Photoshop Tricks: Transform Photos into a Modern Mosaic

A nice way to stylize your photos is to overlay a pattern to make it look like a modern mosaic. Essentially you will be adding a grid onto your photo and then adjusting different boxes to make each a bit unique. There are plenty of options that you can take within this process to cater to your own tastes, but the basics will be the same.

Step 1: Pick a Photo and Identify Its Properties

One of the aesthetic pleasures of a mosaic is segregating different aspects within the image. So, try to choose a photo which has interesting objects throughout the frame. Otherwise, you will end up with a few boxes that do not have anything in them. Once you have chosen your photo, go to the image drop down and check your image size. This will tell you how many pixels your picture is taking up. For this example, we will assume a photo size of 720 pixels wide and 720 pixels tall.

Step 2: Do Some Math

Now you must decide how many boxes you want throughout your photo. For this example, we will be using 10 boxes across the 720 pixels. So each box will have to be 72 pixels wide. Do the same with your vertical measurement, which in this example is the same.

Step 3: Create the Mosaic Layer

Go to your file drop down and select new document. When prompted to select your size, select 72 x 72 pixels or whatever you have calculated for your photo. Also, select transparent. When the document is open, select your paint tool. Decide what color and thickness you want the tile boarders to be and set them accordingly. For now, we will use white with a 2 pixel brush. Go to the upper left hand corner of your document, hit shift, left click your mouse and drag the cursor all the way across the top. Go back to the upper left hand corner, and do the same as you drag the cursor all the way down the document. In your edit drop down, select define pattern. Name your pattern something that you will remember.

Step 4: Overlay Your Mosaic

Return to your original photo. Create a new layer and drag it to the top of your layer list. Take out your paint bucket and look at your settings bar. Select "pattern" from the fill mode drop down, then choose your custom pattern from the pattern drop down.  Make sure opacity is at 100%. Place your cursor anywhere on top of your photo (make sure that the top layer is selected) and click. The mosaic should appear.

Step 5: Making Unique Tiles

You should still have your bucket tool out, so all you need to do is adjust some settings. Change the fill mode to foreground, set your opacity to something around 25%, then pick a color; it could be white, to lay over a tile. Click on the tile you want to shade, then repeat for any other tiles that you choose.

Now you have a dynamic way to present your photo.  Many of these settings are subject to your discretion, but the process will serve your purpose.


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