The branching story was created in Articulate Storyline, with graphics and animation using a combination of Affinity Designer (original character and environment designs), Adobe Illustrator and Adobe After Effects.
Inclusion is very important to me, and I try to make sure my work has diverse character representations. Simon was conceived of as a mixed heritage person with a disability.
While researching wheelchair designs for reference images, I came across a post by a disabled journalist lamenting the fact that illustrated wheelchairs are usually impractical and incongruous with the characters/lifestyles they are used alongside – indeed the illustrated wheelchair examples in the Articulate Storyline character library are exactly the type mentioned: clunky, designed to be pushed, awkward to use.
So I made sure my research approached this realistically – showing Simon in a practical, low-backed, slim and flexible type of chair.
For the animation, a couple of specific plugins were super helpful with this project – Overlord and Rubberhose 2, both by Battle axe.
Overlord is so amazingly useful – it integrates with After Effects and Illustrator and allows you to push graphics between the two programs, giving two-way synchronisation of artwork. The Artwork pushed from Illustrator is recreated in AE as native shape layers. Truly, this revolutionised my AE artwork workflow!
Rubberhose is a limb creation and rigging tool that allows you to easily create and animate shape-based limbs.
I learned some very useful AE skills with this project, including the use of sliders to control movement, such as with the wheels of the chair.