Types of photomosaics

March 8, 2011 at 10:02 pm (computers, photography)

I have come up with three variations on the photomosaic, each has its own strengths and weaknesses, but keeping them in mind will let you pick the most appropriate one for the job.  If you haven’t read my prior post on photomosaic tips, you might want to read it too.

Photo mosaic of Yellowstone Lower Falls created with hundreds of other pictures taken in Yellowstone National Park

Classic Photo mosaics

  • contain lots of small pictures
  • only a little of the original picture shows through (30% or less)
  • have to get very close to see the contents of the individual tiles
  • good when:
    • you have lots of pictures
    • Will be viewed as a large image, such as printed out at 16×20 or larger


Larger tiles are easier to see when the final images is small. Lots of the original image shows through to compensate.

Chunky Mosaics

  • Fewer, larger pictures
  • lots of the original picture shows through (60% or so)
  • can see the individual images even from a distance
  • need to be careful not to have images that are too similar.
  • good when:
    • you don’t have many pictures to use as tiles
    • Will be viewed as a small image, such as online


The central focus of this mosaic (a bison) isn't made of tiled images, the baground is.

Subject Focus

  • Fewer, larger pictures
  • main object in the picture is solid, not a mosaic
  • only a little of the original picture shows through (30% or less)
  • The background tiles are an important part of the full image
  • Can be used to show history of the objects in the foreground, for instance, a newlywed couple with the background being pictures of them together before they got married.
  • need lots of feathering so the main image fades out slowly
  • good when:
    • you don’t have many pictures to use as tiles
    • the smaller images don’t match the colors of the subject very well
    • you want the focus to be on the subject, the tiled images fill in the backstory.

Subject focus mosaics take a bit more work than the other ones. There is at least one program that can make the center of the picture more opaque than the edges, but if your subject isn’t in the exact center or is irregularly shaped it might not work. I created this picture of a bison by first making a chunky photomosaic with only 30% of the original picture showing through. I then opened the original picture in an image editing program (I use the gimp) and did a freehand select of the bison and set the “Feather Edges” option to 100 pixels. I then pasted it into the mosaic and manually aligned it (it doesn’t have to be exact). Since I wanted the fade to be more gradual on the bison’s back I selected another region from the original using the same options, but when I pasted it into the mosaic I set the opacity at 66.6%.


1 Comment

  1. Jack77 said,

    You may create very good photomosaic (or photocollage) using this program:
    I like the result, and there is simple to work.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: