Hello there. I am Terry and I am a full-time undergraduate based in Singapore. I take photos, write a blog and design websites.

And no, I'm not a teddy bear.

Mosaic Tutorial

Adobe Photoshop CS2 Tutorial: Creating Mosaics

I've learnt a new technique of creating nice and visually-appealing photographs a few weeks ago when I stumbled upon a thick book about how to use CS2 for graphic design. Due to the length of this post, the number of images (there is a total of 20) and the size of the images (they all weigh 1.67 mb in total), the rest of the tutorial can be found when you click on the "Read More" button. 

First thing first. I am not continuing the style I post tutorials as seen in the Panorama Tutorial . I will use plain text to describe the detail steps and instructions instead of trying to incorporate text into the images since JPEG is a lossy compression, so the quality of the images is compromised. This also means that you need to read carefully.

Anyway, having the Adobe Photoshop CS2 is a must :razz: 

Important Edit: I forgot to include the demo .psd file! Downloading this file (by clicking on the image below) might help you to get a better grasp on making your own mosaics:

Mosaic Tutorial Download


Here we go. Get some coffee before you start in case you doze off half way :mrgreen: 

Step 1 – Open The Image

Step 1 - Open The Image


Step 2 – Select rectangular Marquee Tool

Step 2 - Use the Rectangular Marquee Tool

Remember to customise your settings as seen in the image above. Select the "Fixed Aspect Ratio", and adjust the width and height to "1".


Step 3 – Make Your Selection

Step 3 - Make Your Selection

Click and drag the rectangular marquee cursor to obtain the size you wanted. Due to the previously specified fixed aspect ratio and selection will be rectangular no matter what. When you're done, right click on the selected area and selected "Transform Selection". This is to rotate the selection so that you will not have all the mosaic pieces look horribly uniform. Warning: DO NOT select "Free Transform" because it will transform the image within the selection.


Step 4 – Transform Selection

Transform Selection

Rotate the selection with your mouse to the desired angle.


Step 5 – Layer via Copy

Step 5 - Layer Via Copy

When you're done with the transformation of the selection, right click on your selection again and choose "Layer via Copy". Warning: DO NOT choose "Layer via Cut" as it will destroy the original images, which we will still need it later.


Step 6 – The Copied Layer

Step 6 - The Copied Layer

Here is just a simple illustration of the copied layer. The option "Colour Dodge" is on just to let you see the selection. You should not edit this setting. Just stick to "Normal" will do.


Step 7 – Edit Blending Options

Step 7 - Edit Blending Options

Select the newly copied layer, not the background image. Double click the layer (or you can click on the "f" sign at the bottom, the second symbol from the left), and select "Blending Options".


Step 8 – Customise Your Settings

Step 8 - Customise Your Settings

Look at the green ticks. At the Layer Options, select "Stroke". When you're in the Stroke settings, increase the size of the stroke (the border around the new copied layer). Choose whatever value you desire. Change the position to "Inside". For the colour of the stroke, it is red in default. Change it to white (#ffffff). Select "OK".


Step 9 – Let's See…

Step 9 - Let's See...

Look! Now you have a white border around the selected portion ;)


Step 10 – Add Drop Shadow

Step 10 - Add Drop Shadow

Like in step 9, access the "Blending Options" and select "Drop Shadow". When you've selected it, customise the settings to what you like. However, for the sake of uniformity, I strongly encourage you to selected "Global Light", which means that for the subsequent layers you will have the shadows formed by the light shining at the particular angle. There is really nothing much to edit such that you can even happily stick to the default settings.


Step 11 – Let's See… Again

Step 11 - Let's See... Again

Now you've got a nice little drop shadow! A few more steps to go!


Step 12 – Make Another Selection

Step 12 - Make Another Selection

Return to the background layer by clicking on it (see the tick). Now repeat Step 3 to Step 6 for the next selection.


Step 13 – Copy Layer Style

Step 13 - Copy Layer Style

Now you've got a new layer. Access the first layer, right click it and select "Copy Later Style".


Step 14 – Paste Layer Style 

Step 15 - Paste Layer Style

Now click on the second layer. Right click it and select "Paste Layer Style". All the blending options will be pasted onto the new layer and so you do not need to repeat all the blending options editing step (yippe!) :D


Step 15 – Repeat & Repeat & Repeat

Step 15 - Repeat & Repeat & Repeat

Repeat the steps by making more selections, creating new layers and pasting the layer styles :) You're done! 


If you would like to make the mosaic look more appealing, you can edit the background layer (the original image) with tools provided in Adobe Photoshop CS2 such as filtering, desaturation and etc.  Here are some which I've experimented with!

Final Edit

Final Edit

Final Edit

Final Edit


Hope you find this tutorial benefitial! Feel free to comment ;) any suggestions for improvement, flaws etc… just write them in your comments. Have a nice weekend! 

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