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How the Wall Street journal stipple drawings are made (wsj.com)
25 points by kevinburke 1640 days ago | 14 comments



This is the first time I've watched an online video which started with an advert and decided "You know what, I can't be bothered to watch an advert just for this."

I have a hunch this is going to become more frequent for me. I've reached my tiring point. Taking 15 seconds of my time just so I can decide if I want to skip through the video to find 5 seconds of interesting content is just not acceptable. Video content is not that special. Would you sit through a 15-second flash ad to see an article? Me neither.

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Incidentally, the way the ads are delivered means AdBlock can block them. I was shocked to discover a few months ago how many ads there are on YouTube. I had been blocking them without knowing. (Something went bad with my filter subscription, and I had ads for a few minutes while I googled the fix.)

Honestly, ads are so invasive and easy to block that I'm surprised they work at all. I can't wait until Microsoft realizes they don't make money from ads and starts shipping an adblocker with Windows :)

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That would seriously hurt Google.

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I closed it just because it was a video - I don't have the patience to sit through them anymore.

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I'm the opposite. I used to have that reaction, but now I just switch to another tab (I always seem to have several open) and read something else. If you miss the start, most videos will let you go back to the beginning without replaying the commercial.

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The annoying thing to me is that once the video is over it immediately starts playing a series of other commercials and content which I did not want to see.

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This is where centralization of video hosting onto sites like YouTube can be a big benefit. They can show you a 30-second ad and then let you watch 10 minutes of video, even if that is in 5-second chunks.

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Just open the page in a background tab and ignore it until the advert is finished. How are adverts on free videos any worse than adverts on television?

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Not only upvoted you, but I had an identical reaction and conclusion.

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I did the same. It's different when Hulu does it while I'm watching a show I want to see, because I already have a level-set that the juice is worth the squeeze.

I think that, for things like this, the videos should be either inline, or as a commercial, interrupt halfway through or so. I'm betting that would considerably minimize bounce.

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I appreciate the fact that the drawings are made by real people. Still, I wonder how much better these actually are compared to a carefully customized set of photoshop filters.

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There's certainly an air to having your dot sketch in the WSJ from what I hear, though I imagine that's faded after its years of remodeling itself and its time under new ownership. That said, the difficulties with using an algorithmic filter for creating this stipple effect are, based on my past attempts:

(1) robustness to lighting conditions

(2) recognition of continuous shapes, such as hats (captured well in [1])

(3) avoiding stipple effect on facial features (e.g. lips, eyes)

I'm not saying it's impossible, just that I haven't been clever enough to encode it correctly. :)

[1] http://gazeandstare.com/pic/nolinovak_01.gif

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Known as 'hedcut': http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hedcuts

Some WSJ artists:

http://www.nolinovak.com/

http://nancyjanuzzi.com/

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It seems with some work, you could make a program that imitated this well enough that it would be difficult to tell the difference. The fact that the artist noted that it took a human touch suggests to me that they feel a bit vulnerable.

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