Monday, November 5, 2012

Awesome new visual/content analysis research tool: ImagPlot

ImagePlot of Mondrian 
©2011 Manovich, UCSD, Software Studies

This free, data analysis/visualization tool, released a couple of years ago by Lev Manovich's Software Studies Initiative, appears to have some pretty AMAZING potential for facilitating large-scale media content/visual analysis. It allows you to view, sort through and analyze large image and media collections in a single visualization composed of the actual images in the data set. The visualization can be organized in a variety of ways (date, colours, etc.), which means you can also use it for identifying trends or patterns, make comparisons, discover outliers and clusters, track changes over time, etc. In relation to today's class, imagine doing an analysis of toy ads over the past 50 years, and tracking the emergence and spread of the predominance of pink/blue, as currently observed in JeongMee Yoon's photo project

According to the ImagePlot website, you can also use the tool to turn the visualizations into animations.

I've seen some of the results (e.g. the Freakangels webcomic archive visualizations are especially cool), and am really looking forward to finding out firsthand what this puppy can do (have been looking forward to this for awhile, but haven't had any appropriate content analysis projects come up of late). 

If any of you end up downloading it and testing it out, be sure to let me and the rest of the class know what you think! 

Here's an excerpt of the description posted on the ImagePlot Overview page:
"ImagePlot is a free software tool that visualizes collections of images and video of any size. It is implemented as a macro which works with the open source image processing program ImageJ. [...] Existing visualization tools show data as points, lines, and bars. ImagePlot's visualizations shows the actual images in your collection. The images can be scaled to any size and organized in any order - according to their dates, content, visual characteristics, etc. Because digital video is just a set of individual still images, you can also use ImagePlot to explore patterns in films, animations, video games, and any other moving image data."

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