Animation

This Adorable Animation Depicts the Ups and Downs of Love

Illustrations of miniature couples struggle to read each other's mind and heart.

Diana Shi

Diana Shi

Screencaps via

Moments away from noise and distraction produce the seeds of affectionand empathy in a short animation titled i think i love you. Filled with adorable illustrations and sound effects, the charming short is the work of Xiyan Lan, a Bachelors in Fine Arts student at the California Institute of the Arts.

Implementing the principle of showing not telling, Lan conveys the many struggles to read another person's thoughts when dating, as well as all the second-guessing that happens in a person's mind when considering human connection. Lan's characters are rendered in mostly black-and-white, making the pops of color to symbolize emotion or communication feel even more distinct.

The trials and tribulations of a modern romance are brought together in a swirling kaleidoscopic sequence filled with overlapping miniature couples and smiling faces. An accompanying classic score—composed by Karen Tanaka—underlines the waltz-like maneuvering in trying to please a significant other. The simple yet emotionally intuitive storytelling offers an empathetic image of modern-day relationships. It's in the small, changing, irrational cartoon characters that offer a familiar glimpse into the viewer's reality.

In a description accompanying the video Lan writes, "It's about different ways of love. We all love people and are loved by others in various personal ways. Maybe we like it or maybe we don't like it… It's about suffering, growth, and change. After embracing [it] all, you'll find it's a beautiful, peaceful thing."

Explore more work from Xiyan Lan on her blog, here, and her Vimeo page, here.

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