Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Statement on Nonlinear Project

what do music, voice, and sfx bring to a narrative that is different from visual communication channels?

The elements of music, voice and sound all enhance the sensory experience for the user and hopefully increase the understanding of the narrative and the meaning. The visual aesthetic can be aided by the sound effects as well. For example, in my nonlinear narrative I have the music element of Billie Holiday's Swing Brother Swing, which enhances the temporal aspect by pushing the narrative back in time. It also can change/enhance the meaning of my animation since the main chorus is "swing it brother swing", of course alluding to the fact that you can "swing" a golf club like your body while dancing. Billie Holiday herself can also pertain to the idea of a diamond in the rough if the viewer would like. She was a celebrity that lived a lavish lifestyle and was always in the spot light.

compare and contrast different communicative qualities of music, voice, and sfx

While music can affect the whole ambiance, a sound effect may increase a specific character/persona of a specific portion of the narrative (like a button). The sound effects seem to make the narrative more personal (the buttons become personified) and can create a comfortable environment for the user. For example, the slight ping sounds in my narrative come off as "cute", it is almost as if the diamonds are enjoying being clicked just like a dog would enjoy being played with. The idea of voice within a narrative can act as instruction, and can seem offensive since the viewer cannot actually talk back. However, the user does have the power to make the voice shut up, which is nice if they don't like what they are hearing.

the differences between simultaneous and sequential communication

The idea of simultaneity is when two or more objects are side by side and are affecting one another, which makes me think juxtaposition. Sequential refers to more of a linear storyline with one event after another. In my nonlinear narrative the only sequential element is the actual animation itself that can then simultaneously be play while a song is playing or sfx. The user has the ability to control the simultaneity in any sequence (order) that they would like. For example, the video can be played first, then music or the music and then the video. While those two elements are simultaneously active the user can receive multiple meanings.

user vs. designer control

This project opened my eyes to this concept and in our reality as designers we should realize that design can't just consist of one pure message, and that it can be altered by our audience. The audience will become more creatively engaged with our work when we allow them to have a lot or even a little control. They all of a sudden feel more important if they can click a shape and it then plays a video. However, we as designers have almost always something that we want to say and too much user control can create noise and alter the message we are trying to communicate.

participants ability to discover relationships as they play

The user likes to figure things out, and we as a culture like to engage in problems in order to solve them. There is a level of satisfaction when there is a moment of discovery. There seems to be a level of enlightenment in the attitude of the user user when they decide that "oh! this song is saying swing brother swing, and that must be about the golfer swinging the club in the video." It isn't necessarily and extremely difficult mathematical equation , but it is a conclusion that is nonetheless enjoyable.


jmeurer said...

The overall look of the interface is pleasing because I felt your previous directions had some problem solving to be played out, but this solved the mood/emotion that came off from the start. I still feel as though the diamonds among the top acting as lights could become your sound effects, so you could give the viewer more options, and from that I got from hierarchy that the two bigger diamonds would be the music were the smaller ones would be sound effect. From this I feel you could have come up with a system to identify what could be what so the viewer wouldn't be left confused or forget which was which. As a viewer I want to see more, press more buttons, and hear more sounds, but I know this was long process to get to this point. From your selections of sound/music, I feel you choose the right connections among each component, which played out nicely. I enjoyed that the background image is black and white because it doesn't distract from your video, and the fact that all your buttons are diamond don't bother me one bit because you use different sizes to give the idea that they are different sound/music.


First of all, all of your audio is thematically appropriate. You have a good sense of being able to invoke a specific mood within the viewer. The style is unified and clear, and the tone is set subtly and effectively.

The delicate sounds that you created mimic the physical qualities of a diamond, and also allude to its feminine implications.

The classic jazz makes the character in the narrative instantly timeless, as well as classy and well-to-do... Living a life of leisure and simplicity.

The theater setting is subtle enough to not be perceived as cheesy, but has enough detail in it to clarify the setting and context for the video narrative.

The only visual problem I am seeing in the composition is due to how fractal and faceted the diamonds are. Because of the nature of light reflecting upon a diamond, there are many shapes being formed, and lumping them all together looks rather busy. I'm not sure how you would solve this problem... Perhaps some sort of shadow to distinguish them from one another and give them more depth? Just something to think about...