I’m interested in learning how to create the type of visualizations you see at http://flowingdata.com and informationisbeautiful. EDIT: Meaning, visualizations that are interesting in of themselves — kinda like the NY Times graphics, as opposed to a quick something for a report.
What kinds of tools are used to create these — is it mostly a lot of Adobe Illustrator/Photoshop? What are good resources (books, websites, etc.) to learn how to use these tools for data visualization in particular?
I know what I want visualizations to look like (and I’m familiar with design principles, e.g., from Tufte’s books), but I have no idea how to create them.
Flowing data regularly discusses the tools that he uses. See, for instance:
- 40 Essential Tools and Resources to Visualize Data
- What Visualization Tool/Software Should You Use? – Getting Started
He also shows in great detail how he makes graphics on occasion, such as:
- How to Make a US County Thematic Map Using Free Tools
- How to Make a Graph in Adobe Illustrator
- How to Make a Heatmap – a Quick and Easy Solution
There are also other questions on this site:
- R and ggplot2: this is a good introductory video, but the ggplot2 website has lots of resources.
- Processing: plenty of good tutorials on the homepage.
- Protovis: also a plethora of great examples on the homepage.
You can use Adobe afterwards to clean these up.
You can also look at the R
webvis package, although it isn’t as complete as
ggplot2. From R, you can run this command to see the Playfair’s Wheat example:
install.packages("webvis") library(webvis) demo("playfairs.wheat")
Lastly, my favorite commercial applications for interactive visualization are: