An idea for an XKCD like graphic

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TrlstanC
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An idea for an XKCD like graphic

Postby TrlstanC » Wed Jun 02, 2010 4:07 pm UTC

I forget where this idea came to me from, but it struck me as the kind of graphic that would end up on XKCD - except that I'm thinking it might be a bit more computer grpahic intensive instead of hand drawn stick figures.

Imagine a typical nightime city scene, a park or sidewalk, but shift (and compress) the electromagnetic spectrum so that radio waves are the visible range. Instead of everything being lit by street, car or store lights, they would be lit by all the sources of radio waves in the enviorment. Radar (from radar detectors or automatic doors) would be violet, TV and Radio would be in the greenish to orangish and I think cellphones would be at the red end of the spectrum (although there's a bunch of different frequencies used for different carriers).

All of the various radio towers would show up as giant beacons, and all of the little sources like cellphones would show up as tiny points, but everything would radiate outward in every direction.

Also, the surfaces wouldn't reflect like visible light, I imagine there would be some kind of "x-ray" effect as the radio waves partially reflected off of exterior and then interior building walls, car frames, people, etc.

I'm still trying to visualize it, but if anyone has any ideas on how to do an illustration like this, I'd love to hear it. Also, if anyone more knowledgable in the subject has any info on effects I may have missed.

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Re: An idea for an XKCD like graphic

Postby tastelikecoke » Thu Jun 03, 2010 12:46 am UTC

The radio lights would be subtle but extremely bright and far reaching. Too bright in fact. The fact that light dissipates easily is because of its short wavelength.

I doubt radio could ever pass through walls, but they can walk around it through diffraction, which is messy.

How does this relate to xkcd?

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Re: An idea for an XKCD like graphic

Postby hintss » Fri Jun 04, 2010 4:01 am UTC

and the sun would be a spotlight...

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TrlstanC
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Re: An idea for an XKCD like graphic

Postby TrlstanC » Fri Jun 04, 2010 12:44 pm UTC

So, the intensity of the radio waves would have to be scaled down to be in line with what we normally perceive from visual light. I'm guessing it would still look like a bunch of points of light, big ones for radio towers, and small ones for cellphones, etc. And I thought that depending on the frequency radio waves did pass through walls fairly easily (for example, both my radio and cellphone work in the middle of this office building).I was thinking of a night scene, so that we could kind of ignore the sun.

What I'm trying to visualize is the amount of, and different types of man made radio waves that are all over all the time. Right now I could turn on a TV, an AM or FM radio, any of one a half dozen types of cellphone, or even a CB radio and pick up a clear signal. A signal that's there 24 hours a day, all over the city/state/country, and that I'm completely unaware of most of the time. I'm trying to wrap my mind about what that would look like if I was picking up the signal visually.

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Re: An idea for an XKCD like graphic

Postby tastelikecoke » Fri Jun 11, 2010 1:42 pm UTC

and how is this xkcd like?

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Re: An idea for an XKCD like graphic

Postby weex » Fri Jun 11, 2010 4:51 pm UTC

I think you should start simple and figure out how to render one point source in one color with no obstructions. All electromagnetic fields follow the inverse square law for intensity vs. distance. So somehow you have to map intensity to color and figure out what kind of scale makes sense perhaps having a different scale for each frequency/use. For example cell phone signals are good for ~1km whereas bluetooth is meant for ~30m. So in a picture of a room, the cell phone signal from the tower is going to be just a background shade whereas the bluetooth will look more like a set of concentric circles. Why don't you make some sketches to start?
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TrlstanC
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Re: An idea for an XKCD like graphic

Postby TrlstanC » Tue Jun 15, 2010 4:13 pm UTC

tastelikecoke wrote:and how is this xkcd like?


What kind of answer are you looking for here? Do you actually want me to explain the ways that art and science have intersected in XKCD in the past, and how that makes me think that fans of the comic might have some insight in to this idea?

Either you don't really understand the idea behind rhetorical questions (I bet you mislabel things as "ironic" a lot too) or you're just being kind of jerk to someone who was just looking for a friendly place to discuss an interesting idea.

ps. thanks for the useful information on radio waves too.

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Re: An idea for an XKCD like graphic

Postby Josephine » Tue Jun 15, 2010 5:01 pm UTC

I've thought about this, but with the entire spectrum. I wonder how hard that would be to capture.
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Re: An idea for an XKCD like graphic

Postby Omegaton » Wed Jun 16, 2010 2:33 am UTC

TrlstanC wrote:
tastelikecoke wrote:and how is this xkcd like?


What kind of answer are you looking for here? Do you actually want me to explain the ways that art and science have intersected in XKCD in the past, and how that makes me think that fans of the comic might have some insight in to this idea?

Either you don't really understand the idea behind rhetorical questions (I bet you mislabel things as "ironic" a lot too) or you're just being kind of jerk to someone who was just looking for a friendly place to discuss an interesting idea.

ps. thanks for the useful information on radio waves too.

I think tastelikecoke's point is that xkcd does not have dominion over science-inspired art. Just because it's science + art doesn't make it xkcd.

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Re: An idea for an XKCD like graphic

Postby weex » Wed Jun 16, 2010 9:37 pm UTC

If you were interested in actually doing this, this might be a useful reference: http://www.ntia.doc.gov/osmhome/allochrt.pdf

I'm not sure it's going to be as cool(what I thought you meant by xkcd-like) as you imagine....

back after a what the hell, let's try it out moment. Do you think the attached would look cool with circular colored gradients that fade to white? Is the scale wrong? Or maybe it needs to be normalized using the signal intensity in open space versus that which is attenuated by the objects around?
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a sketch of what this might look like
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Re: An idea for an XKCD like graphic

Postby hintss » Thu Jun 17, 2010 6:18 am UTC

and what walls might block.

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Re: An idea for an XKCD like graphic

Postby tastelikecoke » Sun Jun 20, 2010 2:58 am UTC

So that's what you mean xkcd-like. I think it would be a cool idea, but to sum that up it's Radiovision. I think using the photoelectric effect we can create radio cameras.

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Josephine
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Re: An idea for an XKCD like graphic

Postby Josephine » Sun Jun 20, 2010 1:30 pm UTC

Belial wrote:Listen, what I'm saying is that he committed a felony with a zoo animal.

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Re: An idea for an XKCD like graphic

Postby DerDa » Sun Jun 20, 2010 7:22 pm UTC

To visualize that, could one reprogram/reuse a raytracer and his material base to render a scene like that? One would have to select an intervall of frequences, map this to red to violet, automagically update materials (alpha and filter for increased translucency of materials for other spectra) and could render a scene for a big diversity of spectra...
eiπ+1=0. Even in fairy tales.
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Josephine
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Re: An idea for an XKCD like graphic

Postby Josephine » Sat Jul 10, 2010 6:29 am UTC

DerDa wrote:To visualize that, could one reprogram/reuse a raytracer and his material base to render a scene like that? One would have to select an intervall of frequences, map this to red to violet, automagically update materials (alpha and filter for increased translucency of materials for other spectra) and could render a scene for a big diversity of spectra...

theoretically. Add a light like the sun that produces the entire spectrum, then modify the properties of the materials to correctly react. It gets complicated with things like x and gamma rays, as you need to take into account more properties of the material.
Belial wrote:Listen, what I'm saying is that he committed a felony with a zoo animal.

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Re: An idea for an XKCD like graphic

Postby Thingthree » Fri Jul 16, 2010 4:54 pm UTC

I don't want to be too late a poster on this topic, but in black and white the differences would be very hard to show. The only major differences would be how luminous different objects were based on the viewers newfound ability to see the xrays and the color of the objects. Imagine adding or taking away a red light filter or some of the interesting remove yellow/blue/red from a painting paintings, except the color you would add for xrays is one you have never seen and can't see because it's not in the visible spectrum O.o.

So, you could show colors other than that which you would expect for a given object. Say a school bus in the comic is reflecting red and blue light to make it appear yellow, adding xrays to the mix may adjust the color we perceive as red, orange, idk, ...the only problem is only part of the image could be adjusted to show the right colors, anything that mixed to past red or blue on the spectrum you couldn't show, for one because computers only go that far, secondly because even if they went farther on the spectrum we couldn't see it.

p.s. Superman can see through walls using xray vision, but if the xrays make it through the walls why not the people? Shenanigans.


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