This week I had too much fun playing with mosaic tools. These are the programs that will take hundreds of your photos and morph them into one giant photo.
Mosaics are great for…
- Family photo montages
- Showcasing a related group of images, such as images from one location or a timeline of shots over the years
- Engaging viewers with an interactive image experience
- And illustrating the concept that the parts make up the whole, as in our clients make us who we are
Things to know
- Mosaics require a lot of photos — plan on 150+. Make sure you have the photos you want to choose in an easy-to-access place like a folder in your computer or in your social media, or you’re going to be hunting down folders and more photos forever. One hundred fifty photos is a lot of photos.
- Most mosaic tools will let you choose from different online places, including Instagram, Facebook, Dropbox, Google and your computer. Some will also offer ways to search and use their stock images.
- The more photos you have, the more likely you’ll end up with a “true” mosaic, where the colors of the little photos make up the colors of the big one. If you don’t have the right combination of colors in your photos to make up the big picture, the tools will adjust the colors of the little ones, and that may look less authentic and less cool.
- You want to choose a simple big photo without a lot of detail that someone has to see to understand. In the video I did for my husband, I used his Facebook header, so the details of the wording pretty much disappeared. But then I added the original header as the ending frame using a video editor, so it showed the detail.
- Mosaics take several minutes to render, so this isn’t one of those tools you can create on the fly very quickly.
- The pictures might be cropped in a way you don’t expect because they’ll all be the same size and orientation at the end.
- For higher-resolution photos and videos, you’ll probably have to pony up some money. But the basics are fine for sharing on social media.
The tool I used for the longest time gave up the ghost, so I went on the search for alternatives. Here are three cool ones with different features:
Photo mosaic by: nerdybff @ Mosaically
Mosaically focuses on creating print-style mosaic posters for gifts and framed photos. Pricing ranges from $30 for the high-res JPG to $199 and up for premium acrylic giant wall art.
Their online version is free and shareable, but it looks a little jumpy and not as slick as the pme below. One thing I love about this one is that you can ask others to contribute their own photos, so it’s great for a group event, wedding, sports team and more.
Picture Mosaics is both a site and an app, so you can make one of these with photos from your phone. Like Mosaically, you can create a mosaic to print, but you can also create a cool video like this one.
I’m incredibly happy with the way this one for my husband turned out. In my job, I take hundreds of photos a month of audience members, but as a student loan lawyer, D.J. doesn’t have client or product photos. So I used photos from a search of “student loan.” Then I uploaded several very specific, high-quality stock images I had purchased for various ads we’ve placed for him. The result is a 30-second intro video for his Facebook page that showcases his student loan work and ends in his banner. I spent $30 to buy the lowest quality version. Totally worth it.
EasyMoza is the most affordable of these mosaic tools, but the site is the least updated. It’s a little clumsy. But you’ll pay less than $10 for a high-quality download and less than $25 for a video.
The videos are very basic, though. They’ll zoom out or reveal, but they won’t let you do some of the special effects that the others allow. And I couldn’t get the share button to work on the video page, so I just used the image above. Yes, that’s me. Age 12. Indeed.