Amp up! From psychedelic rock to minimalism - data viz experience.
A couple of months ago, I came across Signal to Noise Ratio, a fab post-psychedelic rock band from Warsaw. Just the band name itself, SNR, totally won me over!
SNR, or S/N, is a measure of signal strength relative to background noise. Though it’s commonly used in science, it vastly applies to the design of visuals as well (check Edward Tufte’s Data-Ink Ratio concept). Designers who seek simplicity, want to maximize S/N as much as possible with the highest ratio, the lowest noise, and the clearest message.
I loved SNR’s Fisheye (remix) in particular, so I decided to explore its dataset. I dived in, researched, analyzed, and created a visualization out of it. It’s named 041/342, and it’s my try to beatmatch dataset and visual.
One-liner: I started from analyzing 0.41min out of a 3.42min spectrogram (hence the name 041/342), aggregated, summarized and ended up with two simplified patterns/trends.
So, let’s strip it down:
1| It’s a rock piece… had to amp up the experience with a live audio spectrum:
(I used Sonic Visualiser interactive audio analysis application thru my research).
2| Next, I display the complete 3.42min Fisheye (remix) spectrogram:
3| Then, I mark a 0.41min section:
4| Next, zooming. We see that the left side is denser and the right is relatively spacious, but also much more polarized. I chose this section because it contains both of these patterns and reflects the entire dataset.
5| Then filtering, I remove the stems:
6| Next, I place a grid to explore the underlying structure:
7| Then, digging into, I expand the grid and re-position the data:
8| Next, I draw verticals, connecting the peaks’ data points:
9| Then, I remove the data points (and left the band :). We see the two patterns with a different color twist:
10| And here’s my shift… from the overwhelm to minimalism, from noise to signal. I minimize the cluttered data by merging the patterns into two data-layered columns:
To render the invisible visible, I thickened the vertical lines + defined opacity values. It became ‘data-capsules’:
11| Next, overlapping:
12| And finally, I add a motion that resonates the composition of the dataset and endorses the message at a more emotional level. After all, we started with a psychedelic rock…
“When emotions are considered… don’t be afraid to add more ornament or layers of meaning” — John Maeda.
Transformation of data could be an infinite journey. I‘m thankful for mine.
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