Within the Photoshop Elements Content Panel lies a treasure trove of Photoshop frames, backgrounds, shapes and other graphics. You can use these to create graphic designs or complement your photos. There are literally hundreds of frames to choose from, but unless you’re making something intentionally ironic or kitsch or have bigger Photoshop effects in mind for your end result, you wouldn’t let most of them anywhere near your images.
However, there are a few exceptions. Towards the bottom of the long list lie four excellent frames with aged, crumpled borders, just like you’d get on old photographs.
We’ve used the vintage-style frames here to make a retro montage inspired by the Polaroid collages of David Hockney.
By overlapping and multiplying the frames and cropping the image in multiple ways, we can make a simple Photoshop collage and transform a single image into a whole series of different prints.
For extra variety, we can also add colour tweaks to some of the prints, making them look even less like parts of one original image. A Photoshop collage is surprisingly quick and easy to do, and opens up lots of creative possibilities.
01 Apply raw tweaks
Drag your start image into the Photoshop Elements workspace. In the Basics Panel, set Temperature 7300, Tint -64, Recovery 25, Blacks 8, Contrast +45, Clarity +18, Vibrance +25, Depth to 8 Bits/Channel. Click ‘Open Image’.
02 Save a JPEG
Go to File> Save As and save the image as a jpeg. Hit Cmd/Ctrl+J to copy the Background Layer. Highlight the Background layer, go to Edit> Fill Layer. Set Use: White and hit OK. Highlight the top layer and set Opacity to 40%.
03 Add a frame
Go to Window>Content. Set By Type and Frames in the drop-down menus. Scroll down to Vintage Photo 01. Drag it onto your image. Check ‘Show Transform Controls’ in the Move Tool options, then click on the bounding box.
04 Drop in image
Use the bounding box to rotate and resize the frame. Hit Enter when done. Click inside the frame and navigate to the JPEG file you saved earlier, then click Place. Resize and position the image, using the faded layer as a guide.
05 Vary the frames
Continue adding more frames to create a collage. Add the saved JPEG image each time, varying the position, angle and size. Right-click over any frames for options to move the layer to the front or back of the collage.
06 Tweak the colours
When the frames are in position, you can add variety by changing colours. Right-click over a frame layer and choose Simplify Layer. Go to Enhance>Adjust Color> Color Variations and choose a colour tweak. Repeat for all frames.
Quick Photoshop tip
Once you’ve added an image to a frame, you can double click over it at any time to edit the size and position.
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