Make a Digital Collage Using Photoshop

This is a really simple tutorial that will cover two features of Photoshop, the Quick Selection tool and SmartObject manipulation, which will be useful for creating You In (Digital) Collage Form! There are many ways to approach this task, and this tutorial uses a method I’ve found useful.

Obviously, with this specific assignment, you’ll need to do some brainstorming. What are your hobbies and interests? Anything significant about your childhood? Your favorite place to be? What makes you, you? Take a minute to think about this and write a list, then search for relevant images that convey whatever you come up with. The more images to choose from, the better. Once you’ve saved all of your images in one folder, open an image you’d like to use as your background into Photoshop. This will serve as your working project.

For my example, I chose to incorporate my family, pet and hobby. Ideally, you’d have more images, but for the sake of this tutorial I kept it simple.

Open an image you’d like to incorporate into your collage. Select the Quick Selection tool on the left menu bar and adjust your brush as needed using the settings at the top of the page. The + sign will highlight your selection, while the sign will reverse the selection. Select a specific piece of your image by dragging the brush on it while the + sign is active. If you go past a border, you can reverse it by switching your brush to the sign and cleaning the parts you don’t want selected.

Once your desired section is selected, right-click it and select “Layer via cut” or “Layer via copy”. Your isolated selection should then appear in the Layer list on the bottom right. To place it in the image you chose as your background, simply drag that new layer over to the tab that contains the background image and release over the canvas. This transfers the layer to your working project.

The images you collected will probably vary in size, so you’ll want to manipulate this by converting the layer into a SmartObject. I like to resize images/layers this way because it’s easy to use and you don’t lose quality in the process. In your working project, select the image you’d like to resize from the Layer list, right-click, and select “Convert to Smart Object”. Resize and move your image however you’d like against the background image.

These tools make it easy to build a unique digital collage. You can play with scale, placement, and incorporate as many images as you want. I hope this tutorial was helpful!

Self Portrait

So, things got weird with this one. I stumbled upon Averaging Concepts Using Flickr and decided to try it since I’d never averaged a photo before. But instead of using pictures found on Flickr, I thought it might be worth it to use a bunch of self portraits. I created the Averaged Portrait assignment to better suit my intentions and hopefully encourage others to experiment.

My goal was to take a series of selfies, then compile them and end with my face blurry but my body still. I sat in front of a white wall, attached my phone to a small tripod, and then set the timer to 3 seconds so my arm wouldn’t be extended in the pictures. I took about 10-15 pictures of myself in the same position, only moving my head in different directions. Once I finished, I loaded them into Photoshop.

Since my body shifted slightly from hitting the shutter, I aligned the layers and cropped the jagged corners/excess space. I then converted the layers to a SmartObject and selected ‘Mean’ from the Stack Mode options. After that, I adjusted the color, brightness and contrast of the photo. It turned out pretty cool. I tried the ‘Range’ option next and inverted the colors — I liked how that came out even more than ‘Mean’! This was a great learning experience for me. I really love how peculiar the images turned out.

Ceto Swims

I was excited when I saw that we’d incorporate our recently-created characters in a visual assignment. I really loved the setting of Ceto’s entrance and decided to recreate it by adjusting the colors of an image that already existed. I figured the best way to approach this was through the Color Changer assignment.

In the excerpt I wrote last week, Ceto rises from the depths of the ocean and rests on top of the water. So, my first task was to find an image of a woman on, in or around water. Once I had one, I used the quick selection tool in Photoshop to isolate the woman from the rest of the picture. I adjusted the colors and lighting of the water and the woman separately to reflect my idea of Ceto’s intro. Because Ceto has light-gray skin and black hair, I made the woman black and white. Then I adjusted different levels to make the water appear dark purplish-blue. I think it matches my description well.

Moon Dumpster Power!

Sailor Moon: My favorite superheroine. Ever.

This series led to my first experiences with online storytelling and community; at age eleven, I discovered the world of fan fiction, I began sketching manga, and even experimented with creating my own anime music videos. Sailor Moon inspired me to test the limits of my creativity and learn how incredible and fun the Internet could be. That’s why she is the subject of my Life of a Superhero assignment.

Using the quick selection tool in Photoshop, I cut Sailor Moon out of her “attack” pose and replaced her magic scepter with trash bags. I used the eraser tool to try and clean whatever pieces I’d missed, and then placed her within the photo of a dumpster. I had to resize her accordingly and she ended up a little blurry, so I used the sharpen tool to fix as best I could.

I just wish I looked this majestic while taking out the trash.

Moon Dumpster Powerrr

Mixin’ It Up

Throughout the years, I’ve noticed I have a pretty easy time staying engaged in the creative process when it comes to visual art. I think this contributes to my interest in experimenting with digital tools so much. Naturally, my first choice from the assignment bank was from the visual category.

I have a great appreciation for collage art. I love seeing elements from completely different images come together to form something extraordinary; something that makes you think, “what if?” I’ve wanted to make more of a habit to create my own, but I struggle with setting aside the time to do it. (Again, this is why I’m so grateful to be in this class… I’m forced to make the time.)

Combophoto was the perfect assignment to warm myself up to this course. Inspired by other examples of collage art (see rezanfajar and mr.babies), I decided to combine a floral illustration with an eye. I searched through floral patterns and prints and found an image of colorful flowers with outstretched human arms. Using Photoshop, I placed part of the illustration inside of a pencil-sketched eye.