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Beautiful Data by Toby Segaran, Jeff Hammerbacher

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Post-Processing the Data

Once we had the processed data, we took it to The Syndicate, a visual effects house in Santa Monica, California. It rendered the scenes in 2-D and added the particle flow effects you see in the video starting around the one-minute mark.

Brandon Davis, The Syndicate's particle specialist, worked on the project. He sent me an email describing why the project was unusual:

From the start, the Radiohead project had very unusual possibilities from a visualization standpoint. With an animated data set, you get a strange paradox: view-dependent data that can be viewed independently. It really is a "second sight," being able to take what one sees and view it from different perspectives, revealing the gaps in that original sight. This opened the doors for some truly unique imagery.

He goes on to describe how he tackled the vaporization effect that you'll notice throughout the video:

The client wanted to degenerate the data set over time as if the points were blowing away in a virtual wind. From the start we were looking at two distinct types of data— static Lidar point clouds of environments and dynamic animated point clouds of the singer Thom Yorke, the latter of which we knew would be the most challenging to manipulate. A static data set is relatively easy to manipulate because all you need to do is displace the points over time, so we knew it wouldn't be too difficult to selectively trigger portions of the data set to be affected by a velocity field, creating the effect ...

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