Poster design - programs/resources for data driven visualizations?
August 13, 2008 7:52 PM   Subscribe

professional looking data driven visualizations - resources/experience using different programs?

I am looking into how to make vector based posters that show complex data, and need the graphics to be data driven. So far I have found 2 packages for this type of thing.

Processing this is essentially java stripped down to its graphical functions, it can do interactive/animated things too.

NodeBox is a python approach, but is officially only avaiable for mac. I found
this which is a windows version, but i would rather use something supported.

I haven't looked enough into either of these to know what the workflow would be for making something like this or like this . I don't know if its 100% coding or mostly coding, or if you can actually manually edit stuff around as well like in illustrator?

I am looking into maybe some other package that i have overlooked, and am also looking into how i can use illustrator to do data driven graphics type stuff. I have not been able to find much good information/tutorials on data driven illustrator. However, if it is quite limited on the scripting end, then i don't know if it would be the best way to go.

Just basically wanted to see if i can get any good advice in this area before i devote too much time to something that i will eventually drop for something else... I like the idea of using python, but would rather have something that is natively windows, and illustrator seems like it might not cut it, and i really don't feel much like learning java, even though it seem to me that processing is the leader in this area?
posted by figTree to Computers & Internet (11 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
If you know JavaScript, the prolific genius John Resig ported Processing to processing.js. Run in browser's kiosk mode and profit.
posted by pedantic at 8:00 PM on August 13, 2008

p.s. Processing and its derivatives are coding; processing.js produces elements in the canvas world, which are vector.

Gore's An Inconvenient Truth was Keynote based, but the slides were designed individually by Duarte Design (read the deconstruction).
posted by pedantic at 8:08 PM on August 13, 2008

posted by XMLicious at 8:12 PM on August 13, 2008

posted by null terminated at 8:12 PM on August 13, 2008

Prefuse. Holy crap.

Because of your question, I lost hours, but will gain something incredible.
posted by pedantic at 8:21 PM on August 13, 2008 [2 favorites]

Visualizing Data is by Ben Fry, one of the authors of Processing, and is a sort Processing tutorial mixed with an introduction to information visualization. Halfway through it myself, it's quite good.
posted by signal at 9:03 PM on August 13, 2008

Played a bit with the windows NodeBox, and it seems quite powerful and stable. I'd probably use it over Processing, just for Python (ok, Jython) over Java-lite.
posted by signal at 9:24 PM on August 13, 2008

One last thing before I shut up: PIL, the Python Imaging Library. Very powerful and easy to use.
posted by signal at 9:26 PM on August 13, 2008

posted by PueExMachina at 9:55 PM on August 13, 2008

The igraph extension for Python produces some pretty nice stuff.
posted by thisjax at 12:49 AM on August 14, 2008

ManyEyes can make nice visualizations. But there's not a way to export them as PDFs or in other vector formats. They are interactive though (and Java based, so ...)
posted by zpousman at 8:22 AM on August 14, 2008

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