How to make captivating animation for sensitive subjects with examples

Animation is a great way to talk about sensitive subjects, but it’s crucial to handle these topics with care. This article looks into how to make animation for sensitive subjects, focusing on being creative while also being sensitive. Let’s dive into the steps and things to think about when telling important stories through animation.

Animation about sensitive subjects
Make sure your animation video is not only creative but also sensitive

Before making an animation video for sensitive subjects

1. Understanding the subjects

Identifying and Researching Sensitive Topics

Alright, first things first – figuring out what touchy subjects we’re dealing with. This means digging into topics that might be a bit tricky to talk about. It’s like finding the right ingredients for a recipe – you want to make sure you know what you’re working with.

Establishing Clear Goals for the Animation

Now that we know our ingredients (the sensitive topics), let’s set some goals. Think of it like planning a road trip – you need to know where you’re going. What’s the message we want to share? What do we want people to take away from our animated journey? Having clear goals helps us stay on track and make sure our animation has a purpose.

2. Audience awareness

Defining the target audience

Let’s talk about who we’re making this animation for. Imagine you’re planning a surprise party – you want to know who’s coming to make sure everyone has a good time. Defining our target audience is like figuring out who our guests are. Are we talking to kids, adults, or a mix of everyone? Knowing the audience is the backbone for the success of an animation video.

Tailoring Animation to Diverse Perspectives

Our audience isn’t all the same – people see things differently. It’s like picking out outfits for a group photo – everyone wants to look good, but they have their own style. Tailoring our animation to diverse perspectives means making sure it speaks to different people. We want everyone to feel like the animation was made just for them.

3. Collaboration with experts

Engaging Subject Matter and Emotional Experts

Picture this: you’re fixing your car, and you call in a mechanic because they know their stuff. When dealing with sensitive subjects, it’s smart to bring in the experts. Engaging subject matter and emotional experts is like having a team of specialists. They understand the topic inside out and can help us navigate the emotional side of things.

Addressing Sensitivities with Professional Input

Handling sensitive subjects is a bit like walking on a tightrope – you want to make sure you don’t lose your balance. That’s where professional input comes in. We’re talking about getting advice from people who know how to walk that tightrope. They can guide us on how to approach the subject with care, making sure our animation doesn’t unintentionally step on any toes. It’s like having a safety net – professionals help us keep things steady.

Collaborate with experts for the best results.

Making an Animation Video about Sensitive Subjects

1. Choose the Right Software for Creating Sensitive Subject Animation

Imagine you’re picking the right tools for a craft project. Choosing the right software for sensitive subject animation is like selecting the perfect paintbrush. We want a tool that helps us bring our ideas to life while keeping things respectful and effective. Here are some quick tips:

Opt for User-Friendly Options

Choose software that’s easy to use, allowing you to focus on your animation rather than struggling with the tool.

Prioritize Versatility

Look for a versatile platform that can handle different animation styles and formats, providing flexibility in your creative process.

Ensure Accessibility

Pick software that’s easily accessible, streamlining your workflow and encouraging collaboration if you’re working with a team.

Check Compatibility

Ensure your chosen software is compatible with other tools and formats, promoting a seamless animation process.

Consider Learning Curve

Choose software with a manageable learning curve so you can quickly grasp the basics and concentrate on your creative vision.

Account for Budget

Find software that fits your budget while still offering the features you need for your sensitive subject animation.

Read Reviews

Before deciding, read reviews and seek recommendations to understand real user experiences and how the software performs in practical situations.

Recommended reading:

How to Write an Animated Video Script for eLearning (No Writing Background)

2. Create a Script and Storyboard

Once we’ve got our subject sorted, it’s time to plan our animated journey. Creating a script and storyboard is like sketching a map before embarking on a road trip. The script acts as our GPS, guiding us through the narrative, while the storyboard is a series of snapshots, helping us stay on course. It’s our roadmap to a well-structured and engaging animation.

Create a script and storyboard
Script and storyboard are foundation for a good animation video

The Script as Our GPS

Think of the script as the trusty GPS of our animation expedition. It guides us through the narrative, laying out the dialogues, scenes, and plot twists. It helps us maintain a clear direction, ensuring that our animation tells a compelling story without veering off course.

The Storyboard as Snapshots

On this journey, the storyboard acts like a series of snapshots. Each frame captures a moment in the unfolding narrative. It’s a visual representation of the script, giving us a glimpse of how the animation will come to life. Think of it as the photo album of our trip – a collection of scenes that keep us on track and showcase the visual rhythm of our story.

Our Roadmap to Engagement

Together, the script and storyboard become our roadmap to creating a well-structured and engaging animation. They provide a blueprint for animators, ensuring a cohesive and compelling visual storytelling experience. Just like a well-planned road trip, a thoughtfully crafted script and storyboard set the stage for a smooth and enjoyable journey through the world of animation.

Recommended reading:

How to Write an Animated Video Script for eLearning (No Writing Background)

3. Creating illustration and animation

The process of drawing and animating sensitive subjects requires a delicate touch, a deep understanding of the subject matter, and a commitment to portraying it with empathy.

Learn about your subject and set clear goals

Before drawing, understand the sensitive topic well. Learn its history, cultural context, and personal experiences related to it. Then, define what you want your animation to say and who you want to say it to. Clear goals guide your drawing in a meaningful direction.

Develop realistic characters

Put effort into creating well-rounded, relatable characters. Avoid stereotypes, especially when dealing with sensitive topics.

Set the right tone

Think about the emotions you want to convey. Choose colors, lighting, and visuals that match the mood, especially for sensitive subjects.

Pay attention to details

Details matter in your drawings. Facial expressions, background elements – each contributes to your story. Focus on accurate and respectful details.

Ensure smooth storytelling

Make sure your animation flows smoothly. Transitions between scenes should feel natural, without confusing your audience.

Add empathy

Infuse empathy into your animations. Every stroke and frame should communicate understanding and compassion. Animation is a powerful way to evoke emotions responsibly.

4. Add sound and music to the sensitive animation video

Now, let’s talk about giving your animation its heartbeat – sound and music. Just like your favorite movie wouldn’t be the same without its soundtrack, animation comes to life with these secret ingredients.

examples of effective training videos
Sound and music are the heartbeat of your animation video

Why Sound and Music Matter

In the world of animation, sound and music are the spices that enhance the entire experience. They set the mood, add a rhythm, and make your characters feel real. When you’re dealing with sensitive stuff, like in your animation, sound and music become super important. They’re like the emotions behind the scenes, shaping how people connect with your story.

Making Emotions and Atmosphere

In an animation, sound and music can make you feel happy, sad or excited. They create a vibe, set the emotional tone, and make your audience feel more connected to what’s happening.

Creating a Deeper Connection

The cool thing about sound and music is that they help your audience feel things. It’s not just about what they see; it’s about what they feel. When you handle sound and music with care, they become these magical ingredients that make your animation stick in people’s minds. They turn your creation into a memorable and emotional experience.

5. Testing and feedback

Pilot Testing with a Diverse Audience

Pilot testing with a diverse audience is your chance to see how people react. You want to make sure your animation clicks with different people, just like a good story does. Imagine you’re testing a new recipe – you want opinions from people with different tastes. Same goes for your animation. Testing it with a diverse audience helps you understand how various people, with different backgrounds and perspectives, connect with your story. It’s like making sure your dish is a hit for everyone at the dinner table.

Pilot Testing with a Diverse Audience
Pilot testing with a diverse audience will help you gain insights and make necessary adjustments

Iterative Adjustments Based on Feedback

So, your audience has given their feedback – now what? It’s time to fine-tune your animation. Feedback becomes your guide, your compass in this creative journey.

Think of feedback as treasure – it’s valuable and helps you improve. You’re not looking for a one-time fix; you’re sailing towards making your animation the best it can be. Just like a boat adjusts its sails to catch the best wind, you make iterative adjustments based on what people tell you.

Making your animation better is a bit like polishing a diamond. With each round of adjustments, you’re smoothing out the edges and making it shine brighter. It’s a process of continuous improvement, ensuring your creation hits all the right notes and becomes something that truly resonates with your audience.

Tips for making an animation video for sensitive subjects

1. Incorporating symbolism and metaphorical elements for sensitivity

Animating is like creating a puzzle, and sometimes, speaking in hints is more powerful. Picture your animation as a puzzle, and using symbolism is like dropping subtle clues. It lets the audience connect the dots in their own way, adding depth and sensitivity without being too direct.

By adding symbolism and metaphorical elements, viewers have the chance to interpret the video by themselves, uncovering hidden meanings instead of being exposed to sensitive subjects directly. They also make viewers’ learning journey more thought-provoking, inviting them to connect with the story in their own meaningful way.

2. Apply Mindful Animation Techniques

Gradual Introduction of Sensitive Content

Imagine jumping straight into a pool without testing the water – a bit nerve-wracking, right? The same goes for sensitive subjects. It’s smart to take it slow. Gradually introducing sensitive content is like stepping into that pool, one careful step at a time. It allows your audience to acclimate, ensuring they’re emotionally ready for the deeper parts of your story.

Strategic Pacing and Transitions

Ever tried telling a joke without good timing? It falls flat. Animation is similar – timing is everything. Think of strategic pacing and transitions as the comedy timing of your animation. They control the flow, keeping the audience hooked without overwhelming them. It’s like the perfect rhythm in a song, guiding your viewers smoothly through the narrative.

Allowing for Viewer Interaction and Control

We want viewers to feel like they’re in control. So, we build in features that let them interact with the animation. It’s like being able to pause, rewind, or skip parts – whatever makes the viewer feel comfortable. It’s your show, and you get to decide how you want to watch it.

Real examples

F.Learning Studio worked with Dr. Manish Chand, an influencer in the surgery field, to create a healthcare film about colorectal cancer and rectal hemorrhage. This healthcare video was utilized in the “Colorectal Awareness Month” campaign to help his patients understand their treatment options. It can be seen that a lot of the rules above have been applied in the making of this video.

With scripts and storyboards, we spent more than a week preparing them to set a solid backbone for the latter parts of the project. We closely followed each of the feedback from Dr. Manish Chand for the scripts and storyboards and made amendments if needed. This was done to ensure that not only will the animation video depict all the scientific terms and concepts correctly, but will also not contain any elements that disturb viewers.

Next, since rectal bleeding is a sensitive subject to talk about, we picked background music that is not too intrusive, while soft and delicate enough to ease the pressure and discomfort from the viewers.

To ensure miminum discomfort to the viewers, we gradually revealed details of each possible test for rectal bleeding to ensure each information is easy to absorb and allowing viewers to catch their breath. Also, because the video was uploaded on YouTube, the viewers were in total control of the video. They can pause or turn the video off if they start to feel uncomfortable. Symbols were also used to a great extent in the video to discuss sensitive subjects. For example, in a few scenes in the video, instead of mentioning the possible causes of rectal bleeding such as haemorrhoids and colorectal cancer tumours, we used symbols and images to describe those causes.

After many rounds of feedback to ensure everything is in place, we delivered the final video to Dr. Manish Chand. Thanks to our hard work, the video generates good feedback regarding Manish’s therapy and assists him in building his own brand.

Another example we have to help you create animation for sensitive subjects is the rheumatic heart disease video we made for University of Minnesota. The video was made in whiteboard style, which is a simple animation style mostly used in explainer videos.

Similar to the above example, for this project, we collaborated closely with University of Minnesota to make sure the scientific terms in the video are well communicated, while disturbing elements are kept to minimum. As the target audience of the video is university students, we deliberately kept the speed of the video low

Unlike other animation styles, because of its simplicity, this animation style does not depict the anatomy of the heart in the most detailed way. It only illustrates the heart and the few main parts in it, just enough to give the viewers a clear understanding of what is happening. Therefore, the sensitive and disturbing elements are minimized.

As for sound and music, we included background music at very low volume to make the video less tense for the viewers. The voiceover was done slowly and loudly to ensure the pacing of the video remains at an appropriate level, and for details to be revealed gradually, allowing time for the viewers to take a breath.

We all know heart surgery is a sensitive topic. Acknowledging the potential emotional impact on viewers, this heart bypass (CABG) surgery animation video used 3D animation style to replicate the image of the heart, however, with no details of blood to ensure the viewers’ experience is comfortable. Accuracy is important, but there’s no need for excessive graphic detail. They focused on clarifying the key stages of heart surgery rather than providing an overly intricate representation.

Furthermore, the producer of this surgical animation video present the heart surgery in a step-by-step manner. He/she broke down the procedure into different segments, allowing viewers to absorb information gradually. This approach prevents information overload and contributes to a more comfortable viewing experience.

It can also be seen in the video that the producer used thoughtful transitions between scene. This means that abrupt shifts are avoided, and subtle animations are used to guide viewers from one stage to another. This ensures a seamless flow, reducing any potential jarring effects.

This 2D animation video about child abuse is also a good example to show how to make an animation video about sensitive subjects.

The creator of this video opted for a 2D animation style that is cost-effective, gentle and approachable. He/she steered clear of overly graphic or realistic depictions, as this is a video made about child abuse. No overly violent or sexual scene was included in the video. Instead, he/she went for a soft art style that conveyed the message effectively without causing unnecessary distress.

He/she also chose a soothing and colorful color palette. It can be seen that the video has a lot of bright colors, and even the subtitle of the video is colorful. This element significantly influenced the emotional tone of the animation, helping it stay clear from being excessively pessimistic and distressful. Creating a supportive atmosphere with such visuals can definitely help maintain viewer comfort. Also, the narrator of the video is a young child. Using the voice of a young child to speak to young children is a smart way to spread information, and the innocent and lively voice of a child definitely makes this sensitive video a lot more comfortable to watch.


Responsible storytelling in animation involves a comprehensive understanding of the subject, audience, and collaboration with experts. As demonstrated by the above case studies, creating animation videos for sensitive subjects requires a thoughtful approach, incorporating symbolism, careful pacing, and continual refinement through feedback. By balancing creativity with sensitivity, animators can contribute to impactful and respectful narratives on delicate topics, fostering understanding and empathy among diverse audiences.

Need a hand with creating animation video for sensitive subjects? Contact F.Learning today!

Read further:

Healthcare Animation: How to Use Animated Explainer Video in Health Industry

5 Best Healthcare Explainer Video Examples for your Business

5 Best Animated Video Production Companies [Update 2023]

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