Circle Collage


Project Description:

My project is a creative tool that allows the user to make a collage out of 4 images by selecting the shape and size of an area they would like to copy and where it should be placed. The possibilities are open to simple swaps between images or abstract compositions made from many shapes layered on top of each other.

Background Research:

I first was interested in exploring the possibilities for manipulating pixels using Processing after seeing the images produced from Kim Asendorf’s pixel sorting program a couple years ago, and seeing the code itself to try to understand how it works.

Additionally, I discovered the webcollage page near the beginning of starting work on my project. It presents a visual snapshot of the web by collecting images from various sources such as Flickr and Instagram and blending them all together on one canvas. I liked many of the ideas it utilized, especially collecting random images from the web. I knew I wanted the images in my program to be arranged in a particular way based off who was interacting with them. I also wanted the initial images to be able to be mixed beyond almost all recognition if the user interacts long enough with the program. I realized the input wasn’t so crucial for my program but I still needed a source for my images.

I also came across the work of Jessie Thatcher while researching my project, in particular her work with collages. I liked the way they were arranged, with similar textures overlapping. I hoped to be able to create a similar effect with the images produced from my program, with more emphasis on different shapes and patterns.

Jessie Thatcher, “Multiple Lens, Collage 3″, 2016.

This interest in patterns lead me to the images produced from the Eyescream Project from the Facebook AI Research team, which were similar to other deep dream projects . I always think they are interesting as they give us a glimpse into how computers see the world and the associations it makes between images. The images themselves are stunning.

Intended outcomes:

I wanted the program to be very intuitive to use from the onset, as well as quite simple so that a few clicks could result in something very visually pleasing. I wanted the user to gain a quick understanding of what the program is capable of by just playing with it for a little while.


I hoped the user would be rewarded for continuous clicking by generating images such as the one below which is completely different from the source above. I wanted the process of interacting with my program to yield new ways of looking at a set of images, perhaps with the user not fully aware why they select certain areas to use repeatedly. 

After 179 clicks.
After 179 clicks.

The Build:

During making the program one of the most difficult things was making a circle out of pixels. I experimented with various methods for accessing the pixel array so that I could move only certain areas but none of my methods were working. The solution was to check the location of every pixel and see if it was larger than the radius of the circle squared, only those that are smaller are used to make the shape.



I feel my program does some of the things I set out to do better than expected and some not so well. I would of liked to explore the capabilities of the OpenCV library to further create patterns with the collages. Perhaps use the control P5 library for a more fluid GUI experience.


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