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Webcomic engine for "The Neverending Comic"
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ShadowCaster
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 30, 2004 12:28 pm    Post subject: Webcomic engine for "The Neverending Comic" Reply with quote

I'm currently working on an engine to read a comic shaped as a spiral.
I think it might be to use in a neverending comic.
Are you interessed Scott ?
Here's a screen shot (88KB)
And http://www.zwol.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1261 to know more about it.
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Scott McCloud
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 30, 2004 1:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Actually, spirals DO end. (Neverending = Circle) but I'd like to see you or a collaborator do something with it. It sounds Neat! ^^
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Rip Tanion
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 30, 2004 2:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've fooled with fractals quite a lot, in the past. Theoretically, can't you infinitely continue to zoom into the center of a fractal spiral? I thought the only limitation to iterating the spiral is the power of your computer, and the software that you are using. Of course, I'm an artist, not a mathematician, so I could be wrong.
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 30, 2004 5:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I suppose that, in theory, you could use Flash to make the spiral's bottom become the spiral's top. Perhaps there could be a black portion around the top of the spiral that is repeated at the end?this prevents the end of the story from being seen at the very beginning. When using flash to zoom from one layer of the spiral to the next (similar to The Right Number) you could have the black at the bottom of the spiral blend into the black at the top, jumping back to the first frame of the animation.

The trick would be to create a story that is never-ending in that sense. Perhaps the character falls asleep at the end of the story in order to wake up again at the beginning of the story.

Still, the spiral idea is workable.
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ShadowCaster
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 30, 2004 5:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Scott McCloud wrote:
Actually, spirals DO end. (Neverending = Circle) but I'd like to see you or a collaborator do something with it. It sounds Neat! ^^


OK, any collaborator out there ?

Actually, the spiral of the screen shot does not have to end since it's part of a fractal spiral. I could use the pannels of a circular story to build an infinite rectangle that would shape as an infinite spiral both inwards and outwards.

To Rip : Some fractals have pixel computation time proportionnal to zoom level, or even worse, growing exponentially with zoom level. The spiral has constant computation pixel time at any zoom level. But with very big or very small zoom levels, rounding errors due to floating point calculations start to degrade the image until it's unreadable, so ther's a limit. For the spiral fractal with circular pannel cycling there's a trick : when zoomed on a given pannel, the image is exactly the same as if it was a zoom of the same pannel on another point of the spiral so after a turn, simply and invisibly retur to the arbirary starting point and you effectively get an infinite working spiral.

To Guest :check http://happylandmaps.free.fr/comic_engines/spiral/20040628/Applet1.html
You can't see the end of the story before the end (you can see it a bit before, not unlike you would see the end of a page on a paper classic comic)
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wansley
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 01, 2004 11:37 am    Post subject: M. C. Escher and the Droste Effect Reply with quote

ShadowCaster wrote:
I'm currently working on an engine to read a comic shaped as a spiral.
I think it might be to use in a neverending comic.


Frankly, I think that the spiral web comic engine is a novelty with very limited application in web comics. But don't let me discourage ShadowCaster from developing it or anyone who wants to use it for their comics.

This topic did remind me of a fascinating web site that some of you may have seen mentioned in the New York Times' Science Times section some years ago. The web site describes how some mathematicians took a famous image by M. C. Escher that shows a man in art gallery who is actually inside the picture he is looking at. They determined that Escher (consciously or not) used a mathematical algorithm that they could decipher and they wrote a program to undistort the picture, as well as redistort it in various new ways and even create animations of the picture turning itself inside out in an infinite loop.

It is well worth checking out. http://escherdroste.math.leidenuniv.nl/.
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Rip Tanion
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 01, 2004 2:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ah, good ol' Escher, the stoner's favorite artist; twisting your mind with four dimensional paradoxes on a two dimensional plane. I never even considered before his art could be seen as fractalesque, but I guess in a way it is.
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ShadowCaster
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 02, 2004 4:44 am    Post subject: Re: M. C. Escher and the Droste Effect Reply with quote

wansley wrote:


Frankly, I think that the spiral web comic engine is a novelty with very limited application in web comics. But don't let me discourage ShadowCaster from developing it or anyone who wants to use it for their comics.


I agree it's very restrictive but it might very well become just a part of a more open Serpentine engine :
Page layout would be specified in XML as a set of rectangular strips composed of overlapping and stretched of image files, and each strip would have positioning and more importantly zooming and turning functions applied to. Reading interface would be that current panel would always be centred an correctly UP/DOWN oriented. Multiple reading path will need some other interface than Previous/Next keys. Maybe panel clicking to follow the shortest reading path until the clicked panel is reached ?
Main difference between Serpentine and Tarquin would be that the reader would always be attached to a point on a trail so the reading of a comic would feel more as a riding experience. Seeing the big picture can still be possible : the comic designer could specify a big zoom out for a given panel, or allow unlimited zoom out with the - key.

I'm very far from this yet but it's feasible. First step will be the restrictive fractal spiral.

Oh, and thank for the Echer link. It's beautiful and I learned a lot about very practical approach in plane transformations. Might come in handy someday.
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