StorySketch: Playful Storytelling with Sketches

StorySketch enables casual creators to
quickly experiment with visual narrative ideas and work
iteratively and interactively as a means of self-expression.
StorySketch allows individuals to creative visual narratives
using flexible and low cost sketches.

StorySketch is designed as a cognitive creativity support
tool in the sense that it is a prototype based on the
Cognitive Theory of Creativity Support. The motivation
and design rationale for the tool was to create a fun and
engaging way for individuals without artistic skills to
creatively express themselves through storytelling. Given
that storytelling is an important mode of creative
expression, we wanted to empower individuals to tell their
stories visually.

The central design consideration was offloading the
technical skill required to create aesthetically pleasing
visual forms, such as a characters and props. We wanted
users to spend their time developing their stories rather than
having to figure out how to draw all the characters and
props for their story. StorySketch should allow individuals
to quickly explore different visual storytelling strategies
and evaluate which style works best for their particular
story. The key design challenge was how to create an input
method that allows rapid and nuanced control of character
and prop creation. The input method should be relatively
easy given that our target audience is domain novices that
do not necessarily have technical sketching skills.

One solution for enabling users to rapidly explore visual
forms is dragging and dropping static forms. This solution
uses the artistic primitive idea discussed in the distributed
creativity section. It reduces the technical skill necessary
for visually representing ideas, but it also limits the
complexity of information that can be communicated to the
computer. The user can only determine the position of story
elements. Making characters dynamic and malleable could
address this issue. For example, the limbs could be dragged
into the desired position. However, the character creation
process in this solution is now at least two steps and
perhaps more given that each limb has to be adjusted
independently. Additionally, this approach reduces the
richness of the creative experience because users may feel
disconnected from the characters since they did the input
method was completely disembodied.

Our solution to this problem was to use a naturalistic yet
simplified version of drawing story assets. For example,
when creating a character, users draw a stick figure as the
input method. The strokes and general form of the input is
analyzed by the system to create an articulated character
rendered by a physics engine as shown in figure 7. A
character model is then applied to the articulated character
as shown in Figure 8. This solution leverages a very basic
degree of technical skill to generate a character that is
sufficiently complex in terms of pose and position.

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