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Turn a Photo to a Collage in Photoshop


Hey everyone, Steve Patterson here from
PhotoshopEssentials.com. In this video, I’ll show you how to easily turn an image into a simple square photo collage with Photoshop! I’ll be using Photoshop CC but everything is fully compatible with Photoshop CS6. Let’s get started! Here’s the image I’ll be using. I downloaded this one from Adobe Stock. The first thing we need to do is crop our image into a square. Select the Crop Tool from the Toolbar. In the Options Bar, set the Aspect Ratio to Square. Photoshop adds an initial square cropping border around the image. Back in the Options Bar, make sure that Delete Cropped Pixels is checked. Then drag the crop handles to resize the border around your subject. If you’re working with a portrait, try to keep the person’s main facial features (their eyes, nose and mouth) within the
center square. To crop the image, press Enter or Return on a Mac. To help us divide the image into smaller squares, we’ll add some guides. Go up to the View menu in the Menu Bar and choose New Guide. In the New Guide dialog box, set the Orientation to Horizontal, and then enter 33% for the Position. Click OK to close the dialog box. Photoshop adds the first horizontal guide a third of the way down from the top. To add a second guide, go back up to the View menu, and again choose New Guide. Leave the Orientation set to Horizontal, but this time, enter 66% for the Position. Click OK to close the dialog box, and Photoshop adds a second guide, this time two thirds down from the top. Go back up to the View menu and again choose New Guide. For this third guide, change the Orientation to Vertical, and enter 33% for the Position. Then click OK. This adds a vertical guide a third of
the way from the left. And finally, go back one last time to the View menu and choose New Guide. Leave the Orientation set to Vertical, but change the Position to 66%. Click OK when you’re done. Photoshop adds a second vertical guide
two-thirds of the way from the left, and we now have our image divided into
smaller squares. We need to select each square and copy it to its own layer. Select the Rectangular Marquee Tool from the Toolbar. To make sure that our selections will snap to the guides, go up to the View menu, choose Snap To. and make sure that Guides has a checkmark beside it. If it doesn’t, click on it to select it. We’ll start with the square in the upper left. Click and drag a selection outline around it. If you followed the last step, the selection outline should snap to the guides. To copy the square to its own layer, go up to the Layer menu, choose New, and then choose Layer Via Copy. Or a faster way is to press the
keyboard shortcut, Ctrl+J, or Command+J on a Mac. In the Layers panel, we see that Photoshop has placed a copy of the square on a new layer above the image. Before we can select a second square, we first need to reselect the image. Click on the Background layer to select it. Each time you select and copy a new square, you’ll need to reselect the Background layer first. Then draw a selection around the square in the top center. To quickly copy it to a new layer, press Ctrl+J, or Command+J on a Mac. And back in the Layers panel, we now have two squares above the image. Tto select and copy the remaining squares, just repeat the same steps. First, click on the Background layer to select the image. Draw a selection outline around a new square, and then press Ctrl+J, or Command+J on a Mac, to copy the square to a new layer. I’ll continue selecting and copying the squares until I’ve selected each one. And in the Layers panel, we now see all
nine squares, each on a separate layer above the image. We don’t need our guides anymore, so let’s hide them by going up to the View menu, choosing Show, and then choosing Guides. To give us room to move and rotate the
squares, we’ll add more canvas space around the image. And we can do that using the Crop Tool. Select the Crop Tool from the Toolbar. Press and hold the Alt key, or the Option key on a Mac, and then click and drag any of the crop handles outward and away from the image. The Alt or Option key lets you resize the
cropping border from its center. Press Enter, or Return on a Mac, to accept it. And Photoshop adds the extra canvas space. By default, Photoshop fills the new
space with white. But let’s fill our background with black. In the Layers panel, select the Background layer. Then go up to the Edit menu and choose Fill. In the Fill dialog box, set the Contents option to Black, and then click OK. The image now appears in front of a black background. At the moment, we can’t really
see our squares. So let’s make them more obvious. And to make them look like
separate photos, we’ll add a stroke around them. We’ll start by adding a
stroke to one of the squares, and then we’ll copy and paste it on to the others. In the Layers panel, select the top layer (the one that holds the square in the upper left). Then click the Layer Styles, icon or the fx icon at the bottom of the Layers panel, and choose Stroke from the list. In the Layer Style dialog box, click the color swatch. And then, in the Color
Picker, change the color of the stroke to white, and then click OK. Back in the Layer Style dialog box, set the Position of the stroke to Inside. Then keep an eye on the square in the upper left of your image as you increase the Size value by dragging the slider. I’ll go with a value of around 32 pixels,
but this will depend on the size of your image. Click OK to close the dialog box. And we now have a border around one of the squares. Back in the Layers panel, we see our stroke listed as an effect below the layer. To quickly apply the same
stroke to the other squares, right-click, or control-click on a Mac, on the top layer, and then choose Copy Layer Style from the menu. Click on the second layer
from the top (Layer 2) to select it. Press and hold your Shift key, and then click on the layer just above the Background layer (Layer 9). This selects all of the other squares at once. Right-click, or control-click on a Mac, on any of the selected layers, and then choose Paste Layer Style. And just like that, Photoshop pastes the stroke onto the other squares. To create more of a collage effect, we’ll move and rotate the squares using
Photoshop’s Free Transform command. Select the Move Tool from the Toolbar. In the Options Bar, make sure Auto Select is turned on, and that it’s set to Layer. This will let us easily select each square just by clicking on it. Click on the square in the upper left to select it. Then go up to the Edit menu and
choose Free Transform, or use the keyboard shortcut, Ctrl+T, or Command+T on a Mac. Photoshop places the Free Transform box and handles around the square. To move the square, click and drag inside the Free Transform box. You can also move it using the arrow keys on your keyboard. To rotate it, move your cursor outside the box, and then click and drag. To accept it, press Enter, or Return on a Mac. And our first square has been moved
and rotated into place. To move and rotate the other squares, just repeat the same steps. First click on a square to select it, and then press Ctrl+T, or Command+T on a Mac, to quickly choose Free Transform. Move the square into place, and then rotate it into position. Press Enter, or Return on a Mac, to accept
it. I’m going to leave the center square in its original spot, but I’ll continue moving and rotating the other squares until I’m happy with the results. If you just want to move a square without rotating it, there’s no need to open Free Transform. You can just click and drag it with the Move Tool, or nudge it into place with the arrow keys on your keyboard. At this point, we’ve created the main effect. But there’s a couple more things
we can do. One of them is that we can background color. And to do that, we’ll use a Solid Color fill layer. In the Layers panel, click on the
Background layer to select it. Then click the New Fill or Adjustment Layer icon and choose Solid Color from the list. In the Color Picker, choose a new color for your background. Or choose a color directly from your image by moving your cursor into the image and clicking on a color to select it. Once you’ve found a color you like, click OK to close the Color Picker. Finally, let’s finish off the effect by adding a drop shadow behind the squares. To add the shadow to all of the squares at once, we’ll first place them into a layer
group. Click on the top layer (Layer 1) to select it. Then press and hold your Shift key and click on the layer directly above the fill layer (Layer 9). This selects all of the squares at once. Go up to the Layer menu and choose Group Layers. And back in the Layers panel, all of our squares have been placed into a new group. You can twirl the group open or closed by clicking the arrow next to the group’s name. To apply a drop shadow to the group, click on the Layer Styles icon and then choose Drop Shadow from the list. This opens the Drop Shadow
options in the Layer Style dialog box. You can adjust the angle and distance of
the shadow from here, but it’s easier just to click and drag inside the document. As you drag, you’ll see the Angle and Distance values updating in the dialog box. Once you’ve set the Angle and Distance, go back to the dialog box and adjust the Size value to soften the shadow edges. You can also adjust the Opacity to make the shadow appear lighter or darker. I’ll lower mine to 30%. When you’re happy with the results, click OK to close the dialog box. And there we have it! That’s how to easily turn an image into a simple square photo collage in Photoshop! As always, I hope you enjoyed this video, and if you did, please consider Liking it, Sharing it and Subscribing to our channel. Visit our website, photoshopessentials.com, for more tutorials. Thanks for watching, and I’ll see you next time. I’m Steve Patterson from
PhotoshopEssentials com.

14 Comments

  1. Photoshop Essentials Author

    Hi everyone, Steve here. In this video, I show you how to easily turn an image into a simple, square photo collage with Photoshop. We start by cropping the image into a square, and then we divide it into smaller squares. We add a border around each one so they look like separate photos, and then we move and rotate them into place. Finally, we change the background color, and we finish off by adding a drop shadow behind the effect! I included some useful tips in the video, like how to add canvas space with the Crop Tool, how to copy and paste layer styles, and an easy way to add your Drop Shadow. As always, please leave any comments, questions or suggestions below, and thanks for watching!

    Reply
  2. Valentin Stepaniuk Author

    You don't necessarily need to use the Free Transform command (Ctrl+T), you could just have selected the Show Transform Controls option.

    Reply

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