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Tips & Tricks

How to Create A Photo Mosaic Without Photoshop

By Justin Heyes on January 3rd 2015

With the new year comes new New Year’s resolutions. It is the time to start new projects, brush up on posing techniques, or revamp your website. In this new year, instead of opting for just photo albums, prints, or canvases, consider offering something extra, something different, like a photo mosaic.

Mosaic_Without_Photoshop-AndreaMosaic-Mosaic

Photo mosaics are hundreds of little images arranged in a particular way to create one big image. You don’t need to understand color theory, balance of light and dark, or even Photoshop to create a professional mosaic that clients will love. Think of all the hundreds of images that a wedding photographer takes during an event; now, to have all those images combined as a portrait of the couple is something truly magic. AndreaMosaic is a free program that will help you encapsulate an entire event into one image.

[REWIND:Create Lego Portraits From Any Photo With This Beginners Tutorial]

Mosaic_Without_Photoshop-AndreaMosaic-Aspect-Ratio

First, start off with your tile size. Most images that you take with a standard DSLR, from your full frame cameras like the Nikon D750 and the crop bodies of the Canon Rebels, will be a 3:2 ratio. Images taken with a micro four thirds camera, like the Olympus OM-D EM-5, will be a 4:3 ratio. Make sure you choose the tile ratio correctly or your images will be distorted. There is a 16:9 ratio of images extracted from videos.

Mosaic_Without_Photoshop-AndreaMosaic-Catalog

Once you choose your ratio, a catalog file must be created. Click on the picture of a dolphin and choose folders or images that you want the mosaic to be created out of. The images must be JPEGs; if the images are TIFFs, PNGs, or any RAW formats, AndreaMosaic will skip over them. The collection will be created in about 5 minutes. You can save multiple catalog files for future projects.

Mosaic_Without_Photoshop-AndreaMosaic-Main-Screen

The program, by default, will save as JPEG. Change the output to a PSD to speed up the the process. The maximum resolution that can be chosen is 200 Megapixels with 30,000 tiles and 100,000 images. This may be okay for the majority of people out there. If you think you need more, $35 will get you the licenses to create images at 100 Gigapixels with 500,000 tiles and 500,000 images.

Mosaic_Without_Photoshop-AndreaMosaic-Processing

Once a catalog has been created and an image selected – it’s time for some math. Take the tile size and divide it by the number of images in your collection. Round up to the nearest whole number and type that into “Use same tile up to.” In my case, I chose 11 duplicates. Duplicate spacing to 2 tiles and 30% color change. Using a color change of 30% will produce a good image with out compromising the details of the tiles. Anything above 45% is not recommended. Click the the picture of Starry Night to begin the process.

Mosaic_Without_Photoshop-AndreaMosaic-Photoshop

Now, go get a coffee. It will take anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour to complete the mosaic. Once finished, you will have a very big file (upwards of 1 GB). Looking at the mosaic at 100%, you can clearly see the photos that make it up. The file will be great for prints 20×30 inches or larger.

Andrea gives out the program for free in exchange for credit on the final image. Not a bad price to pay for a high resolution image. Try creating a mosaic for yourself. I have given prints as gifts on multiple occasions and each time, there was a look of astonishment and awe on the client’s face.

You can download AndreaMosaic at their website here.

About

Justin Heyes wants to live in a world where we have near misses and absolute hits; great love and small disasters. Starting his career as a gaffer, he has done work for QVC and The Rachel Ray Show, but quickly fell in love with photography. When he’s not building arcade machines, you can find him at local flea markets or attending car shows.

Explore his photographic endeavors here.

Website: Justin Heyes
Instagram: @jheyesphoto

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Samantha Greene

    Hey Justin,

    I would say photo mosaics made in Photoshop aren’t true mosaics in the sense that the grid of small photos is usually random and the bigger photo is ghosted onto this grid.

    Photo mosaic softwares (I personally use TurboMosaic: http://www.turbomosaic.com ) on the other hand make far more vibrant mosaics by placing tile pictures to match the color of the larger picture . This difference is described in detail here:

    http://www.turbomosaic.com/make-photo-mosaic-in-photoshop.html

    I have attached a mosaic I made in TurboMosaic.

    Cheers,
    Samantha

    disclosure: I work for the company that makes TurboMosaic.

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  2. Graham Curran

    I’ve often wondered how this might work with porn. EIther a porn result with lots of innocuous images or a landscape made from porn.

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  3. Jason Boa

    Can’t say that I think the result is worth the effort ??

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  4. Seong Yup Yoo

    http://mosaically.com lets you create these photo mosaics without photoshop also. You just do it online, and it’s high resolution and zoomable. You can easily share the high resolution photo mosaic online or even embed it on your website too.

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  5. David Hall

    This is a neat program but with files coming in near 1Gb, my hard drive will fill up quick.

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  6. Aaron Cheney

    This is cool and creative but not really a fan of the end result. It is nice that there are other routes to create these, though, for those who don’t have PS

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