I'd like to announce a (donationware) program I wrote called Shape Collage that automatically creates photo collages in different shapes, like a heart, cat, or in the shape of a word, very quickly and easily. I have attached two example collages to this post. One is 200 photos of my cat in the shape of a heart, and the other is Cody created with 161 images that I grabbed from the Donation Coder website (Shape Collage can grab photos directly from websites). I made each of those in less than a minute.
This is the project website (includes a lot of examples, screenshots, link to the download, etc.):http://www.vincentcheung.ca/shapecollage/
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I like to make collages to summarize albums of photos that I have so I can post it on my blog, use as my desktop wallpaper, use for scrap booking projects, etc. I was never satisfied with the collages created using Picasa and other programs because the photos are just randomly placed in the collage, the photos do not optimally cover the area of the collage, and many of the photos are covered up by other photos. I used to use Photoshop to manually create the collages, but this would take forever. So, I created a program that automatically creates photo collages and attempts to optimally place the photos in the collage using a machine learning algorithm that I developed. I then realized that my program was not restricted to merely creating rectangular collages like every other collage making software or website, and so, Shape Collage was born.
I enjoy developing and using Shape Collage and I want others to be able to easily create their own collages. You can save the collages in JPEG, PNG, or even Photoshop PSD format so that you can edit the collage yourself afterwards. It's fast and free with no viruses, ads, etc. and available for Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux.
I hope you like it!