Creating a Photoshop Polaroid Collage

If you have ever wondered how those collages of Polaroids can be so perfectly aligned into a complete image, then your answer is in Photoshop. Here is how you make a Photoshop Polaroid collage. The process can get a bit convoluted, but the results are always fun.

Step 1: Make Lots of Layers

Keeping track of your layers can get a bit tricky, so we will be renaming them as we go along. You will be starting with your background layer, which is you photo. Duplicate the layer by going to "Layer", "New", "Layer from Layer". It will appear as "Layer one", but we will rename it "Clip".  Next click on your background layer then create a new layer by going to "Layer", "New", and "Layer".  The new blank layer should appear between the two layers you already have; if it does not, then simply drag it into place. Name this layer "Black".  Choose your paint bucket tool, select the color black and fill the layer.

Step 2: The Inside of the Polaroid

Now create another layer between the "Black" layer and the "Clip" layer. Name this new layer "Inside". Make sure that this layer is selected as the one you are working on, but that you can see the top layer. Grab your rectangular marquee tool and drag out a square around the piece of the image that you want to use for your first Polaroid. Using your paint bucket tool, fill this square with black. Now you will combine the "Inside" layer with the "Clip" layer using a "Clipping Mask". Select the "Clip" layer, go to the "Layer" drop-down and choose "Create Clipping Mask".

Step 3: The Outside of the Polaroid

Create yet another layer between the "Black" layer and the "Inside" layer. Name this one "Outside". Grab your rectangular marquee tool again. Make the shape of the white frame on a Polaroid around the piece that you created in step 2. Be sure that the "Outside" layer is the one that you are working on, then grab your paint bucket tool and fill this area with white. You now have what looks like a single Polaroid.

Step 4: Fine Tuning the Polaroid

When you start creating multiple Polaroids, you will want to see some separation between them. So with the "Outside" layer still selected, click on the "Layer Styles" icon at the bottom of the layer window. Choose "Drop Shadow" and set the angle at 240 degrees and the opacity around 25% (adjust to your liking). You will also not want all your Polaroids to be level squares, so select both the "Inside" and "Outside" layers. Grab the free transform tool and use it to rotate your Polaroid however you choose.

Step 5: Making More Polaroids

You will not have to repeat all these steps to get another Polaroid. Simply select the "Clip", "Outside", and "Inside" layers and then group them by going to the "Layer" drop-down, "New", and "Group from layers".  When the "Group 1" folder appears, drag it down to the "New Layer" icon to create "Group 1 copy".  Enter the new group and select the "Inside" and "Outside" layers.  Use the free transform tool to move and rotate this new Polaroid into place. Repeat this step until you have as many Polaroids as you choose.

If you stay organized, then this process can be easily completed. The results will be worth it.


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