(assignment due Thursday 4/15)

Now for something completely different: we’re going to talk about the (artistic) principles of animation. This might seem a little off-topic. However, knowing these principles is really useful in using motion for visualization. Plus, its more fun than some of the other topics. And its tax day, so I need something fun to cheer me up.

You need to read one of the “principles” readings, and the “animated transitions” reading (at the bottom). Then comment on how you think this might relate to other things we learned in class. (the 2nd one is what I recommend, but you might pick 2 and 3)

The classic reference for the Principles of Animation is “The Illusion of Life” – a book about the history of Disney animation. It’s a coffee table art book – not necessarily something meant for either animators or computer scientists to learn from. But it is fabulous, and full of great examples from classic Disney films:

  • Johnson and Thomas. Disney Animation: The Illusion of Life. Several editions (Aberville Press, 1981 is the “original” I think). Chapter 3:The Principles of Animation. (26MB download)

Because so many artists wanted this book, it has been reprinted many times (I own 3 different reprints). Curiously, one of the editions is more focused on teaching artists. In this version, Chapter 1 is the principles (very similar to Ch3 in the original). The preface is a good introduction to animation pre-“Principles” (which is good for understanding them). And Chapter 2 is a great summary of how they made the movies (irrelevant for class).

John Lasseter was a Disney animator who went to work with a small company of graphics hackers. The company grew and grew and grew and now everyone knows Pixar. His SIGGRAPH 1987 paper was a seminal work where he introduced the graphics world to the principles of animation. The basic content is the same as the Johnson and Thomas chapter, but its more condensed, and the examples are from Pixar films.

  • John Lasseter. Principles of traditional animation applied to 3D computer animation. SIGGRAPH 1987. (acm site with PDF). Note, there are many summaries of this paper on the web. Here’s one by a well-known animator. But do read the original. (well, you’re even better off reading a Disney thing first, then reading this for historical context).

Now, you might wonder “what does this have to do with visualization.” One answer (and this is only one of several) can be seen in:

  • Jeffery Heer and George Robertson. Animated Transitions in Statistical Data Graphics. InfoVis 2007. (project page – I strongly recommend watching the movie as it is well done. you might not even need to read the paper)

In your comment, say which things you’ve read, and your thoughts on the roles this might have in the kinds of things we discuss in class.

Final Projects

April 3, 2010

in Assignments,News

A description of the final project has been posted here. Its long, so I didn’t put it in the news.

Short version: start thinking about what you want to do, and we’ll work together to develop it into a project plan.

(due Tuesday, April 6th)

For this lecture, we’ll move on to the third dimension. While it is very tempting to suggest we read something on the various artistic techniques or things used in visualization, we’ll start with the perceptual foundations. If you’re interested in lighting or shading or … it can make a great project.

  • James Todd. The Visual Perception of 3D Shape. Trends in Cognitive Science. 2004. A nice, compact article.
  • Chapter 5 of Ware’s Visual Thinking for Design. This actually discusses a lot more than just 3D perception.

As usual, post (at least one) comment about the readings.

Class Feedback

March 18, 2010

in Assignments,News

As a reminder, part of your assignment was anonymous feedback on the class so far.

If you haven’t given this to me, you can email it to me and I’ll print it out in a batch with the others. If you’re not comfortable with that, you can leave it in my (Michael Correll’s) mailbox on the 5th floor of CS.

(readings for class Tuesday, 3/23)

Everyone must read:

  • Colin Ware, “Quantitative Texton Sequences for Legible Bivariate Maps,” IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics, vol. 15, no. 6, pp. 1523-1530, Nov./Dec. 2009, doi:10.1109/TVCG.2009.175  (ieee page)

Each person will be assigned to read one of the following (you may read more than one). Your initials will be at the end of the citation.

  1. Rheingans, P. Task-based Color Scale Design In Proceedings Applied Image and Pattern Recognition (SPIE), 1999 (citeseer – has PDF) (DH,SH,PK)
  2. Bruce E. Trumbo. A Theory for Coloring Bivariate Statistical Maps. The American Statistician, Vol. 35, No. 4 (Nov., 1981), pp. 220-226 (web version) (JH,FK,LW)
  3. James R. Miller, “Attribute Blocks: Visualizing Multiple Continuously Defined Attributes,” IEEE Computer Graphics and Applications, vol. 27, no. 3, pp. 57-69, May/June 2007, doi:10.1109/MCG.2007.54 (ieee page) (CH,NK,JYM)
  4. Daniel A. Keim, “Designing Pixel-Oriented Visualization Techniques: Theory and Applications,” IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics, vol. 6, no. 1, pp. 59-78, Jan.-Mar. 2000, doi:10.1109/2945.841121 (ieee page) (author’s page) (ET,CSV,JW,YL)
  5. Haleh Hagh-Shenas, Sunghee Kim, Victoria Interrante, Christopher Healey, “Weaving Versus Blending: a quantitative assessment of the information carrying capacities of two alternative methods for conveying multivariate data with color.,” IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics, pp. 1270-1277, November/December, 2007. (ieee page) (healy’s version) (DA,AM,NV)

Please post a comment on what you read, and what you learn from putting the two together.

The Design Challenge “Preview Presentations” worked out well. It was nice to see the range of solutions that people came up with. But, its not over yet.

First: not all the designs demonstrated appear on the web. Be sure to get your design on the web as a posting in the “DC Results” Category ASAP. This is important for the next phases.

While the original deadline for the “final handin” was 3/11, we’ll extend that a little since I haven’t told you what you were supposed to do. But there will be something due before class on the 11th, and you’ll probably want to get started on the final writeup. (because there will be reading assignments for the following week)

For Thursday, March 11th (due before 8am so I can look things over before class): Each person should comment on everyone else’s design. The TA will count up how many comments on designs each person makes (yes, we do keep score!). This is important since people will need the feedback.

For Thursday, March 18th (due before 8am): Each group needs to turn in their final “product.” This should include any runnable demos and/or videos (arrange with the TA if you can’t upload things to the course web), as well as a document as described below. (it’s probably best if you prepare the document as a PDF, and make a posting to the Wiki with an attachment. if you can’t post PDF attachments, send it via email to the TA).

Your document should:

  • Describe the visualizations that your group created (in sufficient detail that someone can understand them). Include the technical/implementation details, as well as the ideas of the design.
  • Discuss the feedback that you received, and how you used it (or would use it) to improve the quality of the visualizations.
  • Discuss the problems that your visualization addresses (what kinds of things can you see with it).
  • Discuss the strengths and weaknesses of your methods.
  • Discuss how the design principles (that we have discussed in class) influence your methods.
  • Describe the process that you used to develop your solutions. How did your group work together? How did you generate ideas? How did you test them?

Also, for class on 3/18: we would like you to do a little evaluation about the class. Please print it on a piece of paper without your name (so we can keep it anonymous). In class, give it to the TA who will note that you’ve turned it in (we want to make sure everyone turns in something, but we want it to be anonymous). Please answer the following questions:

  1. What was your overall opinion of the design challenge project?
  2. What could we have done to make it better?
  3. What should we not change if we do something like this again in the future?
  4. What do you think about the class in general?
  5. What could we do to make the second half of the semester better than the first?
  6. What should we not change?
  7. Which topic (so far) did you find most interesting?
  8. Which topic (so far) did you find least interesting?
  9. Any other comments about the class are most welcomed.

Reading 8: Color 2

February 28, 2010

in Assignments

(readings due Tuesday, 3/16)
(note: this was updated on 3/9 based on feedback from the previous readings)

Here, we’ll dig a little deeper into actually using color for visualization.

(0) Charles Poynton has an excellent “FAQ on Color” – it’s a bit technical, and there is a lot of video specific stuff. But its the best place to learn about concepts like Color Temperature. It might help you understand why XYZ and xyY and LAB are all different.

(1) Cynthia Brewer’s work is a common standard for choosing color sets where you want a sequence of distinct colors (as opposed to continuous ramps). You should play with the ColorBrewer tool to see some of the set suggestions (and use it when you need a set of colors). You should read either a brief explanation or a paper.

(2) One thing that you might want to do is use color to display a continuous variable. Here is a paper (a bit old) where Colin Ware explains some issues:

  • Colin Ware. Color Sequences for Univariate Maps: Theory, Experiments and Principles. IEEE CG&A, September 1988.  (pdf here on Colin’s site – the official versions don’t have color!).

(3) Note that the result here is contrary to what people say (he finds the rainbow map is good). Here’s some arguments to the contrary:

  • Borland and Taylor. Rainbow Color Map (still) Considered Harmful. IEEE CG&A, March 2007. (ieee page)

(4) Here are two recent technical articles about details of using color:

(5) Here’s a designer’s take on what colors mean:

This order is not random, but is not necessarily the order you need to look at them.

What you need to do:

Look over #0 – especially if the concepts from the first readings were confusing. Reading #3 (rainbow color maps) is required. You should look at some of #1 (at least the web page, some reading). Take a quick glance at #5 – its quick and fun. Read over at least one of #4 – don’t worry about the details (unless you want to), but try to get an idea of the issues involved. And then look over #2 (to whatever depth you want)

And in the comment mention: what you read, and any insights you got from looking at color from all of these different perspectives.

Reading 7: Color 1

February 28, 2010

in Assignments

(due Tuesday, March 10)

Color is a big enough topic that we’ll probably want to spend more than 1 day on it. I’m planning at least 2. For the first color discussion, we’ll have two readings: one on the use of color, the other on some more technical issues.

Chapter 4 of Colin Ware’s Visual Thinking for Design (we’re working through it in order)

Representing Colors as Three Numbers by Maureen Stone. This appeared in IEEE Computer Graphics and Applications, and is a nice summary of the science of color (much better than the chapter of the 559 textbook).

As usual, post a comment indicating that you’ve read these. One thing to think about: how do the technical issues (described by Stone) connect to the design issues (described by Ware).

Reading 6: Layout

February 24, 2010

in Assignments

For Tuesday, March 2nd, the Reading is Chapter 3 of Visual Thinking for Design.

This week, the reading is intentionally light so you can be more focused on the Design Challenge.

Before 8am on the 2nd, please make a comment about this Chapter as a comment to this posting to help structure our conversation in class.

In order to keep the “assignments” category clean, I am putting posts about example data for the design challenge under a tag: DC Example Data. If you go to that link, you’ll see all the posts about example data. There’s not much there yet, but keep watching…