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    •  
      CommentAuthorsneak046
    • CommentTimeJun 21st 2011 edited
     (9968.1)
    I wrote this blog earlier today, and thought I'd share it to see if you guys had any comments, ideas etc:

    --

    This morning, while not doing the job I am paid to do, I was reading an article on Imperica.com linked to from BERG LONDON's site about connecting the digital world to print media, by Durrell Fisher.

    The article discusses ways in which print media could interact with online resources - beyond simply printing a URL for interested parties to type into their brower address bar. One of these methods would involve the use of QR codes that could be read by a cameraphone, webcam, or even a dedicated QR code reader.

    This made me suddenly think, why can't a comic do that now?

    If you take the example of Warren Ellis' Doktor Sleepless, here we have a comic book that had an extensive online datashadow in the form of the community maintained Dr Sleeples wiki, the outbreaks of the future-spotting website Grinding.be, and a secret forum that you could only get to by either a leap of lateral thinking in working out the URL, or finding a link hidden deep within the wiki site.

    So your QR codes could be embedded withing the panels of the comic book that could then point your readers' QR reading devices at whatever part of the book's datashadow you wanted to.

    And then someone lit the blue touch paper, so to speak.

    One of my twitter contacts (@nevali) mentioned that camera phones are often able to 'see' non-visible wavelengths of the em spectrum.


    Now, of course fans of Warren Ellis will already know that he is working with BERG LONDON to create SVK, a comic that has sections printed in UV ink that requires the use of the special torch that comes packaged with the Comic to read.

    You can probably see where I am going with this idea.


    Yep, a comic book that has QR codes embedded within the panels that are completely invisible to the reader, until they point their QR code reading device at it.

    BRAINGASM!


    --



    (Copypasta from my posterous, forgive me but I haven't got time at the moment to re-enter the links)
    •  
      CommentAuthortexture
    • CommentTimeJun 21st 2011
     (9968.2)
    This sounds like an awesome idea. Embedding digital content like hypertext in a physical product. Gosh... the possibilities are mouth wateringly interesting. I'd be up for trying this in the next Weaponizer Quarterly, sneak... how do we make it work?
    •  
      CommentAuthorsneak046
    • CommentTimeJun 21st 2011
     (9968.3)
    Exactly, I'm kinda excited by the possible applications...

    I've not quite got to the 'how to get it to work' stage - but it's got to be worth at least exploring? Right?
    •  
      CommentAuthortexture
    • CommentTimeJun 21st 2011
     (9968.4)
    I would definitely say so. Presumably the cost of getting it printed with UV ink is going to be quite high though, might have to start with a lower-tech solution, like just hiding the barcode in a bit of artwork.
    •  
      CommentAuthorsneak046
    • CommentTimeJun 21st 2011
     (9968.5)
    yeah, that was where the idea began - certainly I could see someone with a bar-code tattoo (a la 'hitman') for instance, that bar-code leads to a character bio page or similar.
    •  
      CommentAuthorCameron C.
    • CommentTimeJun 21st 2011
     (9968.6)
    Maybe there is some sort of optical trickery that could be used to hide scannable bar/qr codes to panels that arent easy to spot? Or maybe the codes can be hidden in the edge design work along the pages somehow, instead of the actual art panels.

    Or if you want to go the extra mile with your own personal iphone/android app you could make it so that you could take a picture of virtually any 'object' in any panel and provide info (From a hidden site or stored locally in the app) on whatever was the focus of the picture taken?
  1.  (9968.7)
    This has me thinking alternate reality game... ala Nine Inch Nail's Year Zero.

    If half the challenge is figuring out how to get the reference, you can embed different forms of information, which would at least allow you to avoid the expense of things like UV ink on every page. I'm not sure what other forms of stenography could be used in print and what level of resolution in printing/scanning would be needed to pick them up, but it could be fun to play with. You could definitely put up IP addresses in random backgrounds. Perhaps figure out a way to get Morse code in there and the obvious .org's "official" web site.

    The trick of course is that your on-line content actually has to be worth the hunt, while not being essential to understanding the printed story. Otherwise it's a fun gimmick for an issue or two and then... meh.
    •  
      CommentAuthorsneak046
    • CommentTimeJun 21st 2011
     (9968.8)
    The trick of course is that your on-line content actually has to be worth the hunt, while not being essential to understanding the printed story. Otherwise it's a fun gimmick for an issue or two and then... meh.

    I think that is the key really, not just doing something because it is possible.

    The original idea came from having a linked datashadow you could connect to without having to manually type in a URL - the fancy UV/non-visible to the naked eye aspect came second. So we could be talking about a breakdown of each page for each issue - or a sort of directors commentary track of each issue, for instance.
    •  
      CommentAuthorAzabith
    • CommentTimeJun 21st 2011 edited
     (9968.9)
    Another use could be an interactive element to the QR codes placed within the art work. (Maybe linking it to some audio to complement the mood)

    This was been used in the dry corporate world, I can see this working in a better medium

    Link to QR CODE - Content-rich Resume

  2.  (9968.10)
    If you're just going to do commentary, it would probably be easier to just give a URL to a web site and let them click through page by page or something. Perhaps it's just my own brand of insanity, but it would take actual story content to get my juices flowing. For instance, if you were doing some sort of crime story, there could be triggers embedded in the panels for the crime scene that would allow you to see things which may not mean anything, but two issues later would turn out to be critical. So you see the clues before the characters do. The idea there being you'd want your readers to try and solve the puzzle before the narrator does. This would hopefully generate buzz and sell more issues.

    Alternately, something where you give a sub story from some other character's point of view. For instance, as Joss Whedon says, every good villain is the hero of his own story. It might be fun to see things from his POV. Not required reading, but adds some texture when you get to the point where our hero puts a bullet in his brain and now you know, his dying child will not be able to afford the expensive experimental treatments that might let him live.
    •  
      CommentAuthorsneak046
    • CommentTimeJun 21st 2011
     (9968.11)
    Alternately, something where you give a sub story from some other character's point of view.



    That's a great idea. *chuckles about dying child back-story* "Why does daddy do all those evil things mommy?" "Is it for my cancer drugs?"


    I do think a storytelling use would be great, and actually, if done well would be fucking awesome - the other example you just gave about a crime scene is pretty damn cool - it would be great to lay little easter eggs around that only come together when you've read the entire work. I am just chucking ideas about here so yeah - any input is great from my point of view.
    •  
      CommentAuthorHEY APATHY!
    • CommentTimeJun 21st 2011 edited
     (9968.12)
    A long long long time ago I played a video game called "STAR TROPICS". When I got the game it came with a printed letter from my game character's uncle requesting that I save him from the aliens . I played the game everyday that summer with a friend of mine until we got to last level. However when we got there we couldn't figure out where that last level was ( each level was a location on a map). We did find a clue stating that our uncle had already told us where the island was but it didn't seem to make any sense. A week later I remembered the letter that came with the game and also recalled the odd paper that it was printed on. Sure enough we tracked the letter down through piles of papers and boxes in my toy room , poured water over the secret parchment and revealed the codes necessary to complete the game. It was awesome. The video game and the paper letter combined created the most (& only) memorable gaming experience of my life.

    I think there is certainly potential in the future of said digital/print crossovers, but they will have to be relevant to the subject, exciting, and interactive.
    •  
      CommentAuthorsneak046
    • CommentTimeJun 22nd 2011 edited
     (9968.13)
    Just spotted this linked to by Drawn:

  3.  (9968.14)
    Cuecat for comics. Brilliant idea, that.

    It would make a lot more sense to accept that the printed comic industry is about to go down for the count. Focus on making digital comics better, not mucking up print comics by sticking barcodes in.
    •  
      CommentAuthorsneak046
    • CommentTimeJun 24th 2011
     (9968.15)
    @James the article referenced at the top directly cites cuecat as how not to do it.
  4.  (9968.16)
    You guys should check out double feature comics at http://doublefeaturecomics.com, its straight to digital with top tier talent like Mike Norton and Tim Seeley.
    • CommentAuthorEmperor
    • CommentTimeJun 27th 2011
     (9968.17)
    I'm sure there is a clever way to integrate QR code into a page:


    • Could you have it in the page as one colour that you could then run a filter over to extract the QR Code, or some other forum of processing?

    • Could embed it in the art of a page? Perhaps so large that the QR Code would only be visible from a distance? Or it is hidden as... for example a pattern of lights in s tower block in the background?

    • Could you do something like those Mad magazine fold-ins, so that each part of the QR was spread across a number of pages or over one page?

  5.  (9968.18)
    Actually there's a young adult book called The Search for Wondla that does something like this. There's a recurring image that shows up in the book and when you use a webcam and a plug in to look at it, you get an animation or a story detail or something like that. Lacking a webcam I didn't get a chance to see that, but the demo on their website (http://wondla.com) shows some of it.
  6.  (9968.19)
    What about using something like an AR app - like Aurasma is on the iPhone - creating happenings in the comic - linking to videos/audio/information - hmmmm!

    Edit to Add: I'm going to try something along these lines....
  7.  (9968.20)
    I've posted on my site a thought about using AR - would appreciate your thoughts