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No. 639: Modes of Garfield: 1978-2010

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Modes of Garfield: 1978-2010

First | Previous | 2011-02-17 | Next | Latest

Strip by: Henning Makholm

{A series of panels showing the modal colour distribution of pixels in Garfield panels over the years.}

The author writes:

For each year in which Garfield comics were ever published, I took all the weekday strips and created a new one by giving each pixel the colour that was used the most times in that particular position during the year, i.e., the mode of that pixel's colour distribution (in a 4+4+4 bit RGB colour space).

This strip consists of the first panels of each of the resulting modal strips. There is interesting variability between the years, much more than is evident in similar line-ups of mean or median pixel values. In contrast, the three panels within a year do not usually differ appreciably – I've left in the entire mode of 2010 in to show a typical inter-panel variation.

The most obvious historical trend is that black seems to be much more prevalent in the early years. This may indicate that the colouring was less standardised back then, such that it didn't take so many instances of black to dominate over other colours for a pixel position. Heavy blacks return again in in 2006 and 2007, probably connected to the standard colours becoming duller (new scanner settings? new colourist?) from 2006-02-25 and recovering partially after 2007-03-11. There may have been a similar adjustment during 2008, but I have not been able to pinpoint it.

We can also see that during the early years it was fairly common to have a human face opposite Jon (usually Lyman), a trait that returned in 2007 after Liz was promoted from occasional extra to core cast.

(Most of December 2010 was not included in the computation, due to Square Root of Minus Garfield's production lead times.)