Photoshop How-To: Quick-and-Easy Collages


This story is taken from "The Design Authority" (Element K Journals).

I've been using Photoshop for a while now, but I haven't found a good technique to use when creating collages. Do you know of a special formula for putting collages together? One of the most powerful features in Photoshop is the ability to create layers. This is especially useful when creating collages because with the aid of layers, you can place each element within your design separately and manipulate them freely. Not only that, but you can generate layer masks, apply effects, and more on each specific layer in order to create the perfect collage. In this article, we'll introduce you to a variety of digital collage-making techniques that will save you time and make you wonder why anyone would want to make traditional cut-and-paste collages again. Hunt and Gather The first step in making a collage is, of course, collecting all the images for the collage. Try not to limit yourself to a few set images. This is one instance when the more you have the better off you'll be. Because collages are more like organized chaos, things tend to change throughout the design process. What you initially thought would be perfect in the top-right corner may not work at all, so it's good to have a few other backup images to choose from. Once you've gathered all of your images, scan them in or download them, and then save each file in one folder. Also, make sure that each file is the same resolution, color mode and format. Do the Drag and Drop The next step is to place all of your images into one document. This allows you to pick and choose among all of the images without having to continuously open and close different files. So, open all of the images that you've gathered in Photoshop. Then create a new document, any size you want. Just make sure that you set the resolution and color mode to match that of your other images. Then drag and drop each image onto your new document. They'll automatically be placed on separate layers when you do this, as shown in Figure 1.

Note: If your images are on a white background and you won't be including the white area in your collage, then before dragging it over to your new document select the image area only, not the white background and drag that over. This will save you time later when collaging the images together. Don't worry about the placement of your images yet. Once you've dragged all of the images onto your new document, name each layer. To do so, go to the Layers palette and select a layer by clicking on it. Then choose Layer Properties from the Layers palette's pop-up menu. In the resulting dialog box, name your layer accordingly, as we did in Figure 2.



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