Those of you that just finished the photo editing class at Torrance Griffith Adult Center remember we made a very simple photo collage consisting of only two photos and a background image. The key technique we used to blend the photos together was to borrow the Layer Mask that is part of an Adjustment Layer and apply it to a normal layer. PSE does not have the capability to apply masks to normal image layers like Photoshop CS4.
Expanding the technique to more pictures and making a more interesting collage is possible, but it would take a fair amount of time. The process is only slightly shortened if you use a plug-in that directly gives PSE Layer Masks for normal image layers. By the way we do deal with such plug-ins in the Advanced Editing classes I teach.
But there is a much easier way thanks to Microsoft’s Research Labs. They have created a program called AutoCollage 2008, and it’s free to download. Here is the link to its home page.
There is a link there to download the program, which is Version 1.1 now. It is very easy to use. After you start the program, you basically just select your images and it does the rest. You do not have very much control of the placement, but you are done in a couple of minutes. One thing I did learn about using it is to avoid select portrait mode images. The program tends to rotate these, which normal you would not want to do.
I find this program to be very useful for making title slides for slide shows and videos. Using it for that, I just select a few of the pictures from the slide show. If you are using PSE, you can use the File > Export command to copy your chosen pictures to a temporary folder. Run AutoCollage using the pictures from that folder, and then delete them after you are done. Remember, since you used the Export command, they were copies that PSE disowned once they were copied. The originals are untouched. Below is an example from a recent slide show I made.
Until next time,