Author: Chi-Loong Chan

The last in the series of interactive pieces written for BASF earlier this year, this BASF Haptex piece follows the same considerations as the rest of the interactive pieces.

Like the BASF Elastopave piece, this piece is heavily composed of animated GIFs for the artwork.

However, there is one partially animated SVG layered on top of background in slide 1 of the piece.

Again this was mainly due to time considerations after the artwork was frozen and this method of composition and editing was the easiest way out for the effect I wanted to achieve.

One of the bigger challenges for this piece was how to keep the animations invariant regardless of any form factor.

When the pieces were first designed, they were designed specifically for a 1920 x 1080 HD screensize, and the animations fit perfectly then. For example, in the first introduction pane, the objects would rotate correctly (they follow a simple bezier curve) and look good on the screen.

However, this would go entirely out of whack for smaller screens because the coordinates were all hard coded in. To solve this, the coordinates have to be relative to the screen size and a bit of math was involved to refactor the piece such that it works on any relative screen size.

Another interactive piece written for large touch screens, this BASF Elastopave interactive explorable follows the same style and design considerations as the original BASF Elastolit utility piece.

Besides the reuse of the Canvas rain code written for the BASF Elastolit utility piece (otherwise the videos would be huge!), this piece has a lot more animated GIFs added into the piece by my designers.

This is a huge time saver when the art pieces are confirmed, and you just need to make sure that the artwork is animated in a loop.

Whilst it is possible to animate every piece of artwork individually, the amount of time taken would be non-trivial. Getting to the nitty gritty of the low level allows absolutely flexibility, but time considerations are not unlimited.

There is one art piece that is a mix of SVG animation overlaid on top of static art, and it is the 3rd pane (yes in this piece you can go to certain slides immediately by a specific URL link).

I decomposed the SVGs files given to me (English and Chinese versions) to animate the piece. I cut out what I wanted to animate in inline SVG, and the rest is loaded as an image background (toggled for language). A bit of positioning, and you get the effect you see.

Whilst there are many ways to create animations and transition effects, each has a different cost. One should always bear in mind things like performance, browser compatibility (if needed) and flexibility of composition.

An interactive piece of work done for our client BASF, this BASF Elastolit utility piece is an interactive explorable designed for large touchscreens.

Used at exhibition event in China earlier in the year, the interactive explorable is meant to draw the attention of the crowd and get them to play with it.

There are several design objectives baked into this piece.

Because it is a standalone interactive, the piece will jump back to the introduction if no one has interacted with it for more than 3 mins.

There is also swipe-based touch capabilities added to the piece. This, together with other UI elements like touch cues, left/right arrows and the bottom navigation bar allows one to transit and navigate the piece easily.

Artwork is custom, and the animation effects are layered-on with a mix of static images, animated gifs, video, and code-based art animation.

A translation button (top-right corner) allows users to quickly switch between English and/or Chinese on the fly.

Beyond the use at one event, the piece was also meant to have a longer shelf-life and accessible on the web. A key to this was making the
load relatively light-weight.

The rain was originally encoded in the video, but then the video files would be huge (in the order of several 100Mb). This is because in video encoding, the screens are captured frame by frame, and file size is dependent on the amount of stuff moving on the screen at one time. More stuff = bigger file size for the quality required.

Thus the decision was made to switch the rain to entirely being code generated, and is a HTML5 canvas rain code layer overlaid on top of the video. You can see an example of the test UI code rain here.

Lightning effects are also canvas-code based, and also overlaid in the same layer as the rain. The comparison between HTML5 canvas code performance vs video size is stark.

The text is also all stored in the HTML5 code (and not video) which also reduced the load for the on-the-fly translation. We managed to get the videos down to below 1 Mb, and yet the entire piece, when run on a HD 1920 x 1080 screen, still retains its sharpness.

Interactive explorable running on a gorgeous 55-inch Samsung Flip touchscreen

Sound files are not in any of the videos and are separately fired during the transitions of the panes. Whilst they could be added within the videos, having all of the elements separately and only gluing them in the code layer makes for a much more flexible result.

I would also argue it is more powerful. For example, the music, wind and rain can be layered in ways dependent on how the viewer transits panes.

Lastly, some work was done to ensure that it looked decent on a mobile form factor (which will nag you to rotate the phone to landscape). It is not perfect for every form factor, but by-and-large should work decently.

This piece is a mix of many different Javascript libraries and technologies, including D3 (for the gauge generation and bottom UI element), GSAP (library for animations), JQuery (useful DOM manipulator), HowlerJS (sound library), low-level Canvas code, Reveal (framework + touch), Icomoon (custom icon pack for smaller sizes).

The Singapore government just announced the 2018 budget on February 19th 2018.

As usual, we’ll take a look at the data from a macro lens across many years to see if there might be interesting trends we can glean from the 2018 budget visualization.

This is the fifth year running that I’ve been doing this. Many of the visualizations were pre-written, so I just added the latest data figures from MOF.

Here’s the work done in previous years, if you’re interested to compare:

The whole point of this series is to give readers a sense of the long-term trends in the budgets.

For chart embeds, simply cut and paste the following code snippets into your blog or website:
Note: You can change the height of the iFrame below to fit whatever screen height you prefer.

It would be nice if you choose to use these embeds to have a shoutout to V/R!

Revenue vs Expenditure Chart:

<iframe src="" style="border:0; overflow:hidden; width:100%; height:600px;"></iframe>

Expenditure Chart:

<iframe src="" style="border:0; overflow:hidden; width:100%; height:600px;"></iframe>

Revenue Chart:

<iframe src="" style="border:0; overflow:hidden; width:100%; height:600px;"></iframe>

And here is the new chart for this year!

Expenditure by sector:

<iframe src="" style="border:0; overflow:hidden; width:100%; height:600px;"></iframe>

This zoomable packed circle visualization I designed and wrote for a client of mine was an interesting piece to show part-in-part comparisons without cluttering up the visual space.

The ask was to write a visualization piece that could dynamically load and layout a complicated JSON tree in an aesthetically pleasing way, and yet look visually appealing.

In this case the visualization is adapted for my own Budget 2018 visualization project with a few tweaks.

Hierarchy trees can be displayed as trees (as a graph), as a treemap, sunbursts, or as packed bubble charts.

Personally I prefer packed bubble charts to treemaps. I think that circles are more aesthetically pleasing to the eye than rectangles, but this is me.

The key idea, though, was not to a show the whole hierarchy, but to have some kind of zoom-in and zoom-out transition at the node level so as not to clutter the entire visual field for complicated trees.

You may lose seeing the whole overall picture of the entire tree hierarchy, but for that you get to concentrate on a slice of the tree.

Was pretty happy with the zoom-in and zoom-out transitions as I hope it is intuitive to users.

One other interesting code portion was how to pack and scale words into the bubble so that it aesthetically fit within the bubble. After lots of experimentation to find a nice scaling algorithm, found something that works reasonably well.

Also had to tweak small portions of the code such that mouseover gives more information and context for desktop users, but this functionality does not clash for mobiles and tablets.

All in all, this was the final result, which I am quite happy about. 😀

All of the following code was written in D3.

This is behind the scenes work that we do for clients – designing UX interactions, animations / transitions, dashboard designs and form factor layout solutions.