Picasa Photo App Series [Part 6] Collages

Education & Training with Tech Training for You!

This is part 6 of the series where I'm teaching you how to use the Free Photo Organizing and Editing App called Picasa. If you need to catch up, check out my Picasa Series recap listing here and you will see the previous articles. Today we're going to be looking at Creating Collages.

(BTW, I posted twice yesterday once on tag clouds, once on PIcasa - if you missed the Picasa post you can catch it via the link above)

The Collage feature in Picasa is very cool. It allows you to select multiple photos and create a single composite graphic that you can use. I'm going to illustrate the usefulness of this tool in two ways today - a graphic for your blog and a wallpaper for your computer desktop. (The first part of this tutorial, I'll be using graphics from Shar Sitter, one my subscribers who does staging work. The composite graphic will be for before/after comparison)

To start off with, select the photos that you want to use for your collage and then click the Collage button. A couple of tips are worth mentioning here - First, if not all the photos are in the same folder, you can create what Picasa terms an "Album" where you can assemble photos from various folders (stay tuned, another tutorial!). Another thing to suggest, if you want to select a few photos, click the first one and then Ctrl+Click on the additional ones. In that way you build a selection set of target photos.

You will see the collage editing mode window below. The left side of the window has a settings palette. For starters, check your background color. If you are making a graphic to insert into a blog, choose white. I also typically use 8.5x11 paper in portrait mode to create my blog graphics and then build a full width graphic that goes edge to edge. The Drop Shadows (ON) setting is a subtle touch that brings depth to your creation. The picture borders can be turned on or off. A white border around photos in a pile can create a nice effect.

Notice also in the figure below, when you select on a specific photo, you get an "editing wheel" that lets you rotate the photo as well as size it. If you grab the orange handle and drag right it gets larger and drag left to get smaller. Use that same handle in a rotation motion to turn a photo.

All of the above edits are in the "Picture Pile" mode of collage. At the top of the settings palette, you can choose other modes like you see in this figure at left.

You can play around with these different settings. There are some interesting ones there!

Other things you should know...

If you select a photo and right-click it you will get options. The "Bring to Top" and "Move to Bottom" options are ones I use all the time.

Once you are done, you need to click on the "Create Collage" button (located on the left-hand palette) to process your composition into an image.

Now if you are using this graphic in a blog post, you will need to resize the graphic to smaller. You can use the "Export" command to create a blog-sized graphic (see my post here about this command) Below is a collage of Shar's project as an example of what you can do. Ok - hold on here - I realize there's a little more I need to teach you... I post-produced just a little... I added text on top of my graphic and I also used another photo edit tool to crop down the full page that you will get if you set it up the way I illustrated. I'll write a follow-up post tomorrow to clarify a bit. But in the meanwhile, you can start practicing with creating collages.

The other thing that is fun to do with collages is to create a cool desktop wallpaper from some of your recent favorite photos. The process is very much the same as above. You'll want to choose a different background color than white (I like dark blue).

Also, you can change the page size to match the shape of your monitor (i.e. widescreen or standard). You can see the options for page size on the right. In my case, I'll use 16:10 widescreen monitor.

Below you can see the updated desktop wallpaper that I just created today. Be sure and subscribe if you like this series (and tutorials on lots of other stuff), there's more to come!

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Kim Boekholder Utah Real Estate
Results Real Estate 801.580.5624 - Draper, UT
Broker, Results Real Estate

ahhh I missed the first 5 steps.  I'm going to have to go back and read them.  I love picasa, but I am only a beginner.  Thank you for the great blog.  I look forward to reading your other steps.  Thank you

Sep 16, 2010 06:48 AM #1
Jeffrey DiMuria 321.223.6253 Waves Realty
Waves Realty - Melbourne, FL
Florida Space Coast Homes

really good post...wow...I need to read the first five parts and catch up.

Sep 16, 2010 06:49 AM #2
Ken Tracy
Coldwell Banker Residential - Naperville, IL
Helping clients buy and sell since 2005

Hi Craig.  Congrats on your continuous success! 

Are you going to leave any gold stars for the rest of us?:)

Thanks for writing,


Sep 16, 2010 07:06 AM #3
Kathryn Maguire
GreatNorfolkHomes.com (757) 560-0881 - Chesapeake, VA
Serving Chesapeake, Norfolk, VA Beach

Thanks once again for giving us all a very useful lesson.  I love Picassa and have played with collages but your description makes it much more clear to me.

Sep 16, 2010 08:12 AM #4
Wendy Hayden
Photographer, Home Stager, ePRO - Richmond, VA
Chesterfield, Richmond & Powahatan

Very interesting way to use this feature!  Excellent info, as always!

Sep 16, 2010 03:20 PM #5
Robert Schwabe
EXP Realty - Orange Park, FL
Orange Park Real Estate

Craig - Great series on Picasa. I just started using Picasa and these tips are very useful.

Sep 16, 2010 03:41 PM #6
Shar Sitter
Rooms With Style - Minneapolis, MN
Home Staging and Redesign Minneapolis/ St. Paul, M

OH, I love this!!! I had no idea I could do this in Picasaand wondered how all those cool things were done with pictures. I can't wait to dig in and play with this. Be expecting a few emails with questions. LOL     You made my before and after pictures even better!! And your photos are pretty darn cute too!   ps...you can have all the gold stars in my opinion.

Sep 16, 2010 04:20 PM #7
Phil Leng
Retired - Kirkland, WA
Phil Leng - Retired


That was great.

Thanks so much


Sep 16, 2010 05:29 PM #8
Toronto, ON

Craig - This is a fantastic tutorial on using the collage feature in Picasa!

Sep 17, 2010 01:11 AM #9
Al & Peggy Cunningham, Brokers
RE/MAX West Realty Inc., Brokerage - Brampton, ON
Our Family Wants To Help Your Family!

Hi Craig, we are going to have to jump in and try it.  Just reading leaves us a little confused here and there.

Sep 17, 2010 02:13 AM #10
Andy Chaudoir
Professional Inspection Services - Georgetown, Texas - Georgetown, TX
Your Home Inspection Connection in Central Texas

Hello Craig - I love this series.  I will definitely subscribe to your blogs.

Sep 17, 2010 02:38 PM #11
Michael Scher
Austin Home Inspection Team - Austin, TX

Greetings Craig, I am a Picasa fan myself. I've used the collage feature to create a desktop wallpaper of my family.

The adage, "A picture is worth 1000 words," is certainly true here.  Let see if I can explain what I see and find out if I understand your post correctly.  I see a living room picture labeled 'Before' that is dark, empty, and the view is offest.  I see a living room picture labeled 'After' that is bright, fully furnished with chairs, lamps and wall photos and the point of view is centered on the fireplace rather than the window.

Other than the post-production text-on-graphics and cropping that you stated, are you suggesting the transformation from 'Before' to 'After' is accomplished using the Collage feature?

Thanks, Michael

Sep 22, 2010 05:53 AM #12
Craig Daniels
Tech Training for You! - Staten Island, NY
Technology Instructor/Project Consultant

Michael - not 100% following your question - I needed material for my tutorial on collage making in picasa. So I snagged the photos from a post of my AR pal, Shar - The before/after comparison is seen well by stacking them in the collage - there's not more to it than that - ideally these shots would be from the same camera POV, but that wasn't the case in this room, but still effective to show the beneficial effects of staging. thanks for commenting

Sep 22, 2010 05:59 AM #13
Judy Cicalese
William Raveis Real Estate - New Canaan, CT
Market Knowledge-Social Media Savvy 203-638-7812

I use the collage feature all the time for my listings.  I print a collage for cover of (3 ring notebook) which I leave at the home along with other full page photos (especially if they are beautiful summer photos) and we are going into Fall, the buyers through can see the beautiful colors of the outside.  Thanks for sharing - I'll ck out all your blog posts for Picassa

Oct 02, 2010 09:32 AM #14
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