X-road explainer animation

Tetris, the game the whole team behind the X-road animation had played on various Sovietera gameboy derivatives in their Eastern European childhoods, needs neither introduction nor explanation. Your success is determined by a tiny bit of luck and a polished skill of fitting the pieces together – making it thus a tiny replica of life itself.

Therefore, Tetris creates a perfect framework for explaining any system as sophisticated as
the Xroad.

“The feedback has always been very positive,” says Oliver Väärtnõu, CEO of Cybernetica,
happy with the outcome. “It sparks conversation and helps us explain how the Xroad

The short animated video, which has gained attention in various highprofile
client meetings as well as online was created by Estonian animation studio Tolm.

“I work best when surrounded by a great team,” says Joosep Volk, the director and animator.
He knows that trust and communication inside a team plays a crucial role in any successful
project. “You need to have a constant dialogue with fellow animators to test whether your
ideas are clear enough as well as writers to make sure they are uptodate
on to which direction the visual ideas are heading in.”

When your goal is to educate and inform an audience, the symbiosis between text and
visuals is essential. In Joosep’s view, text functions as a backbone for such projects. “When
the foundation of a house doesn’t hold, there is little difference what colour you paint your
walls or what kind of a lamp you attach to your ceiling. In that respect, animation is like
furnishing a home. Animation, no matter how great, cannot cover up for a bad story.”
Joosep doesn’t even raise an eyebrow while deconstructing a project that could intimidate
the most skilled creative professionals. “There are no big projects, as they can be divided
into many small ones and the problems are always the same, whatever the capacity. As a
director you need to ask the right questions to understand the client. You also have to keep
your team informed, listen to their ideas, and transform them into a coherent system that you
can then present to your client. When communication is great and everyone understands
each other, the size of the project doesn’t matter.”

Despite of the perfect teamwork and the success of the project, the gold award from ADC
Europe came as a surprise. “We even looked into the decision process of the jury. As it
turned out, it was the theme of the animation that gained most attention. “Does it really
work?” was the reaction of many jury members. This means they understood what the
animation was about, and in that respect it did its job.”

Joosep is also unmistakably proud of the outcome. “I really like that we made Xroad
so easily understandable. We did a good job, as the time spent on explaining the project to
foreigners was the problem the client asked us to solve. And there are some parts of the
animation I really hold dear.”

Client: Cybernetica / cybernetica.ee
Director: Joosep Volk
Producer: Martin Rääk
Copywriter: Laura Noodapera
Illustrations: Joosep Volk, Ingel Martin
Animation: Joosep Volk, Ingel Martin
Sound Design: Ajar Studios


animation, Tolm Stuudio