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I'm struggling with how to make a collage of photos, I've googled all potential terms I think but the only thing I could find was online collage makers. Problem is, I have 2300 photos and they need to keep the same size. I'm looking at a huge picture if I bind all those pictures together but that's the idea, I need it for a background.

I tried, Google Picasa but this just doesn't have enough features. Is there an alternative?

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    What do you mean by "keep the same size"? Are your photos all the same aspect ratio and orientation, and you want to preserve that, or are they all different? Can you be more clear about the features that are missing from "enough features"? – mattdm Nov 30 '14 at 17:15
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    What do you mean with "I need it for a background"? The size this is going to become you need fairly special hardware to even open the image (except if it's a bmp, as those one could theoretically stream only the relevant portion, but I have never seen software actually capable of doing this). – David Mulder Nov 30 '14 at 18:05
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You can use ImageMagick (open source and cross-platform) and use the command (assuming that your photos are PNGs):

montage *.png -tile 1x -mode Concatenate out.jpg
  • -tile 1x: concatenate vertically (use -tile x1 for horizontal)
  • -mode Concatenate: concatenate without any white space between the images

More details on the montage program (part of ImageMagick) if interested.


Some ImageMagick useful commands for pre-processing your photos before the collage:

  • you can resize the image (to approximately 2MB in this example) using:

    mogrify -define jpeg:extent=2048KB out.jpg

  • you can modify the dimension of a bunch of images using (to 30% in this example):

    mogrify -resize 30x30% *.png

Also note that JPEG/JFIF supports a maximum image size of 65535×65535 pixels, while the PNG specification doesn't appear to place any limits on the width and height of an image; these are 4 byte unsigned integers, which could be up to 4294967295 .

enter image description here

and if you are curious: Why does ImageMagick's montage limit the JPG output to 65500 instead of 65535?

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You could use an image editor like Photoshop or Gimp and create a large canvas and adding all the images as layers. Or something like Illustrator and Inkscape, that allow you to treat the images as object, for a bit more freedom to play.

But honestly, I think that 2300 photos on the same image are going to be huge, and I'm not sure if it's manageable with conventional tools. Of course it depends on the resolution of each photo.

  • The problem is with Photoshop that the file will become too big and photoshop can't handle it. But I'll give Gimp a shot thanks – Bart Scheffer Nov 30 '14 at 17:20
  • @BartScheffer with Gimp it's not going to be much different, simply you're talking about Gpixels, which are going to stress any computer that you plan to use. What is the size of this background? – clabacchio Nov 30 '14 at 17:41
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    I can't imagine the use of a terrapixel background. Create in Photoshop an image with the target resolution and import the images as smart objects. Think from the final image backward instead of reasoning from the source images forward. – agtoever Nov 30 '14 at 18:53
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Since you said this would just be a background then you might want to try 'googling' the words: photo mosaic maker. You'll find lots of software and online applications to make a large photo mosaic. 'Mosaic' seems to be the word that the app developers prefer for this type of activity. We'd be interested in your result after you finish.

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A couple of ideas. If you happen to be a Lightroom user, then I believe you could do this with the Lightroom Print module - you'd set it up as you want, with the size, settings etc, then export it as a file rather than actually printing it. I've done this with smaller sets of images (e.g. for a triptych), but I don't see any reason you couldn't do it with a large set like this, so long as you first put all the images you want to use into a single Lightroom Collection.

Also, I've made image collages as slides in PowerPoint, using as many as 20 or more images on a single slide, with overlaid images, angled images etc. I expect any slide you produce in PPT could then be exported as a jpg to use in some other program (though I haven't actually tried that). I've only done this as part of a PPT slide show, so I can't be sure how it would work for other purposes, but it should be experiment, using just a few images to start with. One thing I've noticed is that PPT creates very large files, so you'd probably want to be sure you're working from the smallest versions of the images that you can get away with using, before you begin.

  • In Lightroom, you could also create a "book" with a single page and a grid of 2300 photos. Then auto-fill the book with your images, and they will be placed automatically. I think this is more or less random but you can change it afterwards. – Unapiedra Dec 3 '14 at 17:14
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InDesign or any other Desktop Publishing Software.

  • Choose a suitable view-quality setting. This won't affect the results but will not draw the images in a high-resolution while you are editing the document. Once you export, they will be used in the high resolution.
  • Create a canvas with the desired target size.
  • Add placement boxes in the shape that you want.
  • Using Adobe-Bridge (or Mini-Bridge panel in InDesign), select all the images that you want to add to the image.
  • Click on all the placement boxes in the desired order.

Downside: You are manually adding 2300 boxes and placing images in them. However, it should work with these many images, and you have all the flexibility you'd want.

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I am not sure if you are refering to a mosaic software, not collage one. https://www.google.com.mx/search?q=mosaic+software

I would do some previouis steps.

1) Make a backup of my photos.

2) Use a batch resampling and croping of the photos. I would need to calculate the size of each one but let's say 500x500px will do.

3) Use a mosaic program.

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