Friday, April 15, 2011

Stereoscopic 3D

Industry Insiders like James Cameron reckon that stereoscopic 3D will become ubiquituous in the next 5 years. Adobe is readying CS5.5 for that experience. I collected some links outlining what's required in a stereo 3D workflow:

More will follow soon!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The final release version of my infographical video

This should be the final release version of my infographical video which I have been developing over the last six months. Please note that this is the public release version, which is for one longer, features one additional scene in order to combine the two research videos for maximum viewing pleasure.

A shorter version of this video won the "Multimedia Story Production People's Choice" Award of the "University of Sydney Genesis" competition.

Friday, August 27, 2010

The (Dark) Art of a Good Title Sequence

While the whole of the animated infographics is advancing I'm still searching for an inspiring intro animation. Below are some animation which might turn out to be useful:

And of course there is also this very interesting collection from infosthetics

This list will be appended.

The Fifty Best AE-Tutorials

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

An alternative way of animating infographics

Most infographics has historically been purely vector-graphics based. This is partly due to the advantages of vector graphics, but also due to the preference of designers for vector-graphics.

Beautiful Day by visual effects guru sénaphe (sébastien périer) shows what can be achieved using photographs instead.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Inspirational Youtube-Videos for my Upcoming Infographical Video


GM Volt

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Possible Beginnings for my Redesigned Video

At least the experimental video should look like something along the lines of the screenshot by Freddie or one of the fake GUI by Coleran. Question is how much work will it take?

Useful Websites for AfterEffects and Animated Videographics

This is just a brief listing of useful sites for my own use, hope somebody will find it useful too ;-)

 Some blogs dedicated to Info/Videographics:
Some interesting websites who publish Videographics on a regular basis :

And then there is Freddie:

Or Mark Coleran

Sunday, September 9, 2007


The last three days I attended the doctoral day and the following convention of the German Media-Psychologist's Society in Dresden. The doctoral day was a one day training in academic presenting and writing. The sessions were very much hands-on where I got once again feed-back from peers and faculty. It was an ideal complement to the Harvard experience. It also reminded me that presentation skills are one of the most vital parts of any (academic) career. And in a very applied way it made me cross-reference the Donath / Clippinger talk of the OII-SDP2007 (see previous post; the annotated pictures are from the Donath talk and not from the Dresden convention).
I cross-reference the Donath Talk for several reasons. For one Judith Donath works at the bleeding edge of sociable cyberspace designing interfaces and interaction principles, e.g. on (but not limited to) Second Life. On the hand were her readings eclectic, they comprised her own landmark Identity and Deception in the Virtual Community but also Max Gluckman's (1963) Gossip and Scandal. Which is strange, considering that Gluckman's Paper is essentially about the Potlatch rite with the Makah Indians and a reinterpretation of Franz Boa’s monumental anthropological documentation of their culture published around 1900. Citing Boa, Gluckman describes the potlatch as a ceremonial feast to which one group or individual invites social rivals in order to demonstrate family prerogatives. In potlatch, rich men and rich kin exchanged rich gifts. They spent their wealth in splendid and stylized feasts served upon hallowed feast dishes oftentimes financially ruining them.
When I first read the whole story, I read it as a scientific text (as opposed to a fictional text). That means that the article is a discourse on a subject matter which is intentionally written to be interpreted in a singular direction. In other words this kind of academic writing is performed in a way that the author’s intentions and the meaning of the text coincide. The result is a text which is dry and disengaging the imagination of the reader. I assume this academic writing style developed as a counter-reaction to the post-structuralist, post-modernist movement which purported that all texts (even academic ones!) are cultural productions. That the meaning of a text is inherently unstable, dependent upon the wide range of interpretations brought upon to bear upon it by various readers and thereby beyond the control of the writer (help!).
With this baggage in my mind I disregarded or should I rather say overlooked the following paragraph on the second page of Gluckman’s paper:

The more exclusive the group, the greater will be the amount of gossip in it. There are three forms of social group which test this hypothesis. The one is the professional group, like lawyers or anthropologists, whose gossip is built into technical discussion so tightly that the outsider cannot always detect the slight personal knockdown which is concealed in a technical recital, or the technical sneer which is contained in a personal gibe. This is, therefore, the most irritating kind of group to crash into, because one has no clue to the undercurrents, no apparatus for taking soundings. And this is why old practitioners of a subject can so easily put a comparative newcomer into his place, can make him feel a neophyte. They have only to hint in a technical argument at some personal fact about the person who advanced the theory discussed, to make the eager young student feel how callow he is. Again, the more highly organized the profession, the more effective is the role of gossip.

In this paragraph Gluckman clearly states his intention of using the potlatch rite as a ‘big’ metaphor (article overarching metaphors; Barnes & Duncan) for talking about social conventions of specialized communities, like academia. With every re-write of this entry I more and more realize why Gluckman is talking about the makah indians or Donath about assessment signals of animals instead of their own community - academia. It is so difficult to put any observations into words without making the reader infer something different. And Gluckman's choice of the terms gossiping and scandalmongering to describe important social processes in society implicate only the worst intentions by the writer. Therefore let me state that the important aspects in Gluckman's observations are the rules you have to adhere for doing so. First you should only gossip about other members of the same community and never to strangers. Second the more 'heritage' you have, the more you have this communital right and social duty to gossip. Heritage basically means how long you and your ancestors (e.g. thesis advisor) have been part of a certain community. Applying Glucksman's observations to a summer school like the OII-SDP means that all participants are expected to gossip and scandalmonger from a certain point of time. Just because it is one of the important social processes which keeps a community alive. Therefore I agree with Gluckman when he writes in the final lines of his paper:

If I suggest that gossip and scandal are socially virtuous and valuable, this does not mean that I always approve of them. Indeed, in practice I find that when I am gossiping about my friends as well as my enemies I am deeply conscious of performing a social duty; but that when I hear they gossip viciously about me, I am rightfully filled with righteous indignation.

The inability to speak about its own community, for one it violates Gluckman’s gossiping rules (never gossip to strangers), may be one of the reasons why the potlatch rite has sparked such a great interest by academics over the last hundred years. Of interest is also Gluckman’s use of the personal ‘I’, a writing style which is shunned by academics because it is considered as non-scholarly. The use of the personal form ‘I’ is a violation of community code. Let us also note that this could be a sign of power and influence because only an influential member of that community has the right for such a digression.
That said, let us get back to the Dresden convention and to Peter Vorderer, the doyen of German Media Psychology. He concluded the doctoral day with a speech about his experience in the states and as editor of the Journal Media Psychology. In his speech he addressed and answered a burning question of mine:

Why do non-[native]-English speakers get less published?

The answer is both simple and compelling: Non-Native speakers are affluent in the inside-speak of a particular community. A text which is (originally) written in another language and then professionally translated is from a linguistic vantage point perfect. Except that the translation makes disappear the "many basic cues about personality and social role we are accustomed to " (Judith Donath, 2007).
A text which is perfectly written but lacks the cues of social role and community membership alerts the reviewer (subconsciously) of a potential risk of deception. Hence the reviewer - acting as gatekeeper of his community - scrutinizes the paper doubly. Even though a reviewer neither accepts nor rejects papers, an editor is (statistically speaking) less likely to publish such a heavily scrutinized paper.


So however well we design a system to counter bias, our inherent need for gossip and status will nullify it. Therefore I agree with Vorderer that the only viable solution is to become part of this other community, to become part of their gossip and scandalmongering. Or in Vorderer's terms: It is absolutely vital to learn how to use those verbal cues, the inside speak and the positioning terms of every community you want to say something. As they are the assessment signals for competence very alike the horns of a stag or the mane of a lion.

So do we have to accept that academic writing has to be dull and boring? Is it really a necessary byproduct of status signaling processes? Howard Becker partly disagrees with this notion in his book ’Writing for Social Scientists`. According to him the most unintelligible academic writing comes from aspiring scientists who “repeat the worst stylistic excesses the journals contain, learn that those very excesses are what makes their work different from what every damn fool knows and says, write more articles like those they learned from, submit them to journals whose editors publish them and thus provide the raw material for another generation to learn bad habits from”. In order to change academic writing Becker also published his observations in the sociological quarterly, where a reader wrote a letter to the publisher pointing out (as Vorderer did) that in refereed journals articles with less stylistic excesses would get less published, unless he has already earned the respect of the community.
I do hold it with Becker, that academic writing need not be unintelligible. If we look at the two excerpts of Gluckman’s paper, both are written in a clear and concise manner. The only thing that differentiates it from similar writing in a newspaper is Glucksman’s command of vocabulary. Which is okay, because he is addressing a specialist audience.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007


Whoa, I can't really believe it! During TED University at this spring's TED2007 in Monterey, Julius Wiedemann, editor in charge at Taschen Buchverlag, showed our project website visual-literacy as one of

100 Websites You Should Know and Use

I feel incredibly honored to be named at the same time as or This mention really means a lot for me.

A BIG HUG to all of you who helped making this possible, to everybody in the visual-literacy team and to all the bloggers who covered us!

Thanky You Very Much!

For everybody who doesn't know TED: TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design. It is a conference bringing together the world's most fascinating thinkers and doers, who are challenged to give the talk of their lives (in 18 minutes). This conference is by invitation only and you qualify if you truely have achieved something in your life.
For all of us who are not that fascinating yet, the talks can also be watched online.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

THE HALLWAY TO ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE as visual metaphor for the summer doctoral programme

From 15th until 28th of July I attended the Summer Doctoral Progamme of the Oxford Internet Institute which was this year at the Berkman Center of Harvard Law School. The program - - consisted of a rich mixture of plenary sessions, student presentations, personal contributions, social activities and plans for the future. I think it can be described most accurately as a storm, which slowly took hold of me and the other participants, and hopefully will have shaken some things up for good. The plenary sessions were the foundation on which further thinking, collaboration and discussion could be grounded.
The tutoring, by Faculty from the Berkman Center, the Oxford Internet Institute and the Queensland University of Technology, was superior and magnificently diverse. Lectures were at Austin Hall, which makes me feel like being in the movie Legally Blonde (Tagline: believing in yourself never goes out of style) or Harry Potter (which was actually shot at Oxford). Thanks to our Power Bloggers (some of them must have been sport journalists in their previous lives) and the technology of Berkman we also have the most magnificent news feed and wiki.

The 33 participants all presented a part of their work in smaller 45 minute afternoon sessions. These sessions were not so much meant to convince the others of the greatness of one’s work, but to get feedback and discuss various possible issues and options regarding the substance and methodology of the work presented.

Apart from fellow participants, each session had an assigned faculty member to give feedback as well. I had the pleasure of having Ralph Schroeder comment on my work (The bald guy in the picture on the right).

I took the liberty to map the essence of the various most excellent critiques of the faculty members of the research seminars on the picture of the hallway of our dorm (thanx Rachel for the pic). This Hallway is the ideal visual metaphor for our journey to get our ph'd. And: the rhetoric device of visual metaphor facilitates selection and integration of information, therefore making the message contents more memorable. I should not forget to mention Jonathan Zittrain, who should receive most credit for the contents of this visual map and it was great to learn from him how to make a ‘perfect’ presentation.

Besides, I just love pictures and think they make knowledge more memorable.

In any case please feel free to send me ideas, suggestions and critiques.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Finally the moment has come!

On the 12th July we will celebrate the Premiere of the short movie produced last year for the visualisation course. Preliminary Program:

18.30: Meeting in front of USI
19.00: Dinner all together at Ristorante del Sole
21.00: Premiere in room 402 (Alari's)
22.00: Party on the terrace of the forth floor

(Thanx Patty for helping with staging of the lego figures and the lego-photo-shoot, thanx Amalia and Veronika for the Pictures during the movie shoot)

Tuesday, May 29, 2007


Ever heard of the big accident in the gotthard car tunnel where a lenient truck driver fell asleep, got to the other lane and crashed into a car? With the effect of big fire with many deaths?

Well that's why I prefer to ride the train because the train cannot physically get to the other lane. Or so I thought till today.

Today a freight train going south lost big pieces of metal in the tunnel, the train going north crashed into them and the passengers were locked in the tunnel for 2h, see 20minuten or Der Spiegel for the story about it.

I was so (un)lucky to be in the train that followed just a few minutes later. So instead of waiting in the dark but warm tunnel for 2h, we only had to wait in Airolo for 2h, and there it looked like this (BRRR):

Sunday, May 27, 2007

¡viva web 2.5!

This is my first entry. Yippee-ki-yay!

I created this BLOG because I feel we're evolving past web 2.0 . With the possibility to co-create or mash-up your out-of-the-box homepage / blog with all sorts of technologies we are not talking about web 2.0 anymore.

Take this page as an example. In the section 'visual-literacy' you will find links to information about me and/or work samples. Some of the Words in the Header-Bar are clickable. The photos in the sidebar are clickable and will lead you to my online-photoalbums. (web 1.0)
But it also has news and videos to favourite tags of mine, syndicated rss-feeds (of favourite websites), my blog-entries (and hopefully your comments), and a first mash-up in the photoalbum-box. I see this Blog mainly as an experimenting ground to try out new mash-up technologies, so stay tuned to changes & developments.

P.S: While I was writing this I saw that I'm not alone in that feeling, so I share some other voices with you: