September 20, 2012

Interactive Special Effects

So how was that spinning globe in the title page of 'Mousey the Explorer' created?  Creating a globe isn't easy!

I wondered that myself.  One afternoon it occurred to me that there isn't any reason why photography and even movies can't be mixed in with illustrations for an interactive e-book.  So I thought about the globe. 

The globe started out life as a holiday ornament that's been on our tree for years.  I've always liked it a lot.  First I thought I'd just photograph it.  But then I wondered why couldn't I make it turn?

The trusty old brain started toiling away and before long I'd figured out a method of staging it to photograph on my kitchen counter.  With a tripod and my trusty Lumix FZ18 I placed the globe against the backdrop of a white background using a bread basket and white towels.

I carefully rotated the globe for each partial rotation, taking care to not change the orientation.  Then with photoshop I created a circular white mask to isolate just the globe and blank the background.  Finally I  resized and plugged the sequence into the InteractiveTouchBooks animation format.  Voila!  The world now spins!  I even made it wobble slightly back and forth in addition to spinning.

It was fun and it's just one example of the unlimited possibilities for creation with interactive books.

Here's what the finished title page looks like... with the spinning globe.

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