This site is devoted to mathematics and its applications. Created and run by Peter Saveliev.

Mosaic making

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Mosaic making is both an art and craft. Even after the art part is over one still faces the challenge of manufacturing and keeping track of all those pieces. There may be hundreds in a stained glass window or thousands in a pool. Of course, a spreadsheet would help to make the list of all pieces. But you’d have to create this list from scratch by manually finding and recording the location of each piece. Once it’s done, you still need to find a way to manufacture your pieces. Unless they all have standard shapes, you face a lot of tedious manual work just to create templates for them.

So, you need software to make this process automatic.

pieces captured and background removed output table of Pixcavator: all pieces listed with their location, sizes etc

Here is how Pixcavator could help. Suppose the designer has a sketch of a picture. Then he may draw the pieces of the mosaic on that sketch. In fact, Pixcavator has a ‘mosaic’ command among image processing tools, so you can skip this step. Next Pixcavator image analysis is run. The output is the following:

  • a spreadsheet with locations and sizes of all pieces, and
  • a set of images, one for each piece.

Piece 1
Piece 2
Piece 3
Piece 5
Piece 6
Piece 7
Piece 8
Piece 9

Next let’s see where Pixcavator falls short from the ideal, for now.

  • It would be nice to have color and shape (there will be ‘roundness’ column in Pixcavator's output table) of each piece in the spreadsheet.
  • To produce the images of the pieces I had to use "Isolate objects” for each. That takes 4 clicks plus typing the name of the image – for each piece. That’s impractical. Clearly, once the image is analyzed one click should create all images at once.
  • These images are currently of the same size as the original. That’s also impractical.

These shortcomings are easy to overcome with Pixcavator SDK.


Other software projects and image analysis examples.