There are a few things to know before purchasing a photo mosaic from a mosaic design studio or using third party software. Recently we have found many imitators that lack the advanced software and skill set to create TRUE mosaics.
Below are the 5 main characteristics that make up a TRUE mosaic. To the best of our knowledge and Google searching efforts, we are the only design studio to account for all 5 characteristics. We strongly feel that not having these fundamental characteristics is cheating and results in the client receiving a sub-par or "fake" mosaic.
1. Large cells:
It is a well know fact in the mosaic community that the smaller you make the cells (the pictures that make up the mosaic), the easier it is to re-create the source image. The only issue with this is that as the cells become smaller they are more difficult to see with the naked eye. Our software and techniques allow us to keep your cells as large as possible while still maintaining high clarity in source image. Be sure to compare examples before hiring a designer or purchasing software.
2. No source ghosting:
A true mosaic will allow the shapes and colors of the cells to create the source image, however many mosaic companies and third party software will superimpose or "ghost" the source image on top of the cells. Although this characteristic is hard to spot at first from a distance, is becomes very apparent when viewing the mosaic up close. This ghosting usually occurs when a design firm or software lacks the appropriate algorithms and techniques to correctly map the source image with the available cells photos.
3. Minimal to no cell colorization:
A true mosaic will use minimal to no cell colorization. Cell colorization is when colors from the source image are faded into the each cell in an effort to achieve a certain overall color. Although, many times this can be a function of how many colors exist in a client's cell images and the required colors that exist in the source image, there are several techniques that we can use to minimize this, or even rid colorization from your mosaic entirely.
4. All images should be correctly placed into the mosaic:
In a custom mosaic, all images that the designer uses should be upright, cropped correctly, and not stretched. We see this lack of sorting and analyzing occur many times in other companies and software. We have developed software (face recognition, etc.), techniques, and guidelines that ensure that all pictures are correctly placed in the mosaic.
5. The mosaic should be rendered and printed at highest resolutions possible:
Since mosaics contain many small pictures and these pictures contain important details, it is important that all possible details be retained. For this reason we render and print all of our mosaic at 2880+ dpi using only the most update and state-of-the-art large format printers. Currently, most of our mosaics are printed using our new Epson Pro 9900 HDR printers.