to meet your needs. We downloaded a B&W character set and then used color highlights to keep a minimalist look while creating distinctive characters. 
  • We took photos of the backgrounds we wanted and then used Photoshop to render them as line drawings. We could then color them in the way we wanted.
  • Write a compelling story. This is the single most important part of a comic interaction. You can couch it in business terms, but don't be too heavy-handed. Best to solve a problem or settle a conflict that reflect real-world experience. 
  • Use the Animations tab to move characters AND backgrounds. Think like a movie director and change angles, approaches, altered visual perspectives, etc. to emphasize your main point. Users should never think, "that was a cool animation." You want them to pay attention to cool content instead. 
  • Make use of visual shorthand - zooms, forced perspective, animations - to convey information and not just effects. 

I think Ryan had some excellent points. If you visit the site, you will see that this video, even though it has been posted since 2013, has not garnered the most views, nor is it among the most popular, and most telling, it has no user ratings. This would incline me to believe that no matter how "cool" it might look to us, it didn't meet the needs of the customers in a meaningful way compared to the other things offered on the site. And that is the bottom line question - does it meet the need?