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Archive for ‘Visual Communication’


Welcome to Pine Point

Let’s all contemplate our mortality, shall we?

Welcome to Pine Point is a “creative non-fiction interactive documentary” by Paul Shoebridge and Michael Simons for the National Film Board of Canada.

Despite the rough, hand-animated photo-collages and humble lettering, Welcome to Pine Point achieves sophisticated and haunting effects as it chronicles a small Canadian town that was literally wiped off the map, and the lives of those who once called it home. I especially liked the use of music.

I highly recommend setting aside some free time, hitting full screen and diving in.

It’s not comics, but shares some of our visual vocabulary, and it should be of interest to anyone studying visual communication, storytelling, and the power of shared memories.


Well, Here’s a… Thing. From the Internet.

It’s by an Israeli art director, going by the name of “Baboon” and all the traffic from a recent Very Short List link has blown out his site, so here’s an alternate link for now.

(Original link here)

See how many paths you can discover. It’s pretty addictive.

[Thanks to Lori Matsumoto.]


The Scale of the Universe

Here’s a great z-axis zoom-through of the universe [link via Kris Lachowski] showing the vast range of scales from the sub-atomic level to the outer reaches of the known universe.

When I was a kid, I read an illustrated book from 1957 called The Universe in 40 Jumps that pulled a similar trick in a succession of 10x steps; a predecessor to films like Powers of Ten (and partial inspiration for The Right Number).

Looking at this latest effort to make the incomprehensible comprehensible, all I can think is that the universe has gotten A LOT bigger, since I was a lot smaller.

Have a great weekend…

…you tiny, insignificant specks.


The Infographic that Ate Comics

Damian Niolet recently sent word of a giant infographic he created as a personal cheatsheet showing…

Um…

Well, here’s his (perhaps a bit tongue-in-cheek) description from the graphic itself:

“A graphical representation of the process of creating a work of fiction in comic book form and the tools and knowledge necessary to do so, as based on the theories and works of Scott McCloud (with some minor additional concepts from Damian Niolet).”

It’s big, beautiful, and kinda terrifying  (to me at least), and if you want to download a hi-res copy, you can find a link to do so either here or here.

I have a weird job!


Wanna be a Guinea Pig?

Neil Cohn is looking for volunteers to, well… look at comics. You guys can do that, right?

He’s even offering a drawing for a prize, so go for it.

And while you’re at it, check out Neil’s other studies and essays at his Visual Linguist blog.

[link via Journalista]


Information is Beautiful

Information is Beautiful has been around for a while, but it’s such a great site, I just wanted to give it a shout-out here.

In the last 100 years or so, many technology watchers (including Einstein, IIRC) have lamented how the human brain has barely changed while its many inventions continue to reshape our environment at a constantly accelerating pace.

Short of Eugenics 2.0 (probably NOT a good idea), we need to get smarter FAST, and recent advances in Visualizing Information are one of the fronts that look especially promising. To a cartoonist anyway.

Not all of the charts David McCandless offers up on his site are in the spirit of rigorous scholarship. Some are just rhetorical jabs. But see if you don’t feel your own brain crammed with ideas after a stroll through its pages.


Not Comics, but Cool…

A lot of you may have already seen this experimental Arcade Fire “video” by Chris Milk (it’s been out at least a month) but if not, definitely give it a spin. Don’t be shy about giving them your old address, it’s worth it.

Then check in with the latest Chrome Experiments and consider how some of these new tricks might be applied to comics, so I can retroactively claim this was about comics afterall.

[via Billy Poulos]


The Internet of Things?

Not comics-related, but I found this article about the impending availability of more wireless spectrum kind of interesting, and I liked the little “Internet of Things” video IBM put together (found via Mark Essel). For a corporate promo, it does a decent job of visualizing legitimately interesting issues, without just shilling for a specific product.*

Big companies seem to be doing a better job of earning those little logos in the last few seconds of their videos ( the herding cats video for example). More are earning at least an “aww” or a “hmm” from us. Fewer just an “oy.”

*though, as the article points out, it may be shilling for a less-than-desirable world, privacy-wise.

The Physics of Iconography

Via Dan Wallace, news of this concept video by TAT Technology.

2014 may seem kind of soon for a lot of what they’re showing, but it’s encouraging to see how close our imaginations are drawing toward the kind of pie-in-the-sky displays I was filling peoples’ heads with during Q & As in the late ’90s.

(Also, yeah, there’s a bit of gratis “product placement” in the first scene, though I swear that’s not why I’m linking to it!)

A lot of the progress we’re seeing in multi-touch display technology (the real thing, not just smoke-and-mirrors promo videos) falls into the broad category of introducing physics into visual iconography; something I’ve wanted to see comics embrace for over a decade.

If we treat comics as a still life of multiple static (or looping) images, then the way we navigate through that landscape matters. Hunting for tiny scrollbar arrows or next page links to click was always a temporary waystation.

When navigating through information is a process of grabbing, flinging, flipping, or stopping continuous images, we can finally delegate the common sense parts of our brain that’ve always known how to navigate the physical world to getting from panel to panel, and devote our attention to the world inside the panels and inside the stories we care about.

And that can’t happen soon enough.


Friday Odds and Ends

Way, way back in the deep recesses of the horrifying guilt-mountain that is my Inbox, I found an old email from one Michelangelo Cicerone forwarding the news of a very cool Historic Tale Construction Kit, which is essentially a Create Your Own Bayeux Tapestry tool. Give it a try if you’re so inclined.

On the night table: Top Shelf’s excellent alternative manga collection AX; Mario and Gilbert Hernandez’s good-old-fashioned twisted comic book adventure Citizen Rex; and Moto Hagio’s lyrical Drunken Dream from Fantagraphics.

To satisfy your weekly Greek webcomic quota, check out the handsomely-drawn Mused by Kostas Kiriakakis.

And finally, here’s an insidious video that’ll burrow its way into your skull forever, courtesy of Warren Ellis. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Have a great weekend.