MosaicBlues: 3 ways to improve your Mosaic Art Models .entry-content { font-size:25px !important; }

Monday, April 10, 2017

3 ways to improve your Mosaic Art Models

In March 2017, during our first Mosaic Art Fiesta I introduced Opus Pixellatum to a group of confirmed mosaic artists. They had traveled from all over the USA to the Mosaic Art Supply warehouse in Decatur, Georgia.

In Opus Pixellatum you build your Mosaic exclusively with square tiles of the same dimensions. There is no cutting. The tiles are arranged on pattern of rows and columns in the same manner as the pixels of a digital photography. 

We create custom mosaic models from your picture.
Model of a Yezidi Warrior mosaic eyes portrait.

2 weeks ahead of the seminar the participants had sent me pictures of their faces and I created a model so they could build a mosaic portrait of their eyes during the seminar.

An Opus Pixellatum model looks like a spreadsheet. Each cell bears a number corresponding to a color of a tile to be glued on that spot. Although this sounds a lot like “Mosaic by Number”,  I came to realize through my experimentation with this method during the past 18 month that Opus Pixellatum allows for many dramatic variations.

You can create a mosaic portrait of your eyes, we create the model for you.
Blue Carole, Mosaic Eyes Portrait being built.

With Opus Pixellatum the Mosaic artist can unleash her creativity in ways a more classical Opus Tesselatum approach does not allow. This will be the object of future posts.

While I was generating the models, I realized that the quality of the original picture has a great influence on the final result.

For this seminar, we were working with a grayscale palette composed of 7 nuances : Black, White, and 5 nuances of Gray.

From your picture we create a mosaic art model
Grayscale palette, 8mm elementile tiles from Mosaic Art Supply

I have realized many mosaics with this very accurate palette.

we will create a model or a mosaic portrait of your own eyes from your picture.
Yezidi 37, Opus Pixellatum mosaic portrait of a Yezidi Warrior

So you want your well balanced original to actually display a wide array of grayscale. If the contrast is too high, you might end up with only 2 or 3 nuances of gray. This is acceptable on a smaller mosaic but a bigger piece will look much better with the 5 nuances of gray.

When you create your model, the first operation is to turn the picture from Color to Black and White. Often named “Desaturation” this operation can be performed in many different ways, with different results as you can see here.

Quality of original picture conditions the aesthetic of your custom mosaic model
Original photography & 3 types of desaturation.

A black and white picture cannot be desaturated because it already is. You can alter it in different ways, but you wont have the same array of choices you have when you desaturate yourself. 

Advice # 1 : Start from a color picture.

In order to show all the nuances of your grayscale palette in a balanced way, your original picture should not be too contrasted. It is very easy to boost the contrast of a picture but it is more difficult to decrease it without losing accuracy of the features.

Advice # 2 : Shoot your picture outdoors when the sun is low on the horizon (morning or evening).  An overcast day is perfect. Alternatively, ask a professional photographer to do this for you in a studio.

Format :
The best format to create a model is PNG. Most cameras shoot JPG (or JPEG) pictures. JPG files do not take much storage space but every time you modify a JPG picture, you lose some of its quality. So before you work on the picture first save it as a PNG file. Alternatively if you send me a picture to create a model, please send me the original picture – even a JPG - without editing it.

Advice #3 : Use PNG files

Basically, to get the best possible quality for your model :
  • Shoot your picture outdoor in the morning, evening or with an overcast sky.
  • Send me your original color picture without cropping or editing it. 
  • Send it as a PNG file

From your colored photography we design a custom mosaic model you.
2 different mosaic eyes realized in Atlanta last March

Mosaic sometimes can be intimidating. Opus Pixellatum is the easy door into this wonderful world. It allows beginners to build beautiful first mosaics from the beginning, and confirmed artist to unleash their creativity in amazing ways. If you would like to build a mosaic from your own picture, I'll build for you a kit including a model and the quantities and references of the tiles to order from Mosaic Art Supply in Atlanta, GA.
I am a French mosaic artist  established in Alabama. In 2015 I created a new mosaic technique. I named  it Opus Pixellatum. When I realized this technique allowed for much more than I was expecting I decided to share it with confirmed mosaicists.
If you'd like me to create a model of a custom mosaic pattern from one of your picture, please contact me by email at 
or by phone at (334) 798 1639 
You can also subscribe to my   Mosaic Newsletter

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