Martin Krzywinski / Genome Sciences Center / Martin Krzywinski / Genome Sciences Center / - contact me Martin Krzywinski / Genome Sciences Center / on Twitter Martin Krzywinski / Genome Sciences Center / - Lumondo Photography Martin Krzywinski / Genome Sciences Center / - Pi Art Martin Krzywinski / Genome Sciences Center / - Hilbertonians - Creatures on the Hilbert Curve
Trance opera—Spente le Stellebe dramaticmore quotes

In Silico Flurries: Computing a world of snow. Scientific American. 23 December 2017

Color Resources + Tools

Choosing, naming and clustering colors—for everyone


Color summarizer

The color summarizer generates statistical color summaries of images.

It reports average RGB, HSV, LAB and LCH color components as well as histograms and individual pixel values for these color spaces. Comes with useful web API for all your automation needs.

Yes! I support LCH, which is extremely useful in generating color ramps and, in general, talking about perceptual aspects of color that are intuitive.

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski
My color summarizer reports the representative colors in an image by grouping colors into clusters of similar colors and reporting the average color in each cluster. This is useful in image identification and comparison.

The color summarizer also identifies representative colors in the image by using k-means clustering to group colors into clusters. The centers of each cluster are also reported by name, using my large database of named colors.

Below is an example of a detailed color report of an image—an adorable Fiat 126p I found while it was screaming out its color against the fading background of Havana.

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski
My color summarizer generates statistical color summaries of images, including a poetic list of words used to describe the colors.

Adobe Swatches for Brewer Palettes

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski
All the Brewer palettes at a glance.

The Brewer color palettes are an excellent source for perceptually uniform color palettes. I provide Adobe Swatches for all colors in the Brewer Palettes.

I also provide a short talk to help you understand why these palettes are important.

Color Palettes for Color Blindness

Color blindness is a thing. You should worry about it when you're designing and especially when you're encoding information.

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski
Sets of representative hues and tones that are indistinguishable to individuals with different kinds of color blindness. The rectangle below the each color pair shows how the colors appear to someone with color blindness.

I provide some background on color blindness and give options for choosing 7-, 12- and 15-color palettes that are colorblind safe.

Color palette for color blindness. / Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski
(left) Colors grouped by equivalence of perception in deuteranopes. Each of the two hues is represented in six different brightness and chroma combinations. (right) One of the subsets of colors on the left that are reasonably distinct in both deuteranopia and protanopia. To tritanopes, three of the pairs are difficult to distinguish.

List of Named Colors

Probably the world's largest list of named colors.

With more than 8,300 colors, even a mantis shrimp would be impressed. You can finally imagine a color you can't even imagine and name it!

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski
Use my list of named colors to name the colors in the Google logo: dodger blue, cinnabar, amber and medium emerland green.

The color name list is hooked into the color summarizer's clustering. You can get a list of words, derived from the color names, that describes an image.

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski
The color summarizer returns words that qualitatively describe the image.

color proportions in country flags

A visual survey of the color proportions in flags of 256 countries.

Color proportions in country flags / Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski
(right) 256 country flags as concentric circles showing the proportions of each color in the flag. (left) Unique flags sorted by similarity.

Flags are depicted by concentric rings whose thickness is a function of the amount of that color in the flag.

I make the flag color catalog available, as well as similarity scores based on color proportions for each flag pair, so you can run your own analysis.


news + thoughts

Machine learning: supervised methods (SVM & kNN)

Thu 18-01-2018
Supervised learning algorithms extract general principles from observed examples guided by a specific prediction objective.

We examine two very common supervised machine learning methods: linear support vector machines (SVM) and k-nearest neighbors (kNN).

SVM is often less computationally demanding than kNN and is easier to interpret, but it can identify only a limited set of patterns. On the other hand, kNN can find very complex patterns, but its output is more challenging to interpret.

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski
Nature Methods Points of Significance column: Machine learning: supervised methods (SVM & kNN). (read)

We illustrate SVM using a data set in which points fall into two categories, which are separated in SVM by a straight line "margin". SVM can be tuned using a parameter that influences the width and location of the margin, permitting points to fall within the margin or on the wrong side of the margin. We then show how kNN relaxes explicit boundary definitions, such as the straight line in SVM, and how kNN too can be tuned to create more robust classification.

Bzdok, D., Krzywinski, M. & Altman, N. (2018) Points of Significance: Machine learning: a primer. Nature Methods 15:5–6.

Background reading

Bzdok, D., Krzywinski, M. & Altman, N. (2017) Points of Significance: Machine learning: a primer. Nature Methods 14:1119–1120.

...more about the Points of Significance column

Human Versus Machine

Tue 16-01-2018
Balancing subjective design with objective optimization.

In a Nature graphics blog article, I present my process behind designing the stark black-and-white Nature 10 cover.

Nature 10, 18 December 2017

Machine learning: a primer

Thu 18-01-2018
Machine learning extracts patterns from data without explicit instructions.

In this primer, we focus on essential ML principles— a modeling strategy to let the data speak for themselves, to the extent possible.

The benefits of ML arise from its use of a large number of tuning parameters or weights, which control the algorithm’s complexity and are estimated from the data using numerical optimization. Often ML algorithms are motivated by heuristics such as models of interacting neurons or natural evolution—even if the underlying mechanism of the biological system being studied is substantially different. The utility of ML algorithms is typically assessed empirically by how well extracted patterns generalize to new observations.

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski
Nature Methods Points of Significance column: Machine learning: a primer. (read)

We present a data scenario in which we fit to a model with 5 predictors using polynomials and show what to expect from ML when noise and sample size vary. We also demonstrate the consequences of excluding an important predictor or including a spurious one.

Bzdok, D., Krzywinski, M. & Altman, N. (2017) Points of Significance: Machine learning: a primer. Nature Methods 14:1119–1120.

...more about the Points of Significance column

Snowflake simulation

Tue 16-01-2018
Symmetric, beautiful and unique.

Just in time for the season, I've simulated a snow-pile of snowflakes based on the Gravner-Griffeath model.

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski
A few of the beautiful snowflakes generated by the Gravner-Griffeath model. (explore)

The work is described as a wintertime tale in In Silico Flurries: Computing a world of snow and co-authored with Jake Lever in the Scientific American SA Blog.

Gravner, J. & Griffeath, D. (2007) Modeling Snow Crystal Growth II: A mesoscopic lattice map with plausible dynamics.

Genes that make us sick

Wed 22-11-2017
Where disease hides in the genome.

My illustration of the location of genes in the human genome that are implicated in disease appears in The Objects that Power the Global Economy, a book by Quartz.

Martin Krzywinski @MKrzywinski
The location of genes implicated in disease in the human genome, shown here as a spiral. (more...)