Non-fiction animation is, taken technically as well as from the view point of empirical phenomenology, a probe, piecemeally revealing individual levels of contents by the use of film image and its animation. Its object is adumbration encompassed in the photographical transcript of reality and its possible animations, as well as successions of individual scenes in feature films and the principle of ingenious decoupage in the work of filmmakers and visual artists.
Non-fiction animation as a genre or a subcategory of animation and cinematography includes a wide range of techniques in relation to reality in front of the camera, reality during the film or the outsidefilm reality.
First, the non-fiction areas of animation were used primarily by the creators of educational or propaganda films.
This section surveys the possibilities of animation usage in a non-fiction dimension in all possible relations to reality (art record, film diary, association evocation etc.) or in effects (comedy, drama or historical tragedy). Any reality can be thickened into the form of a simple outline picture and an ironic exaggeration; or relived in the painful memories of Nazi ghetto inhabitants through the animation of drawings from that period.
Nordic countries are the most active powers in the field of animated non-fiction. In mutual cooperation they use animation as an instrument for documental commentary on historical events, for enlightenment on socio-political questions (gender inequality, bullying or counselling for victims of a sexual violence) or for education and cultivation.
The film activity of Paul Fierlinger is, in several regards, symptomatic of the actual creation and function of narrative non-fiction.
The work of Austrian artist, Martin Arnold (1949), is often described as subversive because of its manipulative features which deal with films that already exist (mostly Hollywood films from the 1930s to the 1950s).