Most of my mosaics are 'just' photos. I shoot digital photos, mangle them through my computer until I get a detailed design which I then implement using Venetian smalti.
To make this technically possible I have taught my computer the 300 different colours provided by the Dona glass foundry in Murano. From this database, together with the original photo, the computer generates a coloured sketch of the future mosaic, a layout plan, a bill of material, and, if needed, an email whihc orders more glass from Italy.
The big question is: Does this make any artistic sense?
I think it can make sense if the mosaic uncovers some hidden message of the original picture which would not come out from the plain photo on a screen or on paper.
From the reaction of those who behold my mosaics I know that this does work. if the underlying photo is truly authentic, the mosaic opens a direct path between my personal experiences and the viewer's emotional world.