Microsoft, Seadragon and the Infinite Canvas

I first saw Microsoft’s Seadragon and Photosynth projects via Blaise Aguera y Arcas’s stunningĀ demo at TED 2007, and of course, I immediately thought of the implications for my “infinite canvas” ideas. Apparently, I wasn’t alone. Last spring, I got an email from Ian Gilman who worked with the team, to let me know about his efforts to apply some of these ideas to comics and pointing out Seadragon’s baby steps on the Web. Though those efforts are only peripherally related to Seadragon so far, the proximity is interesting.

Art by Paul Sizer from his intro to B.P.M.

Art by Paul Sizer from his intro to B.P.M.

Microsoft’s Infinite Canvas, listed as “a funky side project” from Microsoft’s Live Labs, is still just in Alpha testing. It’s not as smooth as Merlin’s Tarquin Engine by any means, but it does introduce a community element and the instant gratification of being able to hit that “create” button and try it out right away, which could lead in some very interesting directions. I even threw a vintage improv upĀ there to try it out.

The results are scattered, of course, and not every comic uses the same navigational model, but it’s definitely worth looking at and playing with.


  1. [...] with developments like Microsoft’s embryonic Infinite Canvas Alpha and the likelihood of multi-touch netbooks in the near future, Prezi may be part of a general trend [...]