This layout was SO fun to do! It is one of my favorites to date. It was inspired by the Hodge Podge Challenge hosted by Liz from Paislee Press earlier this month. The challenge was to create a “Mosaic” layout. Many of you have sent me emails inquiring as to how I made it, so I thought I would just do a tutorial on it. 🙂 So get comfy… there are a lot of screen shots on this one. hahaha. But I wanted to make sure that even beginners in Photoshop could follow along. Here is the layout we will be creating…
1. Once I had a new document open and had chosen my paper (see instructions on how to do this in the BASICS of Creating a New Layout tutorial), I used these Paper Blocks by emily merritt… (although i don’t think thery’re still available) for the base of my “mosaic” photo arrangement. I used the layered version of these so that I could clip a separate photo to each square.
Here is what your layers palette will look like once you get your paper blocks onto your layout. (NOTE: The layer for the first square (top left corner) will be at the bottom of the layer list.)
2. Now choose the photo you would like to use and place it on your layout:
NOTE: You can certainly use a color photo, but i changed mine to black and white fearing that the different colors in the photo would look crazy once there were so many copies of the photo all scrunched together. 🙂
When you see the line between “1” and “2” get darker, release your mouse and your photo layer should pop into place between the two.
Now that your photo is in between Layer “1” and “2”, you will notice that you can now see all of the blocks EXCEPT the very first one because it is still behind your photo.
4. Now, before we get started with clipping our photos to the blocks, let’s go ahead and duplicate our photo layer so that we can save it for the larger photo that we will be working with later. To do this, right-click on your photo layer and choose Duplicate Layer…
5. To sort of get it out of our way for now, go ahead and click and hold this layer and drag it to the bottom and click on the little eyeball next to the layer. This will make it invisible.
6. Now let’s “clip” our photo to the first block. Place your cursor on the line between your photo layer and your “1” layer. Press and hold your ALT key (your cursor should change in shape). Once you see your cursor change in shape, simply click. This will clip your photo to the block as shown below. Now you should be able to see the outline of your photo. Click on the bottom right corner of this outline, press and hold your SHIFT key and drag the corner inward to resize your photo to fit inside the block.
7. You can continue to resize and even move your photo around so that the subject of your photo is positioned in the block as desired. Now you can see your photo in the shape of your block:
8. Now, since we have our photo resized to fit inside these little blocks, let’s simply duplicate that photo layer so that all we have to do is clip it to another block and move it around. So, again… right-click on your photo layer and choose Duplicate Layer… You will notice two things once you do that. 1.) You will now see the edges of your photo on top of the block, and 2.) your layers palette will duplicate this layer UNclipped. This is good… this is what we want.
9. So we will now click on the duplicated layer of our photo and drag and drop it right above layer “2”. Now you can see that the photo is above block # 2.
11. Now just click on the photo to move it around within the 2nd block so that it doesn’t look exactly like the 1st block. Continue to repeat those steps of duplicating, clipping, and moving around on several blocks. I also flipped my photo in a few of the blocks just to give it that much more of a varied appearance. To do this, go to Edit and choose Transform and then Flip Horizontal.
This is what we have so far…
12. Now… admittedly, I’m not the most patient scrapper in the world. hahaha. So after repeating these steps (even with an action) about 9 times, I grew a little weary. So, I sort of took a little shortcut here. First, on my layers palette, I clicked on layer “10” of my blocks and then scrolled up and holding down my SHIFT key I clicked on layer “42” (the last block) and then chose Delete.
13. That left me with my 9 photo blocks. Back on my layers palette, I clicked on “1” and scrolled up and holding down my SHIFT key, I clicked on the clipped photo for layer “9”. This chose all 9 of my blocks + their clipped photos.
14. Then I right-clicked on the highlighted layers and chose Duplicate Layers. Then, using my move tool (and keeping the duplicated layers highlighted) I simply clicked on one of the photo blocks and moved them all down underneath the original 9 blocks.
15. That looked a little too repetitious to me, so again, keeping the layers highlighted, I went to Edit and chose Transform and then Flip Horizontal. Since all of the layers were active, this flipped all 9 layers. This looked a little more varied to me.
16. Then I simply continued duplicating and flipping until my blocks went all the way down the page. Since there were so many blocks now, this only took a couple of times repeating the steps, saving lots of time. 😉
18. You can either name the group immediately when the Grouping Dialog box pops up, or later you can double-click on the name of the group and rename it.
19. Ok… now it’s time for the brushes behind all of our photo blocks. First step here is to add a new layer BELOW your photo blocks. You can either add a new layer and drag it underneath your photo blocks, or you can click on your photo blocks layer and hold down your CTRL key while clicking the new layer icon… this will automatically place your new layer underneath.
20. Now choose your Brush tool from your tools palette. (You can also press B on your keyboard to activate this tool.)
22. Ok, now let’s choose the color we would like for our brush stroke to be. Click on your Foreground Color box and choose a color. Then click OK.
23. Now, position your brush outline on your layout so that you can see the entire outline. (If part of the outline is going off of the page, then your brush will be cut off.) Now simply click to stamp your brush onto your layout.
24. To move your brush stroke around, choose your Move Tool from your tools menu (or hit V on your keyboard). Then click anywhere on the bounding box of the brush to make a solid line. Then, move your cursor out to the side just a bit until your cursor changes from a double-sided STRAIGHT arrow to a double-sided CURVED arrow. This will now allow you to rotate your brush. Here, I just wanted to make the brush vertical. So to ensure that it’s not crooked when you get it vertical, just hold down your SHIFT key while you rotate your brush. This will turn it at even intervals so that it stays straight.
25. Once it’s vertical, simply click the Check Mark at the top of your screen (or hit Enter on your keyboard) to accept the command.
I also flipped it horizontally so that the more solid side of the top was visible for clipping my photo.
26. So, here’s where that duplicated layer of the large photo comes in handy. Go to your layers palette and click on the eyeball of your large photo layer. Then, drag your brush layer underneath your photo layer.
27. Now, repeat step #6 above to clip your photo to your brush layer.
28. I wanted my photo to coordinate with the color of my brush stroke. So to acheive this, go to Image and choose Adjustments and then Variations.
29. Once your Variations window pops up, make sure Midtones is chosen and then perform the steps noted on the screen shot below and then click OK:
Now our photo has a nice orangy-tint to it.
30. To give the photo blocks a bit more interest, we will tint these photos as well. We have 2 options here. You can follow the Variations steps as noted above. OR.. to save yourself some time… if you are using Photoshop CS, you can grab this Photo Tinting action I made to create this layout for FREE!. 🙂 Just click on the image to grab yours now! (This action is not compatible with Photoshop Elements. 🙁 It has only been tested in photoshop CS)
34. Open your Actions Window. (If you do not see your Actions palette, go to Window and click on Actions.)
36. Choose the desired tint and simply press Play. Then watch your photo change.
37. Continue to click on different photos and playing your action to change the tints. I actually did not go in order when choosing my photo blocks. I clicked on them randomly and placed a different tint on each so that there would be no ryhme or reason to it… again, giving the mosaic a bit more variety.
Now, although I loved the look of this when I was done, the tints that normally make me happy simply seemed a bit to bright for the paper I was using and seemed to sort of get lost. So I took a couple of extra steps here to give them an overall darker feel.
39. Then, right-click on your duplicated group and choose Merge Group. This will combine all of the layers in your group into one single layer. Then add a BASIC drop shadow. (NOTE: Be sure to keep your drop shadow very subtle or the blocks will appear to be floating on the page.)
40. Now, you could simply use your Variations to make this layer darker. However, I chose to clip a gray peice of paper onto the layer and change my blending modes. This just seemed to keep the highlights and shadows of the photo nicely contrasted as opposed to making the overall image darker. So, chose your desired paper and follow step #6 to clip your paper to your photo block layer. Then change the blending mode of the paper to Soft Light. Then duplicate that layer and change the blending mode to Color Burn.
42. Go to Image and choose Adjustments and then Levels.
43. When your Levels dialog box pops up, simply slide the levers back and forth until you get a look you are happy with.
44. Ok… we are almost done. Now it’s time to add all of the fun and colorful brush strokes behind the mosaic blocks. Add a new layer underneath your existing brush stroke layer.
45. Choose your Brush Tool from your tools menu and choose your desired color.
46. Choose your desired brush.
47. Making sure the new layer you just added is active, position the outline of your brush as desired and click to stamp the brush onto your layout.
48. Now, simply continue to choose different brushes and colors to place more brushes… in this case, making sure to keep them all behind your photo blocks and showing only enough of the edges of the brush to reveal a small pop of color.
49. Now simply add some text, a title, and a maybe a couple of elements and you are done.