Now you’ve seen the super easy way, but if that doesn’t fit your needs and you’d like to be a bit more creative, then here’s a little tutorial with some tips and tricks to help you create your mood/inspiration board in Photoshop or Photoshop Elements (And if you don’t have Photoshop, download GimpShop! for free).
Before you start, take a pencil to paper and plan out what you’d like your collage to look like. Photoshop and other illustration tools are only helpful when you already know what you want them to do… and they can become mighty frustrating when you’re trying to imagine with your mouse. Have some examples on hand and or sketch out your ideas and get ready to replicate them!
Step 1. Choose File > New to create a new blank image. Specify image size based on the desired file size outcome. I’d recommend a width of 400 – 600 pixels, and whatever height you’d like.
Step 2. To help you align your images, go to the View menu and select View > Rulers, View > Extras, View > Show > Grid and View > Show > Smart Guides. Then, double click on the ruler above the new image and make sure the units for the ruler is Pixels. Select next and in the Grid box, change the “Gridline every _____” box to either 50 or 100 or another unit that will help you divide and align your workspace.
Step 3. Choose File > Open, and open the first image (Image 1) to be added to the collage image. You now have the collage image and the first image (Image 1) open at the same time.
Step 4. Select the Move tool. Click anywhere within Image 1, drag from the Image 1 window to the collage image window, and release the mouse button. Image 1 displays in the collage image window. Note that Image 1 is on a new layer, called Layer 1.
Step 5. Double-click the words Layer 1 in the Layers palette, and rename Layer 1 so that you can keep track of your layers.
Step 6. Close the Image 1 window so that only the collage image is open. Your Layers palette now contains a Background layer and the new layer that you renamed.
After you add your first image to the collage image, open the next image to be added. Repeat steps 3 through 6 to add all your images to the collage image.
To resize, reposition, and rotate the images or layers in the collage:
1. In the Layers Palette, click once on the layer that you want to adjust, to target the layer.
2. Choose Edit > Free Transform (Photoshop) or Image > Transform > Free Transform (Photoshop Elements).
Note: Before you transform your layer, make sure the correct layer is targeted in the Layers palette.
3. Note the bounding box around the edges of the layer and the anchor points on all four corners and sides (eight total).
— Resize the layer by dragging the anchor points.
— Reposition the layer by clicking inside the bounding box and dragging.
Note: If a layer displays larger than the collage image, drag the layer in any direction until you can see a corner of the image. You can then transform the image using the anchor point on the visible corner.
— Rotate the layer by positioning your cursor just outside the bounding box, clicking, and dragging. You can rotate the layer when your cursor changes to a curved double-headed arrow.
4. In the option bar at the top of the screen, either click the check box to accept or commit the transformation, or click the circle with the slash through it to cancel the transformation.
Repeat steps 1 through 4 to resize, reposition, and rotate each of the other layers in the image.
To rearrange the stacking order of the layers:
To change stacking order of the layers or the way the layers overlap, drag any layer in the Layers palette above or below another layer.
To add separating lines to your collage:
Click on Layer > New > Layer and rename the layer “LINES.” Select the line tool and the color you’d like for your lines. You can change the weight of your line at the top of the screen as well. Shift-click and drag your cursor to create a straight line where you’d like it. Don’t worry too much about placement, as you can always select the move tool and drag the lines to exactly where you’d like them.
Save your Image as a *.PSD for editing later, and then as a *.JPG for general use online, etc.
Now feel free to add text and other flourishes to your collage and make your inspiration board truly yours! Or… if you’re like me, you can just print out all of your inspirations and piece it together on a bulletin board in ‘old school style.’
(directions amended from Adobe.com Support TechNotes)