How to Create a Collage in Photoshop CS4

by Filonia LeChat

Your may find any number of reasons to experiment with a digital collage for your business, such as candid photos for an employee recognition ceremony or a striking way to display new products. Although Adobe Photoshop CS4 offers an immense collection of tools for editing images, it can also serve as a repository for simply storing and shuffling images on the page. Design a Photoshop collage for hard-copy printouts, Web backgrounds or any other purpose.

Launch Photoshop CS4. Click the "File" menu and choose “New.” Set up the dimensions of the collage page to fit your requirements, such as “8.5” in the Height box and “11” in the Width box for a standard paper size or something that fits your product catalog pages. Click the “OK” button to have Photoshop change the work area to fit your dimensions.

Click the "File" menu again, then select “Open.” Navigate to the location where the images for the collage are stored, such as a folder on the network. Press and hold down the “Ctrl” key, then click once on each image you want to use in the collage. When they are all highlighted, click the “Open” button. Note that each image appears in a separate tab across the top of the work area. If your images are stored throughout your network in different places, browse to and double-click each image separately.

Click one of the tabs, then click the "Select" menu. Choose “Select All” and press “Ctrl-C” to copy the picture. Close the tab by clicking the “X” in its top-right corner.

Click back to the blank collage page and press “Ctrl-V” to paste in the image. Note that the image pastes onto the Photoshop canvas, but also now appears as "Layer 1" in the Layers pane for the collage. If you don’t see the pane, click the Window menu, then click “Layers.”

Repeat the copy process on another of your opened images. Close the tab. Closing tabs is optional, but helps you keep track of which images you’ve already pasted into the collage. Click the collage page and press “Ctrl-V” to paste in the picture and add "Layer 2" to the pane.

Continue copying, pasting and closing tabs until each picture is represented on the collage page and has a layer in the Layers panel.

Rearrange how the pictures appear by clicking the "Move" tool at the top of the Tools pane. Click an individual layer to enable it. This allows you to move the picture on that layer. Drag the picture around, but make sure it doesn’t overlap onto the gray Photoshop background or it will get cut off.

Experiment with how the pictures look in collage styles such as tiled, where they meet edge to edge, or overlapping, until you have achieved the desired look.

Click "File" and choose “Save As.” The Format menu shows “PSD.” This lets you keep the layers intact so you can come back and make changes at a later time. Click “Save.”

Click the "Format" menu and change the extension to a graphics format such as “JPG.” If Photoshop pops up a warning message about flattening layers, click “OK” or “Yes.” This means you won’t be able to make changes to the images’ positions, but converting to an image file is necessary for anyone without Photoshop CS4 to be able to open your collage. Click “Save.”


About the Author

Fionia LeChat is a technical writer whose major skill sets include the MS Office Suite (Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Publisher), Photoshop, Paint, desktop publishing, design and graphics. LeChat has a Master of Science in technical writing, a Master of Arts in public relations and communications and a Bachelor of Arts in writing/English.

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