Emotional states are essentially temporary, dynamic experiences that can change swiftly based on specific events or external influences. These states can range from joy to sadness, anxiety to relaxation, and are typically reactions to environmental stimuli, interactions, or even thoughts. They are not permanent, varying significantly throughout the day or even within hours, reflecting the fluid nature of our emotional responses to the world around us.

In stark contrast, emotional traits are far more enduring and represent a person’s consistent emotional responses across a variety of situations. Unlike states, these traits are stable over time and form part of an individual’s personality. Traits such as neuroticism or agreeableness dictate how we are predisposed to feel and react emotionally in general, rather than in specific instances. These traits are foundational to our emotional makeup and can influence our overall disposition and behaviour patterns more significantly than the fleeting emotional states.

Animation, with its versatile and impactful visual narrative capabilities, serves as a potent medium to delineate these concepts clearly and engagingly. For illustrating emotional states, animation can use vibrant and rapidly changing visuals that respond actively to different scenarios. This can include altering colours, motion speed, and visual intensity to mimic the ephemeral and responsive nature of emotional states. Such depictions can effectively demonstrate how these emotional responses can fluctuate dramatically, even in a short period.

On the other hand, depicting emotional traits with animation involves a more consistent and steady thematic representation. For example, a character designed to exhibit a trait like empathy might consistently show behaviours across various scenarios that align with this trait, such as comforting others or showing concern in different settings. This consistency can be highlighted through recurring visual themes, motifs, or a stable colour palette, symbolizing the unchanging nature of emotional traits.

Benefits of animation

  • Animation is accessible, especially via social media, and completely free to air for people who require it (via mobile phones).
  • Animation can reach cohorts who struggle to read and write, eg those with a neurodivergence (20% of the population) and/or SEND (15% of the population).
  • Animation can be translated to reach people for whom English is not the first language.
  • Waiting times for CAMHS and community mental health services is typically months – from script to screen, an animation can be created in two weeks, making it ideal for ‘disaster’ work.
  • Animation voiceovers can be quickly translated and revoiced in any language at a rough cost of only £1000.
  • While the initial animation can cost about £10k, subsequent digital copies are completely free (unlike print). Small amendments to ‘end slates’ to, for example, localise helpline numbers cost very little, so one trauma video can be used 10,000 times nationally at pretty much no extra cost. • Animation works brilliantly across all social media channels so it’s instantly and freely accessible and provides a ‘language’ for the person and their caregivers to understand what’s going on.
  • Still images can be taken from the animation and used within other collateral. For example, a dozen still images can be laid out in front of a child, enabling them to choose which image from the animation spoke to them (a good way to introduce tricky subjects, eg sexual abuse).