Animated Wordcloud with Tagxedo

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After getting the Word extractor for my Literary Twist project working, I decided that I wanted to make some creative use of the information it pulled out. I tested it on Twapperkeeper tweets from the Middlemash Library mashup event last year and had a few ideas about creating some kind of abstract multimedia montage for it, rather than presenting just facts and figures. So I needed to find some appropriate creative tools to make use of the tweets.

Phil Bradley mentioned Tagxedo – a word cloud generator – in a few tweets and it was only when he posted an interesting Mona Lisa and Wolf tag cloud that I realised you could do more than just create a basic word cloud. It allows you to upload not only your own text, but also your own images and the word cloud fits inside the image. I had a play with it and wondered if I could create an animated word cloud. I wanted the animation to be appropriate to the words, but I couldn’t think how to use the Middlemash tweets.

I still haven’t decided exactly how I’ll use it for the Middlemash tweets, but along a different track altogether, I remembered the Grand National was on last weekend. I also remembered about the old zoetrope image of a horse. So after getting a list of the runners and a commentary on the race I put them into tweaked zoetrope images one by one, added the images to Windows Moviemaker and was really pleased with the resulting animation. I have to admit that the images aren’t perfect, as I had to cut them from the orignal image via screen capture and resize them manually.

So there we have an animated Zoetrope Tagxedo word cloud of the Grand National 2010 created using information from the race itself.

As another stage, it would have been good to create a longer animation that removed horses along the way and just left the winner at the end.

It’s given me plenty of inspiration too. All sorts of animated tag cloud ideas buzzing round my head now.

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