Research & Insights

By Brendan O'Connor, April 25, 2008

Data Visualization: Color flowers, networks, photos, and even 3D

Lots of people have been making great new visualizations of our color names data. Here are 4 more that folks have sent us.

Chris Harrison, a Ph.D. student at CMU HCI, combined our data with results from his own previous experiment, and created beautiful flower and spiral images. Unlike my and Martin’s color wheels, hue is scaled along the radius, creating a striking effect.

Next: network and cluster diagrams from David Sparks, Ph.D. student at Duke PoliSci. The layout below was computed from a similarity metric on color names. (I’m unclear whether it’s on labels or colors.) Size of node corresponds to the label’s frequency.


All of the visualizations so far have had to map three-dimensional color points into a 2D space. But Jeff Clark in Toronto went ahead and wrote a 3D explorer — you fly around a space of the color labels. He built it with the excellent Processing framework.

Finally, yet another tack: instead of creating a picture with all the labels, why not fit labels to a picture? Kristina Durivage, Chris Burg, and Scott Olson did that for an undergrad CS project at Winona State University. Their software takes any image and overlays color names. An example:

Four new visualizations in a month — whew!

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