Geoscience Australia natural hazards animation

After completing the illustrations for the Papua New Guinea natural hazards booklets, Geoscience Australia asked me if I could also help them with an accompanying animation.

Drawing the scenes

For this project, I responded to a script and storyboard which had already been written by Geoscience Australia. I provided line art for the backgrounds, characters and objects within the scenes. I then submitted these illustrations to GA, whose in-house graphics team did the colouring and animation.

Cartoon men in a fishing boat. Drawing from Papua New Guinea natural hazards animation by Geoscience Australia.

Being relatively inexperienced with animation projects, I ‘over-delivered’ illustrations to the animator. I drew a number of facial expressions and limb-poses which didn’t make the final cut. For example, the was a sequence involving Sammy and the beach-goers running inland, which would have occurred at the 0:40 mark of the film. This was mostly cut due to time constraints on the animator’s part.

The finished animation


View on YouTube / mirrored version on Vimeo.

Personally, I’m a fan of this relaxed style of animation. Taking things slowly, rather than rushing through with jump-cups and flashy graphics. As I mentioned in Floss the Teeth You Want to Keep, often ‘less is more’ when it comes to effectively using cartoons and graphics to communicate information.

As with the natural hazards booklets, I’m happy with my depiction of the Papua New Guinean locals, and their surroundings. I like that they hired a Papua New Guinean to do the voice-over for the video, to further localise the film’s vibe.

Testimonial from Geoscience Australia project member

Stuart McMillen is organised, professional, and easy to work with. While working on our project, he completed all the tasks before deadline and I never had to worry about the job getting done. He had very good communication and kept me informed every step of the way. His illustrations well exceeded my expectations and our stakeholders are impressed by how the images are fun, interesting and factually correct.Libby Metz, Landslide Scientist, Geoscience Australia

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