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PostPosted: Fri Jan 27, 2006 3:58 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jan 27, 2006 3:47 pm
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Dear Andrea,

I have recently become interested in photo mosaics and have been doing some research. While researching I came upon your web site which I must say is very excellent. I knew photo mosaics existed but have become very interested in the art. Based on my limited research thus far I have put together an idea for a mosaic and also have some questions. I am hoping you can provide some feedback and advice for me.

To begin I will provide you with a summary of my idea:

The mosaic will first be located within a web page for viewing. I will be using Zoomify or a similar tool so that users can pan and zoom the art work. I am not that concerned how the mosaic will look within the main viewing window since it is planned that when the page opens it will already be zoomed into a certain area of the mosaic and also most users will be zooming in on individual tiles and panning around. But the tiles have to be clear when a user zooms in. However, I would like the whole mosaic to look good in a smaller overview window. If all goes well the mosaic will also be reproduced in two different formats: 1.) full newspaper page size (say approx 2x3 feet) and 2.) a large poster which for example could cover the side of a building or billboard (exact dimensions unknown at this time). It is important that the mosaic look good in both of these formats but especially the largest of sizes. I know the final viewing size of your mosaic plays an important role in deciding upon tile size, number of tiles, resolution etc. and thus could you please advice me what you think would be my best approach. If possible I would like to make one mosaic and not have to create 3 mosaics using different parameters. Thus perhaps there is a trade-off that will not be perfect but meet my needs for all 3 but favour the largest size.

I would like the mosaic to consist of both color and black and white images so that certain parts of the mosaic stand out more than others. The majority of the tiles would be colour but some, say 30% black and white. Also, I am thinking of creating a mosaic which uses two (2) different tile sizes. The majority would be smaller tiles but with some larger tiles. I have no idea if this is possible but I would like the final mosaic to be 2006 x 2006 tiles in size, that’s right! 4,024,036 (Note, this number is not exact, but I could easily get 1,000,000 photos submitted or more and I would have to use them all) individual tiles and based on my image collection method at this point I feel few will be exact duplicates. OK maybe this is not possible, the number sometimes seems overwhelming … but I will continue ….. since I plan on using colour and b&w images, 2 different tile sizes, and so many tiles … I was thinking that what I would do is break up this one large mosaic into many smaller ones and then use PhotoShop etc to piece it all back together into one large mosaic. Thus, I would be creating many smaller mosaics and then merging them all together into one large mosaic, perhaps not ideal but I think it is the only way possible to manage such a large mosaic. Also, I don’t plan on just using your software to do this, I will also be breaking down the mosaic into large posters and physically moving around the tiles. Thus it will be a combination of computer software and human creativity, hoping that your software speeds the process up for me and does a lot of the initial work.

The images or tile database will be built from photos submitted by people from around the world. Thus, most will be taken with digital cameras, in jpeg format but some may also be scanned or mailed to me as photographs which I would scan. The topic of the photos will vary and I am not exactly sure what to expect but it could be a photo of dog, a face, a jersey, a ring, a coin, a house, a pendant, a couch… really anything that a person could be superstitious about or use in a ritual or feel is a good luck charm etc. Thus, I am sure many of the photos will be of the same theme but I am also sure there will be many surprises along the way. I do feel if this idea takes off over 4 million photos is possible (perhaps even more with some luck and good marketing) due to the popularity of the subject and more in particular the event to which it will be associated with. Also, I have to use every photo submitted to me, so due to the nature of the idea I may not have the freedom that is ideal for creating the best photo mosaic. I have to use what and all that I am given. No photos can be excluded and I really want to minimize duplicates if at all possible. But I can slightly modify the photos, colour, contrast, etc

The master or original or matrix image will consist of 32 people standing and ideally when I print it large poster size I would like the people to be true to life size. Thus, if a person is 6ft tall he or she would measure 6 feet tall in the poster (1:1). There will also be 32 face shots (larger than life, face only) which will be black and white. A stadium in the distance and a larger than life trophy rising from within. I would also like to have the word fan printed in various different world languages and these words would be kind of randomly yet creatively distributed amongst the mosaic, and created using color images. You may have guessed my theme but if you haven’t it involves the World Cup, Fans and Superstitions … something along these lines … A INTERACTIVE MOSAIC CREATED BY THE FANS FOR THE FANS IN CELEBRATION OF THE FIFA WORLD CUP 2006.


I have just over 4 months to complete the mosaic. If my idea does go well I may have a few people helping me do some of the work.

I know this project will take a lot of RAM and disk storage space but I am not concerned about costs related to this and will want to build the best system possible to make things process as quick as possible. I will not let the computer limit me if at all possible.

In particular I have questions regarding the dimensions of the final mosaic, tile size, tile resolution (or input image resolution), picture size vs tile size etc. but I am sure there are things I have not even considered that you are surely aware of. Actually, one thing just came to mind, if I want the standing people to be at a 1:1 ratio for the final poster, and say my tile size is just hypothetically 1”x1”, does this mean for a 5 foot person I would have to breakdown the mosaic in a way that would ensure that this person is 60 tiles high or 60 inches (5 feet)? I do find this part of things confusing.


As you can see I have a lot of questions. Your site has been a great help to me already and I have found it really hard so far to find information on the theory and production of photo mosaics. (i.e. books, photographic journal publications etc.) There seems to be very little printed in regards to this exact subject.

Do you think this idea for a mosaic is possible? If so, do you have any suggestions or advice that come to mind that you would like to share. Perhaps you feel I should change some of my ideas to make it more possible. Any help, advice and expertise you can provide would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you so much,

Sincerely,

Michael Brancati


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 27, 2006 7:55 pm 
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Joined: Mon Apr 15, 2002 9:12 am
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Location: Italy
Sorry for a fast read and a fast answer...(I have just few minutes now):

Zoomify have no problems with very big images. You can give him a big mosaic he will work fast and well. The quality is good. Your only concern is maybe bandwith, i regularly have to shutdown my example due to too much bandwith traffic, and the tiles are highly compressed after Zoomify had processed them.
http://www.andreaplanet.com/mosaic/starrynight/

No problem mixing B/W and color tiles.

All common graphic programs dont handle big images, i.e. maximum Width for Photoshop is 30.000 pixels, so with 100 pixels x tile this is only 300x300 tiles (far away from 2006x2006). For this reason AndreaMosaic contains a button for splitting and joining image. It's not perfect but it does his job. Usefuly for getting one giant JPG to use with Zoomify (that have no specific limits). The only solution is to find or code a specific JPG split/join function. I am doing it splitting only rows...just had not time with rows/cols splitting also due some limits of the open source JPG library that give me sometimes an error code.

yes your idea is nice, just include in the policy that you will do a mosaic when users submit they images.

another idea you can do a giant mosaic and let a satellite make a picture from high altitude, a italian journal did something similar. (not a mosaic)

in fact your only problem is for joining the tiles for a giant mosaic to supply to Zoomify. Because for the real print mosaic you have to split it in any case because there exist no giant printer.
Just think about printing many separate images and doing many little mosaics.so your problem is much easier.


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