infofails

Doodles for news

August 2021 saw a tsunami of stories from Afghanistan in the news. Apart from a bunch of small graphics, I participated with Chaos in Kabul and Flights over Kabul both stories related to the Afghan skies and the complex situation lived there after the US troops withdraw. At Reuters, we did a good long list of potential stories, even I did a few kickoffs of some, but a packed agenda of long term projects for this year left most of them out.

Boeing Chinook CH-47, Mi171E, Sikorsky UH-60, Black Hawk, Boeing AH-64 Apache
illos published at the story “flights over Kabul” Aug. 2021 | Reuters graphics.
Globemaster III

Have you ever felt that you need a few copies of your self to materialise all the stuff in your mind? no? well maybe just me weirdo but I do. I would have loved to have some copies of me working on a few more stories from Afghanistan to get them in time to publish back then.

Those aircraft illos above are from stories that do made it, but you know I love to share pieces from under the rug, so… here you go:

US Humvee vehicle
D30 Howitzer illustration

For a day or two my desktop was full of guns blueprints, aircraft dossiers, technical documents of military equipment, tons of field photographs from our news feed, news articles… The home screen of photoshop and illustrator slowly turned red.

I usually start these things in photoshop, drawing outlines, then a base colour layer, a layer shadows and one more of lights on top. All always to scale and 2.5x the size I’ll need in the final version.

MD530
M16 illustration

The cool stuff related to my job. ‚̧

The night vision googles were my favourites, weird device actually. I learn some of them are like a video game with this cool display of augmented reality. The visuals looks really nice, check this story from The Washington Post [ here ] or just google “US army augmented reality night vision goggles” you will see.

BNVD googles

I love to learn new things, that’s one of the best things of my job actually. You never know what’s waiting for you tomorrow, what new curiosities are waiting there for you. And even if they don’t get published for sure you will learn something new.

Guns illustration. M9, G19 pistols. M4, M16, Dragunov rifles. RPK7, M249, M240, NSV12 machine guns. Mortar

The grey area of working in news

Beyond the research for the illustrations and the drawing itself, I made some maps and videos on a demo page with the proposal. Maybe all of this was pointing too high in the little time we had at the time since all the rest of the work has to be considered to complete the story.

Sometimes news are a bit cruel, you must do everything quickly before it’s no longer news. The tricky part of it is that most of us in this industry think quickly of the same things. It’s like a race against the clock, so, unless you can distinguish your story from others that have been already published, things are doomed, and may end here on my blog… which is fine, but of course it’s a sad thing to bring potential stories to the graveyard.

Humvee, Ford ranger, M113A2, MRAP vehicles.
Hercules C130, Mi17 Helicopter, MD530 Helicopter, A29 Tucano, C208

The summary of this failed idea contains a fair amount of learning, a lot of cool nerd stuff is on my head now. Although unfortunately none of this was published, it was not a complete waste of time either as I did not work on this exclusively. There are many other interesting things in the pipeline, some almost done, so enthusiasm always remains high.

About #infofails post series:
Graphics that are never formally published. Those are maybe tons of versions of a single graphic or some floating concepts and ideas, all part of my creative process. All wrapped up in #infofails, a compilation of my creative process and failures at work.

Did you like #infofails?
Have a look to other #infofails ūüĎá

1: Wildfires
2: Plastic bottles
3: Hong Kong protest
4: The Everest
5: Amazon gold
6: The world on fire
7: A busy 2021 kick off
8: Olympics
9: Floods

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Digital works, infofails

#Infofails: the world on fire

2020 kicked off with record-breaking wildfires in Australia, the hatching a global pandemic, and later the a new wildfires season turning into ashes thousands of sqkm of the U.S. West Coast, then Trump again… you know all that right?

In the middle of all that craziness, we were juggling to cover the events with visual stories. As usual, I did a little more than necessary in order to explore and get details relevant to our stories… and well, not all of them worked out…

Where there is fire, there is smoke

Some events on our planet reach sufficient dimensions to be easily seen from space, wildfires are one of them.

Mercator projected snapshot of organic carbon data on September 16th, 2020. Data from NASA-GMAO

I had work with GMAO data many times before, it’s a good source to see a model of aerosols and other specific data on a large scale, works very well for continental areas, not too much for a closer zoom like country level.

Anyway, the idea of this. visualisation was very clear, it was about to show the large dimension of the smoke caused by the wildfires in the US. West Coast.

One by one in QGIS, I did a series of renderings like the one shown above with data between June and mid-September (around 100 days), which is probably not too much, but the data is collected every 3 hours so I manually processed about 400 files to get a smooth animation.

Animation test v1.

To get control of the style without coming again to QGIS, I did the series of data only, a layer with the country borders, a layer with labels and so on… I also did one version with the same idea but in a globe.

Style test. v4.

I often try different versions of my graphics, On my team here at Reuters, we often joke that until we get to the twentieth version we won’t be close to finishing ‚Ķ Although in some cases that joke does come true.

The final version ended up looking a bit different. I controlled the final style in Illustrator, Photoshop and After Effects.

Final version. ( v.11 )

There are many more pieces in that story, including a really cool cutaway of the smoke made by my teammate Manas Sharma with data from NASA’s Calipso mission. You can have a look to the full story here: https://tmsnrt.rs/3nkkOkX.

But the wildfires continued to break historical records and turning the city’s skies orange-red. There were many other stories on that tragedy waiting to be told, even though the stories of the covid-19 did not stop harassing us either.

An aircraft swarm

OV-10 ‚ÄúBronco‚ÄĚ sketch test for the Cal Fire aircraft story.

Air attack was one of those stories we worked on in the middle of this year, the main idea was to show the impressive deployment and coordination of planes to deal with the fires in California. Just doing the planes was very enthusiastic, the main issue was how to pick the right ones.

Cal-Fire has on hand an extensive fleet of planes, tankers and helicopters, some in heavy operation, others less so. However, the flight and route logs from FlightRadar24 gave us an outlet to filter the aircraft.

Cal Fire aircraft sketches for the story.

You may have noticed some airplanes in the image above that aren’t in the final story. The AT-802A were used to guide tankers in the old days, they are probably still in use elsewhere, I think you can see them in the Pixar movie “Planes”.

That was one of the “unnecessary resources” that I created, thinking that it might have been nice to show how things have evolved over the years, but it was not the case. You can read the story through the following link: https://tmsnrt.rs/2Iy2K7W

Wine and ashes

There’s one thing you should know about me: I love wine.

I usually work colour at the end. More versions to test and try keeping outlines or light-shadows intact.

Most of the stories I’ve made in the last year or two are sad, some about environmental disasters, people in danger, dying, or losing everything.

Like many, this story came with some mixed feelings. I think it was the first time that I had the opportunity to do something about wine, and it involved the destruction of hundreds of vineyards.

Although I really enjoy to do reporting, create a map, draw a diagram, or write a story draft, those same stories always bring me a strange mix of joy in doing my job and the sadness of understanding the dimensions of a problem or event. I’m not complaining, I keep my job at the office, but it’s curious I guess.

You can have a look to the wine story here: https://tmsnrt.rs/3eZnWQ9

There’s no time enough in the world

Not matter how much time I can have, there’s always one more thing I’ll like to explore. Nice thing is you can save the idea in the bucket for next time. And the fires coverage wasn’t an exception.

Screenshot of the VIRS brightness data over California. Night time Aug. 03, 2020.

Around mid year, I was exploring at VIIRS/NPP data, this data contains 26 data sets including radiance sensors, shortwave IR radiance, earth’s brightness and temperatures etc.

That data can give you a daily quick look of lights and temperatures of the planet’s surface, of course if clouds play nice and go away from your interest area.

After downloading the data for a few days in the area, I noticed some bright areas that turned on and off depending on the day, probably fires that were seen burning from space at night.

The lights were so intense that you can easily mistake them for city lights. Check the white circles bellow:


About #infofails post series:
I keep my beta graphics, those that never go public‚Ķ Maybe they are tons of versions of a graphic or just a few concepts, part of my creative process. So, where all those things go? well, ends-up in #infofails ‚Äďa collection of my fails at work.

Did you like #infofails?
Have a look to other #infofails Chapters here:

1: Wildfires
2: Plastic bottles
3: Hong Kong protest
4: The Everest
5: Amazon gold

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Awards, Digital works

SND Digital Awards

SND

Two of our digital works published at nacion.com wins an Award Of Excellence in the 2015 edition of the contest. The first one is the project in celebration of the “75th anniversary¬†of the¬†National Symphonic Orchestra”¬†the design and development of this projects set a starting point to the¬†trends of our unit.

The second project awarded this February in Washington D.C. was the “Birth of a Century“, I was invited to work in this project for¬†the unit of Data from La Naci√≥n, and I have the fortune of the collaboration of the development unit as the artist Augusto Ram√≠rez.

I have to say that I’m very very happy to get this awards of the Society for News Design in his digital contest, but this is a team work, and I must say thanks to my partners in the infographics unit, the Data Team of LN, the Development area, my Editors, and many many people who supports me last year.

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Digital works

The birth of a century visualized: Backstage

Illustrations by Augusto Ramírez

Illustrations by Augusto Ramírez

A few days ago We published at nacion.com this special feature analyzing the data of 115 years of births in Costa Rica. We decide to take this special as an opportunity to explore the deep exploration of data visualizations with the efficiency and impact of illustrations. But besides the style and interface, the production process its the most interesting story.

One of the most complicated pieces of the special its the section of conceptions, we have all this data about the births, and the necessary references to relate it with the conception, so, We wanted to create a customized visualization to navigate through a 115 years of the country history and relating how the people gets pregnant.

We begin with a model of variation per decade, where we can see the balance in favor or against each decade in births. We use this chart as a navigator to show in the bottom detail of those ten years. By this time we have the idea of linking these points with major events taking place in the country and the region to relate the behavior of people with some important facts in time.

first version of the visualization of conceptions

First version of the visualization of conceptions. Note the dummy text ūüôā

This special was an conjunction exercise with the Data Team of La Naci√≥n, I made my part in visualization and other support, but it because the skillfully profesional of they, it’s that the final product becomes properly.¬†In spite of I have a small part of the special, the versions of the charts, the motion graphics and some other assets take about 1.1 GB of space. This is it because I made so many versions and testing design to find the better way to present the findings in the data.

I start with this horizon chart to visualize the concentration of conceptions, it was fun because i start thinking that i’m seeing in the moment in which the persons¬†did their things in their beds conceiving new compatriots.¬†So I could be seeing as in some parts of the graphics I surprised myself with what they meant those lines.

Full visualization by decade of conceptions in Costa Rica

Full visualization by decade of conceptions in Costa Rica

Obviously we not publish comments like the next ones¬†that I’ll score when analyzing the chart in search of curiosities, but between the equipment if the process is to make more fun,¬†I must say that is a personal process and does not refer to style publication of our environment here at¬†La Naci√≥n.

in the top graphic I wrote "The begin of the Century, our grandparents also was having fun" the data reflects that they in the early century don't discriminate the time to get pregned

in the top graphic I wrote “The begin of the Century, our grandparents also was having fun” the data reflects that they in the early century don’t have prefers or discrimination of the time to get pregnant

Findings

in the top graphic I wrote “five months giving it!!!” the data show periods or season of conceptions, the behaviour changes through the time, the late conceptions prefers the 3 or 4 last months of the year to get pregnant. At the bottom I wrote “the early ones” for 2011

Also i add some drafted emoticons, at the top a sad face because the high season is only of 2 months, but for 2006-2007 the high season extended for 6 months OMG a lot of time enjoying the bed time!

Also i add some emotions, at the top a sad face because the high season is only of 2 months, but for 2006-2007 the high season has a prolongation of 6 months OMG a lot of time enjoying the bed time!

This if the full visualization if the 115 years of data of baby conceptions in Costa Rica, then i split it by decade.

This if the full visualization if the 115 years of data of baby conceptions in Costa Rica, then i split it by decade.

 

The final version have the instructions to read the horizon graphic and the indications of each space that will change when the reader click the upper menu by decade, then, the dashboard change the data according the user interest.

The main graphic is the conception concentration, at the bottom the decade resume, and the percent variation between decades

The main graphic is the conception concentration, at the bottom the decade resume, and the percent variation between decades

How to read the graphic, the title show a legend "before you start, you must know"

How to read the graphic, the title show a legend “before you start, you must know”

PLUS EXPERIENCE

We add some hide effects to give different experiences of navigation to the readers, if you use the side menu to navigate each section is preceded by an animation like the next one, if you want a see more of this project please visit it here http://bit.ly/1kpN45p  hope you enjoy the data experience.

 

Illustration by Augusto Ramírez.

Illustration by Augusto Ramírez, Motion by Marco Hernández.

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Digital works

WebGL power for infographics

In the last weeks I’ been integrating the WebGL Technology to take advantage of the great skills of my partners of the infographics department here at nacion.com Daniel Solano and Edgar Jim√©nez both of them great artist¬īs, they works on Cinema 4D to produce print graphics for the regular editions of the news corporation, that kind of work it’s simply awesome and it’s a shame don’t use all his digital potential.

So, here’s a pair of work that we worked on together to improve the experiences for the readers.

Lost in space for ever and ever

with Daniel Solano

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On september 15th of 1965 Fox and CBS launch in USA the TV Show ‚ÄúLost in space‚ÄĚ, 50 years after, we¬†wants to remember the serie, the main characters and vehicles that captivated audiences for decades beyond its premiere. Here’s an exclusive access to the 3D models, The Chariot, and The Jupiter 2.

Original feature

Original feature

It’s really nice have the chance to work in this kind of topics, science and space are one of my all time favorites.¬†if you want to know more about the graphic¬†the original feature at nacion.com here.

Technology the leading actor

with Edgar Jiménez

NASA¬īs SEV Vehicle

NASA¬īs SEV Vehicle

At least nine of the technologies developed by NASA towards Mars space exploration are mentioned in the book and movie The Martian, this 3D infographic collects those coincidences.

Martian tech

Martian tech

I also want to add some short animations as gif files in the graphic to give support to the information and the whole infographic, Edgar and me develop this sort animations in After Effects.

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if you want to know more about the graphic the original feature at nacion.com here.

The original feature publication at nacion.com

The original feature publication at nacion.com

I very lucky to have co-workers with this kind of skills, and the space to make this kind of publications, I love infographics, and space… ¬† ūüôā

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Digital works

CTCC Parque Viva

nocturno_00

A few hours more than a full day of work takes to two co-workers and me, to release today this special feature about the V8 cars competition in the “Parque Viva” racetrack.
Animated graphics, details about the cars and restrictions and a complementary key note of Jose Luis Rodríguez fusioned together to create this digital experience.
I hope you will enjoy it!

Graphics inside the special

Graphics inside the special

Graphics inside the special

Graphics inside the special

Graphics inside the special

Graphics inside the special

Graphics inside the special

Graphics inside the special

Visite the special site of nacion.com here: http://goo.gl/gzjLYy

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Digital works

The National Symphonic Orchestra

Happy to finally conclude a couple of months of research, visualise and design this special feature in celebration of the 75th anniversary of the National Symphonic Orchestra of Costa Rica. For this project, I’m try to develop an experience immersed into dataviz fusioned with clear spaces, photography, video and even white space.

The 75th anniversary of the National Symphonic Orchestra.

The 75th anniversary of the National Symphonic Orchestra.

This special contains sections as the video documentary with the 75 years of history, small graphics of the instruments families, the musicians chronology, playlist and more.

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Please, enjoy the experience at nacion.com

http://www.nacion.com/LNCSPC20150622_0001/index.html?desktop=true

Use Google Chrome for translation from spanish.

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Awards

News Data App of the Year

The web app lets citizens find out the average monthly salary someone with their profile can receive in Costa Rica’s job market.

The web app lets citizens find out the average monthly salary someone with their profile can receive in Costa Rica’s job market.

We were awarded last June 17, the recognition of the best news application data through the work of “Does school pay off? How much?”¬†http://bit.ly/1FTtpjH recognition was given in the category of News Data App of the year for small newsroom here¬†is¬†the details.

Alejandro Fernandez from El Financiero was the project manager. In the area of specialized design of GN we welcomed the project in the design phase, and the development department GN concrete it. Today with them, we celebrated the triumph of this web app in the summit of GEN2015. Here the details published regarding: http://bit.ly/1L2U69p

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Digital works

Party ended on a stretcher

When¬†december comes, the party time began in Costa Rica.¬†The Red Cross attended 458 emergencies in the past popular festivities. Of these, 215 were in the arena fights. Other 229 at the fairgrounds and 14 in the mechanical rides at the fair.¬†My support to this coverage was the data visualization at the bottom page. Here¬īs the link¬†http://bit.ly/13YLsr7

//*****

Cuando diciembre llega,¬†las fiestas inician en¬†Costa Rica. La Cruz Roja antendi√≥ 458 emergencias en los festejos populares del a√Īo pasado.¬†De esas,¬†215 ocurrieron en el redondel de toros. Otros 229 en el campo ferial¬†y 14 m√°s en los juegos mec√°nicos. Mi aporte en este reportaje fue la visualizaci√≥n en la parte baja de la p√°gina. Ac√° el link¬†http://bit.ly/13YLsr7

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Partial screen shot of Zapote injuries in 2013-2014.

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Digital works

Medio siglo de tensión entre Cuba y EE. UU.

intro page

En medio de la noticia que dio vuelta al mundo cuando Barack Obama y Ra√ļl Castro anunciaban el inicio del cambio de las pol√≠ticas en cuanto a las relaciones de sus pa√≠ses, en naci√≥n.com¬†est√°bamos desarrollando un especial de ultima hora, con cinco horas de tiempo, nuestro equipo respondi√≥ con esto ante la noticia http://goo.gl/CGU34a¬†

Screen Shot 2014-12-18 at 2.26.51 PM

Screen Shot 2014-12-18 at 2.33.24 PM

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