Fun with Flash and Flickr Interestingness

Posted on March 24, 2009


A photographic mosaic is a picture, divided into rectangular (or square) sections, each of which is replaced with another photograph of appropriate average color. (Wikipedia)

When I saw the first one (a portrait of a woman with many other portraits inside) somewhere in the 90’s I was blown away by the concept. Only recently I picked up the longing to create something like that myself inspired by the “Endless Interestingness” project made by Mark Barcinski.

Example of a mosaic generated by the Beta 0.1 version of the Flash client


Demo Flash Photographic Mosaic

Click this link to see the demo.

You can zoom into the presented image using either the mouse or the <up> and <down> keys on your keyboard. When you click on one of the photo’s in the mosaic, that photo is presented as a new mosaic. To prevent (memory) overload I only load 255 image at first. You can then decide when you want to load more images to refine the presentation and increase the variety of the images.

Limiting stuff

As even a simple palet of 16 x 16 x 16 colors requires 4096 images to crunch to their representative base color I decided to stick to a grey scale conversion. Each image I load from Flickr I convert to a grey scale image of which I define the mediate grey value. Thus I only need a base-set of 255 images or “tiles” (covering for the gaps by getting the “closest by” image) to create the base-image in grey.

I then overlay each tile in the created mosaic with a copy of each pixel the Mosaic is built out of. Each of these “pixels” has an alpha of 70% showing both the underlying tile and a color close enough to the original pixel the tile represents. The examples below show some of the results.


Below you will find six examples generated out of random Flickr images. Doing your own exploration no doubt you will find some nice ones of your own.

Maximum zoom: increasing abstractness


Mouse trail showing images in their true colors


Black cat


Jelly fish


Harbor view




Portrait of a woman


Back of a woman


Posted in: Flash