Colorization: Pro-tips For Your Photo Mosaic


Throughout our 12+ years of photo mosaic design, we’ve managed to fine tune the elements required to create a “true” mosaic. One thing we’ve learned: it’s not easy. After toiling away with the existing photo mosaic software, we decided to create our own and we never looked back. A common shortcut we’d find is heavy colorization and source ghosting. Let’s dive into the specifics of each and how they can make – or break – your photo mosaic.

Colorization is the process of altering the colors within the cells to closely match the colors in the source image. A true mosaic will use little to no colorization and when it’s tastefully done, shouldn’t be noticeable.  While heavy colorization can help the mosaic image from a distance, closer inspection reveals very faded and sometimes obscured cell images. In short, colorization should never be used to force a photo mosaic, but slightly enhance the mosaic without compromising the clarity of the images.
mosaic_detail  mosaic_colorized_detail

This brings me to my next subject: source ghosting. Source ghosting is when the source image is slightly superimposed, resulting in a fake photo mosaic. In a way, this is similar to colorization, but it can sometimes be more damaging to the clarity of the cell images. To create a true photo mosaic, source ghosting should NEVER be applied. This is a sure-fire way to detect a fake photo mosaic.


Colorization isn’t always a bad thing. Like I said earlier, tasteful colorization helps to enhance the mosaic just a bit without compromising the overall mosaic. So how can you create a true photo mosaic while using minimal to no colorization? Here are a few tips:

  • Cell photos: The more, the better! A wide variety of shapes and colors in your cell images will bring you much closer to creating a true mosaic. Don’t have a lot of photos? Our Online Mosaic Tool has a number of stock photo libraries from which to choose.
  • Source image: Keep it simple! A non-complex source will survive the photo mosaic transformation much better than a complex source image. Check out our source guidelines for more tips.

Now that you’ve been schooled in the realm of colorization and how to use it, why not try your hand at creating your own photo mosaic with our free Online Mosaic Tool? We can’t wait to see the results.