Digital works, Motion graphics

#infofails chapter 02 (plastic bottles)

 

About #infofails post series:

I have a lot of beta graphics versions that never goes public. I do two or three versions of a graphic, sometimes just a concept as part of the creation process to get a better solution. Where all that material goes?  well, ends-up in #infofails, a collection of my work fails.

This time I’ll like to share a little bit of the backstage of the plastic bottles project published a few days ago. If you haven’t seen it yet, Have a look here: https://tmsnrt.rs/2PDRvhd

The opening of this project is a short video of plastic bottles covering a garbage truck and a standing guy. To get that piece I did a few testing versions, all together neede almost 400 hours of rendering including the final piece.

demo_192

Early attempt. The bottles just run away from the pile because of the friction and mass assigned

Just to keep a sense of scale I did also a few graphics for my self to be sure that all the calculations were correct and also to get a sense of what I was doing. But after talking with some experts and friends the numbers needed to be adjusted.

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One of the thing that helps me a lot was a plug-in for Cinema 4D from Cesar Vonoc. I was chatting with my bosses about how difficult it was to calculate the volume of organic objects in C4D, for the next day they had found this tool that literally gives me the chance to make organic shapes and keep the accuracy needed too. Thanks Matthew and Simon.

Here some ugly early testing drooping bottles and making piles:

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Technical part for nerds

My first idea on Cinema 4D was to use an object cloner to create 1 million of copies of my original bottle, then adding dynamics to them let them fall in a cascade, testing with a few objects was ok, but then I wasn’t able to load more than half-million before the computer crashes so for big fail…

1m_EMTT_0286

Particle emitter demo using 310,000 bottles

demo_0267

Render testing. The computer failed to render on the frame 267 of 1500

clons_160k_055

Cloner version, the computer crashed rendering any over 170,000 clones

Even using a very simple geometry for the bottles, my laptop wasn’t powerful enough to manage my crazy request, after I removed the fancy texture of each bottle it moved a little better, but not enough to reach 1 million of copies.

I solved the issue using a particle emitter for the 1 million objects during a little more than a minute, using a basic material to add textures and effects in after effects later, even with all these adjustments to the process the render took over one week to be completed. Lucky me my laptop is still alive!

clons

Demo to show the number of plastic bottles sold every second.

Them some pile shapes and concepts of how it will look at the end. I was adjusting the behavior of the particles, some adjustments in the textures, lights, camera position… many aspects to present a nicer view of this to the readers

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While the production continued, I did a second version of the website controlling the zoom of a giant render by scrolling the camera passing from the smaller pile of 1 second to the final visualization of 10 years. But the images were too big and the quality not good enough.

 

I have to say that this time I did around 22 versions of every single graphic, looking for the right elements, proportions… Every time I had a new version, we had a chat at the team to point out things that could be improved. Some just change shape, but others like the NYC model also change concepts.

v17_static_NYC

Testing textures for a plastic bottle pile over Manhattan.

static_NYC_v11

Testing textures for a plastic bottle pile over Manhattan.

tenYears_layer

An alternative version of the graphic using all the bottles spread out over Manhattan

v19_static_NYC

An alternative version to visualize the bottles sold over the last 10 years

v18_static_NYC

Uniform extension of the bottles sold over the last 10 years over Manhattan

city.png

A cutaway version to get a sense a deep

I did also an attempt to make all of the pieces in the same “3D look”, but at the time I was doing the information more confusing, finally, we just drop the idea and stay stuck to the original Sankey chart show what happened with the plastic created over the last 65 years

fate_v2

The fate of all plastic. Version 3.

This was an extremely interesting project, I experimented a lot with different things but maybe the time to verify each of the countless versions and polish the results really made the difference at the end. Thanks to my bosses Simon Scarr and Mathew Weber and my colleagues Manas Sharma and Alex Richardson who also contributed a lot to launch this project in good shape.

If you want to see the finished project and some other graphics, here is the link to the special feature on Reuters:
https://tmsnrt.rs/2PDRvhd

Or have a look to #infofails Chapter one:
https://mhinfographics.com/2019/09/03/infofails-chapter-01-pilot/

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Digital works

#infofails chapter 01 (pilot)

I have a lot of beta graphics versions that never goes public. I do two or three versions of a graphic, sometimes just a concept as part of the creation process to get a better solution. So, I want to start a new series of #infofails with all that material. Someone once said:

nobody learns from the mistakes of someone else

Of course, this is a statement to make your own mistakes but is sooo funny to see how someone else fails too 😁  so here my fails at work:

My first entry on #infofails is about this project we run a few days ago about the wildfires near the Arctic.

Map_Aug5

Wildfires project. 3D wold map or aerosol. Version 01

The map above is a Cinema 4D render, it was made based on NASA data of aerosol, basically, I took the GeoTIFF provided by NASA and using the hair module I create using that reference. Basically, each of the pillars in the map is hair:

c4d.png

Cinema 4D, hair map by July 24, 2019. Based on NASA’s aerosol data.

mod_24jul_elevation.jpg

Screenshot of the Geotiff of July 24. This determinated how high and where the pillar will rise.

My first idea on this project was to show the readers how the fires boosted up the aerosol levels and how it spread out around the world. the first version you saw on top was an attempt to show a little of that story. Later I move on an animated version of the map, as you saw bellow.

 

Map_Jul24

Wildfires project. 3D wold map or aerosol. Version 01.2

I was very happy with the look, but then I try to explain the map to the people and no one got it right. Also when you add “NASA data”, “3D model” and interactive in the same sentence things tend to become harder to explain in a quick and easy way.

I think the best feedback I get in the testing versions was that the earth map was too difficult to recognize. So I did some other versions.

aerosol_ed_14.gif

Wildfires project. 3D wold map or aerosol. Version 02

Then I got the idea to change the data, thinking that carbon monoxide maybe will be something more familiar, easier to explain and communicate.  So another version using different data come-up.

carbon-crop-map.gif

Wildfires project. 3D wold map or carbon monoxide. Version 02

 

carbon-md-ago8

But doing this I returned back to the main issue of the map, how to explain this map, the data and the main story here… too much to do it effectively.

I think this time I was trying to show something different and a little attached to use this technique. On top of that, I was working with dense data trying to say hey look here, near Siberia, see how crazy it goes but most of the people stay only trying to figure out the map…

final.png

Final version. Carbon data polar projection.

I end up using a polar projection on a regular map to tell my story. The map above is a frame of the animation, then I separate 3 key points at the bottom with little comments. I think now the story is clearer. I have to say that my editors made good points when they had a look into this project.

If you want to see full project and some other graphics, here is the link to the special feature on Reuters:
https://tmsnrt.rs/2PCvoYD

Stay tuned for the next #infofails

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