Circling the square


General Photography


The geek in me has long been interested in ways to move away from simple square pixels, all of the same size. One of the ideas I came up with was to allow for pixels of different size, albeit still squares. But why squares? Why not use circles? Of course, the answer is obvious, since you cannot possible fill the whole image area unless you allow for infinitely small pixels. But you can also just ignore that problem; and after a lot of programming and testing the above image is my best attempt to produce circle pixels (with different sizes - click on the image to see a larger version, which will give you an idea how this works). Needless to say, what you really want are shapes that actually can fill the image area, and that aren’t squares. (more)

Enters Russell Kirsch, the inventor of the square pixel: “More than 50 years ago, Kirsch took a picture of his infant son and scanned it into a computer. It was the first digital image: a grainy, black-and-white baby picture that literally changed the way we view the world. With it, the smoothness of images captured on film was shattered to bits. The square pixel became the norm, thanks in part to Kirsch, and the world got a little bit rougher around the edges. […] Inspired by the mosaic builders of antiquity who constructed scenes of stunning detail with bits of tile, Kirsch has written a program that turns the chunky, clunky squares of a digital image into a smoother picture made of variably shaped pixels.”

Of course, the difference between my different pixel methods and Kirsch’s is that his are aiming at truthfully representing the image, whereas mine mostly have producing “cool” images in mind.

(photo taken and processed by me; thanks, Pete, for sending the link to the Kirsch article!)