Using layers to create a custom visual (popcorn cup)

This dashboard was created for our maps visualization contest and it contains a lot of tips and tricks that really can help you in your daily work creating dashboards with TARGIT.

This tip - based on this dashboard - is around creating custom visuals using layers


Author of this dashboard:Dewi Adds, Luke Collins and Andy Baker from TARGIT partner DataShapa

This is actually not just one dashboard - but a full portal giving you insight into the distribution of production of movies throughout the world.

The most eye catching object on this dashboard is of course the popcorn cup on the right hand side.

It shows the split between genres in a visualization that seems very suited to movies...

When you hover the cup, the mouse-over shows you the numbers - like shown here:


So how is the popcorn cup done?

If you open it in the TARGIT Windows client and select the object, you can see in the object list, that there are actually 3 objects in organized in a group in this area:


The sequence in the object list determines what's in the background, what's on top of that and what's in the foreground of the analysis.

Let's examine all 3 through properties.

Stacked 2 (background object) first:


Aha - so this is just a stacked column chart - but how does it turn into a cup?

Properties of Textbox3 (middle object):


Ok - this makes sense - it's a PNG image (PNG allows transparency).
So the inside of the cup is transparent, while the outside has a white color.
That makes it look like the stacked barchart "fits" into the cup.

But one last puzzle - how can you have the mouse-over working when there's an image on top of the column chart?

That's what the last object is for - let's examine properties on Stacked 1 (foreground object):


This is actually also a column chart which is an exact copy of the Stacked 3 chart, except when it comes to colors.

Notice that all colors are transparent. That means you can "see through" the object - but it's still there for a purpose, and that purpose is to allow mouse-over functionality to work.

So it's a stacked column chart with a semi transparent PNG image on top, and on top of that a completely transparent stacked column chart for the mouse-over effect (and drilling).

What a great idea that introduces a visual that looks like a customized popcorn cup to the movie interested audience!




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