Photoshop Effects: how to make a postcard-style photomontage

    | Photoshop Tutorials | Tutorials | 02/09/2012 05:00am

    Photoshop Tricks: how to make a postcard-style Photoshop montage

    Travel photography is one of the most enjoyable pastimes for most photographers. What better way to spend some quality time with your camera? There are so many interesting new sights to capture, you’ll probably come home with a bag full of maxed-out memory cards.

    Inevitably, once you’ve printed your favourites and shared them with others, you’ll be left with lots of other good shots. But what to do with them?

    Well, why not make a postcard-style Photoshop montage? This technique works best on simple shots of recognisable landmarks and objects, so it’s perfect for those holiday photos we’ve all taken that, while pretty, won’t win any prizes for originality.

    It uses a host of key Photoshop skills, from combining images with type to using simple selections and Layer Styles. And thanks to a handy Photoshop feature called Clipping Masks, making the text effect is quick and easy.

    How to make a postcard-style Photoshop montage - Step 1

    01 Type the words
    Open your image, then grab the Type tool. Choose a font (we’ve used Impact). Type your words, then click the Move tool. Check ‘Show Transform controls’, then drag the bounding box to make the words fill the screen. Hit Enter.


    How to make a postcard-style Photoshop montage - Step 2

    02 Add an image
    Go to Layer > Layer Style > Style Settings. Check Drop Shadow, set it to 30px and hit OK. Open your second image. In the Layers panel, right-click the Background layer. Choose Duplicate, name it ‘N’, then set Destination: Document ny01_before. Hit OK.


    How to make a postcard-style Photoshop montage - Step 3

    03 Clip the image to the text
    In the Layers panel (Window > Layers), hold down Alt and then click the line between the newly added image layer and the type layer below. This clips the image to the layer. Grab the Polygonal Lasso tool and plot a loose box around the N.


    How to make a postcard-style Photoshop montage - Step 4

    04 Add a mask
    Make sure the second image layer is highlighted, then click the Add Layer Mask icon. Click the little link on the top layer between the image and mask thumbnails to toggle it off, then click the image thumbnail to highlight it.


    How to make a postcard-style Photoshop montage - Step 5

    05 Position the layer
    Grab the Move tool, then click the layer’s bounding box. Press Cmd/Ctrl+0 to see the whole box, then drag it around to choose which part of the image is visible through the N. Hit Enter when you’re happy with the result.


    How to make a postcard-style Photoshop montage - Step 6

    06 Fill the other letters
    Open your third image and repeat the steps: copy the layer and Alt-click between the layers. Select E, add a mask, unlink the mask and image, highlight the thumbnail and position the layer. Repeat for the other images.

    Using Masks

    The link in the Layers panel between the image and mask thumbnail can be toggled on or off, so the layer and mask can be moved independently of one another.

    The great advantage of using this feature here is that the entire image is available for repositioning at any time – it’s just hidden behind a mask.

    This means you can fill all the letters and then judge the overall composition, tweaking if necessary.

    Also, if you think an image would work better over a different letter, simply delete the Layer Mask, add another, and then reposition the image.

    Posted on Sunday, September 2nd, 2012 at 5:00 am under Photoshop Tutorials, Tutorials.

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