Mazaika-Animation for macOS Tutorial

These topics will help you to work with Mazaika-Animation.

How Barbarella Animation mosaic was made

How color correction works

Difference between Simple and Controlled Fly-ins

Zoom sequence with optimal path

How Barbarella Animation mosaic was made

This picture mosaic itself was made a long time ago. It becomes popular over Internet and even was used as a decoration for major movie Funny People (2009) directed by Judd Apatow with Adam Sandler, Seth Rogen and Leslie Mann in the lead roles. It is a portrait of Jane Fonda as Barbarella assembled from comic books covers. You may see large detailed interactive mosaic at this link.

For this nice demonstration of Mazaika-Animation we wanted to make video animation featured Wonder Woman comic used in the mosaic. That’s the final result:

And below is a description of how we did it:

1 - You need a rendered Mazaika Project file and you need original tile pictures in the same locations as they were when you made Mazaika project. (Mazaika-Animation needs to open these original tile images to generate high resolution video)

Mazaika program with opened Barbarella project.

2 - Start Mazaika-Animation and Open Mazaika Project file

Drop Mazaika project into Mazaika-Animation to open it.

3 - Adjust duration of separate Fly-in segments.

3.1 - Set simple animation duration for 18 seconds

Set simple animation duration for 18 seconds.

3.2 - To make 24 seconds of controlled animation duration we have to adjust Launch Speed to 34. It was done with trial and error method because the duration also depends Min and Max flight durations and you may play with all three parameters for some interesting effects.

Set controlled animation duration by adjusting Launch Speed.

4 - Set up featured cells for Zooms section

4.1 - Select Zooms tab and press Make Steps button.

Select Zooms tab and press Make Steps button.

4.2 - At the bottom of Zoom sequence properties panel you may see a table with cells coordinates. These are Row and Column coordinates of featured cells. When the program opens a project it fills the table with ten random selected cell coordinates. To make the program to display our custom set of cells we need to erase all lines in the table and type our coordinates.

Enter cells coordinated into this table.

As you remember we wanted to display Wonder Woman comic covers. To do so let's go back to Mazaika program and press Statistic button.

Use Statistic function of Mazaika program.

Export cell statistic to a text file. (Use Save as... button)

Export cell statistic to a text file.

Find lines with “Wonder Woman” at exported text and select column with their coordinates. (Do you remember that macOS allows you to select vertical text columns when you drag your mouse with alt key pressed?)

Drag mouse with alt key pressed to copy a column of text with cells coordinates.

Paste these numbers into the table and press Apply to finish. (We left all other parameters as they were by default but you may modify them as well.)

Paste these cell coordinates into the table.

5 - Go to Combined tab and assemble the whole animation. We wanted to start it with Simple Fly-In, next segment is Zooms and finally Controlled Fly-In running backward.

Assemble the whole animation at Combined tab.

6 - Select output movie resolution. You may select resolution from pop up menu or simply enter resolution numbers manually. We set resolution to 1280x720

Select output movie resolution.

7 - Press Export Combined Animation button and enter a name for the exported movie. (If you have Commercial Licence you have an option to save the movie as a series of separate frames.)

Press Export Combined Animation button and enter a name for the exported movie.

It will takes some time to export the movie.

Export Animation in progress.

8 - Use your favourite editor to add audio track. We used Garage Band.

Use your favourite editor to add audio track. We used Garage Band.


How color correction works

Mazaika is well known for it's ability to make a real photo mosaics. It may assemble wonderful photo mosaics from non corrected pictures by placing most appropriate looking images to most similar looking mosaic cells. And it works! The only condition: you must have these appropriate looking images in your photo collection.

In real world, when you make a mosaic for a customer, it is frequent that you are given only a limited number of photos. And even worse, colours of these images are not corresponded with colours of main mosaic image that your client wants to get. Kind of "Please assemble mosaic with my sweet red brick home standing at scarlet poppy field from the photos taken in my last Antarctic expedition!" And there are only white and blue icebergs on these photos.

If you want to please your client you have to use colour correction!

It's cheating, indeed, but even cheating can be done artfully and not too obvious!

Unlike to normal, printed, mosaic, Mazaika-Animation gives you a way to keep colour correction in secret. When you show the whole mosaic you show corrected tiles. When you zoom into mosaic to show tile details you display original not corrected pictures.

Below is an example of this cheating. Old Nosferatu movie poster made from collection of horror movie posters. This is very tight condition. There are too much very dark, almost black, areas, add to it brown on white lettering over edges and keep in mind that all cell are unique.

Non-corrected animation at the left, corrected one at the right. You see that separate flying and zoomed layers looks the same but the whole mosaic view is drastically different. This way Mazaika-Animation may help you to produce very nice results even in quite a poor picture collection.

Difference between Simple and Controlled Fly-ins

This short video shows Simple and Controlled fly-ins side-by-side:

Both effects are similar but Controlled fly-in give you more ways to adjust animation appearance.

Zoom sequence with optimal path

When you have a number of photos that you want to show in a kind of zoom-in zoom-out slideshow there is a chance that these zoom-ins and zoom-outs will be looking too boring because of too much motion. If these photos are distributed all over the mosaic and you jump from one random picture to another, the camera will be moving for too long distance with every transition. Watcher will be overwhelmed with all these scrolling images and will not be able to concentrate on anything.

Mazaika-Animation can optimise these transition and make the camera moves from one image to its closest neighbour. This way the animation will be to so intense that allows the viewer to see some details of images in transitions.

If you want to keep the order of images by yourself, indeed you may always disable this option.