Animation, Propaganda and Satire – Fake News Machine Animation

The development of my stop-motion animation about fake news.


Once I had made all of the models and backgrounds I started animating them using stop-motion. I filmed the animation in two bits. The first part consists of the scenes outside of the machine, in the warehouse. The second part is made up of the scenes inside of the machine, where you see the words being manipulated and changed. I had to film these bits in two parts because the machine itself is a 3D model that stands up in a 3D set, whereas the models inside of the machine are card and paper cutouts that are put on top of a flat background and then animated.

Screenshot from the finished animation,

After I had filmed all of the stop-motion parts of my animation I imported all of the frames into Adobe After Effects. Here I added all of the effects needed to finish my animation. I added the steam coming from the machine and the words that go through the various stages in the machine. I also added lights and a digital screen to the internet box. I then added in the twitter birds here too. I decided to add all of these various things digitally rather than sticking with the theme of stop motion as I thought that the digital elements

Screenshot from the finished animation.

would help to convey my message clearly. For example the digital text and twitter birds that fly off with the new words at the end are digital as most fake news is spread on the internet and  its websites online that make up the fake news. Adding the words digitally also allowed me to add effects to them like a change in colour or size when the different parts of the machine does different things to them.

After I had added all of the effects needed to complete my animation I added sound. I used free sound websites to find clips of mechanical noises for my machine. I then added these short clips of audio to my animation in Adobe Premiere Pro. These sounds helped to bring my machine to life and they also helped to explain what different parts of the machine were doing to the words.

Below is the final animation.

Animation, Propaganda and Satire – Making the Set and Models.

Describing the process of assembling the set and model of the fake news machine.

Stop-motion set up

Once I knew the size of the space I would we working in I was able to start constructing the set. I had decided on the machine being set in an old, dingy and dark warehouse. In order to make this I used cardboard to create the back wall and sides of the warehouse. I then decided to paint the card so that it looked different to the machine as that would also be made out of card. I smeared different coloured acrylic paints onto the card using thinner pieces of card. This allowed the texture of the card to remain. I used blacks, greys, yellows and reds to add colour to the card. The idea was to make the walls look like old rusty worn out metal. I didn’t want to cover the card completely in paint as I wanted to keep the texture of it.

To make the machine I used cardboard for the main body. For the metal pipes I used thick straws and spray painted them silver to make them look like metal. For the internet box I used card that I spraypainted. I decided to do this as I needed it to look different to the rest of the machine and I wanted it to look more futuristic but still worn down so I smeared a darker grey colour on top of the spray paint to make it look dirty.

Experimenting with lighting and camera angle.

Once I had everything set up I started experimenting with lighting. In the end I used a dim, yellowish lamp to light the whole scene and I also used spotlights to highlight the machine and to make it stand out from the dark background. I then experimented with the camera angle, I decided on a low angle looking up at the machine in order to make it look much larger and ominous.

Other Props

To film the parts of the animation that take place inside the machine I decided to film them on a flat surface with the camera above them. This would be easier than trying to make all of the models able to stand up. For the background I repurposed a piece of the warehouse walls. I then made the other models using coloured paper and card.


The colour pallette for this animation is quite dark and moody. I wanted it to look this way because the dark colours reflect the dark and dingy atmosphere of the warehouse. These colours also help to make the machine and its surroundings look old and worn down which helps to imply that the machine has been working and making fake news for a long time.

Animation, Propaganda and Satire – Initial Ideas and Development

My initial ideas, sketches and models for the latest brief – Animation, Propaganda and Satire

My idea for my short animation is about a machine that creates fake news buy twisting and combining words to make fake news stories.

I started by sketching out some rough ideas for the machine as well as writing ideas for the story. After doing a couple of sketches I started making parts of the machine to see what would work and what wouldn’t. I ended up with a design that I quite liked and thought would work well for the animation. I used card to make the models as its all I had to work with, however, I liked the texture of the card and the contrast between the different colours. I decided to use card to make the model for the animation as its easy to work with but is also visually interesting and it looks different to the machines in Wallace and Gromit that I looked at.

I then did a rough storyboard of my ideas for the story.

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After doing this I made some changes to my idea in order to convey my message in a clearer way. I decided to do this by thinking about the words that would go into the machine and what they would come out as. Instead of having new stories coming out of the machine I decided to have the words that go in change into different words that related to recent fakes news stories in order to show how fake news can be used in modern culture. For example the word racism would go in and be changed into the word patriotism to reflect Trump’s campaign and his questionable ideologies. I changed the way that the words would be put into the machine to show where they come from. I decided to show the words being spat out of a human mouth as the words that go into the machine come from people, they are words that represent a type of attitude of certain people. Another change is that the new story will show how the words are changed and what this means. The words will go in and get twisted and warped, they would then be stamped into the new words. After this they would be made bigger and more noticeable, they would also be buffed so that they glow and become more appealing to the people who believe these stories. The words would then come out of the machine carried by twitter birds. This would illustrate how fake news is spread and where it is most prevalent. I then made a new storyboard that included all my new ideas for my animation.

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Animation, Propaganda and Satire

Initial research for the latest brief about propaganda and satire within animation.

The brief for this project is to create a short animation that allows you to explore your own beliefs and ideas through propaganda and satire. I decided to work on an old idea from the 12 Days of Christmas News brief. This idea was the fake news machine, the idea behind it was to illustrate how fake news is made in a satirical way. I chose the topic of fake news as it has become increasingly more common and it is spread through fake news sites on the internet.

Fake News

Above is the fake news machine that I included in my pop up book for the 12 Days of Christmas News brief. I decided to expand the idea by making the machine more elaborate.


I looked at the artist William Heath Robinson because he is well known for his extraordinary inventions that perform everyday tasks. His work mocks people dependent on gadgets and whom are addicted to them. He became known for a series of illustrations in magazines that made fun of modern day living as they were incredibly complex but preformed simple tasks like peeling potatoes. His work has inspired me to make a complex machine that uses a different number of mechanisms such as winch and pulley systems and turning cogs.




I also looked at the illustrator Rowland Emmett. His work is similar to William Heath Robinson’s but Rowland’s inventions were designed to work. His inventions were constructed from household objects including tea pots, lamp shades, golf clubs and bicycle pumps. His machines were ridiculous but elegant and also included exaggerated spinning wheels, and funnels. His work was also colourful which made his machines look all the more ludicrous.


I have also taken inspiration from some of the inventions included in the various Wallace and Gromit films. I like the steam punk style that they use and how complex they are. The copper and brassy colours that are used also make them look industrial and daunting.





Characters and Place

Work from a group project about a soldier’s story from the Spanish Civil War.

For this group project we were put into groups and given the name and some information of a soldier from Cardiff that fought in the Spanish Civil War. The outcome of the project was to work together to create an exhibition telling the story of the person we were given. Our group was given a man that was originally from Cicero in Spain, who moved to Cardiff whilst trying to escape the civil war. His story was about him joining the Union’s Militia in Spain where he fought in some battles but had to retreat. His story then documents how he sailed to France to try and escape the war, then ended up back in Spain. He then went on to become a sailor and went to Canada, Scotland and then finally Cardiff. His story ended with him going back to his home village of Cicero in Spain in the 70s.

As a group we started by brainstorming our ideas, talking about the most significant parts of his journey and the ones we should include in our exhibition. We decided on each of us doing a different aspect of his story which we would then bring together using a map that we would make plotting out his journey during the Spanish Civil War. We decided to work separately but we would all take inspiration from propaganda posters from that time so our work would all fit together at the end.

I drew the map that showed our person’s journey during the war. I collaborated with an animation student who added the animated affects that showed where he had been.

finished map.png
The Map

I chose an old fashioned style as it has similar colours to those used in the propaganda posters. Once I had drawn and coloured it Alys from animation added the animated affects that plotted out where our soldier had been and in what order.

I also made some small postcards for the exhibition. I decided on 3 places he had been, Barcelona, Paris and Cardiff. I then looked at some old postcards taking inspiration from propaganda as well. I then screen printed these postcards using stencils. I only printed 2 colours for each card because of limited time so I printed onto colour paper and used coloured card to add grass to them.

All of the final work from the group.