Wonderful lessons in visual storytelling can come from anywhere. Good films, even animated shorts, are rich in storytelling lessons. Below is an animated short by Disney called Paperman which visually merges the simplicity and expressive feel of traditional 2-D sketches with the power of computer-generated imagery (CGI). Visually I find this treatment refreshing somehow. CG animation today is amazing, of course, and with two small children at home I think I've seen every Pixar or Dreamworks film a million times by now. This new film with its less photorealistic imagery is simple and easy on the eyes, and yet it has a depth and richness that never gets in the way or reminds you that you are watching animated drawings. Technical innovations aside, this six-minute film is also a good example of basic storytelling techniques such as creating a specific small world with a clear setting and a sympathetic character that takes us on a small journey of rising intensity, and so on. The short is also a reminder of the power of the visual to tell a story as the film has no dialog (though the audio effects and musical score are excellent). Watch it here or below. (Be sure to choose the HD setting on Youtube.)
Here you can find three short video clips with the film's director John Kahrs discussing the inspiration of the story and the innovative technology behind the making of the Academy Award nominated film.
H/T Thibaud Godet