Research across science domains is increasingly reliant on image-centric data. Software tools are in high demand to uncover relevant, but hidden, information in digital images, such as those coming from faster next generation high-throughput imaging platforms. The challenge is to analyze the data torrent generated by the advanced instruments efficiently, and provide insights such as measurements for decision-making. In this paper, we overview work performed by an interdisciplinary team of computational and materials scientists, aimed at designing software applications and coordinating research efforts connecting (1) emerging algorithms for dealing with large and complex datasets; (2) data analysis methods with emphasis in pattern recognition and machine learning; and (3) advances in evolving computer architectures. Engineering tools around these efforts accelerate the analyses of image-based recordings, improve reusability and reproducibility, scale scientific procedures by reducing time between experiments, increase efficiency, and open opportunities for more users of the imaging facilities. This paper describes our algorithms and software tools, showing results across image scales, demonstrating how our framework plays a role in improving image understanding for quality control of existent materials and discovery of new compounds.