News, Views & Insights
Date Archive: 2008 May
The Form of a Form
Differential Geometry Carved in Stone
NUMB3RS Season 4 Wrap
Two Hundred Thousand New Formulas on the Web
Making Photo Mosaics
You’ve probably seen examples of photo mosaics where each “tile” in the mosaic is a tiny photograph, selected so the overall brightness and color of the tiny photo averages out to the brightness and color needed for its position in the overall mosaic.
Following a suggestion by Ed Pegg, I suddenly found it impossible to imagine life without a photo mosaic of Dmitri Mendeleev, the principal inventor of the periodic table, made out of photographs of the elements.
It was convenient in this regard that I possess the world’s largest stock library of photographs of the chemical elements—about 2,000 photographs of roughly 1,550 different physical samples of the pure and applied elements—along with a photograph of Mendeleev and a bit of software called Mathematica. (You can see this library at periodictable.com; don’t forget to order a copy of my photo periodic table poster.)
You might think that creating photo mosaics is a standard task for which software, probably even free software, is available. And for all I know it is. But upon brief reflection I decided it would probably be faster and easier for me to write code to do this from scratch in Mathematica than it would be to find something to download and then figure out how to use it.It turns out you can do a first pass at it with three lines of input.