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Secrets to Creating Compelling Photo Collages

Article Description

Although collage is an old art form, tools such as Photoshop CS2 give it a new twist. You don't need to get out paint, brushes, scissors, and glue to make art. Instead, everything you need is on your computer. With a handful of photos, Photoshop, and the desire to experiment, you're well on your way to creating collage art. Helen Bradley gives the how-to's for creating a collage in Photoshop by using photos and other techniques, and how to use some design and Photoshop tricks to make sure the result is balanced and pleasing to the eye.

Create the Background

Create a new document the size of the final piece and fill the bottom layer with a background to work on top of. Having a background saves you from the need to fill every space in the image and avoids ugly gaps.

You can make a background in a number of ways. One technique is to use an enlarged photo, such as a flower or a texture, to fill the space (see Figure 3). If the image is too small, paste it multiple times into multiple layers and overlap them to fill the space. Use a soft or textured brush to erase the hard edges and blend the layers.

Figure 3

Figure 3 One option for a background is to use a texture or other photo and stretch it to fit.

You can paint a background by filling the background layer with a solid color and painting over it with textured brushes and different colors. Keep your colors close to the palette of colors in the images you will use. Sample colors from a photo using the Eyedropper tool and use them to paint with.

You can also fill the background with a gradient by clicking the Gradient tool, choosing the gradient colors and style, and dragging to fill the background with the gradient (see Figure 4).

The Difference Clouds filter also makes a good background. Fill the image with a color and choose Filter > Render > Difference Clouds. Then choose Edit > Fade Difference Clouds and vary the opacity and blend mode until you have an attractive result.

Figure 4

Figure 4 A gradient fill makes a good starting point for a collage background.

3. Assemble the Images | Next Section Previous Section