You must have seen those pictures that appear blurry, and when you take a closer look you realize that the image is made up of hundreds of tiny pictures. Such images are called photo mosaics, and they are almost always computer generated. Foto-Mosaik-Edda is a freeware program that enables you to create photo mosaics.
To start, you need a large collection of images – the larger the better. A few thousand is a good start. The program author recommends at least 2000, but it’s possible to begin with less. Just remember to include a variety of images of different colors.
Point the program towards the collection and it will scan through it, analyze the images and build a set of tiles to use in the mosaic. This can take a while. In my case, Foto-Mosaik-Edda took about 10 minutes to go through 2200 images I provided. However, this happens only once, unless you wish to create a new database.
If you don’t have a readymade collection, you can turn to Flickr. Think of a keyword or phrase that you believe will return an assortment of colorful pictures or pictures of a specific color and enter into the program. Choose the license for the photos - I recommend Creative Commons – and then click on Run.
After the database has been built, the program will return back to the main screen. Here, click on “Create mosaic picture”. Load the picture whose mosaic you want to create, select the database (in case you have multiple databases of tiles), paper size, resolution, orientation, and other options like how many times you want one tile to repeat. The default is 2. You can preview the output at this stage, and adjust the settings if you aren’t happy with the result.
When you are ready, click the Run button. After a short wait, the program will generate an impressive high-resolution mosaic. The mosaic of the cat you see at the top of this page was created using Foto-Mosaik-Edda.
The free version offers only one style of mosaics – the classic style. The paid version allows you to select between 4 different styles of photo mosaic:
- Classic photo mosaic picture: tiles are arranged in a matrix side by side with constant alignment of the mosaic tiles (portrait/landscape/square).
- Parquet photo mosaic picture: tiles are arranged like a parquet floor, so landscape and portrait formatted tiles are used together.
- Chaos photo mosaic picture: tiles are arranged in a chaotic manner with random orientation and size, like in collages.
- Detail photo mosaic picture: tiles are divided into smaller tiles with at areas with lot of details in the input picture.
The additional styles are also available in the free version, but the output image will be watermarked.
Foto-Mosaik-Edda can be downloaded both as an installer and a portable version. 64-bit version is also available.
Photo credit: Flickr