blogging, infofails

ūüéĶ I can see clearly now the rain is gone…

Last July was a crazy month full of flood news all over the world. I remember seeing impressive videos and images of the floods in China and Germany, and digging a little deeper I found many more reports about it from around the world. I tried to put some things together, but time and other projects played a trick and the project became material for #infofails.

Some times taking notes of things isn’t enough for me. One or two illustrator artboards with basic ideas have become the new “office whiteboard sessions” since we started remote work. Quick sketches and some data samples usually help me to organize myself better.

Sampling flood reports and daily precipitation data.

I collected some data from NASA including the PPS and MERRA-2 to visualize precipitation. It was so cool when I saw the data of total rainfall in a month over the planet. Is curious to see how dynamic our planet is isn’t?

July’s total precipitation. Data by NASA’s Precipitation Processing System (PPS)

Whenever I have a global data set, I always look at how things are for my family and friends in Costa Rica. I remember that in July I had seen videos of flooded areas in Turrialba, a region in the Atlantic region of the country. And yes, the accumulated data showed that intense blue layer near the border with Panama.

Detail of the precipitation data. NASA PPS.

Of course, there were other much worse areas that saw terrifying amounts of precipitation causing dozens of deaths, western India for example was one of those areas. I continued to explore a bit more on the map and checking against the flood reports I found to find points of interest and to highlight later in the story.

Detail of the precipitation data. NASA PPS.

The testing continued

One aspect to consider was how to visualize the data in the end. There was even a 3D spinning globe in the process… As you can imagine it was chaos displaying flood reports, animated rain data, and 3D navigation all at the same time.

However, one of my favourite pieces was not the maps. There were some small graphics to condense powerful messages had something interesting too. Within them was this simple stacked bar chart where each block showed the total precipitation each month in Zhengzhou, just by putting the amount of water they received on July 20 next to it was really impressive. This is real evidence of how extreme our planet’s climate is becoming.

BTW, there’s also a great graphic from the South China Morning Post friends explaining the huge amount of water that Zhengzhou received over the downpours [ check that story here ]

Extremes

A few years ago I was working on a graphic about extreme temperatures of the earth, it was happening the 2019 polar vortex in the US and at the same time Australia was on 40¬į C on the other side. In my head, the perfect title was “Earth’s Goldilocks Climate.” It sounds crazy but it is actually very common, our planet is full of those strange contrasts all the time.

In July China was having its own ‘goldilocks’ event, or kind of, because wasn‚Äôt temperature. As enormous amount of water flooded train stations and caused chaos in Henan, south of there a nine-month drought hit Fujian province.

July total precipitation in China. Data by NASA PPS

Similar situations occurred in the Middle East, in Afghanistan a long drought was worsening the already difficult situation of the Afghans. Ironically, extreme rains in the border areas also caused flash flooding, while the country as a whole has not seen any rain for months.

July total precipitation in the Middle East. Data by NASA PPS

NASA’s MODIS/Terra offers also daily and monthly averages of surface temperature. This was some other stuff I was considering for this story. It’s incredible to see how high the temperatures go in the region. There’s also an other cool data set of monthly temp. anomalies here in case you want to explore the world too.

Temperature anomaly for Feb. 2021. Red areas show were the temp. was higher in comparison with the averages of 10 years ago. Afghanistan was about 12C warmer in average according to NASA Earth Observations data. LPDAAC and MODIS.

Anyway, none of these charts, maps or data made it into a true story on Reuters, but it was fun collecting, preparing and sketching ideas for it. And of course, in the end it became an average #infofails story here. Maybe later we will take back again this story, unfortunately extreme weather events are becoming more and more frequent

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

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Digital works, infofails

Olympic #infofails

If you’ve seen my #infofails before, you might already know that it’s about the things I create for news and some of the mess in between. Here’s the link [ The Forgotten Olympic Events ] of the project related to this post if you want to have a look first and then come back here to get a better sense of what’s this about.

It’s a bit strange to say that we are about to see the start of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics in the summer of 2021 (if Covid-19 allows the games to go on anyway) but whatever the case, this is one of the most popular events in the world and we couldn’t let it go without a special story.

The idea of doing a story on unusual sports came first in April from my editor Simon Scarr. Later, I started reading old Olympics reports, books and websites to get good references of events that seem a bit unusual in a list of sports/discipline/events from the International Olympic Committee.

Some of the reports and books consulted for the project.

Once we had a good list of curiosities, I started doing some tests for the illustration style. It is not usual to find a solution quickly as I like to try alternatives. However on this particular project the style quickly established, and a few days later I had a lot of illustrations with many of those sporting events to display in the opening of each section.

Top images are part of the concept illustrations, I choose to go with colour as in the top right. The 2 bottom images are part of events the were left out of the story.

I can say that part was relatively easy, the difficult thing was to obtain visual references of the events where you could see how things were prepared for each event, or at least, a detailed written description. I probably spent more time looking for those things rather than writing or sketching.

A reference of the firing range setup for the running deer shooting event
A detail of the rifle shooting section in the project

This project lasted about three months, however I didn’t dedicate myself exclusively to it, but I did spend a few days here and there trying to obtain reliable sources that would explain these singular Olympic events and their rules.

Some references were harder to find than others. For example, the way of placing the wooden birds for the archery events was one of those difficult ones.

I did a drawing of Hubert Van Innis, an Olympic archer who won six medals in the 1900 and 1920 games, but then I found mixed references on how arrows were shoot in the moving bird events, probably my illustration had the wrong pose. I think that’s part of the process, many times I corroborate the references and sources and all makes sense, then something else comes along and the piece becomes a wrong interpretation. So it’s important to check not once but as many times as you can.

Cherry picking

Apart from little difficulties like that one of the moving bird event in archery, the main problem turned out to be too many nice things. It was necessary to take a decision to prevent a never ending story so we took off some events in the list giving priority to the ones with good references and “colourful facts”.

Some events sound very interesting by name, so we chose them for the first list of curious possibilities. A good example of this is the two-handed discus throw, digging a bit further I found that it wasn’t a very creative way of holding the record with both hands as it sounds, but two discus throws, first using the left hand and then the right hand… ūüė¶

Some of the events that I considered within the initial list of Olympic curiosities, but that didn’t make it to the final version. Among them, a 12-hour bike race and army pistol shooting.

It was a very fun story to do, a really enjoyed to read the reports and references. I filled out my mind for a few days of images of how the people saw the games and how different are today.

Here’s a crazy collage with some of the drawings of the project.

collage
Some of the drawings of the project.

A funny project that looks like a huge illustration, but in fact, it has a lot of data behind, a lot of text/data documents, hundreds of old pictures and references of poses developed in 3D. One nice tool that help me a lot to create diverse poses was Magic Poser, this is open web-based 3D environment where you can set a model to any position you need. Here’s the link in case you get in trouble with anatomy or just need some help with pose models.

The folder with the production files of this project. I usually only have 4 or 5 projects on my computer. I guess otherwise it might not move at all ūüėÜ

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

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Digital works, Motion graphics, Print graphics

My sincere gratitude to the South China Morning Post

Back in 2016, I was moving from Costa Rica to Hong Kong to face a new challenge. Full of dreams and hungry of learning, I arrived at the South China Morning Post doors. There I found new friends and colleagues and learn a lot from all of them. Today I have the same feeling once again, and I want to say thanks to all that people that I meet here in Hong Kong because they change in a way or another my professional and personal life, I really can’t mention names because there are many people and I don’t want to leave anyone out

In three years at the South China Morning Post, I collaborate in 30 print pages and I have good memories for all of them, some remind me of a trip with a friend to collect information in China, a rush hour with a piece of breaking news, or a long project that I only talk about day after day (oh poor friends of mine, I’m sorry )

Bellow, some of the print graphics memories I create at the South China Morning Post

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I had fun doing full-page graphics at the South China Morning Post print ed, and the online was an awesome sandbox where I found the freedom to test and play with pretty much all the topics that come to my mind, my first graphics as stand-alone were the Statues Graphic and the lightning project

process_2

Statues drawings

And some of those first steps at the South China Morning Post

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But maybe the more recent ones were the most I enjoy because of the diversity of ways to work, some times doing projects by my self and some others collaborating in bigger projects with the other artist, visual journalist and designers. That’s the case of the Forbidden City series collecting data and working in graphics on for a year

The biggest project that I ever did up to today, and at the same time one I enjoy the most was the¬†Forbidden City, below the Part One¬†print version.¬†To be honest, I’m very bad doing drawings, but since I get here I face a lot of projects where the drawings were the essence of the graphic, like this all manually made:

The-cricket-cage

Forbidden City series, part one for the print

And the extended digital chapters, which in my case covered the architecture aspects of the Forbidden City in Beijing:

Maybe the most exhaustive part was the built of the of the VR feature in the second chapter made with Cinema 4D:

c4d

Here the output on youtube 360/VR:

…and some more of the stuff of the Forbidden City Series, small animations and graphics

I can say that I try pretty much all kind of topics in the South China Morning Post from many¬†soccer¬†graphics to the architecture¬†ones, Chinese projects like the new the¬†Silk Road (OBOR), of the perception of the¬†rule of law, explosions,¬†weather¬†conditions, the moon¬†events, crazy aircraft¬†stories, game-like graphics about food, vessel tragedies like the Aulac and the Sanchi¬†tanker, trend games like¬†Pokemons¬†hunting, a lot of Trump, and the Brexit, automobile technology, and snakes, my fascination with Asians anatomy, always nice to have some time off so I also did one about¬†holidays; if you want to know where you can go with your documents and how much it cost I did one about the¬†passports¬†too; graphics about Chinese cities, Hong Kong’s ageing population, war vehicles, why no toilets¬†too; the Golden Globe Awards, celebrations like San Valentine, or where the¬†Asians lives in the US; all about¬†North Korea¬†in 15 graphics, the evolution of¬†Peral River Delta¬†considered the Chinese silicon valley; Spanish Galleons crossing the Pacific heading to China’s goods; Thai kids trapped in a cave; automation and industrial robots¬†and many many more that I can’t remember now. All those with a nice touch of memories because work at the South China Morning Post graphics team was more about have fun with the stuff you love to do rather than just work

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My last project with the South China Morning Post was the Tibet permafrost, and there wasn’t a better way to finish my time there like doing one last project with my teammates like the ones I enjoy for 3 years

cover_SQUARE_50

Permafrost cover

coverpermafrost02_W

Cover illustration by Adolfo Arranz

tibet-plateau

Permafrost extension in the northern hemisphere

For the print, I split the project into two backpages, so I can make a more specific topic on extreme temperatures, on my point of view a Goldilocks place were the temperature is too hot in one place and incredible cold in the other

Extreme Earth is blowing hot and cold

My last page at the South China Morning Post, published in February 2019.

As I set in the title of this post, this is just to say thanks to all you guys that help me to evolve and create more and more. Thanks to the Hispanic gang of the South China Morning Post; thanks to my British boss today a good friend, to the friends at Hong Kong University, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, the Hong Kong Design Institute and the Baptist University that also open their doors to me, all my Hongkongneer friends and all the South China Morning Post family that let me be part of that amazing experience

From now on, my graphics will appear in the Reuters pages, lucky me to work there with more good friends. Hope to come back soon here, to my website, to write about some new graphics and backstages made for the world

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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, Motion graphics

Quick graphics for social networks

Last year (2015) I start many new projects, some of them are still progress, but one of these are the quick graphics for social media.

At the unit of infographics and datavisualization, we spend many time in daily production and in special huge projects, I believe that we have enough time and muscle to produce frequently these small graphics,  every single infographic must have a print version, desktop digital versión, mobile version but also, i like to choose some of these to develop a social media version, sometimes a gif, or an image or even a short video with a compact version of the main graphic.

So, here is some of my favorites picks:

The spooky asteroid:

In october 31, an asteroid pass near the earth (near in space terms), this asteroid was renamed “the spooky asteroid” and take the attention of the world by the time of his visit, so it was a nice opportunity for a quick graphic for social media:


Compact version for social media. Motion-Infographic by Marco Hern√°ndez.

spooky

Gif version for social media. Infographic by Marco Hern√°ndez.

pesoInfo_spooky

Desktop digital version for article. Infographic by Marco Hern√°ndez.

The MAVEN findings:

The NASA made the announcement of the Maven mission findings about what happened with the atmosphere and magnetic fields of the red planet. We are awaiting the press release with a stock of pieces to develop soon as we can a simply animation for social media:

ARTpieces

Illustrations by Dominick Baltodano and Marco Hern√°ndez.


Compact version for social media. Motion-infographic by Marco Hern√°ndez.

MAVEN-Marte_LNCIMA20151105_0084_1

Desktop version, infographic by Edgar Jiménez, Carlos Fonseca and Marco Hernández.

Hope in this 2016 have many more of these chances to create more quick graphics for social media, these are a great way to engage readers with content made exclusively for consumption on social networks.

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Academics

August of Dataviz

caratula

I have been teaching the course of information design for over two years now, and as I always say, my greatest satisfaction is to take a tour of the good things that these boys and girls have achieved with their projects change each cycle.

For this opportunity, my students worked on three projects, the first was the creation of pieces focusing on processes, for this I left them some issues to assist in the process and make more effective taking a decision, the second project was the creation of an analysis of literary works, in this case the intention was that from some books that previously chose to give them a pdf of these works, the students seek ways to visualize related to such works topics, the latest project was a a little free theme, with this the idea was to make a graphic interpretation of a classic tale, fairy tales that end up being interpreted with certain rules of any visual form.

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interesting ways of looking at information through the eyes of my students, I invite you to see the whole pot with the description of the work and others at visual744 here: http://bit.ly/1hf7UlF use google chrome for translation from Spanish.

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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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Academics

The quick report, my students work first cycle of 2015

A new cycle of students has be done at the Science and Arts University of Costa Rica, some interesting projects and concepts appears, the complete report is at visual744 but it is in Spanish, use Google Chrome for translation.

Here is the link to: http://visual744.blogspot.com/2015/04/un-ciclo-mas-de-dataviz.html

information design

Details of the job log Andrey Castro, project “The Moon in the 20th century,” design student information. University of the Sciences and the Arts, April 2015.

mapping the moon the XX century

Infographic by Andrey Castro, project II “The Moon in the 20th century,” design of information student. University of the Sciences and the Arts, April 2015.

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Awards

Malofiej 23, The Pulitzer awards of information graphics

Today the 23rd edition of Malofiej ended, the jury of the International Infographics Awards, organized by SND-E, gave medals for the best in graphics of the 2014. A great honor for us in GN Medios has been awarded with two silver medals, one for the special of the 75th Batman anniversary in print categories, and an other for the Market of Soccer players data visualisation of online graphics category. Congrats for all my visual team at GN Medios.

The Bat cave, Special information graphics in poster format.

The Bat cave, Special information graphics in poster format.

Soccer players transfers  in Costa Rica

Special mini-site: Soccer players transfers in Costa Rica / La Nación.

Visit the special awarded site here: 

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Awards

SND 36th print awards

Yesterday the Society for News Design (SND) announces on his site the full list of winners of the 36th edition in print categories. The visual team of GN Medios gets 10 awards of excellence, 5 of these for the department of information graphics. Some of these works includes: the World Cup Brazil 2014 coverage, Special posters as the collection of the Human Body  and the Batman 75th anniversary.

Graphic coverage of FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014. La Nación 2014.  Staff  / Infographics Dep.

Graphic coverage of FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014. La Nación 2014. Marco Hernández and Manuel Canales.

Graphic coverage of FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014. La Nación 2014.  Staff  / Infographics Dep.

Graphic coverage of FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014. La Naci√≥n 2014. Daniel Solano and Johan Uma√Īa.

Graphic coverage of FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014. La Nación 2014.  Staff  / Infographics Dep.

Graphic coverage of FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014. La Nación 2014. Staff / Infographics Dept.

The collection of posters of the Human Body.

The collection of posters of the Human Body. Staff / infographics Dept.

The Bat cave, Special information graphics in poster format.

The Bat cave, Special information graphics in poster format. Carlos Fonseca, Manuel Canales and Dan Mora.

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