This post was written by Natalie Murrow, creator of Violet and The Bird book app. She is a recent graduate at the Rhode Island School of Design, (RISD). With a BFA in Industrial Design. I’ve had the pleasure of working with her this Spring, and she is an incredibly talented designer. Be sure to check out her website. http://nataliemurrow.com/
I was first introduced to Demibooks in one of my spring semester courses at Rhode Island School of Design. The class, taught by Mary Jane Begin and Nicholas Jainschigg, was called Electric Book in which students were instructed on how to make illustrated E-Books compatible with tablets or touch screen devices.
Our challenge was to create a narrative with interactivity, but also to retain a book like quality that was engaging without distracting from the story. We played around with a couple of different programs to see which was best suited for our individual project needs.
Rafiq Ahmed and Stacey Williams-Ng from the Demibooks team came to our class mid-semester to give a short demonstration on how to use the Composer App. We were instructed to bring in assets to class (i.e. simple images, videos, and sound files), which were easily transferred to our iPads via Dropbox. I was surprised at how easy the navigation and interface seemed to be compared to the software we had been using previously. Stacey showed us how each asset could be attributed an action which was accompanied by a simple and understandable “if-then” statement that allowed us to begin to animate our creations in fun and engaging ways. It didn’t take long before the class was completely immersed, everyone experimenting in small groups closely gathered around a shared iPad. One of the most exciting aspects was the tactile quality of our experience, being able to preview our creations directly on the iPad, touching, swiping, and tapping each asset to activate it.
I was fortunate to be given the opportunity to work with the software for my final project, which I created using stop motion animation techniques. My process 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.
I named my book “Violet and the Bird.” It is a story about a girl who is trapped inside her apartment and fixed to the television screen. Her life is mundane and orderly until one day she gets an unexpected gift at her doorstep. It turns out to be a beautiful bird in a yellow cage. The bird’s incessant chirping disrupts her routine lifestyle and causes her to free him from her apartment window. She ends up following him out into the world where she is reintroduced to nature through her other three senses, smell, touch, and taste.The idea behind the story is to get children outside again, something they can do with a portable device like the iPad.
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. Once I had all of my short .mov files created it was easy to drop them exactly where I wanted them, and given the short amount of time before the deadline, I was able to compile everything in Composer over the course of a weekend.I look forward to working with the program more in the future and would recommend it for anyone. The team has been really helpful through the whole process and quick to respond to questions or troubleshooting issues.