Animated World Sourcebook
*Short Version For Writing A Story In This World*
At current, between five and ten percent of the world is animated. Normal people turn into animated ones of the course of several hours (between two and six), often while they sleep. The change always begins at their hand, with no preference for left or right. Most accept and even enjoy their change. Their art styles vary as much as human imagination. Their touch spreads their art style temporarily to the things and people they are in direct contact with, but does not change them. There is no known cause but the world is adapting to the presence of millions of people who look like living works of art.
No superpowers. Skilled changlings would be the closest thing but less than ten thousand exist. Of those, very few have full control of their ability to change.
Wings or added physiology fall within human limitations.
There is no means for the conversion process to be weaponized or intentionally spread
*Two years previous to the events established in Drawn In*
Early Spring (Two Years Ago) - The first reported case of animation occurs to a young, female artist living in an area of the Minato ward of Tokyo, Japan at the time.
Throughout Spring Transformation rates soon accelerate throughout this period from the first few cases to hundreds and thousands a day.
Global air service is shut down on the assumption this is some sort of contagion. Many schools are on spring break but remain shut for several weeks and some remain closed for the rest of their sessions. A number of art schools are irrationally threatened. Panic quickly grips several nations with unrest and a breakdown of order. Emergency laws are enacted along with imposed curfews and recommended house quarantine for the animated. At this time, the recently transformed are poorly treated and shunned at best. At worst, they become scapegoats. Some countries fare better than others.
It takes several weeks for the chaos to calm. Scientific study begins as quickly as possible to try to understand the phenomena. Early results quickly and decisively rule out a communicable factor (despite this, some continue to foster conspiracy theories regarding about a man-made cause).
All told, the global ripple effects, variously nicknamed, cluster around a month after with continuous news coverage. The economic effects linger two years hence with a slow turnaround.
Summer Running tallies of cases are no longer tracked by WHO and other organizations. Spikes in transformation rates appear random with peaks near one million a day worldwide. Websites for and by the animated emerge as a support system for those affected and their families. It is at this time that actors transformed release the first viral PSAs online. Videos from the animated on sites like Youtube are among the first means of getting the message out that this isn't a disease. In lingering global unrest, several governments are overthrown or resign due their handling of the initial chaos.
American media coverage slowly shifts away from panic. Several high-ranking and famous persons are highlighted as animated. Religious and spiritual groups and figures address the transformations, with the majority urging calm optimism.
Fall Most of the spring chaos has passed. Governments have dealt with processing and recategorizing those transformed. Many keep special lists of these people without them knowing. The health care system begins to recover from those animated who are brought in by family. Standard policy becomes to bring a recently transformed or transforming person to a hospital or doctor only if they have signs of serious health issues or are undergoing a non-human transformation.
Most schools start their fall session. Laws are passed in most countries which reinforce that those transformed have the same rights as before their transformation. These include employment protections The rate of transformation averages 600,000 a day. The global distribution is not even, with higher concentrations in the countries first affected. New entertainment programs either use or integrate those actors changed. Many programs go through changes. Online enclaves specifically for the animated continue to grow. The first Animated Lifestyle store opens in Brooklyn, New York.
Winter to the Present Animation develops as a varied political issue ranging from rights advocacy to containment and reversal. The first credible scientific studies reaffirm the random nature of the phenomena but offer no cause. Companies and products claiming to be able to reverse animation are challenged in court. A number of high-profile criminal cases involving the animated as both alleged perpetrators and victims also occur.
Hospital wards and clinics are set up to try to treat the animated more specifically. Cases to deny coverage to the animated go through the courts. Ultimately, evidence that the animated are actually healthier than the average person leads to the end of these cases. Some fringe groups emerge touting the benefits of contact with the animated. Animated-specific religious sects also emerge.
A number of animated-only planned communities emerge but are challenged as well. Several enclaves of animated people also emerge. Many films about or involving animated people are made. Some even win awards. New products emerge to deal with animated needs.
Present It is estimated between 450 and 500 million people have been transformed worldwide with roughly 15 million changed in the United States. Animated Lifestyle stores are in over 30 countries with 800 locations. Some estimate the entire world will be converted within twenty years. However, the daily rate has, in recent months, fallen to between 100,000 and 200,000 a day, suggesting to some that it may never catch up with the global population.
The Conversion Process
Conversion always begins at the hand, usually on the back with no predisposition for whether it's the person's dominant hand. The conversion process usually involves a slow, spreading painting across the entire body of the person affected. The process can range from as little as two hours to typically not more than six. More complicated changes or those with contingent elements such as size, biology, or physical sex tend to be the longer ones. Those conversions which take place during sleep are usually the swiftest. The majority of conversions take place while the person is asleep. There are several documented ways of conversion.
The most common process is the slow painting which changes form and style as it spreads. Less common are changes which permeate in the body shift shape before color style but these are more common in atypical transformations. Rarely, a transformed person can become a changeling, which affords them the ability to alter their style, colors, and other aspects for either the next few hours following their change or for a longer period on some occasions.
Those undergoing the transformation tend to be usually calm but responsive. Extreme changes will more often be met with concern but not panic. An analgesic effect to the process is suspected but not understood. Mental alterations are rare and tend to be temporary where present.
Fantasy-inspired forms are noted but none have supernatural or mystical abilities. The final size of the transformed can range from several inches tall (fairy-inspired forms usually) or over ten feet tall. Scientists are still not sure how the mass and weight of those changed can be so altered but experiments with weighing the transformed as they are changing show there is indeed an unseen reduction or addition of mass.
The fantasy-inspired changes are aesthetic by nature. Those with non-human ears in addition or replacing their normal ears don't gain a change in hearing aside from whether they are bigger ears or not. Animated eyes also have abilities comparable to previously. However, few report a reduction in eyesight and elderly transformed tend to have slightly better eyesight.
Fairy-form animated people have massive changes in biology along with some who grow wings. These wings are also aesthetic due to the missing muscle anatomy to move them enough for flight. They are, for those below a certain mass, able to function similarly to a small hang glider. A small minority are left incapable of speech at the end of the transformation. For those with animal forms which would typically be biologically incapable of speech, there are noted modifications to the internal anatomy to allow for the production of human sounds.
Health and Medicine
As noted, early reactions were the treat the changes like a contagious phenomena in need of containment. Many of the transformed during the chaotic early periods were quarantined for extended periods. Certain governments instituted makeshift facilities to isolate the changed from the "normals". While this period was measured in a few weeks, it has become an issue of human rights violations investigation since.
The early period also involved several documented instances of experimentation on the changed. Certain doctors and governments treated those transformed like they were no longer human. The often-disturbing, impressionistic, or surreal appearances of some of those transformed early on fostered this notion. Altered biology was explored with little regard given to the welfare of the patients. Since then, many of those involved in this testing have been put in prison or been removed from the medical profession. In some cases, doctors who once prodded strangely animated people have since become animated themselves.
Among the scrupulous medical studies, the first resolved the issue of communicability in a definitive fashion. Many of the researchers involved went so far as to volunteer themselves to every type of exposure possible in the hopes of discovering the process. Even in these early studies, doctors found that those transformed were actually healthier than a sample of a general populace. The main issue in determining this was creating a consistent measure of what would be considered healthy. Because the internal biology could be visually different in so many ways, the key to determine health came more from objective diagnostic tools. Ultrasounds, x-rays, and others kinds of tests more often revealed what couldn't be clearly determined by the eye.
It was often found that the biological processes inside one transformed had been subtly altered. If a person's changed form gave them long hair then any efforts to modify it resulted in rapid acceleration of hair growth to return to the previous status. Normal fatty deposits and cholesterol levels would be much lower. New influxes of fat or sugars were often swiftly purged from the system. In one case, a non-human animated person was witnessed as having rapidly consumed an entire, three-tier cake with no increase in weight or blood sugar levels without even digestive discomfort. This is not a constant amongst all of those transformed but greater tolerance of illness as well as general good health have shown to be the normal outcome for the vast majority of those transformed.
Despite these findings, many insurances, under laws which allowed them to do so legally, dropped clients as soon as they transformed. Many court cases successfully challenged these outcomes and the cases eventually died off when proof of superior health amongst those transformed became available. Still, certain clinics and doctors began to refuse patients with "alterations to their physical medium". At the same time, doctors who attempt to focus on those patients who had been transformed have recently come to prominence. For those who had been through gender, size, and species changes, these doctors integrated aspects of veterinary study, psychoanalysis, and reproductive health in their services. These types of doctors, known as "Animated Specialists", are the fastest growing current field of medicine but most practice without full credential approval and there are few even in major metropolitan areas.
Traditional medical institutions have been slow to create a consensus about transformed biology and medical testing due to several still outstanding studies.
Mental health professionals have speculated about the forms which those transformed seem to take. There are those who recommend what is called "shaping" self-analysis. This means a person who hasn't been transformed before but worries they may take on an undesirable form works through their psychological desires and feelings to mediate their subconscious and their conscious minds in an effort to shape the results of their possible transformation. Little study has been done aside from anecdotal claims as to whether this process helps achieve the results desired.
The key problem is a lack of certainty regarding why an individual winds up with a particular form after their transformation. Medical study of the process itself finds a clear biological excitation of cells for those who have been put in diagnostic equipment while changing. Samples of cells from those animated have found to be particularly "lively" but not in a way suggesting out of control growth or cancerous malformation.
Brain studies of those being changed often find altered levels of serotonin, dopamine, and other neurotransmitters but the results so far are not consistent on whether the change has a calming effect. Those transformed, especially radically from their previous shapes, often have a relaxed attitude about what has happened to them. The minority who panic or have adverse reactions more often are shown to have high levels of the stress hormone, cortisol. Whether all these biochemical levels are due to the transformation directly or merely a side effect is still a matter of debate.
The first publicized death of an animated person occurred several weeks after the first case. The death occurring during sleep and was considered to be by natural causes, though medical examiners couldn't determine any direct cause of death upon autopsy. This has since become typical for those death cases of the animated whether the cause is not immediately self-evident (example an accident with lethal trauma, drowning, or suffocation). In particular, there is not a single certain case of cancer related death or illness among those transformed. However, the death rate amongst the animated, while lower than the general population, isn't significantly lower on average.
One peculiarity is the necrosis is slower on an animated corpse compared with a normal one. A recently deceased animated person or non-human looks virtually identical to a living one. Studies of the corpses of the animated deceased have found that they don't so much decay in the normal way as "lose their color". Their tones become less bright and their lines seem to fade. For months, this process will continue. The corpse may still contain a lingering "influence" for as long as six month, like a residual heat. They also acquire an indefinable scent completely unlike decayed flesh which some have compared to "melted paint". The oldest stored corpses certainly look dead but more faded or wasted away in color and texture with. This process seems to be consistent across all forms, whether human or non-human that the transformed take.
In those select cases of animated people who previously had lethal or life-limiting illness, their illness has completely vanished so far as doctors can tell. These cases have been the focus of much press and been touted as a positive sign about the transformation process as a whole.
The oldest case of conversion occurred to a man aged ninety-eight who took on the apparent form of a nine-year-old girl. She passed away in her sleep nine weeks after her change with no apparent cause. The youngest cases after birth range from a few weeks after with limited alterations to those still in the womb who don't seem to have enough influence to alter their mothers. Those "born animated" have been of great interest to medical study.
On the topic of what is called "influence" or "touch", a few things are known. It seems to build without someone as they are changing and doesn't spread from them until the tail end of their change. It is at this point anything a transformed person touches takes on influence in their art style. For those who have finished their transformation influence can be spread by any skin to object contact. Indirect contact doesn't not spread influence or enough influence to be seen. Prolonged physical skin to skin contact between a normal person and one transformed still influence the normal person into the appearance of an animated, unaltered, in the style of the transformed one. For those whose change is radical or strange, the influence doesn't seem to spread as far in other people and when it does, it only makes small changes.
Despite how long someone is held or touched by an animated one, the influence will drain out within a second or two. Studies have found that prolonged contact with an animated person's influence has no statistical effect, positive or negative, on whether the other person transforms at any point in the more than two years of testing so far.
The microbiology of animated individuals has been shown to be identical to normal humans and can be cultivated as normal organisms once separate from the host. As well, waste products also retain their normal qualities when outside the body. These are among the few diagnostic tests which are consistent among humans and animated humans since tissue samples retain their animated qualities outside of the full, human organism.
Microorganisms of a virulent nature have been shown in studies not to grow as readily in animated tissues compared with a normal sample of human tissue. The reasons for this difference are unknown.
While there has been speculation that a changling or animated person could possibly shape their form to be almost completely human, there have been no clear cases of reversion. However, some animated styles and changling styles do look nearly indistinguishable from a normal human colors and textures.
Organ donation has been banned from animated persons till recently due to the difficulty of adapting the inconsistent qualities of organs into a normal human body. Some recent medical studies involving organ recipients with no other options have been thus far inconclusive regarding whether animated organs are viable.
Influence usually spreads the manner noted below.
Animated to Human - Faster spread than inanimate objects. Always spreads with skin to sin contact.
Animated to Animated - No spread. Influence seems not to spread from one animated person to another. Or, if it does, there is no visual sign of it occurring.
Animated to A Small Object (metallic beverage can) - Size of the object seems to weigh heavily in how long the spread takes. It takes longer than a human spread but lingers slightly longer after the end of contact.
Animated to Clothing - Almost as fast as human contact due to often many points of skin contact. Because of the lingering influence staying with clothes in particular, likely due to the possibility of the most prolonged contact, there are some stores who instituted rules against animated persons trying on clothes. Recent laws have since found these practices discriminatory and most have been since abolished.
Animated to A Large Object (like a desk or table) - Beyond a certain size just below a proportion of size to the animated person, the influence doesn't spread or is too diffuse beyond the point of contact. This influence is often compared to a heat signature because of the contact marks that briefly linger.
Animated to Massive Object (like a floor or wall or the ground) - Much the same effect as any large object. The only difference is if there is a small bit of rock on the ground as an animated person is walking barefoot or they touch grass. Animals and plants seem to have a similar but less pronounced effect from prolonged influence to humans.
Animated to An Animal or Plant - Influence will readily spread to animals, such as pets. Held small dogs or cats in particular will temporarily take on the art style of their animated owners. As always, direct contact contributes to the most change (therefore holding a leash will only add color to the leash). The same is true with plants as alluded to by barefoot grass contact. Animals much larger than the animated person will often have lesser effects or not change style at all (for example bears will not change style if you are animated and give them a bare bear hug. So please do not attempt.)
More Than One Animated to A Single Person or Object - Experiments have been done if simultaneous skin contact from more than one animated person to a normal human. Only the first contact seems to spread. Second contact doesn't spread. In cases of simultaneous contact, no influence spreads to the person or likely one animated person will touch briefly before the other and be the one whose influence spreads. This has led to a game sometimes played between animated and un-animated people where the animated ones will have a countdown and try to be the first to touch. The same rules seem to apply for objects or animals touched simultaneously. In short, only one source of influence can spread into an object or person at the same time.
Entertainment and Culture
In the short term after the first conversions, a number of animated programs and movies were cancelled or withdrawn. Certain ones were even banned in the early panic. Art museums were either forcibly closed or shut down voluntarily. These closures didn't last more than a month. Similar closures to public events and venues also resulted when it wasn't known if the conversions were caused by a contagion or not.
When animated programming returned, it did so with careful vetting not to present stereotypical characters in a common style people converted into, lest they open themselves up to legal troubles. It wasn't until some months later that the possibility of using the converted as actors came to prominence. A number of online videos in mock animated style opened up this door. Many of the programs currently on TV which utilize live-action animation do so one of several ways. The most prevalent is to chroma key the animated actors into a manipulated background. This can sometimes present challenges depending on the dominant colors of the cast. Props are handled by the actors or someone off-camera in a similar style holding them. While the live-acted animated programs have also led to animated plays and theater performances, they are considered lesser to produced works. The first aspect of the entertainment industry to embrace animated actors was actually the adult entertainment industry.
Online entertainment actually rose swiftly because videos and photos by those animated in their various styles became items of collector interest for those dubbed friendly to the idea of becoming animated. These people were nicknamed "2B2D" (despite the fact styles of animation varied in their feeling and wasn't traditionally flat or 2D).
A number of actors retired from acting when they animated, despite the fact interest in the converted from gossip magazines rose. It wasn't till the first major push back from public figures and celebrities for recognition that being animated became less of a stigma or something to hide. Since the animation struck both traditional masculine and more intellectual or artistic figures alike, pundit claims of connecting animation to deviant behavior were soon squashed (though non-mainstream claims continue despite all evidence to the contrary).
Commercial were among the first early hires of converted people and actors to feature in their ads because their unique, visual styling (particularly when it complimented their products). Animated spokespersons have become more common than human ones.
Many books have been published in almost every genre regarding the animated. Among the more popular fiction works was basically a retelling of Romeo and Juliet with an animated and non-animated coupling. The more prevalent books are in the New Age genre dealing with spiritual speculations regarding the meaning and origin of the global phenomena. The most common postulations involve deification of the converted as being closer to the divine. Pantheistic interpretations figure on an essence influencing the human race towards some unknown goal.
Otherwise, literature has been slow to respond to the events. Current event books and other genres have dealt with cases and speculations of causality but no credible books have been published which have been able to ascribe meaning to the events and changes. Several specialty magazines catering both to 2B2D customers, the converted and those who feel unfavorably towards the animated now exist with many magazine threading sections involving the animated from the current events items to their lifestyle sections. Many fashion magazines have adopted sections dealing with the fashion interests of the animated as well as what styles and colors will go with predominant schemes and tones. Makeup brands and related products have exploded, focusing on both downplaying and emphasizing animated aspects.
In the field of sports there have been several cases of athletes either banned, traded, or let go due to their change in status due to transformation. Typically the reasons have been because of a change to the athlete's species, physical sex, or body type. Many of these cases have gone to court and some are still pending. There are those who say that animated athletes have a natural, unfair advantage due to their altered common biology which imbues them with better health and often a greater ability to recover from common injuries. When clubs took note of these attributes, they hired animated athletes at a greater rate. There are occasional cases of athletes animated in the opposite gender who have attempted to stay on with their clubs on both sides. In one notable case often cited for amusement, a man competing in horse jumping later competed as the horse after his change (without a rider).
Suicide rates spiked in the first, chaotic month after the first changes. Cases of animated suicide are often rare but typically are attributed to factors aside from their conversion. They are also similarly slow amongst those who have noted the early signs of conversion. Suicide has spiked several times, especially during heavy clusters of conversion in a given area. Still, the rates have only, at peak, doubled from the times before conversions.
The stigma for influence spreading has waned due to public portrayals of it, still it is in sports where rules have been made that an animated person must not keep hold of an object like a ball with the intent of using the confusion of influence to their advantage. This lead to penalties for a basketball player who would psych out the opposition by holding onto a ball before passing and keep it shielded in his unique art style. For wrestling, such rules have been impossible to implement and would be unfair for animated competitors. Therefore, the training for non-animated wrestlers going up against animated ones has been influence adaptation so it doesn't surprise them. Many athletes actually claim influence flooding has both a calming and healing effect without promoting conversion.
Crime and Law Enforcement
In the early days of conversions, there were cases of those nearly converted who took advantage of chaotic situation for acts of crime and violence.
As well, there were criminal networks who exploited those converted in various ways due to the loss of their identity as both potential, anonymous assets and employees. A number of arrested hitmen were found to be rare types of changlings.
However, law enforcement was quick to come up with new systems of identification based on a variety of factors. Animated drivers found with old licenses were originally stopped and fined. But as they became more prevalent with the system backlog, most were just given notices to renew their licenses. Fingerprinting systems were oftentimes thrown out with many jurisdictions because some animated citizens didn't possess fingerprints or even fingers.
The system most often in use employs a variety of factors in identification. First, is visual features. For those rare few who are called "faceless" because their style is either without distinguishing feature or they have no face, proportions and shapes are logged. Some studies have found that line textures on certain parts of the animated body might be consistent to a certain individual in the same ways as the lines on their hands and fingers once were. However, the tools to resolve line qualities with great accuracy are still being developed. Changlings also present a problem for law enforcement but those who have been noted to have more than one physical form must register it as part of their identity.
After visual features, law enforcement will take eye qualities into account. While there have been noted that a certain percentage of animated persons have an "identical twin" in their style due to reasons unknown, eyes have been shown to always possess some unique size or proportion which marks an individual animated person. Beyond these aspects, hand qualities are sometimes kept on record even if normal fingerprints do not show on current equipment. Blood testing has not yet advanced to the point it can match DNA of an animated person to a sample but efforts are underway.
On the whole, criminal activity amongst animated persons has been claimed and somewhat proven to be lower than the general population. Crimes against animated persons recently received qualification to be considered hate crimes in certain regions and countries, depending on circumstances. Crimes which are recorded as such spiked about a year ago but have recently begun to decline. While there are a few specific serial killers and criminals often noted by the media, their number is vastly exceeded by non-animated ones.
While there have been efforts to prove that those with so-called "thuggish" animated appearances are more typically criminals, it has been on par with historical, failed efforts of phrenology at determining the same.
While there has been speculation that whatever influence that comes from animated people stays in the environment, there have been as yet no cases of conversion to non-humans, inanimate objects, or other mediums.
The size of the transformed can vary wildly on the small size from those the size of fairies, existing several times smaller than their previous dimensions with a still fully functioning biology and those who are many times larger than they were before. While it is speculated and feared there is no upper limit to changes which increase a subject's size, there have thus far been no changes which have made an animated person taller than about ten feet. Whether this is a limitation of the energy or some other factor is unknown. Another question is where does missing massed in shrinking cases go and where does new mass in the opposite cases come from. Explanations have ranged from pseudo-scientific ideas of an akashic or ethereal parallel plane of reality to which the matter comes and goes (and where the energy for influence and transformation itself comes from) to questions of whether virtual particles and unknown quantum states might be involved. What is clear is that weight and mass are lost and gained in the system.
While a general accounting of the demographics and predominant styles of those animated is still ongoing, there are animation styles represented.
* Large eyes, small lined mouth with bright colors as often employed in Japanese animation and manga of various styles either subtle or exaggerated.
* Caricature styles ranging from the appearance of sketching and 'hand' coloration to a sharp, flat tone.
* Soft or detailed watercolor style.
* Traditional "comic book" style in a range of apparent mediums and textures. Some are reminiscent of the work of a particular artist while others have no known equivalent.
*Line art, those whose colors are not present or are variable. Line art can be thick or ghostly thin.
*So called Digital style as seen in art making programs. Typically this style arises in those who are artist familiar with the use of digital art programs. A myriad of sub-styles ranging from digital feeling painterly to what appears similar to flash art.
* Rendered art which has the feeling of CGI or a polygon, textured humanoid more than the other styles.
* Historical noted artistic styles. Tend to fall under those who enjoy or are aware of them buy any art style in history can be represented from surrealism to impressionism along with pointillism to the appearance of oil painting. Graffiti and stick figure art styles have also been noted.
(It should be noted that all can occur in human and non-human varieties and this is just a small sample of more widely recognized animated styles of human).
~Varieties of Changlings~
Changlings may make up between five and ten percent of the animated population (between 20 and 50 million worldwide thus far), depending on attempted demographic accounts.
The most common variety will be fluid in form for a short time at the end of their initial animation. During this time, they will be able pick a different physical form which can vary widely from their form so far or previously. Changlings who shift a lot during this time often experience side effects ranging from discomfort and confusion to physical pain. In interviews, the majority of these types of changlings feel they shifted due to indecision and worry about their final appearance. At the end of their animation period, these changlings are locked into the final form they choose permanently.
Less common are changlings who can change even after their animation period. Studies of them they fall into a number of varieties. For most, they have at least one extra form which they shift to involuntarily. The triggers for the form shifts can vary from external factors such as the weather or who they're with to internal moods or biochemistry. Involuntary changlings typically occur in subjects with abnormal psychology or multiple personalities but have been seen in otherwise normal animated persons. The greatest number of forms records in an involuntary case is sixteen although anecdotal stories cites unconfirmed cases of hundreds of forms in some.
Rarer changlings are voluntary ones who have degrees of control over their form. The lowest degree of voluntary changling can focus and choose different attributes such as eye and hair color. Above them are changlings who can switch their art style. Beyond them, are small but well-known group of changlings who can even change their physical sex. At this level, it is thought that this variety of changling is quite rare with about ten thousand estimated.
Of these ten thousand, it is believed that most have the capability for a vast variety of changes depending on their level of control. It is also possible there are changlings who don't know they are changlings because they haven't tried to change. Of the changlings with the capability to change their forms, less than one hundred have been documented who actually can readily use their abilities. There is no known changling who can change their species.
While it isn't known why some are changlings, certain groups speculate that changlings are closer to the supposed source of the animation of people worldwide and regard them as enlightened. Although many deny it, it is clear that law enforcement and governments worldwide keep close tabs on the behavior of all known, high-level changlings.
*Will add more soon*