PhotoImpact Pro: Creating a Photo Montage

Ulead's PhotoImpact Pro is a sophisticated image editing software, and one of its many capabilities includes creating very good montages. You can not only combine photos into one seamless composition, but also can select and include in the montage particular objects from images. The following describes how you can combine two photos side by side overlapping each other, to form a background for the montage, and then paste one object over the background. To demonstrate the procedure, the following uses example photos labeled A, B and C.

Step 1: Preparing the Montage Canvas

Open Photo A and then expand the canvas by clicking on "Adjust" and select "Expand Canvas". This will open a dialog box, and you will see many options. Uncheck the option which reads "Expand sides equally". Augment the pixels of the canvas on its right side by 300, which would be about same size of Photo A. So, in the window, you will be left with Photo A and a blank space on its right.

Step 2: Inserting the Next Image

To insert photo B, click on "Object" and select "Insert Image Object" and open from "File". You will now have Photo B on the right side of Photo A. You now need to drag Photo B so that it overlaps half of Photo A, and there is no empty space left on the right of Photo B. 

Step 3: Blending the Two Images Seamlessly

Keep the selection on Photo B and then from the Tool Panel click on "Show or hide Mask Mode". You will see that Photo A is now behind a whitish colored mask and whole of Photo B is clearly seen. From the Tool Panel, now select the "Linear Gradient Fill" tool which looks like a blue rectangle. Drag the mouse from the left side of Photo B to about its middle, which will apply the gradient tool you have just chosen. This will make Photo A, which is under the mask, get a smooth fading effect, and it will seamlessly blend with the foreground image, which is Photo B.

Step 4: Selecting and Extracting an Object from Photo C

Open Photo C, and select an object from Photo C. For extracting the object, you need to go to the Tool Panel and click on "Selection Tool," which is the top-most left tool in the panel, and from the drop down menu, click on the "Lasso Tool". If you are not able to select this tool, go to the Attribute Toolbar and see that the checkbox next to "Smart Lasso" is checked.

In this toolbar, you will also see another option called the "Detection Scope" with a numeric value. The value will determine the area which gets selected, and hence if you need to be precise over an irregular line, select the lowest value.  

Step 5: Creating the Outline around the Object

When you select the Detection Scope, you will see a circle pointer in Photo C. Click on a point on the object which will serve as the starting point, and then outline the object by moving the mouse. You can also create anchor points by clicking and then retrace the outline backwards, and bring it back to the starting point. Now a rectangle will appear which tells you that the selected area can be closed. Click "Finish" in the Attribute Toolbar to make the selection.

Step 6: Copy Paste the Object

Now you can move the extracted object on to your canvas by using the Copy Paste function, and your montage is ready.