Disney Research


This paper presents a story version control and graphical visualization framework to enhance collaborative story authoring.We propose a media-agnostic story representation based on story beats, events, and participants that describes the flow of events in a storyline. We develop tree edit distance operations for this representation and use them to build the core features for story version control, including visual diff, conflict detection, and conflict resolution using three-way merge. Our system allows authors to work independently on the same story while providing the ability to automatically synchronize their efforts and resolve conflicts that may arise. We further enhance the collaborative authoring process using visualizations derived from the version control database that visually encode relationships between authors, characters, and story elements, during the evolution of the narrative. We demonstrate the efficacy of our system by integrating it within an existing visual storyboarding tool for authoring animated stories and additionally use it to collaboratively author stories using video and images. We evaluate the usability of our system with two user studies. Our results reveal that untrained users are able to use and benefit from our system. Additionally, users are able to correctly interpret the graphical visualizations and perceive them to benefit collaboration during the story authoring process.

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