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Old 09-21-2005, 04:04 PM   #1
marlene
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Default Creating collages in Photoshop

A client has asked me to do a photo collage for an upcoming publication.

I haven't done a photo collage in Photoshop in many, many years (at least 7 or 8) and don't remember how I did it.

I know I had to do things with transparency so that photos could "overlap" without hard edges. And each photo was on a separate layer.

I'm still using Photoshop 7, but do have PS CS2 installed, if that will make it any easier.

I'd appreciate any basic information and/or suggestions on the best way to do this.

TIA,

mxh
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Old 09-21-2005, 05:21 PM   #2
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This should get you started on some basic methods: http://www.creativepro.com/story/feature/17023.html. But I notice the images in this tutorial are all cut out to begin with. And when you cut out your images, the method really depends on what presents itself. For example, even though I favor layer masks, I recently used Photoshop's Magic Eraser tool to cut out an image. It was just easier to do that way. Another thing is the backgrounds of different images do not have to be completely eliminated. Sometimes it looks nice to blend them into each other using layer masks.

As for which version of Photoshop, did version 7 have the Match Color tool? This could be helpful if you want different elements to share a common color feel. Otherwise, I can't think of any advantage over version 7.
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Old 09-21-2005, 10:07 PM   #3
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Thanks! That will definitely get me started (when the photos actually get here, that is).

Quote:
did version 7 have the Match Color tool?
Hmmm. Not that I know of, but then again there's a lot about Photoshop I don't know. <g> I didn't see anything in the help index about it.

mxh
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Old 09-22-2005, 07:24 AM   #4
Cristen Gillespie
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marlene

Hmmm. Not that I know of, but then again there's a lot about Photoshop I don't know. <g> I didn't see anything in the help index about it.

mxh
Match Color is CS, not 7. It can help if you have objects that need to look like they're in the same light, or as something similar to a duotone creating the same unreal color overall.

The easiest way to collage is using layer masks. Blend modes and opacity settings and a host of other methods work, but if you don't do this often, just add a layer mask and paint with a soft brush. You can also use Black > Transparent gradients to make soft edges around the subjects. You can use Blurs on the layer mask to make even softer transitions than you originally made, or run Levels, or Brightness/Contrast, to change the edges of the mask without tedious repainting.

If the "collage" is really an exercise in creating an illusion, then you'll need to be able to make the objects sit in the picture with proper selections and other tricks, but if you just want many images to "float" together, layer masks should be easy for anyone, and nothing is destroyed, so you can go back and adjust the results over and over if you want to.

   
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Old 09-22-2005, 09:35 AM   #5
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Quote:
Match Color is CS, not 7. It can help if you have objects that need to look like they're in the same light, or as something similar to a duotone creating the same unreal color overall.
I still haven't received the client's photos, but am assuming they will all be color snapshots and that it won't be necessary to use Match Color. I suppose I should probably use PS CS2 anyway, since I paid for it. <g>

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The easiest way to collage is using layer masks.
I seldom use PS for anything but tweaking digital photos or scans. When I hear terms like "layer mask," my eyes glaze over. <LOL> I dimly remember clicking the quick mask button, using some tool to "draw" a line through the photo where I wanted it to fade, and then doing something else ... but what?

Well, when I get the photos, I'll read up on this and fiddle around in PS and come back with questions, I'm sure.

mxh
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Old 09-22-2005, 01:36 PM   #6
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I just received the photos from my client, and some of them are b&w. My feeling is that I might not be able to combine b&w and color photos and make it look good. And the photos all have humans in them, so adding a color to the b&w photos probably won't work, either.

Some of the photos are just plain awful -- candid snapshots taken at events, with the backs of people's heads in the middle of the shot.

A few are actually inkjet prints, which I won't even consider using. I can never get a decent scan from an inkjet print.

This project is going to be quite a challenge, both technically and artistically!

mxh
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Old 09-22-2005, 02:05 PM   #7
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>>marlene: I just received the photos from my client, and some of them are b&w. My feeling is that I might not be able to combine b&w and color photos and make it look good.

Why not? They all don't need to be in color...

>>Some of the photos are just plain awful -- candid snapshots taken at events, with the backs of people's heads in the middle of the shot.

Is it required that you use *all* the photos?

How big is the final supposed to be?

Will it be printed in a mag or is it going to be printed as a standalone image?

What sorts of problems have you found in scanning inkjet prints?

What I'd suggest you do is to lay out the photo's on a table and get a general idea of how they might go together and then do the scanning...

Take a look at a collage I did using layer masks--they are *very* easy to use!!! Layer masks are really the best way to put something like this together...

I'd be happy to help you with this...email me...

Terrie
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Old 09-22-2005, 05:28 PM   #8
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Quote:
They all don't need to be in color...
Maybe not. I could try using the b&w shots on some sort of colored patterned or textured background.

Quote:
Is it required that you use *all* the photos?
I will probably use about a dozen photos in all (I've got a couple hundred to pick through.)

Quote:
Will it be printed in a mag or is it going to be printed as a standalone image?
The general idea is to use a collage on the cover of a brochure, and maybe scatter single photos from the collage throughout the brochure (if space permits). And if we end up with a blank page or two, I might have to create a second collage.

Quote:
What sorts of problems have you found in scanning inkjet prints?
Well, it's basically like scanning a halftone. I don't recall if I've ever gotten moires, but whenever I scan an inkjet print -- even "photo quality" ones -- the scans are grainy and not sharp.

Quote:
What I'd suggest you do is to lay out the photo's on a table and get a general idea of how they might go together and then do the scanning...
Excellent idea! Now all I have to do is get Mr. E to clear his junk off my dining room table. <g>

I like your horsey collage. It's probably similar to what I'll end up doing, although I might be overlapping photos more.

mxh
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Old 09-22-2005, 08:01 PM   #9
Cristen Gillespie
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marlene
I just received the photos from my client, and some of them are b&w. My feeling is that I might not be able to combine b&w and color photos and make it look good. And the photos all have humans in them, so adding a color to the b&w photos probably won't work, either.

Some of the photos are just plain awful -- candid snapshots taken at events, with the backs of people's heads in the middle of the shot.

A few are actually inkjet prints, which I won't even consider using. I can never get a decent scan from an inkjet print.

This project is going to be quite a challenge, both technically and artistically!

mxh
Actually, depending upon how you blend them, duotoning the B&W can work well with color images. The trick is to have some color dominating in all the images, and that means tinting even the color ones, or turning all of them to monochrome, judging from your description of the subject. It really depends upon how artsy the client will let you be. Even the inkjets scanned could work in a very artsy illustration.

If you're going to coordinate the colors across B&W and color prints, you might want to take a look at using a Photo filter adjustment layer, or 2 or 3<G> With such bad subject matter, my guess is you want to distract the viewer with "atmosphere," which is color-based. Try overlapping with blend modes, fuzzy, semi-transparent masks and opacity changes such that those horrible backs of heads disappear, while the subjects stand out, and perhaps create a kinetic illustration?

You've no doubt got your work cut out for you<G>

   
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Old 09-23-2005, 10:13 AM   #10
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>>marlene: The general idea is to use a collage on the cover of a brochure, and maybe scatter single photos from the collage throughout the brochure (if space permits). And if we end up with a blank page or two, I might have to create a second collage.

This will make life easier for you since it won't be that large...you will be able to fudge things quite a bit using layer masks...glad that you've got lots of images from which to choose...


>>Well, it's basically like scanning a halftone. I don't recall if I've ever gotten moires, but whenever I scan an inkjet print -- even "photo quality" ones -- the scans are grainy and not sharp.

Interesting...I guess I should try scanning one of my prints...wonder if the paper it's printed on makes a diff--as in, better quality paper, fewer problems...


>>Excellent idea! Now all I have to do is get Mr. E to clear his junk off my dining room table. <g>

LOL!!!

>>I like your horsey collage. It's probably similar to what I'll end up doing, although I might be overlapping photos more.

Thanks...I had fun doing it...how much you overlap really does depend on the images you are using...

Terrie
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