OPPORTUNITY: To create eBooks that retain a book-like quality and uses story-telling to engrosses the reader
STUDENT LEARNINGS: – new opportunities in “real-time” interaction using illustrated books made possible with interactive digital technology – use of technology to enhance, not distract from, content – narrative traditions of the picture book, comic book and graphic novel
EXAMPLE BOOK: Violet and the Bird — using mobile technology to encourage children to go outside again
The ability to balance the use of technology and with creative storytelling is essential for jobs ranging from design to management. At RISD, a design school almost always ranked #1 globally, students are challenged to achieve this balance through an Electric Book class launched in 2012. Under the guidance of Mary Jane Begin and Nicholas Jainschigg, students created an interactive narrative that retains a book-like quality to engage readers without distracting from the story. Demibooks Composer was one of the foundation tools used in the course. “My project in particular took a great deal of time to build, photograph, and edit. I was thankful that the easiest part was putting it together on the iPad. I was able to compile everything in Composer over the course of a weekend,” said Natalie Murrow, RISD and Demibooks alumni. Unlike software previously used, Composer is easy to navigate. The app gives creators the ability to immediately preview projects directly on the iPad, touching, swiping, and tapping each asset to activate it. Violet and the Bird, Murrow’s final project, used stop motion animation techniques. “[I] began by building a 3-D articulated puppet and set. I photographed my puppet in
different positions and used still photographs combined with simple animations to add a level of surprise and interactivity to each page.” To encourage children to get outside again Murrow tells a story of a girl who “traps” herself in her apartment by staying glued to a tv screen. Her life is mundane until an unexpected gift arrives at her doorstep — a beautiful bird in a yellow cage. The bird’s incessant chirping disrupts Violet’s routine lifestyle, causing her to free him from her apartment window. Surprisingly, she ends up following the bird out into the world. Soon she is reintroduced to nature through her other three senses, smell, touch, and taste.