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!