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Creating Photomosaics in Studio Artist

Part 1: The basics of still and motion mosaics By Dave Nagel
Photomosaics gained some popularity a few years back with the release of Peter Weir's film The Truman Show. It wasn't the movie itself that spurred this popularity, but the movie's poster art, which showed a large image of Jim Carrey (as title character Truman Burbank) composed of hundreds of smaller photos showing scenes from his life.

But the effect is not limited just to still images, and it doesn't have to be a process of manually laying out and photographing each mosaic as a frame. Using Synthetik Studio Artist 2.0 and a collection of digital images, you can create still or motion photomosaics in no more time than it takes to render frames.

In part 1 of our series on creating photomosaics, we'll take a look at the basic process of setting up and rendering the project. In the next installment, we'll look at some variations on the process.

For this tutorial, we're going to create a "true" photomosaic--that is, an image composed of thousands of smaller images without colorizing the smaller images and without overlaying the original image on top of them. We'll take a look at how to make one kind of photomosaic and apply it to a still image and movie file.

Of course, if you want to follow along, you'll need a copy of Synthetik Studio Artist. If you don't already have it--shame on you!--you can download a demo from http://www.synthetik.com.

Project summary
This project involves essentially three major steps: 1. merging your images into a single QuickTime movie file; 2. Creating a photomosaic plugin; 3. rendering the mosaic on a movie or image file. For those of you who do not want to create your own plugin (step 2), I am providing one for you, which you can download here.

The final product applied to a QuickTime movie. The image on the bottom shows a detail of the surfer's face enlarged to the full resolution of the image, which has had to be scaled down dramatically for this presentation.

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