FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions

Any additional questions or comments can be emailed through our contact page.

FAQ: Answers

The Online Mosaic Tool
I ordered a digital file, where can I download it?
You can download your full resolution digital files on your Digital Downloads page. If your download doesn't appear within 30 minutes of placing your order, please contact us.

How can I duplicate my photo mosaic project?
On the 'My Projects' page, click the orange box on the photo mosaic project you'd like to duplicate. A pop-up box should appear, click 'Duplicate Project.' Please allow some time for your project to fully duplicate. This can take a few minutes, depending on the number of photos.

Can I create a new photo mosaic project using the same cell photos from a previous project?
Yes! You'll need to duplicate the first photo mosaic project. Once duplicated, you can edit the source and any other settings you'd like in the new photo mosaic project.

I ordered my custom photo mosaic, but would like to make changes and order a new copy. How can I do this?
Once you've ordered your photo mosaic (print or digital file) you'll need to duplicate the project, then you can make your desired changes on the duplicated project. All settings and photos will be transferred to the new project.

I can't find the print size I would like to order. What can I do?
With our Online Mosaic Tool, you can try re-cropping your source image to a different aspect ratio using the Edit Source option. If you're looking for custom or mural sized mosaic prints, our Premium Design service offers a wide range of sizes as well as advanced mosaic style and techniques.

My cell photos were a mix of horizontal and vertical, why are they all square in my final photo mosaic?
All cells in a photo mosaic need to fit into a grid. The most efficient way to achieve this is if all the cell photos are the same orientation or shape. The Online Mosaic Tool defaults to square cells, but you can change this orientation on the Edit Cells page.

Will all of my photos be used in the mosaic?
All of your cell photos will be used at least once throughout the mosaic. The photos will also be duplicated as necessary to fill the entire mosaic grid. Duplicates will be placed as far away from one another as possible. If you upload a very large number of photos (2,500+), there is a chance that not all of your photos will be used in the final mosaic.

How can I change the size of the cells in my photo mosaic?
On the Review & Adjustments page you will find the mosaic size and cell size settings. This allows you to change the size of the overall mosaic as well as the size of the cells within the mosaic. It will also provide you with a closely estimated measurement of your cells. Click 'Apply Changes' to preview your changes, and click 'Explore Mosaic' to create the zoomable version of your photo mosaic.

Can a friend or family member print a copy of my custom photo mosaic?
In the top left corner of the 'Explore, Share, and Purchase' page you can set your photo mosaic project to public, semi-public, and private. If your photo mosaic project is set to 'public' then you can share the URL with anyone who'd like to order their own print or download.

Can multiple people add/upload their photos to my mosaic project?
Yes! The simplest way would be to share your login information with anyone you'd like to collaborate with. The second option would be to collect all the photos in one place (e.g. Dropbox or USB thumbdrive) then upload them into your mosaic project in the Online Mosaic Tool.

Can the Picture Mosaics software be integrated with third party applications?
Yes, our proprietary photo mosaic software is available to be integrated with third party apps. Our API can be found here.

General Questions
What is a Picture Mosaic?
A Picture Mosaic is a group of small pictures (cells) arranged in such a way to create a larger picture (source). Examples can be found on the example gallery pages.

What is the process of creating a Picture Mosaic?
We create your Picture Mosaic by using pictures that you provide (cells and source), or pictures from our database, your choice. There are 4 main steps in creating your custom mosaic:
Step 1:
First, we must make your source mosaic friendly. We may alter certain details, adjust contrast and brightness, and apply certain digital filters. It can take several revisions to correctly enhance your source image to be completely mosaic friendly and ensure the optimal mosaic outcome.
Step 2:
After your source is enhanced, all of your pictures are fed into an advanced graphic analysis program where they are mapped to your source image. It can take many hours to successfully map your cells to the source. The file size of the picture mosaic will range anywhere from 400MB to 9GB+, with resolutions ranging from 90 megapixels to 400+ megapixels depending on the size of your Picture Mosaic. For comparison, high-end digital cameras have a resolution of about 12 to 15 megapixels. In terms of dpi, our mosaics range from 2800 to 4800+ dpi at full size.
Step 3:
After rendering is complete, we manually enhance your mosaic which may include: cell swapping, digital air brushing, and any unique design requirements requested by our clients
Step 4:
After the mosaic is finalized, we send it to one of our new Epson large format printers to print. We use premium quality photo paper (or canvas) and vibrant UltraChrome inks. After printing, we inspect the mosaic for quality and detail, package it, and then ship it off to you. For a full overview of the mosaic creation process, click here

What are the prices?
Pricing varies depending on your print size. Basic pricing for our Online Mosaic Tool can be found here. For Premium Design orders, you can calculate your price on our purchase page.

How and where do I send my pictures?
Please keep in mind, we do not offer photo scanning services. If mailing your photos via CD/DVD or USB drive, please send them to the following address:

Picture Mosaics
486 Norristown Rd.
Suite 132
Blue Bell, PA 19422

What is the turnaround time?
From the time we receive your pictures (either through the mail, or upload) to the time we ship is usually ship 4 to 5 business days*. We ship your mosaic in a protective tube by the method you select during checkout (Overnight, 2-Day, 3-day, standard ground). We also offer one to three-day rush design services for an additional fee ($75 to $150); please contact us prior to placing your order for more information on our rush services.
For mosaic puzzle turnaround times, please visit our Puzzle FAQ.

What if I was able to create a mosaic myself, and have a company like FedEx Office print it for me; or even have another mosaic company create and print my mosaic, would this be similar to what Picture Mosaics provides? Would it be cheaper?
Unfortunately, this will get you no where close to what we offer at Picture Mosaics. Quality and clarity would be far inferior, and your savings would be small to none.

First, we use our in-house state-of-the-art software which feature algorithms that we constantly improving and tweaking. While improving these algorithms, we continue to invent new ones. This software along with our expert knowledge of mosaic design allows us to optimize and customize your mosaic to ensure that all cell pictures are perfectly (and artistically) placed. To date, there we have found nothing on the market that is comparable or allows for a true mosaic design.
After our software is done mapping your images, we manually enhance the mosaic by performing cell swaps and other digital enhancements (only if needed).
When we are completely satisfied (and you are completely satisfied via an email preview) we will finalize the digital mosaic file. The resulting file is so large and detailed that most computers can’t even open or display these large mosaics, let alone print them; thus this is the first problem when trying print a mosaic at a printing/copying store. Next, unlike most printing/copying stores (and mosaic companies), we use the highest quality, heavy weight premium Epson luster photo paper (or premium canvas/vinyl); most of these types of stores use only a standard non-glossy or high glossy large format paper. Additionally, most printing/copy stores (and other mosaic companies) can only print at a maximum of 300 or 600 dpi, which is not near the 2880 to 4800+dpi that we use at here at Picture Mosaics. The greater the dpi (dots per inch), the greater detail there will be in the small cell images - which in the end really makes the mosaic a masterpiece. Finally, the money you save would be minimal to none (it may even be more expensive); for example most FedEx Office stores charge over $25.00 per square foot for large format printing on most premium media types. In the end, there is really no comparison for custom mosaics we create. We look forward to creating custom photo mosaic today!

Cell Questions
What are cells?
Cells are the many images that make up the photo mosaic. When creating a Picture Mosaic, each cell is analyzed and optimally placed into the mosaic as to closely match colors and shapes of the source. For examples, please check out the example pages.

How many pictures should I upload?
We recommend uploading 150-500+ unique cell photos, however you can upload as many as 7,500+. Typically, the more pictures uploaded means less colorization is necessary, however this also depends on the complexity of the source image - we recommend using a simple source image. Click here to learn more about cell colorization.

Do my pictures need to be digital?
Yes. We do not currently offer a photo scanning service. If your cells are already digitized (through use of a digital camera, or a scanner), you may choose to upload them or to send them to us on a CD.

Additional note about digitized pictures:
~ Digitized cell pictures should be at least 320 x 240 pixels or at least 72 dpi.
~ The digitized source picture should be of higher resolution (greater than 640 x 480 pixels or at least 150 dpi).

Are there any guidelines to follow when choosing my cell pictures?
Yes. It is important to follow these guidelines. Click here to view the cell guidelines

Will all my cell pictures that I send be used? Will they be repeated?
Yes, we will attempt to use all of your images in your mosaic at least once. If it is an absolute requirement that all images that you submit be used, please let us know in the comment box during check out.
In most cases we are able to use every cell at least, however there are a few mosaic cases where a few cells may be impossible to map to your source due to colors in that particular picture. Our software uses many different algorithms in attempting to map all of your cells to your source picture.

Most likely, each cell will be repeated many times (that is unless you send us an extremely large amount of cell pictures, i.e. more than 2,000). A Picture Mosaic will use 1500 to 4400 cells (depending on the size you choose, an optimal cell size and cell count will be chosen); so therefore, cells will be repeated to fill the Picture Mosaic. For example, if you send us 250 cell pictures, on average each cell would be used 7.7 times. This is an average, and therefore some may be used less and some may be used more. The repeated pictures will be placed as far apart as possible, as to reduce the likelihood of the human eye from realizing duplicates.

Will there be any borders around the cells in my Picture Mosaic?
Unless requested, there will not be any borders around your cell photos. Our raised cell mosaics feature a slight drop shadow to add depth and separation from the background. To see examples, please check out the example gallery pages.

Will the color or tint of my cells change as they are mapped into the mosaic?
If needed, we will use a process called cell colorization.
What is cell colorization?
If after all your cell pictures are optimally placed, there still lacks the appropriate detail, colors from the source will be faintly merged into some of the cells. This is usually done for mosaics that lack a wide variety of different colors in the submitted cell photos. We do not use cell colorization unless absolutely needed due to the lack cell color variety.

Will my cell pictures be cropped? If so, how?
If all of your pictures are the exact same size and orientation, then none of your cell pictures will be cropped. If your cell pictures are of different sizes, the average size will be used; all cells that fall outside that average will be centrally cropped.Although, if all your cells are of the same orientation, minimal cropping would be expected. For this reason, it is important that all of your cells be of the orientation of the cell shape that you have selected. Mixing vertical oriented pictures and horizontal oriented pictures may result in undesired cropping. To learn more about undesired cropping please review the cell guidelines.

Source Questions
What is the source?
The source is a single image that will be used as a map to place your cells to create a picture mosaic. For examples, please check out the example gallery pages.
On our end, we will make your source mosaic friendly. We may alter certain details, adjust contrast and brightness, and apply certain digital filters. It can take several revisions to correctly enhance your source image to be completely mosaic friendly and ensure the optimal mosaic outcome.

Does the source need to be digital?
Yes. We do not currently offer a photo scanning service.

Are there any guidelines to follow when choosing my source picture?
Yes. It is important to follow these guidelines. Click here to view the source guidelines.
On our end, we will make your source mosaic friendly. We may alter certain details, adjust contrast and brightness, and apply certain digital filters. It can take several revisions to correctly enhance your source image to be completely mosaic friendly and ensure the optimal mosaic outcome.

Printing Questions
What is the printing quality of a Picture Mosaic?
We only use state of the art computers, printers, and rendering software. We also only use premium Epson photo paper, canvas, vinyl, and UltraChrome ink. See below for further information.

What is the resolution and dpi of a Picture Mosaic?
Your Picture Mosaic may have a resolution ranging from 90 mega pixels to 500 mega pixels depending on the size of your Picture Mosaic (keep in mind that the top digital cameras only have a resolution of about 18 to 24 mega pixels). After the picture is rendered, it will be printed at 2880 to 4800+ dpi (three to six times that of photo-quality).

What kind of printers, paper, and ink are used to create a Picture Mosaic?
After we render your Picture Mosaic, we send it to the new Epson Large format printers to print. We only use premium Epson photo paper, canvas, vinyl, and ink. The photo paper is heavy weight, 96% Opacity, and 89 ISO brightness. We also only use long lasting (up to 80 years) Epson waterproof, fade-proof vibrant ink. After printing, we inspect the mosaic for quality, do some finalization, and then ship it off to you.

What is my mosaic printed on and how is it shipped?
We offer a number of heavyweight, high quality printing surfaces such as semi-gloss photo luster paper, matte canvas, and matte adhesive repositionable vinyl. Your mosaic will be rolled in a protective poly sleeve and shipped in a reinforced cardboard tube. We do not offer framing services.

Can I order the digital file of my mosaic?
Yes, we offer digital file purchase options on both our Online Mosaic Tool as well as our Premium Design service.

Return Policy
What if I am unhappy with my Picture Mosaic after I receive it? What is the return policy?
If for any reason you are unhappy with your Picture Mosaic, send it back to us within 10 days of receiving it, and we will issue you a full refund (less the shipping costs).
Important Notes:
9.1) All reprint requests and size changes must go through the reprints page.
9.2) Exchanges for new mosaics (same size) will be accepted for defects and/or design flaws.
9.3) You may always elect to send your mosaic back to us (within 10 days of receiving it) for a full refund less shipping costs.
9.4) In the case there is a delay or issue in submitting your photos, you may to cancel your order within 60 days. After 60 days we are unable to process a credit card refund. You have 2 years to submit your photos to us for use in the mosaic. We are available by email and phone (M-F 9:00-5:30 EST) to aid you in submitting your photos for your mosaic.
9.5) Any extra ordinary processing such as special order print media, rush services, or special design requirements, may only be eligible for a partial refund.
9.6) Requesting a refund will cause your cells, source, and custom mosaic ineligible for future mosaic orders and reprints.
9.7) Jigsaw puzzles, once received, are not eligible for refunds.

Return Address (You must receive an RMA number):
Picture Mosaics
486 Norristown Rd, Suite 132
Blue Bell, PA 19422
Please email orders [at] picturemosaics [dot] com to inform us that you will be returning your Picture Mosaic. You must receive an RMA number to ship your mosaic back to us.
Any additional questions or comments can be emailed through our contact page.