Turning a photograph (or drawing, painting, or illustration) into a mosaic made of LEGO® bricks is a very involved process. The main issue is that the bricks are made in a specific range of colors that are not a very good match for the natural colors one finds in a photo.
LEGO® bricks are available now in more colors than ever before, but for these colors to be useful to us, we need to obtain large numbers of them in a variety of small sizes. For example, if a nice new shade of green suddenly became available in one of the LEGO® kits, it is likely that the number of special green bricks in that kit will be limited, and may be all large bricks. We need a variety of sizes, and especially small ones, in order to simulate curves or diagonal lines (strictly straight horizontal or vertical lines, on the other hand, can be done with larger bricks).
We purchase bricks from people who aggregate colors from these kits. If your mosaic requires unusual colors, this means it may take some time for us to finish it! For example, two recent mosaics we did required small amounts of pink bricks and required about twice as much time as if they had only used more widely available colors. On the other hand, sometimes a common color just doesn't have the same effect!
It is certainly possible to do almost any picture using just five basic LEGO® colors: red, blue, green, black, and white. Purple, for example, would be reproduced by interspersing lots of little red and blue bricks. From a distance, this blend appears purple to the eye, although when seen from up-close may look like a pointilist painting!
The size of the final mosaic will also affect color choices. For example, a small mosaic will frequently require more colors than a large mosaic of the same image in order to achieve the same level of quality.
Some people prefer mosaics created using the color-blending method. These mosaics look better from a distance than non-blended mosaics, but because they use more bricks are usually more expensive. The non-blended mosaics have a sort of "illustration" appearance and look as good close up as they do from a distance. Blending is usually required if the source image has many similar shades of color.
Below is a photo and a variety of examples of how it would look as a mosaic using different techniques at different sizes. Also included is the price we would charge to create such a mosaic as a commission. Obviously, these are examples only and are not actually for sale - the intention is to show you approximately how we would turn your photo into a mosaic.
|Photo by Jamil Soni Neto licensed under Creative Commons.|
|15" x 15"
|15" x 15"
|As you can see, the blended color version can show more detail in the subject's face, and the background shows up more accurately. At this size, however, the difference may not be noticable to most people and it would probably make more sense to purchase the solid color version. The background of that version would be manipulated to be a less-distracting solid color.|
|30" x 30"
|30" x 30"
|These larger versions are four times the size of the above mosaics. Both allow enhanced detail, especially in the subject's eyes and hand. At two and a half feet along each side, these mosaics are quite impressive on a wall. The blended color version shows much more detail in the subject's face and hair than in the smaller mosaics, and will always look better than the solid color mosaic from across a room. But the solid color mosaic will look better when viewed from up-close.|