Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Visual examples: remixing a math presentation

Designing math visuals is tough because of the level of abstraction. In this visual example I remix 5 slides of a math presentation.  I illustrate a way around the level of abstraction and show how to reduce to information per slide.

In the past couple of days I have been working on remixing some slides of a math presentation. It is a project I have been wanting to do for a long time, and I'm happy I finally did it! The original presentation is called A short course on: Preconditioned Krylov subspace methods by Yousef Saad. You can download the presentation here.  Don't let the title scare you! Understanding the content is not important in this case.  I encourage you to download the original slides and compare them with the remix below.

I've chosen this presentation for three reasons. First, it is a classic example of average visuals in scientific talks. Second, I know the topic, so I could be sure I knew how to remix it without making (hopefully) content mistakes. Third, the topic allows for very few diagrams or pictures.  Basically I reduced the information per slide, and went nuts on transitions and animations to lift the lack of diagrams and pictures. Because of the time it takes to correctly set up the transitions and animations, remixing the first five slides took two full days and resulted in 30 slides. I'm aware that people can't spend that much time preparing their presentation's visuals. You could get a good speed up by just dropping the transitions and animations.  I did it to give some design ideas. I hope you find them useful. The improvement is the reduction of the information per slide.  I'm very interested in your comments and suggestions. Click on the movie below to watch the presentation.
Update 7/10/2011. Please note that Mr. Saad has in no way endorsed, overseen or comment this remixing. In fact he might not even be aware of it.


  1. Hello, it is possible to knwow the software that you have used to create this beautiful presentation.

    Thanks by Advance

  2. Hi Mehdi,
    I'm glad you like it! I used Apple's Keynote for the slides and transitions, LaTexIt! for the math, and Inkscape for the final diagram.

  3. Excellent!! Is there any way to do it the same presentation only by using Latex/Beamer? (I know you hate Beamer)

    1. Honestly, I don't know. What I do know is it's possible to include animations using Beamer. A quick search yielded this http://pages.uoregon.edu/noeckel/PDFmovie.html (Generating PDF with Animations using LaTeX.)