Bricklink Studio has a built-in mosaic generator with a lot of options for tweaking.
The software also has a mode to generate instructions and supports direct integration with BrickLink’s catalog, marketplace, and gallery so you can order parts easily. Parts generated can be optimised for price, there is also support for various colour pallets and brick ...
As mentioned by you already, you cannot insert plates between studs (this used to be a valid technique 20+ years ago, but is no longer considered "legal" by LEGO)
This technique is used in 21309 Saturn V, to mount the flag piece as part of the moon diorama.
Given this set was released in 2017, I’d say its definitely a modern usage.