Make a collage in the style of David Hockney in Photoshop

In the 80s, Anglo-American artist David Hockney was fond of photo collages. Experimenting with portraits of the same person from different angles, David cut the photos and collected them into collages, which remotely resembled the technique of cubism.

Hockney’s work interested the public, and they learned about it in every home.

Since then, this technique has been copied many times until it has completely outlived itself. There is even a Hockneyizer site that does everything automatically. But he is as far from the spirit of the original idea as possible.

Therefore, we recommend that you try to create such a collage yourself, and you will understand that the technique David Hockney still has the right to life. After all, it is expressed in the non-standard of the work itself and the influence it has on our everyday life.

To begin, we will make a series of photos from different angles. Some photos will be framed, others will remain in their original form. A variety of photos in this technique will only improve the collage, since the difference between frames visually allows you to separate them from each other.

After the shoot, we have two options. The first is to create a collage in Photoshop, gathering all the pictures together and adding shadows to get the effect of these photos. The second is to use the outdated approach and print all the pictures, and then manually distribute them to the collage. Below we describe in more detail about both methods.

1. Make a series of photos

Step 1. Camera settings

For outdoor portraits, as a rule, we use the following settings: manual mode, shutter speed 1/250, f / 4 aperture, automatic ISO. Such an exposure will be enough to clearly capture the photo, and a wide aperture blur the background.

Step 2. Change the camera position

Take at least 20 face shots. While shooting, slightly change the angle of the camera. Also, change the focus point to add diversity, for example, on one photo you can focus on the middle eye, and on the other – on the far eye.

Step 3. Model position

Along with the camera movement, ask the model to also move between frames. Take a picture of it in full face, in profile or turn 45 degrees. In order not to violate the integrity of the collage, try to ensure that the clothes around your neck do not fit into the frame.

Step 4. White wall

You can take photographs on any background, but if you want to create a complete composition with clear forms, then a simple homogeneous background is best suited, as it helps to highlight the shape of the face. In this case, we used the outer white wall of the house.

Step 5. Soft lighting

We were shooting on a cloudy day. The result is a soft and smooth lighting, which is not only suitable for portraits, but also for our collage, since the lighting on all frames remains the same and even.

Step 6. Approximation

During shooting, you can change the zoom of the camera so that some details of the face completely fill the frame, while others only partially. Approaching will help achieve this effect. At longer focal lengths, fasten the camera to avoid jolting while shooting.

2. And who experimented besides Hockney?

David Hockney was a fairly well-known experimenter, but the photo collage was also studied by other artists. For example, Thomas Keller. He created his collages by making a series of photos on a 35mm film, then cutting it to pieces. As a result, the entire film roll was cut into negatives, from which the composition was made.

Shocking portrait painter Rankin as part of his project Destroy created a series of portraits of celebrities, which were then torn, painted and glued together in a collage.

3. Create a digital collage

Below you will learn how to put a photo together, as well as transform it and add a shadow in Photoshop.

Step 1. Bleach all photos

In Adobe Bridge, right-click on the picture and select Open in Camera Raw (Open in Camera Raw), then convert the image to black and white. We press Done (Done). Click the right button on the picture, select the module Develop Settings – Copy Settings (Processing – Copy Settings). Select another file and click on it with the right mouse button, then use Develop Settings – Paste Settings (Processing – Paste settings).

Step 2. Copy and paste

Open any photo in Photoshop using Rectangular Marquee Tool (M) (Rectangular selection) select the part of the picture, then press Ctrl + C to copy it. Move on File – New (File – New) and create a new A3 document with a white background. Paste (Ctrl + V) copied area. On the layers panel, right-click on the photo layer and select Convert to Smart Object (Convert to smart object).

Step 3. Adjust the size and position

Take Move Tool (V) (Move). On the top panel, activate the parameters Show Transform Controls (Show Transformation Management) and Auto-select Layers (Automatically select layer). Quickly collect photos in a collage. If you need to transform a picture, then we pull the corner anchor points (while holding the Shift key). Open the next picture, copy the fragment, paste it and adjust the position.

Step 4. Create a shadow

Next we will add a shadow. Double click on the layer to open the window Layer Style (Layer style). On the left in the window we find the layer style. Drop Shadow (Shadow) and adjust the size and position of the shadow. When finished, hold down the Alt key, grab the layer style with the mouse and move it to the second photo to copy.

Step 5. A few words about smart objects

When you reduce a raster image, this will remove some of the pixels. This can be a problem if you want to zoom in again. However, if you right-click this layer and select Convert to Smart Object (Convert to a smart object), you can scale the image without losing quality, since it stores information about the original size. This is indestructible editing.

The method described above is not the only algorithm with which you can create such a composition. If you want to experiment, you can save certain stages of work, and then easily switch between them. For this in Photoshop there are special pictures. On the panel History (History) Click the button in the camera view, and your picture will appear above.

3. Outdated approach

Why not print all the pictures, then fold them manually and take a picture of the result?

Step 1. Print

We printed 6×4 inch images — some vertically, some horizontally — then made up a composition on a white table. As in Photoshop, you can experiment with the position and move the photo up and down, if you do everything manually, the result is more chaotic and original.

Step 2. Preparing the equipment for shooting

For uniform illumination on the sides of the collage, we install two equally powerful lamps at a 45-degree angle. Clearly above the photos we fix the tripod and direct the camera down. Some tripods have the ability to deploy the center bar so that the camera is pointing exactly down. This can facilitate the work.

Step 3. We take a general picture

We check all problem areas, glare in the photo and, if necessary, adjust the location of the light sources. Make sure the tripod legs do not cast a shadow on the collage. Set the aperture at f / 8, ISO100 and take the first photo. Then in Photoshop we remove the extra colors or discolour the result.

4. Experimenting with photo overlay.

There are many ways to combine two or more shots, for example, as in the image below. To create this effect, duplicate the layer with the photo and place it on top of the original. Then using Move Tool (V) (Move) move the copy vertically. Next we need bands. You can draw them yourself or use the finished texture (always with a transparent background between the lines). Paste the texture on the working document between the original and a copy of the photo. Then select the copy above and press Ctrl + Alt + G to transform it into a clipping mask. Thus, we will see this layer only within the bands that are below. If you wish, you can add a shadow to the stripes layer.

And in this video, the author will demonstrate the creation of a collage using two techniques.

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