Visual Storytelling for Various Interfaces

Visual Storytelling for Various Interfaces

Anna Ursyn (University of Northern Colorado, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7371-5.ch004

Abstract

This chapter is focused on text visualization and storytelling delivered in various literary styles adopted for various delivery systems. Discussion pertains first storytelling by drawing, both with traditional techniques and digital storytelling for various media and technologies. Transition from a sketch to sculpted forms converted to 3D printing, animation, and video is then discussed. Projects offer practical examples of the visual storytelling production and examine the possible usage of visual storytelling for different kinds of interfaces conducive to human communication through mass media, digital interactive, social, and printed media, with the use of mobile apps, web app, or application software.
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Introduction

Storytelling

Generally, storytelling refers both to the archived oral tradition in storytelling in different cultures, times, and places, and to digital storytelling using a variety of media formats, and involves words or written texts, images, gestures, sounds, and animated graphics to let the recipient know about incidents, occurrences, or events, and thus convey education, games, entertainment, (along with edutainment as a form of entertainment aimed at educating as well as entertaining) or cultural and moral traditions. The raw data such as observations, equations, structural formulas, or spectra are useless without the narrative theoretical framework that makes a story out of them. For many multi-media communication complex institutions, communicating by using fiction storytelling techniques can be a more compelling and effective route than using only dry facts. Stories also help us make sense of the world (Hensel, 2010).

Storytelling in the past often carried spiritual content, such as when Australian Aboriginal storytellers painted symbolic visual stories on sand or rocks, following the path of the spirits controlling their hands. Storytelling before the emergence of writing served for preserving memory of important events, such as in the case of a Greek epic poem Iliad ascribed to Homer, retold by centuries with many improvised embellishments. Some stories were not recorded at all but repeated by storytellers often enough to preserve its presence in a society, played with the use of shadow puppets or masks, as theatrical performances, games, or serial events. Stories often evolved by being told by people with different personalities and perspectives.

With the advent of writing, the writings recorded on rocks, wood, bamboo, clay, pottery, silk, papyrus, or paper complemented visual storytelling. Folklorists discern legends and fairy tales as the main groups of oral tales. Folkloric storytelling includes fairy tales about not necessarily true, often supernatural events, along with legends about true events happening in particular places and times, as well as extraterrestrial and ghost stories. Writers tell stories in their poems, novels, biographies, articles, museum displays, theatrical plays, and films. Many times, the same story about what happened is retold several times by the characters in a play or a movie, with similar props but changed events in each story. Actors, singers, and comedians use legends or folkloric materials along with historical data to engage their audience interest. The audience visualizes the events by creating personal mental images, reacting to the words and gestures of the storyteller, and thus becoming co-creators of the spectacle and motivating the teller to improvise. Children books with traditional stories often contain educational content, sometimes at the expense of a time-honored tale. For example, in some American editions a bottle of wine has been removed from a basket carried by a girl from the Charles Perrault’s (2012) ‘Little Red Riding Hood’ (rewritten later by Brothers Grimm).

One might say that whatever we do is a potential story. Visual storytelling, especially digital storytelling combines visual and verbal communication. There are a growing number of interfaces to introduce our story. With the use of a computer we can do it by creating an image and then transform it into other dimensions: from a two dimensional to a three-dimensional rotational object, a time based visual story, or a virtual reality based scenario. Tools for enhancing visual literacy and thus supporting learning about science may comprise visual storytelling, animations, video clips, simulations, and augmented reality environments, among other solutions. Visual storytelling adds the fourth dimension as it allows wandering across time and space to follow the events that happen to the characters we draw. It makes possible the retrieving, visualizing, representing, and sharing our knowledge through visual and verbal metaphors, and also involving our senses in the process. Music and sound effects also serve as the ways to transfer information. We may send out our stories on the web, and this would allow the user/visitor’s interactivity through the web. We may make a transition from a sketch to a 3D printed form, to animate it, and to interact with; while watching an interactive movie the gaze of a viewer can be tracked via an eye-tracking device.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Motion Graphics: A sequence of abstract or thematic electronic images – parts of a film, animation, a multimedia project, or a trademark, supported by fragments of soundtrack; motion graphics provide illusion of motion or rotation but usually do not tell a story.

Horse Steps: The four-beat walk (about 4.0 mph, 6.4 km per hour); the two-beat trot or jog (8.1 to 11.8 mph, 13 to 19 km per hour); the three-beat canter or lope (12 to 15 mph, 19 to 24 km per hour); the gallop averages 25 to 40 mph, 40 to 48 km per hour (Harris, 1994 AU62: The in-text citation "Harris, 1994" is not in the reference list. Please correct the citation, add the reference to the list, or delete the citation. ). Basic horse steps are natural; they do not require any special training.

Pictograph: A symbolic image representing a word or a sentence wide used in ancient cultures such as in Egypt, Mesopotamia, or Indian pictographs and petroglyphs. Also, a pictorial representation (an icon, a symbol, or a picture) presented on a computer screen, or a chart, showing the value of the data or comparing the sets of the data; pictographs are used to replace or enhance graphs that present the data as lines, curves, or bars.

Animatic: A simplified mock-up, a series of still images as an initial version of animation, video, or film containing successive sections of a storyboard and a soundtrack with rough dialogues. Storyboards and animatics allow pre-visualizing a project to get an insight about how the motion, soundtrack, and timing will work together before beginning the production.

Avatar: A representation of a person (a user) or a character created by this person in a form of a figure or an icon, used in video games, motion pictures, online forums, virtual reality, etc.

Icon: Icon represents a thing or refers to something by resembling or imitating it; thus, a picture, a photograph, a mathematical expression, or an old-style telephone may be regarded as iconic objects. Thus, an iconic object has some qualities common with things it represents, by looking, sounding, feeling, tasting, or smelling alike.

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