“View from Within” is an experiment in storytelling using an infinite canvas framework. The project was inspired by Scott McCloud’s vision for the future of webcomics as an infinite canvas, with the browser as a portal to an experience unbounded by the traditional borders of the printed page. The work is constructed from layers of hundreds of hand-drawn illustrations all viewed as if at one scale, and thus incapable of forming a coherent scaling scene without a zooming digital framework. When used continuously in this manner, the infinite canvas does not resemble the panel-based methods of sequential art: the space in-between, along, and outside the path are as or more essential than the linear chain of nodes. This iteration is built in Unity as a 2D canvas designed for viewing through a prototype augmented reality headset, the Seebright. The Seebright uses a set of mirrors and optics to overlay a stereographic view of a smartphone screen in front of the viewer. By eliminating the physical screen, we can explore the idea of the infinite canvas as a virtual construction, fully removed from the metaphor of page and portal.
Anastasia Salter is an assistant professor at the University of Baltimore, where she directs the graduate programs in interaction design and information architecture. She has two books forthcoming in 2014: What is Your Quest? From Adventure Games to Interactive Books from the University of Iowa Press and, co-authored with John Murray, Flash: Building the Interactive Web from MIT Press.
John Murray is a PhD student at the Expressive Intelligence Studio at the University of California, Santa Cruz. He is co-founder and CEO of Seebright, a new startup which is developing an open platform for augmented reality experiences. He recently co-authored a book for the Platform Studies series from MIT Press, Flash: Building the Interactive Web, forthcoming in 2014.