Anything Photoshop or Photography


Montage of images from Flagler Museum in Palm Beach, FloridaJust doing a short tutorial this week on creating a montage. All these photos in the montage were taken at the Flagler Museum or Whitehall, the last home of Henry M. Flagler of railroad fame. This is a really beautiful home to tour and is built on the Intracoastal Waterway but is very close to the Atlantic Ocean.

Now for a little definition lesson here as I have always found these terms confusing:

Montage is defined by as “the technique of combining in a single composition pictorial elements from various sources, as parts of different photographs or fragments of printing, either to give the illusion that the elements belonged together originally or to allow each element to retain its separate identity as a means of adding interest or meaning to the composition.”

A Composite is defined as “combining (two or more images) to make a single picture, especially electronically. This is what is being done here.”

A Collage is defined as “a technique of composing a work of art by pasting on a single surface various materials not normally associated with one another, as newspaper clippings, parts of photographs, theater tickets, and fragments of an envelope.

Therefore, according to these definitions, I believe this image is a Montage that uses a compositing method to achieve the end result since it is made up using the same type of media of digitally related photos. Whew!

Here are a few quick tips to do this easily:

  • Each image was placed in the a large sized file. The Move Tool (press V) was chosen and on the Options Bar, the Auto-Select box was checked so that no matter which object needs to be adjusted, by clicking on the object in the image the correct layer will be selected for you. Also when making a montage, the Show Transform Controls box was checked so the size of each inserted object could be changed at will. Both these boxes make it much quicker to move through a composite file. Normally I leave these boxes turned off.
  • To create the soft edges on the layered photos, the Rectangular Selection Tool was selected to make a box just inside the edges of each inserted image. Then the Select and Mask panel was opened and Smooth was set to 6 and Output was set to Layer Mask for all layers. The Feather slider was adjusted depending upon the selection size brought in – this image used a Feather pretty close to 20 for each one. The Contrast was also adjusted and this varied quite a bit depending upon the tones in the selection. The last slider that was changed a little was the Shift Edge – always to the minus side. Now the edges of the image are really nice and soft with a good soft transition edge.
  • The layer masks could then be painted in with a low opacity, soft round brush to further soften areas on the edges.
  • For the non-photo object layers, the new Select and Mask panel was used – the objects were first selected using the Quick Selection Tool and then the Refine Brush was used to clean up the rougher edges in the panel. This retooled panel is much better than the old Refine Edge panel. Just be careful when painting around the edges too fast, it can crash the panel.
  • The Logo was scanned in to the computer from the museum’s brochure.
  • The last step was to place an image that was desaturated before bringing into the image as a soft line background. It was set to a lower layer opacity (64%) and a Levels Adjustment Layer was used to further soften and lighten the lines.

Topaz (see sidebar at my Tidbits Blog for website link.) ReStyle Cambridge Battleship preset was applied to a stamped version (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E) on top to soften the colors – it just smoothed all the content together a little better. This is all that was done, of course several steps were repeated since 10 layer images were used to create this montage.


Montage of animals taken at the Animal Kingdom at Disney World in Orlando, FloridaThis image I put together several years ago, but is an good example of how to use the basic montage steps above. This time a straight white edge was added instead of a soft edges, but the final is a similar effect.
Another Montage of images taken at the Magic KingdomAnother montage of images taken at The Magic Kingdom at Disney World, Orlando, Florida, several years. This time round instead of square openings were created. Check out my Digital Lady Syd Related Blogs if you want some more ideas or tips for creating montages. This is one of my favorite things to do in Photoshop!

I thought is was really nice that the edges could be softened so much easier with the new Select and Mask panel. If you have not tried out this new feature, I would recommend you try it out. IMHO it is one of the best improvements Adobe had done to PS since it became a CC program! Hope everyone is having a good end of summer!…..Digital Lady Syd

Digital Lady Syd Related Blogs:
How To Use the PixelSquid Add-on in Photoshop
How To Make a Basic Composite Image
Photo Art Compositing For Fun
Using a Tych Panel to Show Off Your Images
Showing Off Your Images with Lightroom
How to Use a Photo Frame Mask
A Victorian Visit


3 responses

  1. Thank you for the tips! Love the third one, very cool.

    08/14/2016 at 10:15 pm

  2. Thanks Inese!

    08/16/2016 at 3:24 pm

  3. Pingback: HOW TO PUT A PICTURE TOGETHER FOR FUN | Digital Lady Syd's Fun Photoshop Blog

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