You can seamlessly blend multiple photos together in Photoshop Elements and make a collage of your favorite events.
Click on the video below to see exactly how it's done. Under the video is an illustrated outline of the steps involved to blend multiple photos together with Photoshop Elements.
Open the photos that you want to blend together for your collage in Photoshop Elements.
I'm using four photos for this tutorial. Their thumbnails are visible down in the Photo Bin.
With this technique we start by making a new blank document to whatever size we want our collage of photos to be.
To do that go up to the File Menu and choose New>Blank File…. Or use the keyboard shortcut Command-N on a Mac or Control-N
on a PC.
The “New” dialog box will appear. Fill in the pertinent information and then click "OK" to close the box and accept your changes.
My new blank document appears in the Active Image Area and it's also now one of the images down in the Photo Bin.
Now we can start placing our photos onto our new blank document that we just created.
Make one of the photos active by either clicking on it’s thumbnail down in the photo bin or by clicking on it’s tab up at the top of the window.
First we need to select the photo. To do that go up to the Select menu and choose “All”. Or you can use the keyboard shortcut “Command-A” on a Mac or “Control-A on a PC”.
Go to the Edit menu and choose “Copy” by clicking on it or you can use the keyboard shortcut Command-C on a Mac or Control-C on a PC.
Now we have that photo copied to our computer’s clipboard so we can close it in PS Elements by clicking on the little “X” in it’s tab.
Now go to the new document that we created by either clicking on it’s tab at the top or by clicking on it’s thumbnail down in the Photo bin.
Next we’ll paste the photo that we copied into the blank document by going up to the Edit menu and clicking on “Paste”. Or you can use the keyboard shortcut Command-V on a Mac or Control-V on a PC.
Over in the Layers panel you can see that it pasted that photo in as a new Layer.
Since that photo is bigger than the blank document that we pasted it into, it completely covered the white in the Active Image Area and we can’t even see the entire photo that we pasted in.
So let’s size it down in the next step.
Go up to the Image menu and choose Transform>Free Transform… by clicking on it. Or you can use the keyboard shortcut Command-T on a Mac or Control-T on a PC.
When you do that you get the Free Transform bounding box around the photo. There are eight adjustment handles located on the bounding box. They look like tiny squares. There’s one on each corner of the bounding box and one at the center of the line on each side.
But since our photo that we pasted in is so large, we can’t see the whole bounding box or all of the adjustment handles. We can only see three of the eight handles.
To be able to see the entire bounding box go up to the View menu and choose “Fit on Screen” or you can use the keyboard shortcut Command-zero on a Mac or Control-zero on a PC.
When we do that it reduces the view enough that we can see the entire bounding box and all eight of its handles.
To resize the photo proportionally hover your cursor over one of the corner handles.
Wait until your cursor changes to a diagonal double-headed arrow. Then you can press down the mouse button and drag in towards the center.
While you’re in free transform you can also move your photo around by placing your cursor inside of the bounding box.
The cursor will turn into an arrow indicating that you can press down the mouse button and drag the photo to a different position.
I’m not completely sure what size I want this photo. I know that I have four different photos to place so I’m going to start by sizing each one a little bigger than one quarter the size of my document just by visually estimating that size.
I can always go back into free transform and change it if I need to later. For now I’m going to accept these changes by clicking on the green check mark.
Go back and start at STEP THREE for each photo that you want to add to your collage.
Once you have all of your photos placed, sized, and positioned go to the next step (STEP FIVE).
Now we can start blending the edges of the photos together. I like to start with the photo that’s at the top of the Layers panel because it’s in front of all of the other photos as we discussed in the video.
We’re going to use Layer Masks to do our blending. If you want an explanation of how Layer Masks work here's a link to a tutorial I did:
Add a Layer Mask to that top Layer. To do that make sure that it’s the active Layer by clicking on it in the Layers panel.
Next click on the little icon in the Layers panel that looks like a circle inside of a square. That’s the “Add layer mask” icon.
Since we added that Layer Mask to our top Layer we now have two thumbnails for that Layer in the Layers panel.
The one on the left represents our regular Layer image and the thumbnail on the right represents the Layer Mask.
Make sure that the Layer Mask is active by clicking on it’s thumbnail.
For this technique we’re going to add black by painting it on the Layer Mask with the Brush tool. So let’s go over to the Tools panel and click on the Brush tool to make it active.
We want to paint with black. The Brush tool uses whatever color the Foreground Color is.
The Foreground Color color is the top overlapping square located at the bottom of the Tools panel. The square behind it is called the Background Color color. The Foreground Color will be either black or white when a Layer Mask is active.
We want it to be black. So if it’s white just click on the little curved arrow next to it and that will switch the Foreground Color and Background Color colors.
Make sure to have a soft-edge Brush selected from the Tool Options.
Position your cursor right in the middle of the two edges, hold down the mouse button and just drag along that edge. To keep your line straight you can also hold down the Shift key as you drag.
When we get to the bottom of that photo we can release the mouse button (and shift key if using). And you should get a nice blend between those two photos.
Repeat this step (STEP FIVE) until you have all of the edges blended that you want to be blended.
Here's a look at my final result:
This was a fairly long tutorial but once you get the hang of it you can go through the steps pretty fast.
Here's a summary of the steps:
Gather some photos from your last event and give it a try. The people that were a part of it will love to see the resulting collage.
Until next time, this is Rick saying . . . Take care!