Create a collage of photos in Photoshop

In this tutorial we will learn how to turn any image into a collage of Polaroid images. In other words, we will create what looks like a collection of randomly scattered Polaroid images with small sections of the overall image on each of them. At first glance it may seem difficult, but in the process of doing the lesson you will see that in fact it is very easy, since most of the work is just a repetition.

Program: Photoshop CS6 or SS.

I will use this stock image from Shutterstock.

And this is what the final image will look like.

Let’s start!

Step 1. Select the Rectangle tool.

Open our stock image in photoshop. To create the first polaroid image, we need a tool. Rectangle tool (Rectangle), which is on the left toolbar. If another tool from the vector group of tools is displayed in its place, then right-click on it and select the required one in the drop-down menu.

Step 2. Selecting the tool shape mode

Tools in this group allow you to draw vector or pixel shapes, as well as create outlines. We will create our Polaroid snapshots using vector shapes that will create sharp faces, and will not increase the file size as we add new shapes. In order to set the tool to the desired mode, on the top toolbar of the tool, select the item in the drop-down list. Shape (Figure).

Let’s set a black color for our rectangle shape, as befits a polaroid image. Actually, it doesn’t matter what color the figure will be. Black color only in order to make it clearly visible on the background of our image. On the top options bar, click on the color picker. Fill (Fill). In my case, the black color is already installed.

In the dialog box that opens, you can choose one of four types of fill for our future shape, displayed in the upper left part of the window. The first icon on the left indicates the option – no fill. (None), the next one is Solid Color (Solid Color) further – Gradient (Gradient) and Pattern (Pattern). We need to fill our shape with a solid color, so select the appropriate icon. Then choose black from the color swatches. I will choose from the list of recently used colors. To close this window, click Enter.

We also need to make sure that our shape will not have a stroke around its perimeter. To do this, click on the icon Stroke (Stroke), which is located to the right of the Fill icon.

A dialog opens that looks exactly like the fill window. Choose an icon None. To close the window, press Enter.

So, we have chosen a tool Rectangle tool (Rectangle), set the fill color to black and make sure that the stroke of the shape is off. Hold key Shift and drag the cursor diagonally. Holding Shift will create the perfect square. First release the mouse button, and then Shift otherwise, you get a rectangle. After being clamped Shift If you start to draw a square and press the space on the keyboard, you can move the created shape.

Since this figure will be the central part of one of the pictures, I created her in such a size that it fit the girl’s face. You can also choose your own size, depending on the selected image. Below you can see the outline of my shape and the direction in which I created it.

After you release the mouse button (and then Shift), our shape will appear with the color selected earlier. Below you can see that our figure has temporarily hidden the girl’s face.

Note to users Photoshop CC: in this version appeared Live shapes (Living Figures) and as soon as you create a shape, on the panel Properties (Properties) parameters related to this figure will be displayed. But in this lesson this function is of no use to us, so we can safely close the Properties panel. I repeat that this applies only to those who work in Photoshop CC. There is no such function in Photoshop CS6.

Step 5. Duplicating the shape

If we look at the layers panel, then above the background layer we will see a shape layer, which Photoshop called Rectangle 1 (Rectangle 1).

Let’s create a copy of this layer with a shape, which after resizing will serve us as the outer frame of the picture. To create a duplicate, make sure that you have selected this layer on the layers panel (it is highlighted in blue; the color depends on the settings of your system), then go to the menu Layer> New> Shape Layer Via Copy (Layer-New-Copy Layer-Figure). Or an even faster way to copy a layer is the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + J.

Photoshop duplicates the layer, assigns the name Rectangle 1 copy (Rectangle 1 copy) and places it above the original.

Step 6. Renaming layers with shapes.

Before we continue, let’s rename our layers. Starting with Photoshop CS6, it became much easier to rename several layers at once. We will use the top shape layer as the inner area of ​​our image. Therefore, on the layers panel, select this layer and double-click on the layer name and rename it to image area. Do not press Enter, leave this field active.

Next, press the Tab key to go to the layer below to edit the name of this layer. We will use this layer as the white frame of our polaroid image. Therefore, rename it to border (frame). Now press Enter to accept the changes.

Step 7. Change the color of the shape to white.

We need our picture frame to be white. Select this layer in the layers panel and at the top options panel of the Rectangle tool again click on the icon Fill (Fill).

The dialog box with the fill settings opens again. Fill type leave unchanged Solid color (Solid Color) and select white from the samples. Since the layer with this shape is below the layer with the black shape, you will not see any changes in the document at this stage.

Step 8. Resize the frame.

Standing on a layer with a white shape in the layers panel, activate Free Transform Ctrl + T.

A transformation frame appears with nodes with which we can resize. To create a frame around the image, we need the white shape to be a bit more black. To do this, hold down the keyboard shortcut Shift + Alt and pull on one of the corner markers of the frame. When creating a shape, Shift allows you to create an ideal square, and Shift + Alt allows you to transform a shape from the center without losing proportions. In this case, you should also first release the mouse button, and then the keys.

For polaroid images, the white frame at the bottom is wider, so click on the lower middle node of the transformation frame and drag it down to add some extra space. This time no keys need to be clamped. When you are done with the shape transformation, press Enter to accept the transformation.

Step 9. Adding a frame shadow

To give our collage some depth, let’s add a shadow along the borders of the frame. To do this, at the bottom of the layers panel, click on the icon Add a layer style (Add layer style).

In the drop-down list, select Drop shadow (Shadow).

The layer style settings window will open. Drop shadow (Shadow). Reduce the Opacity to 40% so that the shadow is not too thick, then change the Angle to 135 degrees, since the light source will be in the upper left corner. Finally, increase the Distance — how far the shadow will be cast and the Size — how soft the shadow will be. In my case, both of these parameters are 16 px. You may be different. When you are done with the style settings, click OK.

That’s what happens with style.

Step 10. Select the layer image area

On the layers panel, select a layer with a black shape.

Step 11. Open a window with overlay options

We drew the base of our polaroid image. Now we need a way to show our images inside the black-flooded area. This can be done using the function Knockout (Translating) in the settings options overlay. One of the ways to open the overlay settings window is to click on the menu icon in the upper right corner of the layers panel.

Then select the item in the drop-down list. Blending options (Overlay options).

As a result, the layer style window will open again. In section Advanced Blending (Advanced Options) set the parameter Knockout (Translucent) on Deep (Deep).

As a result, the black shape will turn into a hole that will allow us to see the main image. Or at least it will be a little later. To do this, we also need to reduce Fill opacity (Opacity fill) up to 0%. This parameter is above the option. Knockout (Transmission).

Click OK to close the overlay settings window. With 0% fill opacity, now our image is fully visible inside the image area of ​​the polaroid image.

Step 12. Select both layers with shapes.

To create our collage, we will need several copies of the previously created polaroid image. To make the task easier, we need to place the layers with the figures in the group. To do this, these layers need to be selected. At the moment, the layer with the image area should be selected on the layers panel. Hold down the Shift key and click on the second layer. Both layers will be highlighted.

Step 13. Grouping layers

Click the menu icon in the upper right corner of the layers panel again.

Select New Group from Layers (New Group of Layers)

The dialog box for creating a new group will open, where we can assign our name to the group. I called my group Polaroid. Enter your name and click OK to close the window.

The created group will appear on the layers panel above the background layer.

Step 14. Select the background layer.

Before we start adding new images to create a collage, we need to hide the main photo on the background layer. For this we will use a fill layer. Click on the background layer to select it.

Step 15. Adding a layer – fill

At the bottom of the layer panel, click on New Fill or Adjustmen tLayer (New Fill or Corrective Layer)

Select item Solid color (Colour)

A color selection window will open, in which we can select the color that will be filled with the layer. You can choose any color at your discretion. I will choose black. Later I will show you how you can change the color of this layer to any other.

Click OK when done with color selection. On the layers panel between the background layer and the group, we will see a new layer, Color Fill 1 (Fill color 1).

In the working paper we will see that our Polaroid snapshot is now on a black background. The only part of our image that is visible is the area of ​​our image.

Step 16. Select a group with layers

Let’s turn our shot a little to make it look more interesting. To begin, click on the group on the layers panel

Step 17. Rotate Snapshot

Go to menu Edit>Freetransform (Edit-Free Transform) or press Ctrl + T

Position the cursor at any of the corners of the picture. The cursor will take the shape of a curved arrow. Click the left mouse button and rotate the image. Press Enter to accept the transformation.

Step 18. Copying, moving and rotating images

At the moment, the main work is done. The rest of the job is to copy the group to create a new snapshot, move and rotate, repeating the same steps over and over. To speed up the process, and not waste time choosing commands from the menu, I suggest you use a few shortcut keys.
So, to create a new snapshot, click Ctrl + J, as a result, the previously created snapshot is duplicated. In the working document you will not see any changes, as the copy will be located on top of the original. But a new copy of the group will appear on the layers panel.

Standing on this copy of the group in the layers panel, move it to the side. Click Ctrl + T and turn. To move copies, click at any point within the transformation frame and drag.

Rotate the snapshot just as you did before. When finished, press Enter. You can also exit the transformation mode by double-clicking inside the transformation frame.

Continue adding new snapshots, repeating the same process with copying. Ctrl + J, moving and turning Ctrl + T. After the desired turn, press Enter.
This is what my collage now looks like. Please note that I have placed the pictures so that I can focus on the main characters, without worrying about the rest of the image.

Step 19. Change the background color (optional)

Earlier we chose black as the background color for our collage. But if this background seems too dark, you can easily change it. To do this, simply double-click the fill layer icon in the layers panel.

As a result, the color picker window will open again, where you can choose a different color or take a color swatch directly from the image. To do this, move the cursor over the image. The cursor will take the form of a pipette. Place the pipette on the place from which you want to take a color swatch and click on it. In my case, I clicked on the light gray – blue area on one of the pictures.

After selecting the desired color, click OK to close the color selection window. Photoshop will instantly update your collage with your new background color.

The final result.

We finished the lesson! Now you can turn a regular photo into a collage of polaroid images.

Author the lesson: Steve patterson

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