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.

Cheers!

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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!

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  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!

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    • 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.

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  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.

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  4. 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. : ))

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  5. 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.

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    • 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.

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  6. 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 .

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  7. 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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