Creating a Great Collage in Photoshop


Model: Brandon Richmond

Following up on last week's post about collages, today I'll share how I made the collage above in Adobe Photoshop.

The steps below will be most useful to those of you who are at least a little familiar with Photoshop. If you've never used the program before, and offer some excellent tutorial videos on how to use Photoshop as well as other Adobe programs.

I'll also mention that these steps are only guidelines based on what I've learned so far in my Image Editing & Web Design course and information I've gathered online. There are many different ways to produce the same effect in Photoshop, and everyone will have their own creative process for achieving any one style or look.

My Guidelines for Creating a Great Collage:

1. The secret to a great collage is a great concept. Brainstorm some concepts or themes that you think you will be able to convey through images. It can be very simple like someone flying a kite or a fish in the ocean to something more complex and abstract depending on how skilled you are at manipulating images in Photoshop.

2. Choose several images (7 - 12) you might want to use in your collage and cut them out in Photoshop using the magic wand, quick selection, or pen tool.

3. Make any colour adjustments you want to each image using the selections available under: image, adjustments (brightness/contrast, hue/saturation, black & white).

4. Decide which image(s) you want as the focal point(s) of the collage. I suggest choosing no more than 1-3 images (textures & type included).

5. Create a new document in Photoshop with a canvas size of at least 800 x 400 pixels. This is where you will place your images and begin building the collage.

6. Place the image in the new document you created. As you bring in each image they will automatically appear on different layers. You will need to select the layer each image is on to make changes to that particular image.

7. Try moving images around to different areas of the canvas, rotating them, and decreasing their size. Cut out a part of an image and make it larger than the rest. Don't be afraid to try new things, you can always delete the layer and bring in the image again.

8. Experiment with applying different effects to the images (fx button is located in the layers window on the bottom left hand corner). Apply a colour, gradient, or pattern overlay, or try lowering the opacity levels on the image.

9. Add some type and try out different fonts. Maybe you only want to include one word, or maybe a couple sentences. Vary up the size and colour of the type to draw the eye to the most important words.

10. When you're relatively happy with how everything is looking, make some final tweaks. You might want to boost the colour, or experiment with overlaying different textures over the entire collage to achieve different looks. For example, I used a grunge texture to achieve — you guessed it, a grunge look.

What are some of your tips for creating a great collage? 


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