Wednesday, 28 July 2010

3D timelines

I discussed in March the use of the depthwise axis to represent the time dimension, highlighting a BBC project that unusually placed most recent time furthest away into the depths of the screen. As you travelled forward into the space you were travelling forward in time. I shall come back on a future occasion to these spatial metaphors of time, epitomised in English by phrases like ‘I look forward to seeing you.’

Another BBC timeline is embedded in a data visualisation created in conjunction with the University of Westminster, 3D Documentary Explorer [external link].
3D Documentary Explorer by BBC and University of Westminster in an AHRC-funded collaboration.

In 1996, Robin Kullberg, a postgraduate student at the MIT Media Laboratory, created a ‘Dynamic Timeline’ using full 3D. She wrote a short paper about it, accessible as a web page [external link], and her video of the system can be seen (and even downloaded) at the University of Maryland Open Video site [external link]. There are several weaknesses in the thinking behind the project – not least that the assumed advantages of 3D over 2D are not really discussed – but it is a remarkable piece of work.
Robin Kullberg: Dynamic Timelines: visualising the history of photography. MIT Media Lab 1996.

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