This is what you get when you capture 69,550 full resolution frames from the six Star Wars movies and combine them with a version of DaVinci's Last Supper on a PC with mosaic-making software and a custom matlab-based algorithm. The 262-megapixel mosaic (24,168 x 10,864 pixels) took two weeks to complete, including 30 hours of computing power and manual retouching for the final version. Avinash Arora, the guy who did it, tells us about the process.

JesĂşs DĂ­az: What materials did you use for creating this huge thing?

Avinash Arora: The 69,550-image collection I made is from all the movies. Originally I extracted EVERY image using vlc's image output plug-in from Episode IV, and used a photoshop programmed command to delete every 19 frames, and save the 20th. Only after that did I discover AndreaMosaic could do that for me, which saved me a ton of time in the other five movies. As the base, I used Eric Deschamps' Star Wars Last Supper painting done for Giant Magazine.

JD: What kind of computer did you use to do this?

AA: An Asus M2N SLI motherboard with AMD 5400+ X2, eVGA nVidia Geforce 8800GTS 640MB, and 2GB DDR2 Corsair XMS memory.

JD: What about the software?

AA: The original software I used is AndreaMosaic, but I found that the algorithm wasn't really producing the results I wanted. I ended up tinkering with the settings and producing dozens of sample mosaics to view, and I did some research and found out how it worked.

JD: Did you get what wanted at the end? What did you do to improve the quality?

AA: I created my own slightly modified algorithm to include pathlines of the strongest "importance" (or rather color distinction, so I could find pictures that followed the image's contours for every detail) I got more satisfying results. I kept tinkering with this one and made six full-size mosaics, until I finally settled on the last one...


JD: And that was that?

AA: No, I went to work on it by hand after that. I replaced at least a thousand images by hand that looked like they were out of place (my programming isn't perfect), and did some color corrections on others. The entire thing was done when I took sections and pieces from the mosaics I made with AndreaMosaic, my own matlab-based algorithm, and the original image I drew inspiration from, and put it all together in Photoshop (I also discovered that .psd files have a maximum size of 2GB, but luckily .raw files do not.)

JD: How long did it take you, then?

AA: Each movie's image extraction process took about an hour, that was the easy part. Each sample mosaic I made for testing took about 90 minutes. Each full mosaic I made took about 6-8 hours. Once I had the final mosaic and went to work, I'd say I put about 25-30 hours of work into touching up by hand.

The process (not including extracting the images from the movies) took me about two weeks from the time I made the first full mosaic, about a dozen samples, second full mosaic, dozen samples, etc.

During the two weeks I missed all but about two classes, and the day I finished I took an exam for a class I forgot I had...


JD: Geezuss...

AA: Don't worry, I still did well. :-)

JD: How big is the thing?

AA: Each image was about 640x272, but when placed into the mosaic they were shrunken down to 120 pixel wide. Each image is a full-quality jpeg, and they're cut up into folders (because my computer doesn't take too kindly to one folder with 69,550 files in it).

The final resolution of the image 24,168 x 10,864 pixels... 262 megapixels. Unfortunately I couldn't print it at the epic level I wanted to, which would have been a 5x11' composite, not a 3x6', and that would have been a 712-megapixel image. The guy who prints them says his computer is incapable of opening an image that large (which flattened would have been about 3GB... and uncompressed almost 40GB.) [Avinator]