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Photoshop Montage

Using Photomerge to create photo montages By Stephen Schleicher

If you are using Adobe Photoshop CS2, chances are you didnt realize there was a handy feature to automatically stitch your panoramic images together.  What you may not realize is you can also use this feature to create a photo montage.

If you have a series of panoramic images, Photomerge works great.  From the File>Automate menu, select Photomerge.

This will launch the browser so you can find and select the images you want to stitch together.

When you have selected all of the image, click OK and let Photoshop do its thing.  It should only take a moment (depending on the file size and number of images).  Photoshop looks through all of the images, and searches for common edges and shapes and attempts to stitch them together.

It does a pretty good job with most images, but you may find you need to tweak it a bit.  It is not as good as having an application like Stitcher from RealViz, but it is pretty close. 

One of the options in Photomerge to pay special attention to is the Advanced Blending Feature.  This feature attempts to blur and blend the overlapping images together to create the seamless final composite.  Unfortunately there are not advanced controls to determine how much blending to do, but the built in algorithms seems to work nearly every time.

But what if you dont want to create a panoramic image?  What if instead you wish to quickly create a montage of photos for a magazine spread, website, or poster?  You can use Photomerge for that too.

Simply import the images you wish to use in your montage.  Photoshop CS2 will not be able to detect any matching images, so it will default to a blank canvas with all of the images at the top of the screen.

Now drag your images from the bar to the canvas and overlap as needed.  If you need to rotate images, use the Rotate Tool in the Photomerge interface.

When you save the file you have the option of saving it as is using the Photomerge blending option, or saving it with layers.  The layers method places each image on a separate layer and allows you to create your own blending method.

While this may not be the best method for creating a final montage of images, it is certainly a down and dirty method for quickly generating a concept to show a client for fast approval.

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Stephen Schleicher has crossed the country several times over the last couple of years going from Kansas to Atlanta , Georgia, and Southern California. In his time traveling, he has worked as an editor, graphic designer, videographer, director, and producer on a variety of video productions ranging from small internal pieces, to large multimedia
corporate events.

Currently, Stephen shares his knowledge with students at Fort Hays State University who are studying media and web development in the Information Networking and Telecommunications department. When he is not shaping the minds of university students, Stephen continues to work on video and independent projects for State and local agencies and organizations as well as his own ongoing works.

He is also a regular contributor to Digital Producer, Creative Mac, Digital Webcast, Digital Animators, and the DV Format websites, part of the Digital Media Online network of communities (www.digitalmedianet.com), where he writes about the latest technologies, and gives tips and tricks on everything from Adobe After Effects, to Appleā??s Final Cut Pro, LightWave 3D, to shooting and lighting video.

He has a Masters Degree in Communication from Fort Hays State University in Hays, Kansas. As a forward thinker, he wrote his Thesis on how Information Islands and e-commerce would play a major role in keeping smaller communities alive. This of course was when 28.8 dialup was king and people hadnā??t even invented the word e-commerce.

And, he spends what little free time he has biking, reading, traveling around the country, and contemplating the future of digital video and its impact on our culture. You can reach him at [email protected]

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