Polaroid Montage Tutorial

In this tutorial we will be making 12 polaroids from one photo and arranging them into a montage. There is also an added touch of ‘out-of-bounds’. This tutorial uses a free Action and a stock image. It is not difficult, but you should plan on it taking about 2 hours – I think the result is well worth the time!

Polaroid Montage

Resources:

Lace16 image from deviantart.com

Polaroid Generator Action from deviantart.com

This article includes a quick tutorial on using actions


NOTE: There are not very many screenshots included in this tutorial – there were not a lot of opportunities to include them – there are many repetitive steps, and most of the instructions here can be explained in text only

Step 1

Open the Lace image, or the image of your choice

NOTE: This tutorial will give precise instructions for the Lace image – if you are using your own image you will have to make some calculations.

Image>Image Size – apply the following settings:

Image Resize Settings

Duplicate the background layer

Turn off the visibility of the original background layer

Step 2

Select the Rectangular Marquee Tool and set it to fixed size, as shown below:

Fixed Size Settings

NOTE: This is where the calculations come in if you are using your own image – you have to set the size of the rectangular marquee so that you can get 3 across and 4 down, and the total must equal the width and height of the image.

Step 3

Click once on the canvas, near the top left corner

Using the arrow keys, move the selection right into the corner as shown below:

Selection

Edit>Copy (Ctrl+C)

Edit>Paste (Ctrl + V)

Turn off the visibility of the copy background layer and using the Move tool, place the rectangle selection into the top left corner.

Rename the layer ‘pic1’

Step 4

Select the Rectangular Marquee tool again, still at the same fixed size and click once close to the pic1 image

Select the Move tool, and using the arrow keys, move the selection into place right beside the pic1 image

Restore visibility to the copy background layer and make this layer active

Edit>Copy (Ctrl+C)

Edit>Paste (Ctrl + V)

Turn off the visibility of the copy background layer and using the Move tool, place the new image precisely next to the pic1 image

Rename the layer ‘pic2)

Repeat this step for each section of the original image

You should end up at ‘pic12’

Step 5

Create a new file using the following settings:

New File Settings

Back to your image

Select pic1 layer

Select>All

Edit>Copy (Ctrl + C)

File>New – the settings should be the exact size of the image section (ie: for the Lace image sections, 800px x 900px)

Click OK

Edit>Paste (Ctrl + V)

Right click on either of the layers in the layers palette and click on Flatten Image

Open or load the Polaroid Generator Actions – refer to the tutorial if necessary

Click on the small arrowhead beside the action and select T600 Panel

Run the action

At each message, click OK

When the action has finished

Make the vignette layer active and reduce the layer opacity to 25%

Right click on any layer in the layers palette and click Flatten Image

Image>Image Size – set the height to 350, auto width. Set the interpolation (drop down box at the bottom of the resize box) to Bicubic Sharper (best for reduction), click OK

Step 6

Select>All

Edit>Copy (Ctrl + C)

Make your project active

Edit>Paste (Ctrl + V)

Rename the layer ‘pic1’

Now you can either save or delete the pic1 image

Repeat Steps 5 and 6 for each of your 12 ‘pic’ layers layers

Step 7

When all of your images are on the black background, arrange them more or less back into place as per the original picture

Step 8

Make pic12 layer active

Ctrl + T to transform the object

Rotate the image a little, as desired

Repeat with all 12 pic layers, working up the palette from the bottom

Rearrange the order of the layers by dragging them up or down in the layers palette as desired

Step 9

This step needs to be carried out for each pic layer that is on top of another pic layer:

Ctrl + Click on the thumbnail of the pic layer in the layers palette to select the pixels

Create a new layer below the pic layer you are working on

Fill the selection with black

Move this new layer down and to the right about 3-4 pixels

Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur – set the blur to 9, click OK

Reduce the layer opacity to 70%

When all layer shadows have been created

Turn off the visibility of the background layer

Right click on any visible layer in the layers palette and click Merge Visible

Rename the layer ‘montage’

Step 10

If necessary, re-open the Lace image or whichever image you are using

Resize the image to around 500 pixels in height, auto width – Bicubic Sharper for reduction

Select>All

Edit>Copy (Ctrl + C)

Make your project active – make sure the active layer is the top layer in the layers palette

Edit>Paste (Ctrl + V)

Move this new layer more or less into position so the woman will be holding it

Ctrl + T to transform the object and rotate the picture a little, resize it as required

NOTE: Reducing the opacity of the layer temporarily will allow you to judge at what angle the picture looks right in her hand

Rename the layer ‘photo’

Step 11

Double click on the photo layer in the layers palette to bring up the blending options and apply the following Stroke settings:

Stroke Settings

Step 12

Ctrl + Click on the thumbnail of the photo layer in the layers palette to select the pixels

Create a new layer below the photo layer

Fill the selection with black

Select the Move tool and use the arrow keys to move the black rectangle about 5-6 pixels down and right

Filter>Blur>Gaussian Blur – set the blur to 9, click OK

Reduce the layer opacity to 75%

Step 13

Make the original Lace image active or open it if you don’t still have it open

If it is open, Ctrl + Alt + Z to undo the previous resizing

If necessary, resize the image again to 600 width, auto height – Bicubic Sharper reduction

Step 14

Using the Lasso tool, draw a selection around the arm as shown below

Arm Selection

Edit>Copy (Ctrl + C)

Make your project active – make sure the top layer in the layers palette is active

Edit>Paste (Ctrl + V)

Step 15

Reduce the layer opacity so you can clearly see the image beneath the arm layer

Zoom very well into the image (200% or 300%)

Ctrl + T to transform the object

Rotate the arm, resize and move it so it fits perfectly with the arm on the image beneath

Rename the layer ‘hand’

Step 16

Add a layer mask to the hand layer by clicking on the icon at the bottom of the layers palette

Using a hard, round brush and with black as the foreground colour, mask out everything around the right arm. Also mask out the second finger that is not required in front of the photo layer

Change the brush to soft (0% hardness) and mask out where this arm meets the arm on the layer beneath to blend the two together

Step 17

Create a new layer above the montage layer

Select the Brush tool, select a hard round brush, size 9px

Set the foreground colour to grey #AAA9A7

Select the Rectangle tool and use the following settings:

Rectangle Tool Settings

Drag out a rectangle around the montage, some of the edges should be outside of the path, but the majority of the image should be inside the path

Right click on the path and select Stroke Path

Apply the following settings:

Stroke Path Settings

Rename the layer ‘frame’

Click on the Paths tab at the top of the layers palette

Delete the Working Path layer and return to the layers palette

Step 18

Select the Magic Wand tool and with the frame layer active, click anywhere outside of the rectangle

Select>Modify>Expand – set to 2px, click OK

Make the montage layer active and hit the delete key

Step 19

Select the Magic Wand tool and with the frame layer active, click inside the rectangle

Select>Modify>Expand – set to 2px, click OK

Create a new layer above the background layer

Set the foreground colour to grey #CACACA

Fill the selection

You can now flatten the image and crop it as required

This is the finished project:

Polaroid Montage


This was a difficult tutorial to write – there is so much repetitive work involved, and that is what takes the time. If you come across any problems, or get stuck at any point and the instructions don’t seem clear to you, please don’t hesitate to either leave a comment below or contact me – I am always very happy to help out.

carol

I am a purveyor of graphic design, photography and general inspiration on the internet. I spend lots of time browsing and try to bring the best of my finds so you don't have to search for inspiration.

  • Laser

    Well I gave it a try it became confused with the sizes of different items. What is the size of your finished layout? If I knew that I might be able to figure out the size of the other items. When I chose pic1 and made it into a polaroid it turned out small than the original pic1.

    ALso I get confused when you when you refer to original image, project etc not sure which layout I am supposed to be on. I wish there were a few more screenshots – would be helpful to have a screenshot of each new step. Would not need it repeated 12 times but once would be good.

    All is not lost, I made twelve polaroids and arranged them on a layout in a collage fashion – just need to figure out how to insert the photo into each one so it looks like yours. LOL