Off Book

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Learn about the art, the people, and the culture of the digital revolution with Off Book. This revolution program from PBS Digital Studios combines top-tier journalism with the underground, and often ignored, subject matter of today’s modern digital age. With topics ranging from internet culture and graphic design, to the worlds of videogames and coding, Off Book examines the changing world of contemporary art like it’s never been seen before.

  • The Art of Glitch | Off Book

    The fan art community is one of the most creative and active online. Taking pop culture stories and icons as its starting point, the fan community extends those characters into new adventures, unexpected relationships, bizarre remixes, and even as the source material for beautiful art. Limited only by the imagination of the artist, the fan art world is full of surprises and brilliance.

    Grades: 9-12
  • Type | Off Book

    Type is everywhere. Every print publication, website, movie, advertisement and public message involves the creation or selection of a fitting typeface. Online, a rich and artistic typographical culture exists, where typefaces are created and graphic design seeps in to every image. This Off Book segment shares the many kinds of type available.

    Grades: 9-12
  • Book Art | Off Book

    Books are in a conflicted state. From pop culture pop-ups, to surreal sculptural stories, to reformations of antique sacred texts, these creators re-envision what the experience of a book can be. At times playful, and other times profound, this Off Book episode explores the boundaries of one of the most important human creations.

    Grades: 9-12
  • Product Design | Off Book

    We swim in an ocean of products. Behind each one, there is someone (hopefully) thinking about the way we experience it. In this episode of Off Book, we explore three aspects of product design: build quality and engineering fundamentals, humanism and sustainability, and speculation on the future of the product experience.

    Grades: 9-12
  • Generative Art | Off Book

    An intriguing combination of programmers, artists, and philosophers, these creators embrace a process that delegates essential decisions to computers, data sets, or even random variables.

    Grades: 9-12
  • The Effect of Color | Off Book

    Color is one of the fundamental elements of our existence, and defines our world in such deep ways that its effects are nearly imperceptible. Whether in the micro-sense with the choice of an article of clothing, or the macro-sense where cultures on the whole embrace color trends at the scale of decades, color is a signifier of our motives and deepest feelings.

    Grades: 9-12
  • The Creativity of Indie Video Games | Off Book

    The video game industry is now bigger than Hollywood, with hundreds of millions of dollars spent developing these interactive experiences. But there are also small-scale developers working in the indie game realm, creating unique and experimental video games. Much like indie music or indie film, the indie gaming movement provides a creative outlet for game designers outside of the mainstream.

    Grades: 9-12
  • The Art of Animation and Motion Graphics | Off Book

    Animation has been captivating audiences for more than a hundred years. From classic forms like hand drawn and stop-motion, to cutting-edge techniques like motion graphics and CGI, animation has a long history of creating style and poetry unachievable through live action filmmaking. It is a tool for educating, a place for experimentation and play, and a way of telling personal stories. This Off Book video provides a fascinating look into this art form.

    Grades: 6-12
  • The Worlds of Viral Video | Off Book

    "Viral Video" is the signature phenomenon of internet media. Something akin to pop songs, these videos with irresistible hooks have saturated video culture online and have now evolved into a multitude of sophisticated forms. Whether rooted in comedy, spectacle, schadenfreude, cuteness, politics, performance, or deep meaning, the idea of viral videos have forever changed media.

    Grades: 9-12
  • Fan Art: An Explosion of Creativity | Off Book

    The fan art community is one of the most creative and active online. Taking pop culture stories and icons as its starting point, the fan community extends those characters into new adventures, unexpected relationships, bizarre remixes, and even as the source material for beautiful art. Limited only by the imagination of the artist, the fan art world is full of surprises and brilliance.

    Grades: 9-12
  • Seeing Beyond the Human Eye | Off Book

    Technology defies the boundaries of human perception. From photomicrography to astrophotography, size and distance are no longer barriers, and through slow-mo and timelapse, we are allowed to see time and humanity in a new light. Through our curiosity and thirst for the unknown, the beauty of the universe can now be explored beyond the limits of the naked eye.

    Grades: 9-12
  • The Evolution of 8-bit Art | Off Book

    Beginning with early Atari and Nintendo video games, the 8-bit aesthetic has been a part of our culture for over 30 years. As it moved through the generations, 8-bit earned its independence from its video game roots. No longer just nostalgia art, contemporary 8-bit artists and chiptunes musicians have elevated the form to new levels of creativity and cultural reflection.

    Grades: 9-12
  • The Art of Web Design | Off Book

    The explosion of the internet over the past 20 years has led to the development of one of the newest creative mediums: the website. Web designers have adapted through the technological developments of html, CSS, Flash, and JavaScript, and have mastered the balance between creativity and usability. Now, the rise of mobile computing is further changing our expectations for responsible web design.

    Grades: 9-12
  • Video Games | Off Book

    Video games are important. They are a storytelling medium, a place for self-expression, a sandbox for the human imagination, and an extension of an ages old tradition of gaming. We play out some of the most essential aspects of our culture in games, and we learn more about ourselves and the world around us in the process. This Off Book segments offers a tour of this world.

    Grades: 9-12
  • Evolution of Music Online | Off Book

    As the 90s came to a close, the business of music began to change. Technology allowed artists to produce their own music, and the internet became a free-for-all for musicians to promote themselves. The result was an influx of artists, and audiences were left wondering how to sort through them. In this episode we reveal how music blogs and websites have arisen as the new arbiters of quality.

    Grades: 9-12
  • The Impact of Twitter on Journalism | Off Book

    The world of journalism has changed in the internet era. Newsrooms are significantly smaller now than they were 10 years ago, and news is no longer a once-a-day product, but instead a constant flow of information. The rise of Twitter brought concerns within the industry - would this overwhelming source of direct raw information put professional reporters out of business? Journalists are now faced with the challenge of adapting their roles in this digital era, finding new ways to add value to content, and helping to ensure that the internet is changing our worldview for the better.

    Grades: 9-12
  • The Universal Arts of Graphic Design | Off Book

    Though often overlooked, Graphic Design surrounds us: it is the signs we read, the products we buy, and the rooms we inhabit. Graphic designers find beauty within limitations, working toward the ultimate goal of visually communicating a message, be it the packaging of a product, the spirit of a book, or the narrative of a building. Utilizing a language of type and imagery, graphic designers try to make every aspect of our lives defined and beautiful.

    Grades: 9-12
  • Bad Behavior Online: Bullying, Trolling & Free Speech | Off Book

    The internet is a powerful tool for communication, but it can sometimes be a double-edged sword. As most of us have seen or experienced, the internet can bring out the worst behavior in people, highlighting some of the cruelest and most hurtful aspects of humanity. Issues such as bullying online and trolling have garnered a lot of attention recently, prompting questions about who does, and should, regulate the internet, and what free speech means online.

    Grades: 9-12
  • The Art of Creative Coding | Off Book

    Programming plays a huge role in the world that surrounds us, and though its uses are often purely functional, there is a growing community of artists who use the language of code as their medium. Their work includes everything from computer generated art to elaborate interactive installations, all with the goal of expanding our sense of what is possible with digital tools. To simplify the coding process, several platforms and libraries have been assembled to allow coders to cut through the nitty-gritty of programming and focus on the creative aspects of the project.

    Grades: 9-12
  • Will 3D Printing Change the World? | Off Book

    Much attention has been paid to 3D Printing lately, with new companies developing cheaper and more efficient consumer models that have wowed the tech community. They herald 3D Printing as a revolutionary and disruptive technology, but how will these printers truly affect our society?

    Grades: 9-12

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