🌅🥞 Image stacks, by ranking, compared

Comparing differences in formats and styles across (small) collection of images

This approach may be used to synthesize small set of images, so as to facilitate comparison among them. By overlaying images on top of each other, one is able to produce a “visual summary” that can be used to compare multiple collections. The order in which images are placed in the stack is also relevant: images on top will be more visible than the ones on the bottom. For this reason, this approach works better with ranked images (e.g. most retweeted to less retweeted). One application could be to produce images stacks with top 10 retweeted images per month (or day), and then compare them.

🗄️ Examples

🧱Input from TCAT

📃 Steps

  1. Open data with Google Spreadsheet
  2. Sort data by media frequency
  3. Filter data by time (e.g. images tweeted on August 2019)
  4. Copy only first 10 images in a new sheet
  5. Export from new sheet a csv with URLs list
  6. Install Tab Save Chrome extension
  7. Copy and paste URLs list in Tab Save
  8. Download images from URLs list with Tab Save
  9. Import image in (start from less retweeted)
  10. Set image opacity to 10%
  11. Repeat step 7 and 8 for all images (be sure to respect the ranking, you can check that in the layer panel on the right; resize images so they are all of the same size)
  12. Export stack (jpg)
  13. Repeat from 3 to 9, in order to produce stacks from different months.

🐙 Inspiration, acknowledgments and contributors

This and other visual methods recipes were originally formulated by Gabriele Colombo drawing on his doctoral work exploring the design of composite images. They were documented and refined for a module on Digital Methods for Internet Studies: Concepts, Devices and Data convened by Liliana Bounegru and Jonathan Gray at the Department of Digital Humanities, King’s College London, leading to a set of collaborative group projects with their students and the European Forest Institute. The approaches behind these recipes draw on several years of experimentation with images in the context of research and teaching at the Visual Methodologies Collective (Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences), the Digital Methods Initiative (University of Amsterdam), DensityDesign Lab (Politecnico di Milano), the médialab (Sciences Po, Paris) and beyond. You can read more about these approaches in Colombo, 2019 and Niederer & Colombo, 2019. Further readings can be found in the visual methods Zotero bibliography.