“Seven Robots, Deluxe Redux,” animated GIF by @aforgrave (click image for rock music)
After only getting to try The Daily Create, tdc2016 yesterday on my iPhone, I wanted to revisit the RoboBoogie website on my computer. After playing with the code generator for a few minutes, I started animating all of the robots, and captured each one as a short video.
For each of the seven robot videos,
1) import into Photoshop, isolate 25 unique frames, make the background transparent for each frame
2) import grouped layers into master Photoshop file
3) re-assigned each robot’s 25 frames across the 25 frames within the all robot GIF.
4) add in a background for the robots to dance in front of.
In closing, I made an mp3 of one of the music tracks, and then used the John Johnson trick to make the mp3/ogg playable on a click.
Voila!Seven Dancing Robots!
They also dance on Mars, in Vegas, and in Fredericksburg!
“Seven Robots, on Mars,” animated GIF by @aforgrave (click image for synth music)
“Seven Robots, in Vegas,” animated GIF by @aforgrave (click image for funk music)
“Seven Robots at CoWork in Freddy,” animated GIF by @aforgrave (click image for disco music)
“2017, Reflected!,” image by @aforgrave, on Flickr
This little endeavor is in support of the momentous The Daily Create, tdc2017. “This is TDC number 2017 in the year 2017. We do not think this will ever happen again.”
The extended prompt said, “Find some symmetry or coincidence in numbers today, make not of it, make art of it. Numbers… have magic. You just have to look.” The example image had 2017 reflected in the horizontal plane, which put the idea of a reflection in my mind.
Travelling in Nova Scotia, I figured my opportunities for finding an interesting 2017 might be limited, but then I recalled @cogdog‘s fondness for locating the number 106 while travelling and so decided to go with an address.
I entered 2017 in Google Maps search and located the nearest 2017 street address at only 9.7 km from my location. I confirmed the presence of a 911 civic address sign out near the road via Google Street View.
“2017, confirmed on Street View,” screen capture from Google Street View by @aforgrave
A short drive later and I contrived an opportunity to turn around in the necessary driveway. Getting the sign in my passenger side mirror (above) took a bit of maneuvering — snagging a simple head-on shot out the passenger window was a lot easier.
As the GIF should make clear, I was only using my phone today, and with limited time I had available. I started with a screen capture of the initial robot and then isolated it using Pixomatic app. The robot was then flipped, rotated, and sequenced with the other screen captures first within Keynote, and then assembled into a GIF using the Giffer Pro app.
BEWARE!!The Data GIF Maker is not (yet) worth using to make a respectable data GIF.
When the Data GIF Maker first came out a month ago, I was intrigued and tried to get it to work. But the more I worked with it, the less impressed I was. While it generates something that looks nice, it does a VERY poor job of accurately visualizing data. Essentially, regardless of the data provided, it just wobbles back and forth and then stops with a 80:20 split in favour of the larger value. By way of proof — the GIF above was generated with data values of 99:1 — values which are in no way represented by the GIF produced. Despite what the interface may imply (values, comma-separated) it really only “compares” the two data points — all those fractional percentages shown during the wobble are made up and are completely non-existent in the real sense of the data. The final visualization of the actual data — 99% versus 1% — is completely bogus.
If you want to read bit more about it — check out the two posts I wrote on my edVisioned.ca blog:
Note that following on Alan Levine‘s (@cogdog, on Twitter) example of signing up for MOOCs and then allowing engagement to lapse, I did sign up for a MOOC on Data Visualization for Journalists back in 2012 (the mention of GIFs in the syllabus caught my eye) offered by Alberto Cairo (@albertocairo), and so I tagged both him and Simon Rogers (@smfrogers) from Google News Lab via Twitter in my second post to see if either could respond to my concerns about the misleading/misrepresentation offered by the current Data GIF Maker. It seems to me that if journalists are going to be visualizing data, it needs to be accurate and clear about what it is intended to be doing.
Here is our very limited exchange on Twitter — and sadly, no comments for either blog post.
Based on my findings and their very limited replies, I say stay away from this thing for now. It’s not even worth the wait it requires (several minutes) to generate a GIF.
Make a Data GIF on your own (using Photoshop, say) and know that you can accurately represent your data and communicate what the data means.