Anniversary Mosaic – Yet Another Goofy Experiment

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Waiting for some gigantic files to download for work today bored me into fooling around on the boss’s time a bit more than usual.

Have you ever noticed the mosaic images that are sometimes featured in magazines? They are made up of thousands of small pictures. Each small picture must match pretty closely the general colour of the spot where it is positioned on the big image. I wondered if it was possible to do this on a PC.

I found a free program called AnderaMosaic which does exactly what I wanted. As I looked around for an image to try I reckoned that I’d best stick with something that fits the goofy nature of the experiment. Why not a crop of the shot of Eunie and me cutting our anniversary cake? It looks a little blurry (partly because everybody was getting a little blurry by that time), but that’s because it’s made up of 3,000 tiny images of pictures that you have seen on Madang – Ples Bilong Mi:

Mosaic of about 2000 images from Madang - Ples Bilong Mi

The program is very easy to use. You just choose a big image to ‘mosaicify’ and the build a library of all the images that you want to use to make the mosaic. You could easily use all of the images that you have in My Photos or wherever you store your pictures.

You can tell it how many images you want to use, what physical size you want the finished mosaic to be (A3, A4, etc.), how many times an image is allowed to be repeated and about a dozen other parameters that you can fiddle with.  If you just take the default on everything, you’ll get a pleasing effect. Then you can fine tune it, if you like.

Try clicking on the image above to open it in a new window in your browser. It’s a 1.8 megabyte file, so it may take a while according to the speed of your connection. However, once it downloads to its full size, you can view it with your browser, or better yet, do a “Save Image As” to your desktop and the open it with Photoshop or whatever image editor program that you prefer; it’s just a JPEG file, so anything should open it.

It’s quite interesting to see how all of the tiny images go together to make the big one. I had to compress the file pretty severely to get it down to 1.8 megabytes. The original was about 12 megabytes – way to big to send to a browser.

Let me know if you play with this. I’d like to see your finished mosaics. I’ll probably do some better ones later. I can see already that the lower the detail level of the big image is, the better it’s going to look as a mosaic.

A very cool project would be to make a mosaic the same shape as a wall. You could choose a large image (photo of the kids?), build the mosiac using  hundreds of family images with the free program, then make prints of it in sections and glue it to the wall. A coat of varnish would finish it off nicely.

Of course, you must have a big enough room so that you can stand back to see the larger image. Up close it is completely invisible. It only becomes visible when you move away from it.

Pretty cool, eh?

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