How to Use Templates to Create a Collage or Montage in Photoshop - Digital Photography School
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How to Use Templates to Create a Collage or Montage in Photoshop

PS_collage_before-after.jpg

A short while ago I wrote an article on using templates to create a collage or montage of images in Gimp. Sometime after, the templates that I suggested you could use were taken down from the original website.

To help out our Gimp readers, I created a new set of templates and as I was making them, it seemed like a good idea to include instructions for Photoshop and Photoshop Elements as well as for Gimp. Here, therefore is how to use a downloadable template to create a montage of images:

PS_collage_step_1.jpg

Start by visiting this site and download the template zip file.

Then unzip the templates, save them where you can find them when you need to use them and open one of them. I’ve used the template triptych.psd.

PS_collage_step_2.jpg

When you open it, you’ll find that there are a series of layers. The top layer can be disabled or deleted at this point. The next two layers are instructions for Gimp and Photoshop users. Again, you can discard these two layers.

PS_collage_step_3.jpg

Open up the three images that you plan to use for this triptych. Images that are in portrait orientation will look best but you can use anything that you like – just be aware that you’re going to take a portrait orientation slice of the image.

In the template, click on Layer A and then click on the first of your images and drag and drop the background layer from the first of your images into the main image.

PS_collage_step_4.jpg

Click on the Move tool and size and position the image so that the interesting portion of it is over the black background. Click to accept this size and positioning and then with the new layer still selected, choose Layer > Create Clipping Mask. You’ll see that your layer is clipped to the size of the underlying shape.

You can fine-tune the placement and sizing by moving the contents of the new layer.

PS_collage_step_5.jpg
Now click on Layer B and again drag and drop the background layer from the second image into this template. Again, position the interesting portion of the image over the underlying background, sizing the image if desired. Create the clipping mask for that layer by selecting the image and choose Layer > Create Clipping Mask.

PS_collage_step_6.jpg

Repeat this for Layer C using your third image.

When you’re done, you can adjust the background of the image if desired by recoloring the layer marked background recolor if desired. You can now save and print the image or upload it to the web.

This same process can be used in Photoshop Elements.

Read more from our Post Production category.

Helen Bradley is a Lifestyle journalist who divides her time between the real and digital worlds, picking the best from both. She writes and produces video instruction for Photoshop and digital photography for magazines and online providers world wide. She has also written four books on photo crafts and blogs at Projectwoman.com.

  • http://jasoncollinphotography.com Jason St. Petersburg Photographer

    Thank you for providing sample files. That is very helpful. This kind of skill is important for a photographer to have, especially if you want to create your own marketing materials. Coincidentally, just last night I made a collage image of sorts, albeit using different methods than above:

    http://jasoncollinphotography.com/blog/2011/11/30/the-future-is-on-the-street.html

    Often I use a layer mask to reveal an underlying image onto a background.

  • http://www.briannadanyllephotography.com Brianna Danylle

    I’m so used to Lightroom, I didn’t even think about Photoshop templates. I love the look of templates but I didn’t even realize that photographers used templates for these effects. I like that I have a new tool for my photography toolbelt.

    Thanks for this article!

  • sillyxone

    Sometimes it’s hard to find a template that fits your need.

    The collage’s dimension is predetermined most of the time (like a template), so you can plan ahead and calculate each section’s dimension and spacing. Then basically it’s just a matter of cropping, resizing and pasting with the help of guidelines (exact to a single pixel).

    I guess I need to learn more about layer mask :-D

  • Kev Browne

    You must have read my mind! Only today I was looking through my new copy of Elements 10 trying to find out how to do this, without much success. Thank you :)

  • Stefan

    I have been looking for some templates to make a collage of the Vienna Secession Hall. I tried one of yours this morning with much success.
    Thank your for providing these templates and the introduction!

    https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/m4zY2FLMasWn6fQg3GVKQdMTjNZETYmyPJy0liipFm0?feat=directlink

    I look forward to your comments!

  • http://www.projectwoman.com/phototips Helen Bradley

    I love the way you used the multi-image template Stefan thank you for the comment – I love to see how people use these templates.
    Helen

  • http://bit.ly/oufr4c gnslngr45

    Totally could have used this a couple of weeks ago. Could really help me in the future though.

    flickr:

    http://bit.ly/oufr4c

  • http://www.SayItWithEcards.com Roz Fruchtman

    Dear Helen:

    Thank you so much. This is so generous of you to offer these templates free of charge.

    While they will surely help, they do get the juices stirred up!

    Enjoy your weekend and be blessed in whatever you do!

    Roz Fruchtman

  • http://www.elumenation.co.uk Ash

    Helen,

    I am a photographer, and will be at a proam golf tournament in the coming weeks.

    I would like to be able to use this method to create montages for each golfer, but none of these templates quite work.

    Could you explain how these templates were made, or how to make my own?

    Many Thanks,

    Ash

Some older comments

  • Ash

    July 15, 2013 10:01 pm

    Helen,

    I am a photographer, and will be at a proam golf tournament in the coming weeks.

    I would like to be able to use this method to create montages for each golfer, but none of these templates quite work.

    Could you explain how these templates were made, or how to make my own?

    Many Thanks,

    Ash

  • Roz Fruchtman

    February 24, 2013 09:56 pm

    Dear Helen:

    Thank you so much. This is so generous of you to offer these templates free of charge.

    While they will surely help, they do get the juices stirred up!

    Enjoy your weekend and be blessed in whatever you do!

    Roz Fruchtman

  • gnslngr45

    December 15, 2011 06:08 am

    Totally could have used this a couple of weeks ago. Could really help me in the future though.

    flickr:

    http://bit.ly/oufr4c

  • Helen Bradley

    December 5, 2011 09:13 am

    I love the way you used the multi-image template Stefan thank you for the comment - I love to see how people use these templates.
    Helen

  • Stefan

    December 3, 2011 08:34 pm

    I have been looking for some templates to make a collage of the Vienna Secession Hall. I tried one of yours this morning with much success.
    Thank your for providing these templates and the introduction!

    https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/m4zY2FLMasWn6fQg3GVKQdMTjNZETYmyPJy0liipFm0?feat=directlink

    I look forward to your comments!

  • Kev Browne

    December 2, 2011 09:16 am

    You must have read my mind! Only today I was looking through my new copy of Elements 10 trying to find out how to do this, without much success. Thank you :)

  • sillyxone

    December 2, 2011 08:35 am

    Sometimes it's hard to find a template that fits your need.

    The collage's dimension is predetermined most of the time (like a template), so you can plan ahead and calculate each section's dimension and spacing. Then basically it's just a matter of cropping, resizing and pasting with the help of guidelines (exact to a single pixel).

    I guess I need to learn more about layer mask :-D

  • Brianna Danylle

    December 2, 2011 07:55 am

    I'm so used to Lightroom, I didn't even think about Photoshop templates. I love the look of templates but I didn't even realize that photographers used templates for these effects. I like that I have a new tool for my photography toolbelt.

    Thanks for this article!

  • Jason St. Petersburg Photographer

    December 2, 2011 05:12 am

    Thank you for providing sample files. That is very helpful. This kind of skill is important for a photographer to have, especially if you want to create your own marketing materials. Coincidentally, just last night I made a collage image of sorts, albeit using different methods than above:

    http://jasoncollinphotography.com/blog/2011/11/30/the-future-is-on-the-street.html

    Often I use a layer mask to reveal an underlying image onto a background.

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