Create digital photo collages

Use your computer and a handy template to create quick photo collages. Group Editor Melissa Inman walks you through the steps of using one of her digital templates.

Hi, I'm Melissa Inman, group editor for Scrapbooks Etc. Magazine. I wanna tell you about how you can use drag-and-drop digital photo templates to make your scrapbooking as easy as possible. I really like using these drag-and-drop templates that I've created because it allows me to use a lot of different photos, print them as 1 sheet, and then scrapbook them traditionally because I still like to play with paper and stickers. So this is 1 that I did for a recent editor's letter. You can see that I entered the photos in some of the slots on the templates, and then I filled other spaces with patterned paper. I printed out the images and then I just embellished as I normally would. This is another variation on that same template. It's the same basic structure, but instead, I use photos in more of the spaces, and let the pattern be behind the images rather than as mixed into a part of it. So, let me go ahead and show you, on your computer screen, how you can use the drag-and-drop digital templates. The first thing you'll need to do is open one of the templates in your photo editing program. I'm using Adobe Photoshop here. Once I have the template open, I wanna go ahead and do a Save As because I wanna make sure that I leave the original file intact so that I can use it as many times as I want to later on. So I'm just gonna name it something like the name of my project and save it as a Photoshop file. Then I'm gonna go ahead and open my images. I'd like to use the Browse function because it gives me a chance to see all the different pictures that I have to choose from. They're all sorted into file folders based on when I took them. So, once I pick out the images that I want, I'm just gonna go ahead and double click and open my 1st image. Then I'm gonna use the Select tool, and I'm gonna click on my image, and then just hold down the key as I drag it over to the template. You can see it all drop in there. The next thing I need to do is send it behind one of the template spaces, so I'm gonna go ahead and use the Clipping Mask function to the Create Clipping Mask. Just control or command G, and once you get used to doing this often, you'll be able to use those quick keys. Now I need to change the size because it's obviously too large, so I'm gonna go ahead and scale my image. Now you have a couple choices here. You can either use these little open-ended squares that are in the corner of your image, and use those to scale, or you can use the percentage indicators at the top of your screen. And that's what I'm gonna go ahead and do here because it's easier sometimes if you can't see all the corner points on your image to just enter a specific percentage that you want to reduce your image to, or enlarge your image to if that's the case. So I'm gonna go ahead and type that in, and then you'll see that the image has gotten a lot smaller. So it's about the right size. I don't need to make any more adjustments, so I can go ahead and click the little check mark that means it's okay. I'm gonna open another image. Drag it over just like I did the first one. I'm gonna go ahead and do my clipping mask, and then I'm gonna scale the image just like I did the last time. This time, I'm gonna use the little squares on the ends, move that into the right spot, and get it just the right size. And, as you can see, I've got a little bit of image bleeding over into my other photo, so I need to go ahead and remove that. So I'm gonna select the Mark key tool, and then I'm just gonna highlight that area of the image. Just go ahead and kind of surround it there with my little dotted line, and then you can go ahead and just go up and hit Clear or Delete, and that will get rid of the extra image. I'm gonna do that to this one as well. Just select that area that I don't want, go to Edit, and hit Clear, or again, you can just hit the Delete button. So I've shuffled a whole bunch of photos in here, and I'm on my last one now. Again, I'm just gonna scale this one. Get it just the right size. I'm gonna need to move it into the right location. Make sure it's working well. We'll fine tuning here. Alright, that looks good. So I'm gonna hit my check mark, let it know that I like that. And then, as you can see, I've got a lot of image on the sides that isn't working. So this time, I'm gonna select around my image, and then I'm gonna go out and actually do inverse, and then I'm gonna hit the Clear, and it's gonna get rid of all the excess image. So if you've got excess on both sides, that's an easy way to do it. And then I just hit D-Select there. So then that's all done. Your photo collage is finished. You can go over to your layers pallet, and you just wanna flatten the image now, and then it will just turn everything. All the grid lines will be white now instead of the grayed out that they were. You wanna go ahead and save. I'm doing a Save As. I'm gonna save it as a JPEG. Usually results in a little smaller file size, and that's it. You're ready to print out your image. Your photo collage is complete. Okay, once you've finished your collage and you've printed it out, you're ready to scrapbook your page. So, here are the photos. This is the -- So there you go. Now you can see how easy it is to use the digital drag-and-drop templates to create absolutely fabulous photo collages. Check our website for frequent downloads of templates that I've created. I'm Melissa, and thanks for watching.