Tableau Hacks: Gifs to Workbooks
As many of you know, I’m a huge Redditor and I help moderate the /r/Tableau subreddit. We get all kinds of awesome tutorials and vizzes posted on there all the time, but as a total internet nerd, a recent post really struck my fancy. Someone linked to this:
Someone had created a way to bring animated gifs into Tableau! I was beside myself. “Who is this magical person? I NEED TO KNOW.” Turns out it was none other than Tableau prodigy and summer intern Quinn Schiller! When I found out, I was basically like:
Quinn was kind enough to sit down with me and chat about the process of making the Rick Astley viz and provide me with everything I needed to make it myself. The first step is a shell script that converts gif files into CSV files that are readable in Tableau. The file will basically pixelate each frame of the gif and give it coordinates. The fields you end up getting look something like this:
Where x and y are the coordinates, frame is obviously the frame, and r,g, b are the different values for each color. The original intent was to RGB the way pixels work, by putting the measure values of r,g,b on size and coloring them accordingly. Then, you put frame on the pages shelf and let it play. That’s how Quinn originally got this pretty psychedelic version:
A zoomed in look shows the idea behind it:
What he later did was add up the values for r,g, and b to get a number for black and white and put that on the color scale.
Of course, I had to try this myself, particularly since I keep a folder that has nearly 100 gifs in it.
So I did some work myself. How’d it go?
I had some interesting findings while generating these. For once, I realized that cubehelix color palettes were actually pretty awesome for making these. I used palette number 5 from the ones that I generated with Jim Davenport and everything looks like a weird sepia Instagram filter. I also found that which shape and size works best drastically changes depending on what gif you are using. Also, should you decide to go on this crazy gif adventure, you are gonna see this a lot:
But you should hang in there, because it is totally cool and worth it!