Create photo mosaics

Computer Arts regular Christian Darkin reveals an easy way to create an impressive, complex-looking illustration from a grid of hundreds of smaller images, without giving a seizure.

In this tutorial we'll be dealing with images in which a sequence of tiny thumbnails appear to form a larger image. They've been around for a while now and have perhaps become a little hackneyed, but it's still possible to use the technique as part of a more developed picture.

The difficulty with this type of image is that the creation of the thumbnails requires either specialised software or a lot of tedious messing about in Photoshop. This means that experimenting to get just the right effect can be tricky and takes time.

Here, I've almost automated the process by using a video-editing package (in this case Premiere Elements) to quickly produce 400 thumbnails, and then used Photoshop's Contact Sheet tool to arrange them into a single image. The advantage of this method is that whereas most similar images are created from a small number of original thumbnails, which get repeated, every still frame in our shot will be different.

In addition, because the thumbnails are created from a series of video frames, it's also possible to add a narrative theme to the image, with the shots telling a coherent story. So let's get started.

Click here to download the tutorial for free