50mm Lens, Canon 50D, Nature, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography

Creating a monster, I mean montage

A large portion of my day yesterday was spent creating a montage image in Photoshop for my digital photography class.  While lots of others living here in the US were pulling out their hair doing their taxes, I was pulling out my hair over the learning curve of Photoshop.  So my assignment had to have the following four layers:

  1. A self portrait, taken during class time
  2. An older photograph taken by me at some point
  3. Written words, scanned and added into the image
  4. A texture

For those who can already “do” Photoshop, really this is not so difficult, for me, with minimal experience it is.

The first thing I will say to anyone considering Photoshop is to make sure you have enough space on your computer because Photoshop can create some massive files.  That is what I am getting at with the title of this post. The second thing I will say is consider taking a class.  I will be doing that in the fall.  For now I have been learning via things I find online.  It works, but I thinking taking a class will help me.

Here is the image I created:

This image has many layers!

This image has many layers!

OK, so this was created using many layers, but here is an overview of how I did it.

  1. My “other” photo is the bottom layer.  It was blue in hue to start with which is why I chose it to set the mood.  I did darken the sky area in it.
  2. The “texture” is a hockey jersey that I scanned and then modified a bit.  It accounts for the “St. Louis” writing and the Arch.  I was going to size it to the full size of the image, but I ended up thinking the mesh of the jersey and the grass of the first image was just too much.  So I made that jersey very small on the layer.
  3. My “portrait” is the third layer.  Just a photo of me sitting in front of a wall at school.  That layer has no further editing.
  4. The “writing” is actually 3 separate layers.  So that I could put the words where I wanted, I have “Meet me in” as a layer, “x” as a layer, “Despair” as a layer.  The writing was scanned in and then I used the quick selection tool to isolate the letters I wanted when creating the letter.

The image overall then has a Brightness/Contrast layer and a Curves layer.

Mere hours later I have my final project.  This is also what I mean when I say monster in my post title.  Photoshop is a monster.  An “eater-of-your-time” monster.  So, if you are considering Photoshop, perhaps think about that as well.

Have an opinion of my project? Have a favorite Photoshop tutorial/tip? Please feel free to share in the comment section.



31 thoughts on “Creating a monster, I mean montage

  1. 🙂 well done on battling through! I’ve never even seen Photoshop. I know our 14 year old got to do things on it in his Art classes and loved it…I will ask him tonight if he has any top tips!


  2. I’ve been using aperture and also use photoshop for a few things that aperture can’t do, but am toying with moving more to photoshop because I love what layers can do. Just putting it off because I know the learning curve is pretty steep :-(. Good for you for stepping up to the challenge!


    • I do think the learning curve is pretty steep, which is why I thinking taking a class would be worth your time. There is quite a bit on-line too. The other thing to keep in mind with Photoshop, if you decide to take it up, it that there are several ways to do any one thing.


  3. I’m used to trying to create complicated photos (like the one you created) by photoshop but I think some technique need to be patient to get it through, for example: all of those layers that you explained in your post. Recently, I just knew how to add pattern in the photoshop which I utilized it to create my cover photo on Facebook timeline. It’s not that hard so I was happy to know about it.


  4. 1annecasey says:

    Very clever! From the very minimal experience i’ve had with Photoshop, i can empathise on the frustration! You have done a super job. Congratulations – this is not just a photo or photos, it is a piece of art and tells a story on several levels. : ))


  5. Su Leslie says:

    Wow! My son has just done the exact same assignment in his photography class. He’s 15 and doing A Level Photography in New Zealand. Guess it must be a standard exercise. Love what you’ve done.


    • It’s one of those, they are and they aren’t. Since you take lovely photos, I assume that sometimes there is just one thing that you would change about a particular image, like lighten it in one place. Using a layer would allow you to fix that one spot, and leave the rest of your image alone. I do feel that it can get complicated as well, it also can be very time consuming.


  6. poppytump says:

    Well done PJB you have really thrown yourself into this assignment brilliantly ! It is very time consuming as you say and the files can be super large but the end result can be very rewarding 🙂
    I ‘play’ with elements as you probably know but often it is hit and miss with me .. I get carried away with something or an idea and then wouldn’t be able to repeat the scenario again v easily . Good to take notes. I think you are the sort of person to ‘get it right’ properly and therefore would make some lovely montages ..collages… out of your photographs you’ve taken .


  7. Michele Bourdeau says:

    Amy – I do have suggestions about the Photoshop Classes at Meramec… Contact me at email or we can talk in class on Friday if there is time…


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