pic: A Word is Worth a Thousand Pictures


To answer your first question, I used MacOSaiX to make this on a Mac - available for FREE from macupdate.com. If you’re a PC, please reboot and search Google for a comparable program or a tutorial - they exist. In any case, be warned that you need thousands upon thousands of images to make a mosaic of this quality and you need days of processing time to let it compute! Lots of RAM helps, too.

The individual pictures of this mosaic are from Team 246, Overclocked, Boston University and the Boston University Academy . The images span two seasons (05-06) in order to come up with enough blue and white. Since we have red shirts, that color was easier.

I highly recommend duplicating your source images in a REDUCED size before doing this. The final output is going to be larger than you need anyway - mine was 15 gigapixels. Yes, giga with a G. If you have any questions, feel free to ask, but it might be better for you to ask the oracle (google).

15 Giga pixels is quite a lot…what would that relate to in a file size or LxW size?

I did one very similar to this last year. There is also a bunch of other discussion about photo mosaics in that thread.

Can you say…I LOVE THAT! Amazing job… that must’ve taken some work.

The Canuck

Thanks, although the computer really does nearly ALL the work. All I had to do was put together the source images and let my processor overheat for a few days.


Arrrr matey, thar be math content ahead! :stuck_out_tongue:


Since the existing picture is 500 x 435 pixels, and the original picture would [probably] have the same aspect ratio, and since the final image was 15,000,000,000 pixels, you can use simple algebra to solve for the original image size.
500 / 435 = 1.149
1.149x * x = 15 000 000 000
1.149x² = 15 000 000 000
x² = 13 054 830 300
sqrt(x²) = sqrt(13 054 830 300)
x = 114 257.736
So the original picture was about (give or take a few pixels) 131282 x 114258 pixels. If you were to print that out at 150 dpi, then the resulting [strike]picture[/strike] billboard would be 72.93 feet x 63.48 feet. :stuck_out_tongue:

But wait, there’s more?! Assuming the original picture had a color depth of 16 million colors, then the file size for that picture is (more or less) 24 bits per pixel. 15 000 000 000 pixels x 24 bpp / 8 bits per byte / 1024 bytes per kb / 1024 kb per mb / 1024 mb per gb = 41.91 Gb file size! :ahh:

Rushes to find a large enough piece of paper

EDIT: and a printer that is large enough to handle that piece of paper

That’s sick!

The thread title makes it SO much better.

Awesome job!

oh wow… I didn’t even notice that the title was backwards until you said something InfernoX14! Do I dare ask how long it took?

that’s really cool. great job. always fun to see what everyone does with their million of photos!

But wait, there’s more?! Assuming the original picture had a color depth of 16 million colors, then the file size for that picture is (more or less) 24 bits per pixel. 15 000 000 000 pixels x 24 bpp / 8 bits per byte / 1024 kb per byte / 1024 mb per kb / 1024 gb per mb = 41.91 Gb file size! :ahh:

actually its 1024 bytes per kbyte / 1024kbyte per mbyte / 1024mbyte per gbyte, but basicly the idea was correct, just reversed.

(((((15,000,000,000 * 24)/8)/1024)/1024)/1024)= 41.91ish

Sorry, just saw the reversed to wrote it out.

This is AMAZING! I’d love to make it my wallpaper, do you have a higher resolution copy of this?

I don’t want to appear like one of those guys on most forums that come along after anything happens and say they had already thought about it or done it, but for mothers day this year (first poster went to my mum :)) I created a Mosaic of our team logo. At our team social, all team members autographed it and the mosaic is currently framed and hanging in our Engineering classroom. It consists of 2,000+ team photos from 2005 and 2006. Below is a thumbnail that links to the full size (7.93 MB, 2762x2340) mosaic.


I used a freeware program named AndreaMosaic. It is slightly confusing to use, so I recommend following their tutorial if you wish to create a mosaic.

Poster-sized mosaics of team’s logos (using photos from that particular build season), at least in our team, can be a huge hit, and often a great source of donations! :slight_smile:

EDIT: Almost forgot to mention, but using this software on a 3 GHz Dell with 2 GB of RAM took less than an hour… but it took multiple tries for the optimal look (there was a single solid white photo somewhere in the source files that took me forever to find and was screwing up all of the mosaics)! Also note that this software is extremely flexible and has options for how much to alter the photos, how many times to use each photo (for small collections), and how close to the other copy to repeat.

Tim, no sweat, it’s definitely not a unique idea. As Greg mentioned, he did the same thing last year. I didn’t get the idea here or I’d have mentioned it, sorry Greg :slight_smile:

For those wondering how long it took me, well it really only took 4 or 5 hours to process when I used reduced size images, but we’re going to print it big, so I had to redo it with the full size and it took forever on my cheap mac mini.

Also, after looking at Tim’s image, I have to say it looks like AndreaMosaic cheats! But I love it - I was looking for that feature. The one I used just puts the pieces together as best it can. But I think AndreaMosaic goes a step further and tints the images to make the overall image really stand out. Right? Maybe I’ll have to reboot to windows and make this over again.

Also, for those who’d like to use this image as a background or something, you’re welcome to use it for personal use only (not for publication or websites), but I cannot provide a larger copy for various reasons.

You are correct, this is customizable, or can be disabled, but for it to look the most like my source logo/image I set the tint level to 20% since the photo collection was not as large as yours. I played around with using it, not using it, repeating photos, for quite some time before I got results that I liked. The MARS mosaic I posted previously (I think, its been awhile) did not repeat photos which severely reduced the number of optimal photos, leading me to enable the tinting option.

Good luck if you play around with it!

(BTW, if anyone wants to use the MARS mosaic as a wallpaper, feel free :); we appreciate the free advertising)