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Creating mosaics from photos

By Catalogs Editorial Staff

AndreaMosaic: first free computer program for creating amazing photo mosaics

AndreaMosaic: first free computer program for creating amazing photo mosaics

Creating mosaics from photos and designing photo montages is a fun and creative project that has long been enjoyed by scrapbookers, photographers, jewelry designers and stained glass artists.  However, the fine art of creating mosaics from photos using computer applications is quickly gaining popularity with tech savvy artists. 

What exactly is a photo mosaic? It is a photograph entirely composed of a collection of much smaller photographs or pixels in different colors.

This history of mosaic artwork dates back thousands of years to ancient Greek and Roman architecture where pebbles, glass, colored terracotta cones and tiles were used to create precise geometric patterns, portraits, scenes and designs that were incorporated in structural decorations. Today, many of the same mosaic supplies are used to create works of art that art stunning, complex and beautiful.

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It is only in recent decades that contemporary artists such as Chuck Close first began creating mosaics from photographs. In 1993, Joseph Francis was credited as the inventor of the modern-day computer generated photo mosaic. While working for R/Greenberg Associated in Manhattan, NY, Francis created a portrait-style mosaic of a face titled ?Live From Bell Labs.? 

Francis’ unique work with photo mosaics sparked the invention of computer software and hardware specifically designed for creating mosaics from photos. These early programs for designing computer-generated mosaics retailed for prices ranging from $30 – $60 and included products such as Easy Mosaic, Arcsoft PhotoMontage, Image Puzzler, Advanced Photo Mosaic Maker, Pixelize, MacOsaiX, MacZaic, Mosaic Magic, and PictureMedley.

These varieties of mosaic software programs make it easy for anyone with a computer and digital camera to create their own, unique photo mosaics and mosaic portraits from personal photographs. The idea behind these computer programs designed for creating mosaics from photos is that they arrange photos in a grid, organized by color characteristics such as hue, tone, shade and RGB values.  

In 2008, the first free computer program for creating photo mosaics became publicly available on the internet.  This program, called AndreaMosaic was invented by Andrea Denzler an Italian graphic artist and software designer.  Now widely available, AndreaMosaic has earned rave reviews and international accolades.  


Tips and Parameters for Using AndreaMosaic to Create Mosaics From Photos:

1.   Begin by downloading AndreaMosaic for free.

2.   Each time you run AndreaMosaic the program will ask you to specify a collection or folder of photos it should utilize as the source of pixels for your mosaic. To make this selection process easier, you may wish to begin by creating a specific folder of 500 ? 2,000 of your personal, archived digital photos. AndreaMosaic recommends that using a selection of at least 1,000 photos to draw pixels from will result in a more eye catching final mosaic.

3.   Next, you will asked to chose the width of the mosaic, the dimensions of each tile or pixel, and the number of tiles per row. It is also possible to set specifications regarding the minimum distance between duplicate tiles, or the frequency for repeating any duplicate tiles.

4.   The third step is selecting the primary photo you wish to re-create with the mosaic tiles. For best results, use a multi-colored image.

5.   Last, but certainly not least, go ahead and create your mosaic!  Be patient, as it make take at least 5 to 10 minutes to process and produce your creation. If you are satisfied with your final mosaic, you can save it or print it out. When printed, photo mosaics can make truly unique gift items, greeting cards, or decorations.

Photo mosaics can be used as patterns for mosaic craft projects. The color patterns, segmented images and textures are easy to interpret in other types of materials.

How to Make Your Own Photo Mosaics
Comparison of selected photo mosaic sites


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