Off Book


Learn about the art, the people, and the culture of the digital revolution with Off Book. This revolutionary 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 Rise of Web Comics | Off Book

    The internet has given birth to yet another new medium: webcomics. Moving beyond the restrictions of print, webcomic artists interact directly with audiences who share their own unique worldview, and create stories that are often embedded in innovative formats only possible online. Sometimes funny, sometimes personal, and almost always weird, web comic creators have taken the comic strip form to new, mature, and artistic heights.

    Grades: 9-12
  • Light Painting | Off Book

    Light has been an essential element in artwork for centuries. Light painters create electrifying images that blend photographs of the real world with layers of color and kinetic light. In the premiere episode of PBS Arts: Off Book, artists Aurora Crowley and Patrick Rochon demonstrate their light paint methodology, show off their electric works and describe the process that anyone can do at home.

    Grades: 9-12
  • Can Hackers Be Heroes? | Off Book

    PBS's Off Book asks if hacking is inherently good or bad, or if is it an ethical area we have yet to define. Looking beyond the media hype and scare tactics, it is clear that "hacking" is a term that should be up for debate, and that some hackers could actually be heroes and not villains.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Competitive Gaming and E-Sports | Off Book

    Off Book takes a look at the world and culture of competitive gaming, which is now claiming a space similar to traditional sports. As games have increased in sophistication, they have become a medium for expressing human skill and brilliance. The result is a tier of the gaming world filled with disciplined, talented, and highly competitive players. Born out of arcade tournaments and LAN parties, the world of competitive gaming is now entering a mature, global phase.

    Grades: 6-12
  • What's the Deal with Internet Comedy? | Off Book

    Comedy is a huge part of entertainment and culture, but for decades there have been very limited opportunities for comedians to successfully reach audiences. Fortunately, the internet has blown that wide open, providing new venues for the creation of comedy, removing the limitations of the old guard, and opening new doors to laughter. Off Book explores the burgeoning world of web comedy.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Retro Media | Off Book

    Off Book looks into vinyl, cassettes, and other retro media that have made a surprising revival in the digital era. We live in a digital world that gives us all the content we could possibly dream of at the click of a mouse, yet many people miss the old-school physical formats from our past. The challenges these retro formats present to capturing and experiencing media actually enhance our appreciation for the sound or image, making the art we love a bit more intimate and real.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Lego Art | Off Book

    Off Book examines the growing popularity of Lego art. Lego blocks have been one of the most beloved toys in the world for decades. But, for some creators, Lego has evolved from toy to art form. In this episode, we talk with three Lego artists who have made beautiful mosaics, amazing stop-motion videos, thoughtful sculptures, and have turned these tiny building blocks into a true artistic medium.

    Grades: 7-12
  • Film and TV Title Design | Off Book

    We will explore the little-known artistic process that goes into creating a niche art form: TV titles. Credits are generally the first thing we see when watching media, but the complexity and artistry of title design is rarely discussed. Creators of title sequences are tasked to invent concepts that evoke the story and themes of the production wrapped in a powerful visual experience that pulls the viewer into the film's world. Off Book explores the nuances of this ubiquitous art form.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Tattoos: The Permanent Art | Off Book

    Off Book explores tattoo art, and the creative forces that drive three unique artists. It seems that no matter how far we advance into the digital age, our bodies remain a place where we can express ourselves. This episode of Off Book profiles the diverse talents and philosophies of three modern tattoo artists of vastly differing styles.

    Grades: 7-12
  • Animated GIFs | Off Book

    Off Book explores the visual artistry of one of the oldest image formats used on the web: the animated Graphics Interchange Format. Throughout their history, GIFs have served a variety of purposes, from functional to entertaining. In this episode of Off Book, we chart the history of GIF, explore the hotbed of GIF creativity on Tumblr, and talk to two teams of GIF artists who are reshaping the format with powerful new visual experiences.

    Grades: 6-12
  • The Rise of Artificial Intelligence | Off Book

    Artificial intelligence is an ever evolving goal for researchers, and the object of endless fascination for writers, filmmakers, and the general public. But despite our best science fiction visions, creating digital intelligence is incredibly difficult. The universe is a very complicated place, and humans have had millions of years to evolve the ability to navigate and make sense of it. Contemporary attempts to create AI have us looking more at how our own brains work to see how a computer could simulate the core activities that create our intelligence. No matter how we get there, it is certain that artificial intelligence will have tremendous impact on our society and economy, and lead us down a path towards evolving our own definitions of humanity.

    Grades: 6-12
  • The Art of Logo Design | Off Book

    Off Book takes us inside the art and culture of logo design. Logos surround us in digital and physical spaces, but we rarely examine the artistic thinking that goes into the design of these symbols. Utilizing a silent vocabulary of colors, shapes, and typography, logo designers give a visual identity to companies and organizations of all types. From cave painters to modern designers, artists throughout history have been reducing the complex down to simple ideas that communicate concepts to the world.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Dungeons & Dragons and the Influence of Tabletop RPGs | Off Book

    Off Book explores the resurgence of tabletop role-playing games in the digital age. Since their growth in popularity in the 1970s, RPGs have had a huge influence not just on players, but on everything from Hollywood to the development of video games. Now, in a world dominated by video games and social media, there remains an enduring interest in gathering around a table and playing games face-to-face.

    Grades: 6-12
  • The Beauty of Space Photography | Off Book

    Off Book explores how images of space display the grandeur of the universe. Space presents a fantastic mystery to human life. Unfathomably large with characteristics that defy our understanding, the stars have perplexed and amazed humanity for millennia. In the present, astrophysicists and astronomers are aggressively studying the universe in an attempt to solve critical scientific and philosophical questions.

    Grades: 6-12
  • The Art of Data Visualization | Off Book

    Off Book takes a look at how the practice of data visualization has gained even more importance in this digital age. From scientific visualization to pop infographics, designers are increasingly tasked with incorporating data into the media experience. Data has emerged as such a critical part of modern life that it has entered into the realm of art, where data-driven visual experiences challenge viewers to find personal meaning from a sea of information, a task that is present in every aspect of our lives.

    Grades: 6-12
  • The Future of Wearable Technology | Off Book

    Off Book looks into the future to see how wearable technology will become increasingly ingrained in our lives and our culture. From the Nike Fuelband to Google Glass, consumers are already seeing hints of the future of wearable devices. Wearable tech has the possibility to make us more knowledgeable about ourselves and our surroundings, and connect us with each other in an uninterrupted, more intimate way. From do-it-yourself wearables to high-tech sensors and smart fabrics, the future will show how technology can impact our lives.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Is Photoshop Remixing the World? | Off Book

    Photoshop allows us to alter existing pictures and create unique images. Artists now use Photoshop to create complex imagery that would have been impossible 20 years ago. It has profoundly changed the art of photo retouching, turning a labor-intensive process into a process dominated solely by creativity.

    Grades: 6-12
  • The Rise of Videogame Economies | Off Book

    The growth and complexity of online economies surprises many outsiders to the world of gaming. With millions of players around the world, in-game economies generate massive amounts of real dollars. Real-world economic theories can even be applied to these worlds. Many are now so big that game developers have hired real-world economists to help them manage these complex systems. But, with exploitative practices such as gold farming, are these systems in need of more regulation?

    Grades: 6-12
  • The New Rules of Robot/Human Society | Off Book

    As technology speeds forward, humans are beginning to imagine robots filling the roles promised to us in science fiction. But what should we be considering today as robots like military and delivery drones become a real part of our society? How should robots be programmed to interact with us? How should we treat robots? Who is responsible for a robot's actions? As we look at the unexpected impact of new technologies, we are obligated as a society to consider the moral and ethical implications of robotics.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Are Emoticons the Future of Language? | Off Book

    At times, computers and technology seem to dictate cultural norms. We increasingly use written language in place of face-to-face chat or phone calls. But the advantages of email, chat, and text in speed come with limitations in communicating emotional tone. Enter emoticons and emojis. Not just a playful supplement to language, these new tools allow for complexity in tone and emotion rarely possible in written language and provide new opportunities for creative expression.

    Grades: 6-12

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