So by now you know the news that Picnik is closing shop coming up in April. For the most part, this does not bother me! Picasa (free photo organizing/editing tool by Google, download link) is picking up the slack (especially in its v3.9 release and hopefully even more so in the upcoming v4.0).
Samples of Picnik Collage Options
However, there was one feature of Picnik that I have yet to meet a match in ease of use. That feature is the collage tool. You could pick a collage box pattern, drop your photos in. Slide them as needed to get the crop just right. And 1-2-3 you were done with a cool looking collage!
Until this feature pops up again in either Google+ or Picasa (or the up and coming Picnik competitor iPiccy.com) - I'm off on another brainstorming session to figure out "the next best thing." So here's what I have come up with.
Picasa does collages. However, they just are not "presets" like Picnik. So here I have charted some different collage patterns that can be a useful reference. For the individual component photos, I am mixing some common crop sizes like square (1:1, aspect 1.0), standard digital photo (4:3, aspect 1.333), 4x6 (aspect 1.5), and HD/Widescreen aspect (16:9, aspect 1.777). By composing with these different shapes, you can create several different interesting patterns. Aspect ratio is simply the mathematics of the ratio of the sides, therefore a square is 1 (equal sides) and the larger the aspect ratio, the WIDER the shape is in relation to its height. Crops that travel in either direction away from the standard 4:3 such as to square or to a wide 16:9 format creates some eye appealing interest! Don't be afraid of the crop tool!
So a quick checklist to create Picasa grid collages is as follows:
- look above and pick the pattern you want to use, count how many photos you need to select (2, 3, 4, or 6)
- Since we are cropping the photos, we'll want to make a copy so we don't alter the originals - use the export command for the selected photos - use the original resolution setting and put a copy in a temporary folder (exports folder)
- now switch to the exports folder for the cropping to begin - crop in the right counts of each shape type according to the collage pattern above that you chose
- once the crops are done, select all the photos and use the collage tool button
- now we are on the canvas, pick a canvas size in landscape mode and pick a background color of black (or any color of your choosing)
- Move the photos around into their approximate positions
- size the photos so they are big, but you have enough room on the canvas to fit the entire assembly - coordinate matching side sizes to get alignments
- now move them around into their final positions - now mind the gap! - make sure there is a small but noticeable and EVEN gap between all photos
- Click the create collage button when completed
- Use the crop tool on the overall collage (manual shape mode) to cut off the excess canvas
- Use the export tool to create a "blog sized" graphic - 684 pixel max width if sending the image to an ActiveRain post
- upload the photo from the "exports" subfolder into your blog post
You can see a sample collage that I created using this technique below:
Further, now let me SHOW you how to do all this since it is probably easier for you to understand once you see it. Here's my tutorial video.
If you want to learn more about how to make your blog posts OUTSTANDING by using graphics, be sure and check out my online course "Graphics for Bloggers 101". It is 4.5 hours of pre-recorded instruction that you can watch at your own pace! There is just a few more days left at the introductory discounted rate!
Thanks for coming to the classroom today, I hope you learned something new! :)