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Main Boards => VGMaps Social Board => Topic started by: JonLeung on June 19, 2016, 02:10:10 PM



Title: Infographic program?
Post by: JonLeung on June 19, 2016, 02:10:10 PM
I'm looking to create something like this inforgraphic showing the Batman villains:
(http://a.fastcompany.net/multisite_files/fastcompany/inline/2014/07/3033449-inline-i-gothamzoom719.png) (http://www.fastcodesign.com/3033449/infographic-of-the-day/a-map-of-every-batman-villain-ever)

Is there a free and easy program that can do something like this?  I'm not paying for Microsoft Visio and I'm not finding it as easy to do in SmartDraw (plus that's not actually free either) and OpenOffice Draw seems clunky.

I'm looking to connect a bunch of people; some would be represented by rectangles and some would be circles, and using lines, any rectangle can connect to any circle and vice versa, and any circle and square can have multiple connections, but I would like it to be able to optimize its arrangement to have the shortest possible lines possible and/or the fewest criss-crossing lines.  And then in the end, output to a high-res image file.

Obviously I can do this entirely from scratch in an image editing program but if I expect to be constantly revising it, that wouldn't be the best approach.  I imagine there must be a program that can handle what I'm describing that exists.  Anyone know?


Title: Re: Infographic program?
Post by: Trop on June 19, 2016, 06:09:21 PM
I wouldn't think that any program could do this.  The categories are simply to subjective.  Maybe if it was a simple word matching thing.   But to do something like say link two batman villains like The Fox and The Jackal, because they're both canids, without telling the program that they're both canids, is to much of an abstract thought for a computer.  The program would need to be able to scan and cross reference most of the internet like Watson.  And I don't think you can find something like that for home use.


Title: Re: Infographic program?
Post by: JonLeung on June 19, 2016, 08:00:28 PM
No, no, I don't expect there to be a program that calculates or interprets anything.  I'm not expecting AI or any fancy algorithms at all.

I am really just looking for a program that can let me put text and images into shapes like squares or circles, and I would expect to connect them myself.  But I'd like to be able to drag the shapes around while maintaining their connections.

Ideally I'd like it to figure out a way to auto-arrange the elements for optimum readability, like making everything as equidistant as possible, or making things with more links appear larger or have a different colour outline, something like that - I certainly don't expect a program to care about or interpret the actual content, that's my job, and would be the fun part.  Surely this exists!


Title: Re: Infographic program?
Post by: Trop on June 19, 2016, 09:02:02 PM
Oh I see.  Yes surely a program like that exists somewhere.  I'd look at science tools first.  This sounds like something a scientist or an engineer would use to look at data.


Title: Re: Infographic program?
Post by: Maxim on June 20, 2016, 03:00:23 AM
I recommend a free program called yEd. You draw the boxes/circles and arrows and it has a bunch of algorithms to try to lay it all out - the result is not necessarily the final, beautiful mess you wanted, but it does the "lay it all out somewhat sensibly" stage for you and then you can tweak it. I think you can then export it to a vector format suitable for making beautiful if wanted. I tend to use it more for directed graphs with directional flow, but the mess-of-nodes thing would work too.


Title: Re: Infographic program?
Post by: JonLeung on June 20, 2016, 07:04:32 AM
OMG Maxim, I love it!  It works like I hoped!

Now how can I insert images instead of only text?  And can I have a mix of images and text?  And is there auto-sizing?  I don't like text spilling out, or having to manually resize every one.


Title: Re: Infographic program?
Post by: Maxim on June 20, 2016, 10:13:39 AM
File -> Preferences -> Editor -> Dynamically Adjust Node Size To Label Size
Drag and drop image files to add them. They act just like the regular nodes, but (and I hadn't tried this before) they totally support transparency, the arrows find the opaque edge and point at that.


Title: Re: Infographic program?
Post by: JonLeung on June 20, 2016, 11:03:35 AM
Hey, that's cool!  But, not to be a bother, but if I've already created a really big infographic in it, just checking that doesn't seem to dynamically adjust the node size to the label size on all of these nodes I've already made.

Also, is there a way to insert an image into a node (rather than as a node itself), so I can add a caption?  (And also so I don't have to start over since I already did so much work on a so-far-text-only one...)


Title: Re: Infographic program?
Post by: Maxim on June 21, 2016, 11:10:13 AM
Tools -> Fit Node To Label can operate globally.

Images have captions already. Just hit F2 to start editing. The properties window lets you control the caption position. I didn't figure out a way to turn a text node into an image...


Title: Re: Infographic program?
Post by: JonLeung on June 22, 2016, 10:21:43 AM
I've almost accomplished what I want to do, but I have one more question...should be the last one...or at least the last majorly important one...

I like that the "Hierarchical" layout shows every edge and node without overlap.  But there's way too much space in between for some reason, the edges are way too long, and adjusting the settings that sound like they should fix that don't seem to help at all.  (There's not really a hierarchy in the data I want to present anyway...)  Also it somehow takes up too much memory, and I can't even export it.

I like that the "Organic" layout looks way better overall; it's a lot more natural in the way these things are grouped (plus, I can actually export it).  But the edges overlap over each other as well as the nodes, so there are a number of nodes that are unreadable, and some areas with a lot of well-connected nodes are just a pure mess.  At least if it actually attempted to avoid overlaps for the most part, I could tweak parts of it manually.

My question is: is there a way to get an Organic layout, but with edges that completely avoid overlaps?

Thanks...


Title: Re: Infographic program?
Post by: Maxim on June 23, 2016, 08:14:30 AM
Try Layout -> Edge Routing -> Organic. You may still need to manually tweak things. It may be impossible to avoid edge overlaps. Maybe you can post a preview to see if we can improve on it?