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How to Make a Coloured Collage Background Using Photoshop

Updated on April 15, 2014

What do You Want to Make a Background of ?

1. Choose what you want to do a background of; Cats, a character from a TV show or movie, a favourite celebrity, etc. The choice is yours. For the purpose of this example I have chosen Daenerys Targaryen, as portrayed by Emilia Clarke in the Game of Thrones TV series.

Collect Your Images

2. Collect images for your background. You can do an image search on search engines such as Google or Bing. You can also do a regular web search for images by searching “______ gallery.” For example my web search on Google was “Daenerys Gallery” (note: I suggest that you not use quotation marks in searching, as this will limit your results. Quotes are only used to distinguish search from other text).

Screen Capture of my google search
Screen Capture of my google search | Source

Saving Your Images

3. Pick and save your images. I suggest you create a new folder. You can create your new folder in your documents, pictures or desktop, as long as you remember where it is. Name your folder something that describes its contents and their purpose. Something simple such as “Daenerys Background,” is fine. Gather and save lots of different images. You might not use them all but you may find that some may not “work” or look good as a part of your final piece.

Open Photoshop and Create a New Document

4. Open Adobe Photoshop. Create a new document with a width of 1400 pixels, a height of 900 pixels and a resolution of 72 pixels (you can change this to your own preference). I prefer to use a transparent background when working on projects in Photoshop, however this isn’t necessary. I simply feel it makes things easier. In this hub I am using Photoshop 8, depending on your version your program may look different.

Add Photos and Remove Unwanted Areas

5. Open one of the photos you want to add to your background. Then click and drag it onto your empty background document. Then use tools like the eraser and the magnetic lasso to remove unwanted areas of the image. Cutting out the image can make it look better than if you left it in its original rectangular form. To make this easier you may want to zoom in on the image to avoid sloppy or unwanted cutting.

Remove Colour

6. At the top of the Photoshop bar click “Enhance,” then go down and click “Adjust Color” and then “Remove Color.”

Repeat Steps 5 and 6

7. Add your other images and repeat steps five and six. Then arrange your images and adjust their sizes to your liking.

Create and Colour the Background Layer

8. First select your background layer. Then select the gradient tool and then select the copper option. I will tell you how to change the colour later. Drag the gradient tool from one end of your background to the other. Now you can change the colour by clicking “Enhance” on the Photoshop bar, and then click “Adjust Colour” and then Click “Hue Saturation.” Next you can play with the hue and or saturation until you are happy with the colour and click “OK.”

Use Gradient to Colour Your Images

9. Select the layer with your first Image. Adjust the opacity of the gradient to approximately 30% (final % is a personal choice; however I recommend 30% or less). Make sure your colour boxes (foreground and background) match the colour of you have adjusted your gradient to. Then drag the gradient tool across the images and repeat with the other images. Then use the eraser or the magnetic lasso tool to get rid of the colour that is not covering the image. If this isn’t done it will cover and hide the layers beneath the one you are working on.

10. Add layer effects

Select your layer. Click on the Filter menu, then Filter Gallery and select the effect you desire to use. I used this for the image of Dany and Drogo and I chose the Dry Brush effect; however if you choose to use these effects you have to use them before colouring your image with the gradient tool.

You can also change the look of a layer by selecting the drop down menu labelled "Normal" in the layers window and choose and option until you find one you like. For this you colour your images first as normal. I changed the look of the Daenerys and her horse by selecting Luminosity - only one of the many choices.

11. Add details

You can add details such as text and shapes- Photoshop has a number of fancier shapes such as bows and old style details. Rearrange any images until you are happy with their positions. When you overlap images you will see part of one under the other to get rid of this simply click on the layer with the part you want to get rid of and erase where the images overlap.

When finished save your document as an image file.

Some Tips

· When erasing or using the magnetic lasso tool to cut out an image it will be easier and turn out better if you zoom in so you can see the individual pixels.

· You don’t have to cut the images out of the background as in step 5, the advantage to keeping your image in its original shape is that it will be easier to get rid of the excess gradient colour surrounding it in step 9.

· If you wish to flip an image you will want to flip it before dragging it on to your background or drag it to a separate blank document. If you flip it as part of the background your whole background will flip.

The Final Product

some of the images have a few rough edges, but overall it shows the idea of how the layout and effects work together to create a background. Also Note the Spelling mistake should be *Daenerys*
some of the images have a few rough edges, but overall it shows the idea of how the layout and effects work together to create a background. Also Note the Spelling mistake should be *Daenerys*


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    • Martyn Wright profile image

      Martyn Wright 5 years ago from Staffordshire. England. United Kingdom

      Nice work..