When we make charts and graphs, we usually think of the data abstractions in terms of bars, dots, and other geometric shapes. ImagePlot, from UCSD-based Software Studies, instead makes it easier to use images to understand large collections.
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.
You can do this with other software (like R, for example), but ImagePlot is specifically built to handle lots of images (in the millions) and so it is much more robust, and it’s GUI-based, so no programming is required to use the software, which works on Windows, OS X, and Linux. The interface is pretty basic and not totally clear at first, but play around with the sample datasets and you should be able to pick it up fairly quickly.
Here’s a zoomed out view of Time Magazine covers:
These are Van Gogh paintings organized by month/year on the horizontal and color on the vertical:
So you can see there’s quite a bit of flexibility with the program, which could lead to some fun if you have a large image dataset. Save your results as a high-resolution image or even in animation form.