Augmented Storyboarding

Real world, real-time collaboration for spatially separated teams.

The Idea

Augmented reality allows us to superimpose digital information upon the real world. In creative environments, this information can change as your ideas take shape. Storyboards allow designers to piece together different elements of a story and consider alternative storylines. The same board could be used to deliver additional experiences by overlaying other content types.

The Design


The print medium has limitations. Once a drawing is complete, you can remove it, but you can’t easily make modifications to the image. If you do make changes, you can’t save each state of the image in case you need to revert later on. You’re also limited to static images. This makes it difficult to show an animation that may describe an idea better than a static image can. During this initial brainstorming process, I considered all of the improvements to media and collaboration that could be addressed with a digital implementation of storyboarding.

One of the advantages of storyboarding is that it makes ideas tangible and easy to manipulate. A screenbased application would not replace the affordances of a physical storyboard. One possible solution would be to attach digital media to a physical space. This can be attempted using augmented reality. By superimposing these dynamic digital artifacts upon a real storyboard, users can manipulate the content physically but also update this content in ways that would not be possible with a static image.



By defining usage scenarios, I was able to refine my initial ideas and try to uncover how these experiments might actual be useful in a creative environment.

  1. Julie, Tom, and Jim are trying to decide how the death of a sitcom character will effect future story arcs.
  2. They use meta tags to only show scenes involving the character in question and his romantic interest.
  3. Mara notices that if they kill off the character now, they will have to scrap the quadruplets adoption storyline slated for later in the season.
  4. Jane filters so that only frames featuring the character’s major plot roles from the past two seasons are visible. She determines that the character has had a good run, and the group resolves to kill the character in the upcoming episode.
  5. The designers’ boss isn’t happy because the character was his favorite. He plays a recording of the meeting that shows which types of filters were applied to the display, synced with an audio recording of the meeting. He begrudgingly admits that the character’s death will benefit the show.


The system involves a mobile device, an augmented reality browser application and a keyhole markup language (KML) document with modifications to support AR content. This document tells the application which content to attach to each marker that is visible. This file can also be updated on the server, and then refreshed in the browser to deliver a new experience.


Expert Walk-Through

For the first iteration of the prototype, a group of augmented reality experts were consulted for feedback.

Final Report

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