Introduction: How to Make Large Mosaic Prints
The concept behind these pictures is that you have one large picture made up of several thousand smaller ones. That are matched into the picture. It sounds like a lot of hard work, but it is really easy if you have the right (free) software, and you can get some really nice results.
You can find the links to download at my original blog post. Here.
Step 1: The Software You Need
What You need:
Step 2: Getting the Pictures From Facebook
First, you need to select the main photo you want to use. You want to select something which has a large resolution, many different colours and shapes, but not too much fine detail, as the detail will be lost. Once you have this you then need to get around 1000 – 2000 smaller photos that you can use. A good way to quickly and easily get these photos is to use the Photograbber application to snatch them from facebook.
Download the photograbber app. Extract the zip archive and run the exe. You will be asked to log in and copy a string into the program. Once your code is validated you will then select what you want to download.
I usually select “Entire Album if it contains a tagged photo”. Select who you want to download tagged photos for, and then click begin download.You will be asked to choose a directory to download to, create a new directory for it to download into, and then it will take a while to do so (like close to an hour), but it will download all the photos for you. This download got me over 8000 pictures, more than enough to make a good mosaic.
Step 3: Run the Mosaic Program
Once you have all these photos you need to download Andrea Mosaic (like above). Once installed, I always select 4:3 rectangle tiles, then you get to the main setting screen.
Click “Tile Images”, then click add folders. You want to add the folders you just downloaded your facebook images into. Import in the main folder, and then click “Save List”. This will import all your photos.
Once loaded drag and drop, or click the top + Icon to add a main picture which you wish to mosaic. The mosaic lines will appear on the image, this will give you a good idea of how the mosaic will look.
Keep the colour change relatively low, the default is 30% this is how much you want your mosaic pictures to match the colour of the photograph. If like me, you are using a very one tone image, it might be difficult to get a good match, but you can easily experiment once you start. You will be importing it to photoshop anyway to correct the colour, so by keeping it low you are maintaining quality, and accuracy in the image.
I always select “no Duplicates” in my tiles, and since i have 8000 images this is fine as I will have more than enough images to find a good fit. There are way more advanced settings you can play with but overall, on your first run, I think it is best to run it using the defaults, and work from there.
Click “Create Mosaic” and the program will start working. There is a handy process bar than will show the progress as the image encodes, the process is actually pretty fast when you consider all the work the program is doing. Within a few minutes your image will be complete, a pop up will appear to announce the news.
Step 4: Final Touches
At first your image will look very colourful, and not very appealing. This is because sometimes it is hard to match the images into the picture especially if you have a lot of one colour, for example, the black trees on my image and the white sky. At this point, I would import the image into photoshop along with the original image. If you do not have photoshop, then play around with the sittings. Putting the colour change percentage up higher will do the same job, I just always like having the freedom of tweaking in photoshop which is why I do it this way. However, the mosaic programme effectively fades the images into the main image to match colour so the effect is not as good this way.
Once in photoshop, paste the original image on top of the mosaic as a new layer. You may need to resize the image you can do this by selecting the arrow icon, clicking “Show Transform Controls” and double clicking outside the image. Resize base on the percentages until you get a match.
On the layer pallet to the right, click the dropdown box that currently says “Normal” and Select Colour. This will force all your images to match the colour of the original image, removing the ugly colour mismatch.
Step 5: The Final Results
This is you done! I always get mine printed into large 18x24 inch prints.
Here is the photo of one on my wall, and close up.
I think it looks pretty cool. More examples, and to download the software, check out my blog