Raphaël Baroni

Fields |

Research directions

Reconfiguring Comics in our Digital Era

Over the years, comics have constantly evolved to different formats, such as from short strips in periodicals to standalone albums and
to graphic novels, which provide more artistic freedom. Unfortunately, the transfer of a comic from one format to another is a time-consuming and costly process, requiring the artist to deconstruct and reconstruct his/her work for each individual publication channel. This problem has become even more acute in our digital era, where the authors, who still predominantly favor traditional production techniques, such as paper albums, must transfer their work to an increasing diversity of formats, such as smartphones and tablets, which have become a popular publication channel.

The goal of this project is to facilitate the transfer of comics from one publication channel to another by assisting authors in the task of reconfiguring their narratives. To this end, our approach will combine research in the cultural studies and in visual computing. In particular, we aim to: 1) analyze the reconfiguration process of comics for the different analog and digital publication channels while considering the expectations of the involved actors, such as artists and readers; 2) develop algorithms to assist artists and editors in the creative process of reconfiguring existing comics panels to a wide variety of digital and analog publication channels; 3) study the impact of our reconfiguration mechanisms on the actors in the comics industry.

On the cultural studies side, there is an urgent need to establish a comprehensive account of the evolution of comics in European culture, in particular with respect to the digital media. On the visual computing side, while the state-of-the-art in comics processing remains limited to detecting panels, text and bounding boxes for specific characters, we will provide detailed segmentations of generic graphical elements and notions of 3D from comics panels.

Research Center of Transmedial Narratology

URL: https://wp.unil.ch/narratologie/natrans/

Network of French-speaking narratologists

URL: https://wp.unil.ch/narratologie/

Group for Comics Studies (GrEBD)

The aim of the GrEBD is to develop and promote academic research on comics from an interdisciplinary perspective, in particular by studying this means of expression in its formal, narratological, historical, and cultural aspects. GrEBD's activities include organizing Bachelor's and Master's level courses, public lectures, scientific events and exhibitions.

URL: http://wp.unil.ch/grebd/

Plot Mechanisms

Today, the teaching of literature can no longer confine itself to questioning the text by asking itself: what is this book about? How is it written? What is its place in history? As the affective dimension of reading regains its relevance, it is necessary to be able to deal with new problems: how did the author manage to intrigue his reader? How does suspense work in this chapter? Or why do these questions matter? This line of research aims to develop new tools to answer these questions, to analyze the dynamics of the plot and to justify its interest in teaching.

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