"Art Now" and "Graphic Design" Flickr groups (340,000 images)

Researchers: Todd Margolis, Jeremy Douglass, Tara Zepel, Lev Manovich.

Project start date: July 2011.

The availability of massive amounts of cultural content online allows us to start asking lots of interesting questions which were unthinkable before social media. For example: what is the "shape" of user-generated art? If we look at large enough sample of art images people upload, will see a number of distinct styles? Or will we see an endless variability? is there any significant differences between images which are labeled by their creators as "art"
and images from other areas of visual culture (graphic design, motion graphics, etc.)?

For this project we downloaded all images from two large Flickr groups: Art Now (apps. 170,000 images) and Graphic Design (also appr. 170,000 images).

Art Now (169,681 items)
A group for displaying, fostering awareness and discussing the emerging relevant art and artists of today.

Graphic Design (177,700 items)
Anything from drawings you did in Paint to photoshoped images. If you made it, put it in the pool.

(These numbers are for the images which were available in these groups when we did our download in August 2011; as group members continue to add new images, the numbers continue to grow).

We used our custom software to process the images on the Macs in our lab, extracting 400 features from each image. The features characterize images' tones, colors, shapes, lines, texture, and other visual characteristics. The next step is to visualize two image sets according to these features.

Our initial research questions are:

- what kinds of clusters (based on visual characteristics) can be find
in each group?

- in what ways the first group and the second group overlap, in how they
are different?

- are there some specific properties of the images done with computer
graphics ? Are these properties the same for two sets?