I am so excited for the new downtown to DIA train that is opening in Denver CO, on April 22nd. The Daily Create assessment tdc1530 ask to make a gif, with a caption, from the classic silent movie “The Great Train Robbery”, here is my response:
I had to make some difficult decisions for this gif. I had originally imagined that the gif would involve a short video of the train running down the track, with a caption sharing the opening date for the airport train. I decided to switch to the shot of the robbers jumping onto the train because of the great arm signal by the first bandit telling his compatriots to “come on”, which tied in nicely with an “all aboard” in the caption. I also had to choose if I wanted to lengthen the clip to include the train pulling away from the station, but the train takes five or six seconds to get moving and that created a lot of dead space in the gif and I decided to focus on the robbers getting on the train. I hope you like my piece and are excited about the new airport train as I am.
*THIS POST IS PART OF A CONTINUING SERIES OF RESPONSES TO ASSIGNED READINGS FOR LEARNING WITH DIGITAL STORIES, A MASTER LEVEL COURSE I AM ENROLLED IN AT UC DENVER.
I decided to try something new this week and created a digital response to the assigned readings from my Digital Storytelling class at UC Denver. I hope you enjoy:
*I HAVE BEEN READING AND CRITIQUING DIGITAL COMICS, FOR MY MASTER LEVEL STUDIES, IN A CONTINUING SERIES TO DEVELOP MY EXPOSURE TO AND UNDERSTANDING OF THIS
I have been following my favorite comic book creators on Twitter hoping to expand my exposure to what is happening with comics, especially what is happening with digital comics. This week I was rewarded for my efforts. I had been following Scott McCloud sense I critiqued his TED talk The Visual Magic of Comics. Over the weekend McCloud tweeted about a
digital comic that was employing the concept of the infinite canvas – were the static images of comics are freed form the boundaries of physical paper in the virtual world (read more about the infinite canvas in my blog post here). The comic that was given McCloud endorsed was The Firelight Isle, by Paul Duffield, and the McCloud seal of approval is enough for me to check it out. I will be using three criteria to critique this comic:
- Media Application
- Originality, Voice, Creativity (OVC)
The story of a of the digital comic is what make it worth reading, without a compelling narrative a digital comic is just a showcase for a flashy new technology. Duffield does a phenomenal job of creating the mystical world his comic is set in, while simultaneously developing his characters and building the plot. None of these elements are explained outright but as the story develops the reader is giving a greater glimpse into the Firelight Isle world. This approach to the story adds to the mysterious mood of the comic and grabs the reader’s attention.
As I mentioned Duffield employs the infinite canvas to display this comic, his particular canvas spreads infinitely down, or until the end of a chapter. This downward limitation of the infinite caves limits the options for the flow of the comic in some ways but enables Duffield to use panels and boarders following conventions of print comics because there is ambiguity about the direction the comic is flowing in. Also the downward flow of the comic makes it awesome to view on you phone or tablet because you just scroll down with out any interruptions in your viewing.
What I liked best about The Firelight Isla is the way that Duffield was able to creatively weave his story, static images and the digital canvas itself together into one beautiful piece. Duffield calls his digital canvases ribbons and decorates each as if they were tapestries, with striking blue colors. This ties into the story because a central plot point is the creation of a religious tapestry, died using the same bold blue color from the ribbons. I the Firelight Isle world this blue is a sacred color, only to be touched by the imposing religious figures. The attention to the details, in the story and in its rendering in the virtual world, are what make Duffield’s comic an amazing work of art and a must read.
This week I decided to tackle Daily Create #1522: Make a Sign For Your Randomly Generated Ranch Name. I think using name generators then having to create something form the name is an awesome idea, I could see doing this exact activity with my students and extending the activity to having the farm be a setting in a short story.
The name generator gave me Oasis Farms, which I was drawn too because it provides the perfect counter part to the term food desert – which describes a neighborhood with limited or no access to fresh produce or other non-packaged foods. I used familiar imagery form both an oasis and farm for the Oasis Farms sign. I wanted create a sign that not only invoked nostalgia of farm fresh foods but also the relief from suffering provided by an oasis.
I love The Big Lebowski and one question keeps drawing me back into the movie every time I see it is – What is The Stranger doing in L.A.? Is he on the run? Does he have family in town? Is this his vacation? But I never find a satisfying answer. The ds106 design assignment I chose gave me a chance to think about he people back home for The Stranger and to give them a hand in finding the lost cowboy. Design assignment 1888 asked to create a missing person poster and I made one for The Stranger
The process of making the poster was enjoyable. I did some research about Sam Eliot, the actor who played the stranger, to have actuate age (in 1998 the year The Big Lebowski came out), weight, and height. I also used a fake telephone number with an area code for Deadwood SD, because I wanted to connect with a real location that I view as having cowboy roots. This has been a fun activity and I am going to keep the template and let my students use it to make posters for characters from the books they are reading!
*THIS POST IS PART OF A CONTINUING SERIES OF RESPONSES TO SCHOLARLY TEXTS FOR LEARNING WITH DIGITAL STORIES, A MASTER LEVEL COURSE I AM ENROLLED IN AT UC DENVER.
Found my scholarly text for this week in the College Research Library News. I was looking for research about using comics for teaching in specific disciplines. I had been searching for comics applied to science instruction, in particular. I had originally not expected much from John Meier’s article Science Graphic Novels for Academic Libraries but I am glad that I decided to give it a try. Meier’s piece has an interesting introduction outlining the current state of university library collections of comics and graphic novels and reveals the better funded institutions have greater collections of comics then under funded institutions.
The heart of Meier’s article, however, is an interview with Jay Hosler. Who is a researcher at Juniata College, and a graphic novelist. I know his work from the amazing piece Clan Apis which is the story of a the two honey bees and their hive. This graphic novel full of facts about bees, life in the hive and photo realistic illustrations and diagrams. But it is science fiction and the story of the relationship between the main characters is heartwarming and full of depth, intrigue and character development. I love this graphic novel and have used it in my instruction with fifth graders.
Hosler has lots of great things about comics and using them for teaching science. There were three quotations that stood out to me as being the most influential ideas Hosler shares.
On the power of images in a comic Hosler said: “You get to see the other person’s thoughts, and I think that is the magic of a graphic novel.” This concept of seeing the thoughts of the artist in a comic lets the creator of the comic show the narrative to the reader and then use text to verify the meaning of images.
On the balance between text and images in a comic: “A balance must be struck between the two with word and pictures doing different things.” By having both text and images in a comic each can be used to accomplish the specific storytelling tasks that each is best suited for.
On why to use comics in science instruction: “I . . . write a comics story and embed a graph . . . it’s not disjointed, it’s there. There is no way you can just move on to the next panel. You can’t skip a panel any more than you can skip a paragraph. Because it’s right there. The characters are walking over, around, and on the graph.” Also incorporating an engaging narrative draws in the learners into the story and if the facts are embedded in that narrative then the students will be actively engaged in their learning.
*THIS POST BELONGS TO A COLLECTION OF CRITIQUES OF DIGITAL COMICS AND RELATED MATERIAL, CREATED FOR A MASTER LEVER COURSE AT THE UNIVERSITY OF COLORADO DENVER.
I decided to go in a different direction this week for my digital story review. I was inspired by last week’s L&K chapter and the concept of remixing in digital sorties. While looking around for examples of remixes in comics I came across a movement called motion comics, these digital videos uploaded to YouTube are created by users by taking copies of individual panels from the graphic novel and displaying them on the screen then adding a soundtrack of voice actors reading the dialogue and cinematic sound effects and music, even more sophisticated motion comics will take static images from the panels and animate the to give the comic a more cinematic feel. I found many of these motion comics and chose to review a price by Nuff Said Fred – remixing the Image comic Saga by Brian K Vaughan and Fiona Staples. I will be using the critique criteria of story, presentation and performance, and Project planning for my review.
Saga is a wonderful science fiction story and an awesome piece to remix as a motion comic. The plot centers around Alana and Marko, members of two different alien races that are locked in a bloody feud, after a chance encounter they fall in love and have a child. The comic follows Alana, Marko and their baby, Hazel, as they attempt to flee from both sides of the conflict. Saga was a great choice for source material because it already has a captivating story and the remix is able to use that plot as a foundation to present the narrative in a fundamentally different way.
Presentation and Performance
The choice of sound effects, music and voice actors for this motion comic were well done. The music conveys mood without being overbearing and the sound effects are minimalist, thus making them effective in times they are used. The voice actors’ performances were clear and well rehearsed and gave each static image of the characters a layer of personality. I feel that the emotions were occasionally flat and that the voice actors did not always convey the true nature of the character reactions or statements.
the preparation of this piece involved scanning or filming the pages or individual panels of the Saga comic. Most of the motion comics I have seen keep the dialogue bubbles as part of the images that viewers see, Nuff Said Fred decided to remove the bubbles, the work is done in a way to try to hide where the bubbles were but the cover up was not perfect and there are distorted sections were the dialogue bubbles have been photo-shopped out. These distorted sections do not detract from the story and is a style choice made by the author, which works because of the amazing installations that become the only focus for the viewer’s eyes. The author has also chosen to not animate the static images in this video. Other example of motion comics have varying degrees of animated images, I feel that not having animation makes the work of the voice actors more important because they become solely responsible to create a new perspective through which to view the source material, and that Nuff Said Fred’s actors were successful in creating that perspective in this remix.
I would suggest checking out this Saga motion comic because it is well done and a great introduction to the Saga narrative.