How to Create an Easy Collage in PhotoShop CS2

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Have you ever wished you could create one of those cool collages in which one or more photos are inset into another photo? It's not as hard as it looks if you have step-by-step directions to follow. Now you can combine two or more pictures and even add text to create unique and creative artwork with your photographs.

  • Open Photoshop CS2 and then open the two (or more) photos you would like to use for your collage. Make any adjustments and do any touchups you desire on these photos and resave them. Select "File," then "Save As" and save each image with a new name. (You can switch between photos by either clicking on the photo itself--if you can see it beneath another photo--or by selecting "Window" and then scrolling down to the bottom of the pop-up menu to choose the desired file.)

  • Decide which photo you want to be your background photo. Select "File," then "Save As" and save that image with a new name--whatever you want to call your collage project.

  • Select the first photograph you want to use as an inset into the background photo. Make sure it is the active photo that is open. Then select and copy the entire photo. (Click on "Select," then "All" and you will see a marquee appear around the entire photo. Then click "Edit," then "Copy").

  • Select the background/collage photo again and paste the inset photo into the collage file. (Click on "Edit," then "Paste.") The photograph will likely be just as large as the background photo, so you will need to resize the photo. The easiest way to do this is to use the Transform feature and then drag the photograph down to the size you want. (Click on "Edit," then "Transform," then "Scale"; then hold down the Shift key while you grab one of the corner boxes and drag the photo down to a smaller size. Release the Shift key when the photo is at the desired size. Then hit the "Enter" button.)

  • Move the inset photo into its final location. (Hit the "V" key on your keyboard to activate the "Move Tool," then drag the photo to the place where you want it in the collage.)

  • Repeat Steps 3, 4 and 5 for each additional photograph you want inserted into the collage as an inset into the background. Feel free to overlap some of the photos to create a pleasing composition.

  • Add text to your collage. (Click on the "Text Tool" to select it. Then look at the top of your screen, where you will see a toolbar showing the active font, font size, font color and other font attributes, including the justification (whether text lines up on the left, right or is centered). Click on any item in this toolbar to change the desired font, font size, font color and other attributes. Click anywhere on the collage and drag the mouse to create a text box of the size you want. Then type your text.

  • Hit the "V" on your keyboard again to re-activate the "Move Tool." Then left-click on your mouse and drag your text to its desired location.

  • Save the collage project file with all the layers intact. (Click "File," then "Save"; then click the "Save" button in the pop-up menu. Make sure "Format" is set to "Photoshop .PSD .PDD") This will enable you to make changes to the project later if you wish.

  • Flatten the image, then save it as a .jpg file. (Click on "Layer," then "Flatten Image." Click "File," then "Save As"; then click the "Save" button in the pop-up menu. Make sure "Format" is set to "JPEG" this time. )

  • Share or print your collage as desired. There's no need to tell all your friends how easy this was. Just sit back and enjoy the compliments you'll get.

Tips & Warnings

  • You may wish to familiarize yourself with the keyboard shortcuts in Photoshop if you will be creating multiple collages. It can speed up the process by eliminating keystrokes.
  • Photo collages make wonderful gifts for family and friends. Just pop them into a frame and wrap it or put it into a gift bag, and you have the perfect gift for any occasion.
  • Though this tutorial is specific to Photoshop CS2, other versions of Photoshop can produce similar results. However, the keystrokes may be slightly different.
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