How can I change this monochrome map of Europe...

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...into mosaic squares, with the pixels offset by a fixed width?

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I asked this question but I couldn't find a suitable answer. I hope that you can help me with this.

3 Answers 3


My approach would be:

Using Adobe Illustrator:

  • Manually create a huge square full of small squares
  • Paste it on top of the real world map
  • Manually erase the sea parts

Using Illustrator and Photoshop together with no plugins and minimal work.

  1. Open image in Photoshop. (optional if you have a pixel image, but can be a good idea to adjust the levels anyway)
    1. scale it down to suitable pixel size.
    2. Either:
      1. adjust levels so its solid (maybe fix some of white pixels)
      2. use a 2 color mode
  2. move image over to illustrator.
    1. Choose Object -> Create Object Mosaic, type in your pixel dimensions, and gap size. Alternatively use no gap and use the transform each.
    2. Ungroup and select all white squares using Select -> Same -> Fill and delete them.
  3. Bonus you can use round corners to make the coreners round or pixels into circles. Alternatiovely use this as a mask for other shapes in grid.

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Image 1: Illustratoion after Bonus step. Note result is heavily dependent on the exact size and how you did the levels. You may need to hint/paint some parts yourself for optimal results.


The easiest way is to simply use the Phantasm Halftone Effect From AstuteGraphics.com

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You simply select any object, then choose Effect > Phantasm > Halftone from the menu. Set the halftone to "Square" and reduce the DPI until you're happy with the appearance.

To do it manually, you need to draw a grid of squares (Object > path > Split Into Grid will help), then delete individual squares to form the overall shape.

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