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Rock, Paper, Pixels
The Evolution of Visual Storytelling

by Lisa L. Cyr

Quick response codes, prevalently seen in advertising, are also penetrating the publishing arena. Through the use of a smartphone with a QR code reader application, these stamp-size codes allow easy access to hyperlinks on the web that feature supportive audio and visual content. Book trailers, educational tools, author videos and maps each add to the reader's understanding of a book’s content. “With the increasing number of smartphones in the marketplace, the use of QR codes linked to trailers provide consumers with a quick preview of the book, beyond the flap copy, at the key moment when they are deciding whether to purchase,” shares Matt Pantoliano, online marketing manager at Simon & Schuster Children's Division. “To promote the WondLa books, we created a spot-the-difference game that is available as an iPad app (itunes.apple.com/us/app/wondla/id391273548?mt=8) and online in Flash (wondla.com/game1). Distributed to major gaming websites, the game has been played well over one million times.” Animated games and digital toys add yet another element of entertaining, interactive engagement. “With digital toys you can take the experience out of the book to examine, explore and create your own digital universe," explains Jochim. The technology of 3D Cards by Popar allows readers to capture photos, record videos of the interactive experience and even create their own story, later posting the photos and videos onto any social media network.


The digital toys component of Planets 3D (Popar Books) goes beyond the confines of print
to entertain and engage young readers.

We are seeing just the tip of the iceberg in this emerging technology that seamlessly combines the very tactile world of print with the sound and animation capabilities of the web. “With the proliferation of e-reading devices and e-book sales on the rise, I think augmented reality, qr codes and similar types of technology will help forge a connection between the print and digital platforms. We’re already seeing augmented reality pop-up books, choose-your-own-adventure style e-books, enhanced e-books with audio, video, animation and games as well as all sorts of extra content built in. As the devices that can handle these types of media continue to multiply and spread, there’s no limit to what a book may become,” says Pantoliano. “There will always be a place for traditional books as we know them, but innovative publishers will definitely continue to find new ways to adapt these emerging technologies, creating new forms of entertainment that transcend print books.” When it comes to visual storytelling, the vehicles for creative content are evolving and interactive digital media is certainly throwing down the gauntlet. But no matter the format—rock, paper or pixels—engaging, thought-provoking storytelling still needs to be top of mind.



Bugs 3D (Popar Books), written by Robert Siddell and illustrated by Chrissie Vales, is an interactive experience using augmented reality, 360-degree surround sound and 3-D digital toys. For an online demonstration, go to www.popartoys.com.

Telling stories is as basic as the need for every individual to connect and be heard. Technological advancements have made it possible for content creators and readers to communicate like never before. For publishers, authors and book illustrators, the future of visual storytelling is abounding with cross-platform opportunities. “As technology and our connections become more mobile and accessible so will the enhanced experience in our daily lives. Through augmented contact lenses and glasses each person will have their own unique way of seeing the world,” concludes Jochim. “A new generation of readers will push the boundaries of what they want and are willing to experience, where each reader decides on the depth and breadth of how far he or she wishes to travel down the rabbit hole of the story.” As the technology becomes more sophisticated, the art of visual literature will continue to expand, entertain and mystify, becoming illustratively magical and more awe-inspiring than we can even begin to imagine. CA

© 2012 Lisa L. Cyr, Cyr Studio LLC

http://image.commarts.com/Images1/5/8/3/38584_54_0_MTYyNTQ2OTg1MTE4NjQ3NzE3MQ.jpgLisa L. Cyr
Lisa L. Cyr is an accomplished author and multidisciplinary artist with a content-driven focus. Her books, Innovative Promotions That Work, The Art of Promotion, The Little Book of Big Promotions, Brochure Design That Works and Graphic Design That Works (Rockport Publishers), feature top national and international promotional work with sidebars that go beyond the basics to explore strategic and innovative thinking. A graduate from The Massachusetts College of Art (BFA) and Syracuse University (MA), Cyr’s artistic oeuvre has been exhibited both nationally and internationally in museums, galleries and universities. Her work is also included in the permanent collection of the Museum of American Illustration as well as private collections. She is an artist member of the Society of Illustrators in New York City and works in partnership with her husband Christopher Short, painter and 3-D illustrator.