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Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems, of Course.

October 29, 2009

Screen shot 2009-10-29 at 2.33.31 PM

The beginnings of the web were anything but visual. From the people (the self-proclaimed nerds) to the information being exchanged (oh the horror of the contrast! those green words! that black screen!), the internet at its infancy was Pretty Ugly.

Nowadays sites are anything but, and as a fabulous professor told us this morning, you really need to have the design skills first: anyone can learn how to do the technical part once he or she has a vision. Another part of making the web visual is the rising interest in infographics and information visualization. While the former can be found quite easily and are creative in their own right, it is the latter that take abstract data and turn it into works of art.

Take Nick Hardeman. A graduate of the Parsons School of Design in NYC, Hardeman recently analyzed the 1997 music video “Mo Money Mo Problems” from the first disc of the Notorious B.I.G. album, Life After Death. He then created the fascinating visualization above. I could try and explain it to you, but I’ll let him do it in his own words instead:

“The algorithm detects edges in the image and attempts to trace motion from frame to frame, using the initial frame as their starting point. The output is rendered as a vector image, the curves represent the motion. The points represent the pixels detected in the edge, their size determined by the distance from their previous location, the further, the larger the circle. The color and location of the points are determined by the corresponding pixel in that frame. The bright colored track suits worn by Puff Daddy and Mase in the dark backgrounds make for good tracking and nice color combinations. The only imagery added manually is the background color. You can check out some more renders in the Mo Money Mo Problems photoset on flickr.”

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