How to create a striking autumn triptych

Learn how to create and print a autumn triptych ready for framing and hanging on the wall

Autumn is the perfect time of year to take inspiration from the colours around you. There’s an abundance of subjects for you to discover – many of them perfect for close-up studies, which can be combined to create a stunning artwork. It this tutorial we’ll show you how easy it is to create a triptych using effects to perfectly bring together three images.


1. Prepare in ACR

Open Triptych_Before01-02 in Adobe Camera Raw (ACR). Start by using the White Balance tool to correct any colour casts. Switch on U and O clipping masks and then adjust Exposure, Recovery, Clarity and Vibrance to enhance the RAW files and reduce clipping.


2. Crop to size

Click Select All in ACR and then Open Images. With the images open in Photoshop, select the Crop tool. In the Size option, enter 125mm and 180mm,  respectively. These dimensions will give the A3 border space around each image when they’re laid out.

3. Use blending modes

Select your first image and duplicate the background layer (Ctrl-J or Opt-J). Open  Hue/Saturation and reduce the Saturation slider to -100. Click the Layer Blending mode crop-down and select Soft Light. You’ll see vibrant colour return to the image.


4. Adjustment layers

From the Adjustment Layers in the Layers palette, create a new levels layer and adjust Shadows/Highlights, clipping slightly into the histogram, then lighten the midtones. Next, create a Hue/Saturation layer and boost the colour selectively using the Edit drop-down.

5. In the Layers palette, select Flatten Image. The fi nal step is to sharpen the image and minimise noise. Open UnSharp Mask, increase Amount to 60% and Radius to 1.4. If noise is creeping in, increase Threshold to 16 levels.


6. Crop to size

Crop each of the images to 125mm wide x 180mm high. To space the images evenly, include a gap of 10mm between each one. Taking these measurements, create a new document 395mm wide x 180mm high at 240ppi.

7. Switch on Grids in Elements

So that everything lines up perfectly, you need to switch on and set up grids within Elements and Guides within CS. In Elements, go to File>Preferences and make sure that the Guides and Grids are set to mm. You should see them appear as an overlay on-screen.

8. Switch on Guides in CS

In CS, make sure your Guides and Grids preferences are set to mm. Next, switch on Rules using Ctrl-R or Opt R – you’ll see them appear at the top and left of the screen. Click into the rules to create a new guide and drag these into position to align the images.

9. Set up the spacing

Click back onto one of the images and select All and Copy, then click back onto the new document and paste in the image. Use the Move tool to position the image against a guide and then repeat for the other images leaving a 10mm gap between each picture.

10. Increase the canvas size

With the images in place, go to Image>Canvas size and increase the width and height to 420mm and 297mm, respectively. Select black for the background, and make sure the anchor is set to the centre – when the canvas increases, the images will stay in the middle.

11. Layer styles in CS

To add a white border, select one of the image layers and, if you’re using CS, double-click the layer to open the Layer Styles option. At the bottom of the list, click on Stroke and increase Amount to 10px. Change the colour using the Swatch set to white.

12. Layer styles in Elements

In Elements, go to the Effects palette and select Layer Styles. From the drop-down menu, select Stoke and drag and drop one of the Black stroke options to your image. Now double-click the fx icon and change Amount to 10 and Swatch to white.

13. Duplicate the style

In CS, right-click the layer and select Copy Style and then go to the next layer, right-click and paste the style. In Elements, you’ll need to repeat the last step for each one. Once you’re fi nished, select Flatten Image from the Layers options to complete your triptych.