Digital Mosaic Posters

My friend and I created some posters for Gaelscoil Philib Barún and Gaelcholáiste Phort Láirge recently (my former and current schools) as part of my Transition Year technology class. The posters are rather different and take the form of a large (A1-size) mosaic image of the school crest with an Irish-language caption underneath.

The mosaic images are quite unique and personalised because the tiles within the are actually miniature, pixelated photographs of each child and teacher at the schools during the 2020-2021 school year. Viewing the posters is quite fun too because they look a little grainy from a distance but then, as you walk closer to them, you see the people’s faces come into focus.

Gaelscoil Philib Barún

The poster for Gaelscoil Philib Barún consisted of the school crest, which is mostly red and black in colour (with a little grey) and the caption “Daltaí 2020” underneath, which means “Pupils 2020”. The poster was mounted in a red frame with a perspex front cover to protect it.

The school already had a similar poster from 2012 and we helped them make a fresh copy of that too, so that both posters are the same size and in similar frames. Both of them are now on display at the school and my work was also featured on their school website here.

Gaelcholoáiste Phort Láirge

The poster for Gaelcholoáiste Phort Láirge also consisted of the school crest, which is mostly green and blue (with a little black) and the caption “Pobal 2021” underneath, which means “Community 2021”. We chose the term community because some of the teachers were in it too. The poster was also mounted in a green frame with a perspex front cover to protect it as it may be mounted outdoors.

This was the first time the school did anything like this and they are planning to use the same mosaic image as the front cover of the new school handbook next year.  The poster will be displayed near the school entrance so that visitors can enjoy it also.

Digital Mosaic Generation

The posters were created by a computer program called Turbo Mosaic (available for Mac and Windows). This is free for smaller posters but we bought the advanced copy to make the larger posters that the school wanted.

All you need to do is supply it with the headshot photos of the pupils (and teachers), along with the photo that you want to make a mosaic of, and it will do the rest. It took a while to get all of the settings right (e.g. image resolution, number and shape of tiles, colourisation) but once we did this for the first one, we were able to reuse the same settings for the second one.

You should try to get some of the colours from the school crest into the headshot photos so the software can use them to create a more realistic version of the crest. You also need to pick a good quality frame too so it will last for several years in a school setting, where it could easily get damaged.

These were fun projects to work on (especially taking the headshots at my school) and people seem to really enjoy trying to find themselves in the posters. I’d definitely do it again in future.