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Because I'm a geek - Blather, Rinse, Repeat
February 16th, 2004
03:09 pm

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Because I'm a geek
I wrote a tool to generate those Photomosaic things that seemed to be all the rage a couple years ago.

Check out some of some of the output

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From:moonlightnrain
Date:February 16th, 2004 03:15 pm (UTC)
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okay. the program is FABULOUS. however. there's a pic of a Debbie Gibson album making up part of the Sgt. Pepper's cover.

I'm not sure if I can forgive you for that.
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From:tsmaster
Date:February 16th, 2004 04:31 pm (UTC)

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Oh, just wait. As I cast my net wider to more and more CD covers, you'll be seeing such travesties as Elmo showing up.

And, given a choice, I wouldn't have Phil Collins as predominant as he is on the Paul Simon and Peter Gabriel mosaics, it just turns out that his face makes a nice edge.
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From:abbeyrd
Date:February 16th, 2004 04:30 pm (UTC)
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I love the Sgt Pepper cover!
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From:tsmaster
Date:February 16th, 2004 04:32 pm (UTC)

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:) I was hoping you'd appreciate it.
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From:jsmitty_o
Date:February 16th, 2004 07:11 pm (UTC)
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Cool! Very very neato. =)

The only request I have is to somehow see them smaller... so I can fit an entire album on my screen, or at least most of an album. =)
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From:tsmaster
Date:February 16th, 2004 09:44 pm (UTC)

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Yeah, I don't know what to do about that - because the thing that makes the thing work is the difference in scale - you need the small images to be somewhere around 75 pixels to keep their identity, and then you need a fairly big scale shift in order for the big picture to be tiled well by the smaller pictures. The Paul Simon picture, for instance, is an example (I think) of when the scales aren't different enough; you don't get enough of the character of the big picture showing through.

That's my impression, anyway.
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From:jsmitty_o
Date:February 17th, 2004 07:30 am (UTC)

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Well, clearly, this just means I need a bigger monitor. =)
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From:tsmaster
Date:February 17th, 2004 11:07 am (UTC)

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Tell your boss, the logic is unassailable.

I gave more thought to it, and the Sgt. Pepper mosaic is a step in that direction - I attempted to make one version that would fit on a screen and one version that is "detail friendly", meaning it doesn't all fit on a screen at once.

I'm still noodling with the process. I'll post more here if I think more about it.
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From:tsmaster
Date:February 18th, 2004 01:20 pm (UTC)

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I fiddled with some of the parameters, and shrunk down some stuff - are the more recent ones along the lines of what you had in mind?
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From:jsmitty_o
Date:February 18th, 2004 02:20 pm (UTC)

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Since my memory is failing me and I don't remember exactly which ones were there first... I'll just comment on what I see now.

I like the ones that have more tiles across. If the tiles are smaller, than I can I am more likely to see the whole picture at once. I like that, but now that I think about it some more, it's not as critical as having a large number of tiles is. You get better detail with more tiles, even if each tile is kind of small.

Did I just contradict myself??
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From:tsmaster
Date:February 19th, 2004 12:33 am (UTC)

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It's an interesting balance - there's really only a few parameters to adjust, and yet I'm not sure which ones I like more.

In the one case, I'm somewhat embarrassed by the Paul Simon one - there are so few tiles, it's hard to get an idea of what the image is. And yet, the Abbey Road image is similarly coarse, yet that one feels satisfying. Perhaps because the Abbey Road cover is so iconic (hm!), it's possible to simply suggest a white figure and then John Lennon is visible.

And on the other end of the spectrum, the Peter Gabriel "So" cover almost feels like a cheat. Throw enough black and white dots at an image, and sure it's possible to represent anything you like... but there's something missing there. Some parts of it seem interesting (in particular, I like the left side of his mouth and the left eye (his left, your right) - these are details that are surprisingly satisfying.

They Might Be Giants' "Flood" cover treads some middle ground. I like the way the letters F-L-O-O-D came out, but the water seems glaringly bad to me. In part this is because I know that I can make the water do better with a little more sophistication in the program.

And the Pet Shop Boys' "Introspective" cover was meant to be an exercise in solid colors, and motivation for that same sophistication, but it ended up looking much better than I anticipated.

Perhaps I'll find some time to add in the couple lines of code to smooth out the blotchy regions (consider the sky in "Sgt. Pepper's"). And then I'll make a poster of something and call it quits for now.

Did I mention? I probably didn't...

The blue haystack looking album cover is from a band that a friend of mine is in. I showed him the mosaics and he got really excited about it. He suggested that maybe they do an album cover of their own as a mosaic. I think that'd be neat. My suggestion to him was to give me a videotape of a performance, and I'd turn out a mosaic from frames from the tape.


Also, I wonder, when one gets this deep in a not-so-current comment dialog, if anybody else ever sees what's being said.

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