36. Making a Photo Collage

OK – this is where they put the FUN in Photoshop Elements.  For this activity we will choose photos to put together on another page.  These pages are like making a digital scrapbook with the added option of printing the whole page. PSE has themes, backgrounds, frames, graphics, shapes, and text.

  • Getting photos – there are several options.  You can select the photos in the organizer by using click, then control click on each of the additional images.  If the images are in the same row – click on the first image, hold the Shift key and click on the last image in the row.  This will highlight the all the pictures located between the two clicks.  Then go to the Create Tab > Photo Collage.
  • Additional path – easier to use if the photos are located in different albums.  Without making any photo selections, go to the Create Tab > Photo Collage (it is one of the buttons below and on the right).  Double click in the workspace on the left (or on the Menu bar: File > Open).  Navigate to your photos selecting as many as you might need.
  • *You can at any time go to the Menu bar: File> Open> to get more pictures.
  • **Side notes for success:  You have to have a bin under the images.  If you do not: Menu bar – Window > Project Bin.
  •  *** Also, if the photos you have selected do not show up in the bin below, you’ll need to use the drop down menu at the top of this bin and select “Show Open Files”
  • After selecting PHOTO COLLAGE, in the new window look to see what the paper size is.   This is a drop down menu near the top.  You want to select a size that your printer can handle or whatever your specific needs are.
  • Under the paper size is THEME (optional).  For your first one, go ahead and pick one.  It won’t matter if you like it or not, as we will change this background, so you’ll know how, later in the lesson.  Double click on one of the themes.  It will show up in the workspace.
  • Under this is “Choose a Layout”.  When you click in this area the theme picture will leave the workspace and that’s OK.  Pick a layout with the number of openings that you want per page.  The theme dictates the background and the framing of each picture.  Again click on the layout desired and it will show up in the workspace (until you click anywhere else, which makes it disappear, but that’s OK).
  • Under this section – check in the box before the words: Auto-Fill with project bin photos.  Again, you won’t always need to do this but for your first one, do it.  We will switch out the photos later, which will give you the information to pick photos and change your mind at any time for future projects (so this step will ultimately be optional, as well as the theme mentioned above.)
  • Put a check in front of the box about captions IF the photos you have selected have text already on the picture, otherwise leave it unchecked.
  • Look to see if the number of pages is correct.  This is contingent on the number of photos selected and the layout.  If this doesn’t make sense, it will after we make one collage, so stay with me…
  • Now click the button DONE and the computer will put the pictures into the theme, and layout selected.
  • If you have more than one page you can click between them at the bottom of the image.
  • Want to make changes?
  1. When the collage appears note the square around one of the pictures – it has a box with little squares called anchor points.  These points can be used to increase/decrease the framed area.  You can also click and drag this area to any place you want. These anchor points adjust the box/frame.
  2. To make adjustments to the photo inside the frame, double click on the image.  It will give you a box around the photo.  Again, click and drag to move the image and/or use the anchor points to size the picture differently.
  3. When you want to create a collage without the theme.  Skip that bullet above and uncheck the auto fill.  You need to already have pictures selected and sitting in the project bin.  Select the layout.  After it loads the boxes will instruct you to click on a picture in the bin and drag it to the box.  It’s that easy, really.
  4. Change the background:  In earlier versions, there is a button on the upper right to click on – Artwork.  In PSE 8 everything is up and ready to go.  There are a multitude of options.  Look to the two drop down menus at the top of the open panel on the left.  To begin – have the left menu on Type.  The left menu dictates what options will be in the drop down menu just to the right.  This selection gives you the basics: background, frames, graphics, shapes, text, themes.  When you change the menu on the left to something more specific, the menu on the right also gives you additional options.  Have fun with that!  For this bullet, put the menu on the right selection for backgrounds.  (Be sure that you have completed the editing of the size of the box and the image inside; you can edit more later.  I’m just saying if you have anything not “set” you won’t be able to do anything else until you do.  “Set” means that you have either double clicked on what you were working on or have clicked on the green check mark.) All you have to do now is click on the background in the workspace, then go to the panel to make your selection.  You select by clicking on the new background and pressing the button APPLY or you can simply click on the background you want and drag it into the workspace.  The computer will do the rest.
  5. FRAMES – are done the same way. Under the word Content the left menu has By Type, the right menu has Frames.  Select the frame you want changed by clicking that area in your college.  Either click and drag the newly selected frame to the workspace or click on the selected frame and use the Apply button below.
  6. Note that below where the backgrounds and frames were is a section called Favorites.  You can click and drag any of the ones you like and think you might use again down here.  This makes it easier to find, quicker and will give you the assurance of consistency.  For example if you use a text on this page, be sure to drag the font chosen into this square.  That way you can select if from this Favorites panel knowing it was the same one used earlier.  When you want this area cleared out – drag the items into the trash can below.
  7. Text – Use the one located in the panel area.  Left menu: By Type, Right menu: Text.  It will always appear in the middle.  You will use the same adjustment techniques that you used with the photos for sizing and placement.  One anchor not mentioned earlier is the anchor point in the center of the lower part of the square.  When you put your cursor under this anchor it will give you a double sided arrow that allows you to tilt and turn as needed.  This is available for the frames and photos as well.  Now aren’t you glad you made it all the way to the end of this blog post for this information?

About momentsphotographybysandy

This blog is designed to enrich the world of digital photography by expanding the creative potential allowed in Photoshop programs. Shoot - that sounds like fun!
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