Photomosaic Mania

This is an entry built on irony and coincidence. I must have seen something yesterday morning that triggered me to strike up a conversation with a work associate of mine about those big posters made up of thousands of tiny pictures — the ones that kind of remind me of Chuck Close paintings, which look something like this:

Chuck Close Painting

We talked about them for a bit and both said we’d look for some software we could use to create them. It all died there — we both forgot about it past that conversation.

Later that night, sitting on the couch with Meg, I looked over at her while she was reading ‘Cooking Light’ and noticed that she had just flipped a page in the magazine that had one of those “posters” on it. I asked for the magazine and sure enough, there was one of those images. So, now I remembered what I wanted to do earlier that day. I began my quest. Having no idea what they were called, I searched Google for an hour with no luck. I was just about to give up when I happened by some kid’s blog where he was explaining how to make posters from your digital camera shots. The posters were nothing like the collage images I was looking for, but the kid’s site was interesting. I read some more of his content and clicked a link to take me to some of his previous posts. And, what was there? – a blog entry discussing a Mac product used to make ‘photomosaics’. Total luck, as my Google search had nothing to do with what I found. But, I knew the word to search for now.

After searching for ‘photomosaic’ for a couple of minutes, I found the product I was looking for — Mosaic Creator. This app is one killer piece of software. I have to hand it to the guy who wrote it; he threw about every possible feature imaginable into the thing. And, after using the app for some time (the thing kept me up late), I realized not only how feature rich the thing was, but how complex the math had to be in order to create a detailed image out of 30 thousand other tiny images. I’m sure there are some intense calculations going on — which is pretty easy to determine by the fact that a 3GHz CPU stays maxed for ~2+ hours in order to create one of these things.

Features — the thing takes a target image of whatever you give it and offers you the ability to represent it as ASCII art, text art, or a photo-mosaic. In addition to that, there are another 100 or so parameters you have control over — cell size, duplicity, etc. There are enough controls to fine tune the app to create exactly what you have in mind. Cool stuff!

Here are some samples from my first trials:

Original Version

Original Image

Photo-Mosaic Version

Photo-mosaic Version
(Click image to check out larger versions)

This gives you an idea of what I was trying to figure out how to create and now what you can also use. I need to look through all my images and try and figure out which one would be a good one to use as the source image for a 20×30 poster. The poster sized image was what I had originally started to look into this for. Making a family portrait out of family pictures, a wedding portrait out of wedding pictures. . . there are some killer contextual images you could make. I thought it would be neat to make a large image, as not only are they “cool,” but you could stare at the image for hours just trying to make out all the other images within it.

Anyhow, I’m one step closer to that big ‘ole cool image on my wall. . .

This entry was posted in Computer, Ramblings.


  1. nicecrane October 12, 2005 at 10:09 pm #

    dear fried:

    There are nice and free software to built really wonderfull photomosaics,take a look to my blog and of course on moptn August,,,, you can see myu best work Marylin Monroe, phom. and Homer simpson.

    Take care

    the software you say is reaaaly a good software but expensive,…

  2. Steve May 17, 2006 at 3:22 am #

    This photo mosaic style is cool.
    I can only find that mosaic style in photoshop plug in.
    It would be nice if I could find a stand alone mosaic art software. I’m sure it’s out there.
    I’ll keep searching.

  3. Betsy Mealy November 7, 2009 at 2:21 pm #

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