Animation Projects

I Had a Heart Attack*





An experimental permutation of my style, this personal essay of sorts comedically details a health scare I experienced. The animation incorporates text in a way that mimics or plays off magazine design, while the repetitive music anchored by a heart beat was composed to both fit the narration and serve as a bed for sound effects in such a way that the sound design of the piece feels holistic. This video was chosen by YouTube for its Spotlight feature.

ETFs vs. Mutual Funds




This explainer for Investopedia was designed as an early exploration for a possible new direction for some of the site's videos. Working with a smaller budget, I focused on stylistic coherence as well as big, bold shapes and animation of limited complexity. Caleb Silver put together the script, and delivered the voiceover.

Nebula One




This animated series set in space was independently produced as a fun personal project, with the added benefit of stretching and expanding my skillset as a director and animator. Later episodes will reveal that the mission for these astronauts is establishing a sports franchise in space, for television. But for now, dodging space rocks and worrying about avatars takes up most of their time.

Rise of the Robos




Robo advisors, or software platforms that manage your investments, were the topic for this animation for Investopedia. The piece discusses how younger people are more inclined to rely on alghorithms than human financial advisors, especially since losing trust in the financial system after the 2008 recession. I combined character work with infographics, incorporating some 3D physics into my mostly 2D look, and even baked in some video footage, while keeping the art direction consistent. Caleb Silver wrote the script and recorded the voiceover.

The Founders Book Trailer




Education news website The 74 commissioned this animation to promote a book by Richard Whitmire called The Founders, which examines the success of the best charter schools in the United States through a focus on the people behind them. A website in support of the book had already been designed, so part of the brief was to work with the established color palette, as my animation would become part of the site. James Fields produced.

Barnard College Matriculation




Barnard, the most sought-after liberal arts college for women in the U.S., wanted a fun and visually interesting way to feature information about the incoming class of 2020, and again a year later for the incoming class of 2021. Both times I created a set of four GIFs which each alternate between showing interesting student factoids and a relevant animated illustration. Commissioned by Steven Mau, Director of Digital Strategy, and Rebecca Douglas, Digital Producer.




Shown at the prestigious 2016 Venice Film Festival, American Anarchist is a documentary feature film by Oscar-nominated filmmaker Charlie Siskel ("Finding Vivian Maier"). I was asked to design and animate the many shots in the film of documents, websites, and pages from The Anarchist Cookbook, the infamous book the film revolves around. We went for a very straight-forward, natural look, maintaining paper textures and inherent flaws in the materials. I came up with a unique process for improving the quality of very low-resolution documents, and also ended up designing the title of the film.

Cops in Schools




Another piece for The 74, comparing cops and counselors in schools. The piece points out that three of the five top school districts in the U.S. employ more security officers than counselors, and looks at the consequences of favoring reactive rather than proactive methods. The animation was done in record time, but I was still able to come up with a nice mix of data and character work. Matt Barnum did the reporting with help from Mark Keierleber, and Anne Lagamayo produced.

Why Blue Republicans Win




This animation for NBC News is part of a series that goes inside the 2016 campaign. In a phone interview, U.S. House Editor of The Cook Political Report David Wasserman explains a curious facet of "delegate math" that tends to favor more moderate Republicans running for the Presidency. For one sequence, as Wasserman talks about the Presidential race and some Republicans taking a right turn, I took a literal approach and illustrated it as a car race. Matt Rivera produced this, and the other videos in the series featured below.

Iowa Caucuses




In another interview, former Des Moines Register political writer David Yepsen explains how Iowa caucuses differ from primaries, exactly how they work, and how they tend to pull Democrats further to the left, and Republicans further to the right. This piece required more characters than I've ever drawn and animated before, including crowd scenes that were challenging but fun to figure out.

Super PACs




This video kicked off the NBC News series about the 2016 Presidential race. The animation features ad buyer Bruce Mentzer explaining how super PACs are charged many times more than official campaigns for the same advertising time. As a result, super PACs need a lot of cash. I illustrated a sequence about astronomical ad rates with a rocket taking off, leading the viewer to a visualization comparing planets to each other, their scale representing the vast price differences.

The 3P Project




The 3P initiative from Doctors Without Borders "aims to rapidly deliver affordable, effective new regimens for TB through an open collaborative approach to conducting drug development, using novel approaches to financing and coordinating R&D." To help explain this innovative and layered idea, I contributed animated scenes to a video introducing the concept at a World Health Assembly meeting. Vivian Peng animated other scenes for the project, and served as animation producer.

Music Festival Guide




For an extensive interactive guide of music festivals, International Business Times wanted some fun visuals. We came up with the idea of an animated illustration in four versions, reflecting different kinds of settings for festivals, and consistently featuring five fans of different musical genres. The fan archetypes were also provided as silhouetted images for use on social media. Hanna Sender produced and coded.

Encryption




NBC News commissioned this animation about encryption, explaining its simple beginnings as well as the complexity of modern ciphers. Along the way I drew ancient Romans, code wheels, digital gibberish, secret agents, people using computers, and something called scytales. Along with a relatively limited palette, I used sound design to help bring the many elements together, and create a sense of rhythm and momentum. Matt Rivera produced.

Savings/Compound Interest




Another animation commissioned by NBC News, this one explaining how Americans are not saving enough for retirement, and how "skimping on savings is one of the surest ways to the poor-house." The narrative then focuses on the "mystical power of compound interest," which I illustrated with a fun reference to The Sorcerer's Apprentice segment of Fantasia. Producer: Matt Rivera.

Tax Tips




Money Magazine had three year-end tax tips videos to produce, and asked me to contribute some animated sequences to liven them up a bit. I borrowed the color palette from live action shots of Senior editor-at-large Ellen Stark, and came up with nine illustrative scenes in a relatively short time frame. Producer Jason Sanchez put everything together.

Just Whatever: Flirting at a Bar




Animation is a slow process, but sometimes it's nice to get a fun idea done quickly. "Just Whatever" is a new series of animated shorts. I come up with a simple concept, turn it into a 30 second cartoon, and move on to something else — usually a paid project that requires more time and attention! In addition to being an outlet for dumb ideas, the series is also handy as a playground on which I learn new tricks as an animator or director, without having to worry about the consequences of potentially disastrous results. Keep scrolling for more examples of my commercial work!

Love & Money




As part of Money Magazine's big relaunch on Time.com, I was asked to create this animation based on an interesting survey of married couples and their attitudes about money. It was an excellent opportunity to combine my love for infographics and visualization with more narrative animation elements. I directed the project, Executive Editor Diane Harris produced, Brad Tuttle wrote the script, and Kristen Bellstrom & Taylor Tepper did the narration.

GM CEO Mary Barra




Fortune Magazine commissioned this animation to accompany audio from an interview Senior Editor-at-Large Pattie Sellers conducted with GM's Mary Barra — the first female CEO of a major global automaker. I designed the scenes to flow into one another to help craft a through-line for the piece, and interpreted Barra's answers in sometimes abstract ways, so the animation builds on rather than just reflects the content provided. Sierra Jiminez produced, and edited the audio.

Straight Outta Downton




For this ridiculous mashup of the popular TV show Downton Abbey and N.W.A's seminal "Straight Outta Compton," I wrote and produced a deliberately awful rap, and animated a silly music video to go with it. I went with a limited color palette that nevertheless captures some of the tone of the show. A fair share of the shots are essentially rotoscoped, though with substantial liberties taken. The lip-sync is sloppy at best, as no-one was paying for this bizarre diversion.

Convoy




I wanted to play with a slightly grittier aesthetic for this piece, which aired on the 100th episode of the Vergecast, the popular tech and culture video podcast from The Verge. The cartoon makes little sense to anyone not familiar with the show or then Editor-in-chief Joshua Topolsky's hilarious digressions, but part of the appeal here comes from the utterly bizarre decision to port the conversation of two techies into a trucking environment. All credit to the folks at The Verge, who appreciated and underwrote the strangeness.

Golden




An excellent chance to learn about and employ particle systems and artificial intelligence algorithms in 3D animation software, this music video for London-based electronica act Wave Tourists features schools of manta rays gliding through a voxelated underwater landscape. A low budget meant I couldn't do much individual character animation, so I tried to get mileage out of the environments and group dynamics. The concept and abstract story line was developed in collaboration with Tim Martin of Wave Tourists.

Franklin the Ladies' Cat




First conceived as a funny short film successfully funded on Kickstarter, this series was featured on Cartoon Brew and other animation sites. The character design was inspired by 1920-1930's cartoon stars like Oswald the Lucky Rabbit and Felix the Cat, but the setting is decidedly contemporary, mixing animation with often gritty video-based environments. I think I have yet to really hit it out of the park, in terms of scripts, to match the potential of this loveable, saucy character — but I'll keep trying! Click any of the thumbnails for the full playlist of episodes.

I'm available for freelance work:
reception@edlundart.com

About Bård Edlund