Scott McCloud’s Big Triangle and New Media Composition Kevin B rooks North Dakota State  University Computers and Writing,...
Big Triangle in its simplest form A visual heuristic for analyzing and generating visual/verbal communication
Words of praise from  a comics scholars <ul><li>Joseph Witek calls the big triangle  </li></ul><ul><li>“ “ a master map of...
More praise from a comic scholar <ul><li>Understanding Comics  provides and enacts a vocabulary of analysis that is engagi...
McCloud’s place in visual rhetoric scholarship <ul><li>Included as an exemplar of visual-verbal composition in  </li></ul>...
Perhaps taught more than used in scholarship? <ul><li>Susan Delagrange: “Visual Rhetoric and Documentary Form,”  (Spring 2...
Alternative or supplement to:   CRAP: Non-Designers DB Visual Language Matrix Robin Williams Kostelnick and Roberts
Potentially a good fit with. . .   The rhetorical triangle Albert Rouzie,  http://jupiter.phy.ohiou.edu/~rouzie/fall151/rh...
From simple to complex: a relational database   McCloud draws  a separate plane  for words, and  suggests words are also u...
Rather than locate “meaning” along the bottom, and “abstractness” along the top, we  make meaning out of abstract,  iconic...
Context for my use of McCloud <ul><li>“ Visual Culture and Language” course, junior standing, a blend of history, theory, ...
Assignment 1: Timelines <ul><li>Timelines specifically and information graphics generally will illustrate the role of word...
 
Assignment 2: Photo Essays <ul><li>Limiting the words moves to the image off the bottom line: we begin to fill in more ass...
 
‘ Nothing is so beautiful as Spring..’ – Gerard Manley Hopkins
<ul><li>Removing the words does not necessarily result in abstractness: students use music and closure to create or ease d...
El Picadora , by Sarah Bremer <ul><li>The narrative becomes clear, but the style of representation remains abstract, and t...
Open Project: From formalism to rhetoric <ul><li>Students apply their knowledge of the Big Triangle, word-picture relation...
“ Cool Heuristics” and New Media Compositions <ul><li>McClould’s triangle is not a grid or a system, but a relational data...
Works Cited <ul><ul><ul><li>Allen, Nancy ed.  Working with Words and Images: New Steps in an Old Dance.  Westport: Ablex, ...
Image Credits <ul><li>Title slide, Big Triangle:  http://www. scottmccloud .com/inventions/triangle/triangle.html </li></u...
Courses Cited <ul><li>Susan Delagrange: “Visual Rhetoric and Documentary Form,”  (Spring 2004). Ohio State, Mansfield. htt...
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Scott McCloud's Big Triangle and New Media Composition

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PowerPoint Presentation from Computers and Writing 2005. Describes how McCloud's big triangle, a heuristic for understanding visual communication, can be used as a guide to composing and designing new media products.

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Scott McCloud's Big Triangle and New Media Composition

  1. 1. Scott McCloud’s Big Triangle and New Media Composition Kevin B rooks North Dakota State University Computers and Writing, 2005, Stanford University
  2. 2. Big Triangle in its simplest form A visual heuristic for analyzing and generating visual/verbal communication
  3. 3. Words of praise from a comics scholars <ul><li>Joseph Witek calls the big triangle </li></ul><ul><li>“ “ a master map of the known visual-verbal universe, . . . a real contribution to the critical discourse” (60). </li></ul>
  4. 4. More praise from a comic scholar <ul><li>Understanding Comics provides and enacts a vocabulary of analysis that is engaging and highly useful, especially as applied to other graphic works. Where that vocabulary needs sharpening, in its application to the ways words mean, will be evident to engaged students. (221-22). </li></ul><ul><li>George Dardess acknowledges both the useful material and the need for refinement. </li></ul>
  5. 5. McCloud’s place in visual rhetoric scholarship <ul><li>Included as an exemplar of visual-verbal composition in </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Visual Rhetoric in a Digital World (Ed. Carolyn Handa) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Picturing Texts (Eds. Faigley, George, Palchik, Selfe) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Acknowledged as recommended reading in </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Eloquent Images (Eds. Hocks and Kendrick) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Words and Images (Ed. Nancy Allen) </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Perhaps taught more than used in scholarship? <ul><li>Susan Delagrange: “Visual Rhetoric and Documentary Form,” (Spring 2004). Ohio State, Mansfield. </li></ul><ul><li>Philip Nel’s “Image, Text, Ideology: Picture Books and Illustrated Texts,” (Fall 2003). Kansas State U. </li></ul><ul><li>Susan Romano, “Visual Rhetoric and Design,” (Fall 2003). U of New Mexico . </li></ul><ul><li>Karl Stolley, “Multimedia Writing,” (Fall 2004). Purdue University. </li></ul><ul><li>Punya Mishra, “Learning Technology Through Design,” (Fall 2002). Michigan State. </li></ul>
  7. 7. Alternative or supplement to: CRAP: Non-Designers DB Visual Language Matrix Robin Williams Kostelnick and Roberts
  8. 8. Potentially a good fit with. . . The rhetorical triangle Albert Rouzie, http://jupiter.phy.ohiou.edu/~rouzie/fall151/rhetriang.gif An activity network Center for Activity Theory and Developmental Research http://www.edu.helsinki.fi/activity/pages/chatanddwr/chat/
  9. 9. From simple to complex: a relational database McCloud draws a separate plane for words, and suggests words are also used 1) realistically, 2) as icons, and 3) in abstract ways. Items do not have an absolute location on the big triangle, just a relational position: “more realistic than,” “more abstract than,” etc. Although not visible here, McCloud also shows words and pictures pushing each other around on the triangle: a dynamic relationship.
  10. 10. Rather than locate “meaning” along the bottom, and “abstractness” along the top, we make meaning out of abstract, iconic, and realistic images and words,but we tend to think that the meaning we make from iconic or realistic images is concrete and specific, rather than abstract and tenuous. Abstract meanings Visual icons and verbal cliches Realistic images and scientific prose High definition (hot) Low definition (cool) Clichés and icons are engaging and adaptable: “ May the force be with you.” Images and words strive for veracity through labels, definitions, descriptions: scientistic discourse. Concrete meanings Big Triangle Modified Myth: narratives and images are archetypal: simple in presentation, but rich in meaning. Realism as art in images and words: immediately recognizable, but more than they appear. Abstract art (visual and verbal): Non-representational, highly demanding Rather than place words on their own face of the triangle, words and images occupy the same space: sometimes working close together (iconic words and images), sometimes far apart (realistic words and iconic images or abstract images with iconic language).
  11. 11. Context for my use of McCloud <ul><li>“ Visual Culture and Language” course, junior standing, a blend of history, theory, production. </li></ul><ul><li>Analysis and design assignments draw on the Big Triangle and McCloud’s other terms: closure, word-picture relations, use of time, color, and lines. </li></ul><ul><li>Exercises, along the lines of Madeleine Sorapure’s “Playing Manovich” used to introduce students to new media composition (or working with visual language). </li></ul><ul><li>Using the whole map exposes word-picture dynamics, sound picture dynamics, meaning-making dynamics, the difficulty of abstractness. </li></ul>
  12. 12. Assignment 1: Timelines <ul><li>Timelines specifically and information graphics generally will illustrate the role of words to provide concreteness, specificity, information in a way that images alone cannot. </li></ul>Concrete meaning Explanatory text pushes meaning down and to the left hand corner. Abstract meaning Medical images and a history of medical imaging One timeline with minimal text floated upwards; not just abstract, but unclear. X Y Z The history of Nintendo: Game icons but specific, informative text
  13. 14. Assignment 2: Photo Essays <ul><li>Limiting the words moves to the image off the bottom line: we begin to fill in more associations. Some students used words to move their images toward concreteness, others pushed their projects in the opposite direction. </li></ul>Concrete meaning Abstract Meaning Blurred, edited images, poetic text. Realistic images, poetic, but concrete text (duo-specific).
  14. 16. ‘ Nothing is so beautiful as Spring..’ – Gerard Manley Hopkins
  15. 17. <ul><li>Removing the words does not necessarily result in abstractness: students use music and closure to create or ease demands upon the viewer. </li></ul>Assignment 3: Video without words Concrete meaning Abstract Meaning The boiling and eating of an egg moved both up and down the triangle simultan- eously: the narrative sequence was concrete, but the filming was abstract, oblique. A string-puppet quest story resulted in an iconic film, concrete in its use of narrative structure. A video juxtaposing images of Chicago and Korea stayed close to the retinal plane; abstract to the extent that viewers can make their own associations with images.
  16. 18. El Picadora , by Sarah Bremer <ul><li>The narrative becomes clear, but the style of representation remains abstract, and the music adds drama. This video is both concrete and abstract simultaneously. </li></ul>
  17. 19. Open Project: From formalism to rhetoric <ul><li>Students apply their knowledge of the Big Triangle, word-picture relationships, closure, use of time, and use of lines to a project they propose and execute. </li></ul>A student organization website El Picadora 2: Time running backwards a la Memento Machinima: a la Red versus Blue Concrete meaning Abstract Meaning
  18. 20. “ Cool Heuristics” and New Media Compositions <ul><li>McClould’s triangle is not a grid or a system, but a relational database, a tool for analysis and design. </li></ul><ul><li>The ambiguities can be productive: engage students in making meanings, thinking relationally. </li></ul><ul><li>“ Hot” heuristics (Visual Language Matrix) are for the professionals and the textbooks. </li></ul><ul><li>The big triangle can function as a stand-alone heuristic. </li></ul>
  19. 21. Works Cited <ul><ul><ul><li>Allen, Nancy ed. Working with Words and Images: New Steps in an Old Dance. Westport: Ablex, 2002. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Faigley, Lester, Diana George, Anna Palchik, and Cynthia Selfe. Picturing Texts . New York: W. W. Norton and Company, 2004. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Handa, Carolyn ed. Visual Rhetoric in a Digital World: A Critical Sourcebook . Beford/St. Martin’s: Boston/New York, 2004. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Hocks, Mary and Michelle R. Kendrick. Eloquent Images: Word and Image in the Age of New Media . Cambridge MA, MIT Press, 2003. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Kostelnick, Charles and David D. Roberts. Designing Visual Language: Strategies for Professional Communicators . Boston: Allyn & Bacon, 1998. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>McCloud, Scott. Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art . 1993. NY: HarperCollins, 1994. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Sorapure, Madeleine. “Five Principles of New Media: Or, Playing Lev Manovich ,” Kairos 8, 2 (Winter 2004). </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Williams, Robin. The Non-Designer’s Design Book: Design and Typographic Principles for the Visual Novice . Berkeley: Peachpit Press, 1994. </li></ul></ul></ul>
  20. 22. Image Credits <ul><li>Title slide, Big Triangle: http://www. scottmccloud .com/inventions/triangle/triangle.html </li></ul><ul><li>1st slide: from Understanding Comics </li></ul><ul><li>2nd slide: Joseph Witek’s Comics as History book cover from http://www.forbesbookclub.com </li></ul><ul><li>3rd slide: No Portrait Available. From the Robert Myers Collection: http://www.fotohistorie.no/index.php?l=W </li></ul><ul><li>7th slide: left hand image, a page from Robin William’s The Non-Designers Design Book. </li></ul><ul><li>7th slide, right hand image, a page from Kostelnick and Roberts Designing Visual Language. </li></ul><ul><li>8th slide: left-hand image, the rhetorical triangle, Albert Rouzie. http://jupiter.phy.ohiou.edu/~rouzie/fall151/rhetriang.gif </li></ul><ul><li>8th slide, right hand image, an activity network, Center for Activity Theory and Developmental Research </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.edu.helsinki.fi/activity/pages/chatanddwr/chat/ </li></ul><ul><li>9th slide: from Understanding Comics, (52-53). </li></ul><ul><li>10th slide: Images on the triangle, top to bottom: John Cage composition, from an Electronic Museum of Lingua-Acoustic Space: GLUKHOMANIA.RU. http://ncca.smufsa.nu/pr_sonorus.php3?lang=eng&t=0&p=10 </li></ul><ul><li>Ansel Adams photograph, Lenin Imports, http://www.leninimports.com/ansel_adams.html </li></ul><ul><li>Venus di Milo image found at http://cfa-www.harvard.edu/~abonanos/MilosAlbum/aphrodite.jpg by Alceste Bonanos </li></ul><ul><li>Smiley face </li></ul><ul><li>Scientific Photography and Applied Imaging book cover. http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?A=details&Q=&is=REG&O=productlist&sku=264174 </li></ul><ul><li>Slide 13, David Kanenwisher, Visual Culture and Language class, Spring 2005. </li></ul><ul><li>Slide 14, Nick Bruhn, Visual Culture and Language class, Spring 2005. </li></ul><ul><li>Slide 15, Ji Hae Sing, Visual Culture and Language class, Spring 2005. </li></ul><ul><li>Slide 17, Sarah Bremer, Visual Culture and Language class, Spring 2005. </li></ul>
  21. 23. Courses Cited <ul><li>Susan Delagrange: “Visual Rhetoric and Documentary Form,” (Spring 2004). Ohio State, Mansfield. http://english.mansfield.ohio-state.edu/writing/569files/569schedule.htm </li></ul><ul><li>Philip Nel’s “Image, Text, Ideology: Picture Books and Illustrated Texts,” (Fall 2003). Kansas State U. http://www.ksu.edu/english/nelp/childlit/830.html </li></ul><ul><li>Susan Romano, “Visual Rhetoric and Design,” (Fall 2003). U of New Mexico . http://www.unm.edu/~sromano/pw/policy.htm </li></ul><ul><li>Karl Stolley, “Multimedia Writing,” (Fall 2004). Purdue University. http://web.ics.purdue.edu/~stolley/2004/courses/instructors/bibliography.htm </li></ul><ul><li>Punya Mishra, “Learning Technology Through Design,” (Fall 2002). Michigan State. http://punya.educ.msu.edu/PunyaWeb/courses/fall02/index.asp </li></ul>

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