Phonetic Picture Writing:   3-dimensional  models

This article shows, how one may build 3-dimensional models of images (sentences) of phonetic picture writing.
Look at the picture (sentence) above: The house and the trees are to be interpreted as standing upright, the road as beeing horizontal. Also the second item / word in every column is to be interpreted as beeing behind (not over) the first item.     (see article about perspective)

This different direction of the words / items and their arrangement one behind another (or one above another) can be made clear by a 3-dimensional model. It's done this way:

The last image shows the paper with the ideograms cut out (not at bottom) and tipped up. The holes in the paper generated by this cutting out may be interpreted as shadows. These may be intensified or neutralized by laying dark or white paper under it.

Objects one upon another

With the above image (sentence), objects in the same column were interpreted as one behind another. With the following image, also 2 objects are one upon another: The sun is over the fir.
Now, when creating a 3D-paper model, we have to consider: Objects beeing one over another (or on the other) should be arranged correctly. That's easy with the following image: Just cut out the sun together with the fir and tip up this one piece:

Fading out position words

If the positions of objects in an image are made clear by position words (over, besides, behind etc.), these words may be omitted in a 3D-model.
Write down the image (sentence) without these position words and then create the 3D-model.
Normally, from a 3D-model, the original sentence can be red off exactly. But if this sentence contained unnecessary position words (e.g. "upright" before a tree), this is not more true.

3-dimensional images?

Looking at the images above, on may get the idea also to give normal images (sentences) a 3D-look in the following way:

- if a thing is behind another,
  write it above, but in the next column

So you get an image like the one above to the right, or like the above image "step 3" (but the 2 words "road" are to be one upon the other in the same column).
But this makes writing more complex, and makes it impossible that things beeing one behind another in reality may be shown in vertical line in the image. There are other ways to create 3D-perspectives, see the article about perspective

3-dimensional models on screen

A computer may show on screen such a 3D-model from any visual angle (objects in the background may be shown smaller, but this may be unnecessary). But before, it needs some data: for it doesn't know if an object, e.g. a tree, is upright or not in reality. Also a computer cannot recognize by an ideogram the perspective from which the object is shown (from aside, from top, oblique view, perspectiveless view like with numbers, etc.). So it's necessary to store in the dictionary for any word:

- the natural orientation of the object
- the perspective of the ideogram

Also a computer doesn't know, if 2 objects in the same column are to be interpreted as one behind another (e.g. tree tree) or on upon another (e.g. tree sun). For that, one has to give it much knowledge about the world. This may be done so:

If the dictionary of phonetic picture writing in the computer has n words, a n*n matrix will store for any combination of 2 words (e.g. tree tree), if the second object is to be interpreted as beeing behind or over the first one (if the second word succeeds the first word directly in the same column).
Instead of this, one may divide all words into classes and create the relation matrix only for these classes.

Only then, a computer can recognize also the overall perspective of an image (sentence). If this is seen exactly from aside, or directly from top, no real 3D-presentation is possible.

So a computer - in opposite to a man - can create a 3D-model for an image (sentence) only with additional data. Compared with other 3D-pictures in a computer, these models are simple and economic, so easy and quickly to create. So they are the optimal method to create 3D-sketches.

More sophisticated representation on screen

A computer can do even more: namely to show an object colored, 3-dimensional or even moved.

- With any ideogram (word) in the dictionary, the natural color of the object is stored (e.g. green with a tree), or just any color. It also was possible to store a color for each sign of an ideogram. If in text an ideogram is accompanied by a color word, this has priority. The computer may color the lines of an ideogram or the whole enclosed area.
Also by hand, one may write ideograms colored (and omit color words if there are some). Here the scene from the beginning of this article 3 times: Trees written colored, trees fully colored, the same as paper model with shadows (= holes):

- With any ideogram, a 3D-factor is stored: e.g. if the object is flat (street, sign), fully round (vase), interrupted round (tree), with rectangle ground-plan (house). Then the computer shows the object so on screen.
More simply, one can make an object look 3-dimensional by painting it with a colored pattern, or by drawing the letters of phonetic picture writing shadowed (right half with thinner line - suggests light coming from left) or hollow, what one can see sometimes with latin letters. A similar look can be achieved by superimposing a copy to an ideogram, slightly shifted up and aside (looks well with trees, otherwise mostly not).

- With ideograms meaning a movement, the computer may show the moving or moved thing in action:
With ideograms meaning continous movement (vibrate, wobble, totter, rotate, circle around something, move back and forth), the thing is continously moving on screen.
With ideograms meaning a single movement (go to, come from) the movement on screen may be started by "pressure of a button". After some seconds the original state may be shown.
- Ideograms like vibrate or wobble may be omitted. Other ideograms meaning a movement may be shown blinking, but should not be omitted: for they also show the space, where the movement happens.
Movements like vibrate or wobble may be shown paper models too, by moving or snipping upright objects by one's fingers.


Phonetic picture writing and speaking is an artificial language wich may be practically used. But the 3-dimensional representation of its images (also colored representation) is a play, but also a valuable didactic means: it makes phonetic picture writing more interesting and helps to make clear the orientation and position of objects in its images (a unique means to make grammar interesting!).

For didactic reason's, it's better to start with the simple paper models, not with a 3D-representation on screen.

The above 3D-representation is also useful for sketches planning gardens, ground-plans of towns, landscapes, scenes (for theater, computer games, appearances of persons, etc.). Its enormous advantage is: it can be done extremely easy and quickly and delivers a standardized form, which is easy to communicate (speach, sheet of paper, letter, few bytes in computer). Thus many variations may be tested.
If the signs of phonetic picture writing are available in a computer font, a scene can be typed in in a few seconds. One may type in color words together with the scene or later give or change the color of ideograms.

The use of the mechanisms described here is free                 update: 22.8.2006