Data Flow Landscapes

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Data Flow Landscapes [4mins09]

Having received the trace route data from my volunteers from various locations around the world, it was possible to plot this data on a map to discover the route that Internet data would take to circumnavigate the globe in the wake of the Nao Victoria. Yet when looking at a map I find that it is easy to forget the scale of the world, and also to relate pin points to real locations.

Since I could not visit all of these places myself to acquire images, and the Internet is such an amazing resource, I decided to use Google Street View to give myself and my viewers an idea of what Magellan might have seen had he repeated his trip today. The images from this slideshow are predominantly taken from Google Street View. I have not ‘selected’ the images. The images are the first thing that I saw when I dropped the little sunshine-coloured Google man on to one of the pins on my map. In the cases where a country has yet to be visited by the Google Street View team, I have selected the closest Panoramio image to the pin. This has given an interesting mix of the absolutely mundane with the iconic. One image may contain an image of a road with traffic lights, the next image may contain the iconic statue of Christ in Rio de Janeiro. The images are extremely diverse, from lush green grass and pleasant hills to tropical beaches or highly developed urban landscapes. For me, viewing these images helps me to grasp the magnitude of the expedition originally undertaken by Magellan, and the enormous differences influenced by human progress as to what he would have seen then, to what we see today. You may have noticed that some of the images repeat themselves. This is due to the fact that the Internet data reached this location more than once. See the map of the route for comparison.

Though the images have not been selected, they have been altered. As an artist, and someone with one or two OCD traits, it was too much for me to have a series of images all taken with different cameras with terrible white balance and other issues. I wanted the images to appear more like film stills, with areas of focus that would draw the viewer in and hint towards a sense of time and motion, and hence the journey. It was also important to me that the images would work well as a series. If you like them and would like to have a go with your own photos, I’ll post a short tutorial for you below.

How to make your images look a bit more cinematic:

  1. Open your image in Adobe Photoshop.
  2. Go to ‘Image’ > ‘Adjustments’ > ‘Hue/Saturation’. Set the saturation to somewhere around -75.
  3. Go to ‘Image’ > ‘Adjustments’ > ‘Exposure’. Lower the offset value and the gamma correction until you’re happy that it looks good. (You should have Preview on).
  4. Duplicate the layer. (Right click on the layer and click on ‘Duplicate Layer’).
  5. With your duplicated layer selected, go to ‘Filter’ > ‘Blur’ > ‘Lens Blur’. Change the ‘Radius’ until you’re happy. Mine is set at 7. Click ‘OK’.
  6. Add a ‘Layer Mask’ to the duplicated layer. It’s the button at the bottom of the Layers palette. It looks like a rectangle with a circle in it.
  7. Making sure the Layer Mask is selected, select the Eraser and change the Size to about 450 px and the Hardness to 0%. Click on the part of your image that you want to be IN focus. In my image I have chose the centre of the graffiti, particularly of the girl stepping forwards. Everything else is soft focus.
  8. Add a New Layer, select it. Using the Paint Bucket tool, fill it in black. Yes black. Your image now looks like it has gone, and all you can see is a black rectangle.
  9. Using the Eraser tool with the same settings as before, erase the black to reveal the image, leaving the edges and corners black.
  10. With the black layer selected, change the ‘Opacity’ to about 80%. The Opacity is on the Layers palette. This makes the black edges less harsh.
  11. Click back onto your duplicated layer (the image, not the mask). Go to ‘Filter’ > ‘Noise’ > ‘Add Noise’. Set it to about 5.
  12. That’s it. You’re done! All you need to do is save it. Save one copy as a .psd so you can always alter it later, and another as a .png or .jpg so you can send it to your friends or upload it to your blog.
Enjoy.
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