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  • Do you ever struggle to find the perfect description

  • when trying to convey an idea?

  • Like a foggy picture,

  • adjectives and modifiers fail to depict

  • what's in your mind.

  • Illustrators often face a similar challenge,

  • especially when attempting to explain

  • complex and difficult concepts.

  • Sometimes the imagery is intangible

  • or way too complicated to explain with a picture.

  • Although complex information could be relayed

  • using charts and stats,

  • this could get pretty boring.

  • Instead, just like when writing an essay

  • to describe, for example, emotions,

  • illustrators can use visual metaphors

  • to bring to life difficult concepts.

  • Just as a written metaphor is a description

  • that relates one object to another,

  • a visual metaphor uses imagery to suggest

  • a particular association or point of similarity.

  • Our lesson "Big Data" is a great example

  • of a situation where visual metaphors

  • played a huge role in explaining the concept.

  • What is Big Data in the first place?

  • Good question!

  • Big Data is a huge amount of digital information

  • produced worldwide on a daily basis,

  • challenging us to find solutions

  • for storing,

  • analyzing,

  • and also imagining it visually.

  • Quite an elusive concept!

  • How should we depict this?

  • Let's take a look at our "Big Data" script.

  • We start with smaller computer servers

  • that branch out into bigger networks

  • to produce data,

  • then even bigger networks

  • and production of even more data.

  • You see where we're going with this --

  • an object growing and branching out in many directions

  • and producing something as a result?

  • Does that remind you of something?

  • Just like those computer networks,

  • a tree grows and branches out

  • to produce more leaves each year.

  • And every year, just as the data accumulates

  • and faces us with a challenge

  • to find storage solutions,

  • it gets harder to collect those piles of leaves

  • when they fall off the tree.

  • Aha! There's our visual metaphor!

  • Okay, so we have the script,

  • audio,

  • and a visual metaphor.

  • The next step in visual development

  • is to design the characters

  • and environments of the animation.

  • To do so, we think

  • of an appropriate and appealing style

  • to illustrate the ideas

  • and help the viewer better understand

  • what they're hearing.

  • Let's go back to the script

  • and see if we can find any clues there.

  • Our story starts in the 1960s

  • when the first computer networks were built.

  • This decade will serve as a good point

  • to make the stylistic choice for our animation

  • as it will allow us to refer to artwork

  • from that era.

  • You may want to start

  • by looking at some art books

  • (design, illustrations, cartoons, etc.)

  • from that era

  • and find a style that may fit our own purpose.

  • Look closely,

  • study the material,

  • and try to understand the choices

  • artists of that time made and why.

  • For example, the 1960s minimalist animation style

  • was a significant departure

  • from the cinematic realism

  • that was popular in animated films at the time.

  • The choice to use limited animation techniques

  • was originally made for budgetary reasons,

  • but it became a signature style

  • that influenced many future generations of animators.

  • In this stylistic approach,

  • the simplified characters,

  • flat backgrounds,

  • and angular shapes come together

  • to create new interpretations of reality,

  • which also sounds like a good place

  • to begin visualizing our own Big Data.

  • Well, let's try an experiment.

  • "In the 1980s islands of similar networks

  • speaking different dialects

  • sprung up all over Europe and the States,

  • making remote access possible but tortuous."

  • Is this better?

  • "In the 1980s islands of similar networks

  • speaking different dialects

  • sprung up all over Europe and the States,

  • making remote access possible but tortuous.

  • To make it easy for our physicists across the world

  • to access the ever-expanding Big Data

  • stored at CERN without traveling,

  • the networks needed to be talking

  • with the same language."

  • As you probably observed,

  • graphic representations are a great way

  • to capture the interest of your audience.

  • By depicting what you want to present and explain

  • with strong, memorable visuals,

  • you can communicate your idea more effectively.

  • So, now, challenge yourself.

  • Think of an abstract concept

  • that cannot be explained with simple words.

  • Go ahead and try your hand

  • at visually developing that idea.

Do you ever struggle to find the perfect description

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B1 US TED-Ed big data data visual metaphor animation

【TED-Ed】Making a TED-Ed Lesson: Visualizing complex ideas

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    稲葉白兎 posted on 2014/12/06
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