Say goodbye to the cut-and-paste collages of the past and hello to the bold, trendy Photoshop masterpieces of the future. That might be a bit of an exaggeration (we’re still big fans of crafting over here), but the Photoshop collage trend is exploding and we can’t get enough of it. We’re not the only ones—advertisers are eating it up like it’s cereal. No, that’s not a saying, but we’re about to show you how to make a pseudo-cereal collage in Photoshop that will have your clients’ mouths watering.
Photoshop collages and stock images go together like milk and cereal, and armed with these tools you’ll be creating your own delicious designs in no time. Like a certain popular breakfast food, stock photos won’t break the bank either.
We’re done with the food analogies, so go ahead and check out this gallery of stock images to get started on your own Photoshop collages. You’ll also find the materials used in this tutorial, including the following images:
Step 1. Open Your Stock Images in Photoshop
Open all four images in Photoshop and and unlock the background layers.
Step 2. Erase the Backgrounds
Using the Eraser Tool or the Magic Wand Tool, erase the backgrounds of the mountain, the milk, and the pitcher. Do NOT erase anything from the photo of cereal with the bright pink background.
In this granola photo, we just want the stream of milk, so we’re going to erase every element that does not have milk on it. For this image, we used the Magic Wand Tool to erase the background since it was able to make large selections and accurately avoid the milk. (To use the Magic Wand Tool, just click on a piece of the background and the tool will make a selection out of similarly-colored areas in the image).
Once the background is mostly erased, you might find that the checkered grey-and-white background makes it difficult to see the milk. To make sure that you’re erasing accurately, you can add a new layer in a different color to the background. Create a New Layer and move it below the layer with the milk. Set the foreground color to black, select the Paint Bucket Tool, and click anywhere in the background of the new layer (Layer 1). Now, zoom in on the milk and use the Eraser Tool to erase the non-milk parts of the image.
Note: You want to keep the areas where the milk is on the granola (pictured below). Erase any granola that does not have milk on it.
For the image below, erase everything but the pitcher and the stream of milk.
Step 3. Place the Mountain
Once the entire background is erased from the mountain image, use the Selection Tool or hit Command/Ctrl + A on your keyboard to select the mountain. Copy the mountain and paste it onto the cereal image (the one with the pink background).
Place the mountain over the cereal.
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Step 4. Resize
With the mountain still selected, go to Edit > Transform > Warp. Use the warp tools to change the size and position of the mountain so that it covers the majority of the cereal and slopes naturally into the bowl. The mountain will still extend below the rim of the bowl, but we will fix that later.
This is what the mountain should look like after you’re done warping:
Step 5. Add a Layer Mask
With the mountain layer still selected, create a new Layer Mask. Invert the layer mask by hitting Command/Ctrl + i on your keyboard. Set the foreground color to white, select the Paintbrush Tool, and paint the areas where you want the mountain to appear. This will cause the mountain to appear only where you want it to. The key is to not paint below the rim of the bowl.
Step 6. Fix It Up with the Paintbrush
Use the paintbrush to cover the last few rogue cornflakes. Select the cereal layer, click on the Eyedropper Tool, and select part of the pink background that is close to the cornflake. Select the Paintbrush Tool and paint over the top of the cornflake. Use the Eyedropper Tool again to select part of the bowl that is close to the cornflake, then use the Paintbrush Tool to paint over the rest of the cornflake.
Step 7. Add Milk and Smudge
In the milk file, select the milk (Command/Ctrl + A) and paste it onto the cereal file. Move the milk so that it is on top of the mountain peak.
Now, select the cereal layer (Layer 0) and click on the Smudge Tool. Click on an area just to the left of the milk stream in Layer 0 (NOT the milk in Layer 2), and drag your mouse to the right. This will smudge the milk out of the way. You want to smudge it so that the milk stream from Layer 0 is hidden under the milk in Layer 2. This trick is a little lazy, but it gets the job done.
(Note: The pink background color has a subtle gradient, so that’s one reason why using the smudge tool is so helpful. As we smudge the poured milk in Layer 0, we’re also making sure that the pink gradient isn’t interrupted. If we were to simply select the milk from Layer 0, delete it, then fill in the empty space with pink, the result would be noticeably different from the rest of the background.)
See, all hidden!
Step 8. Add Drops for Effect
You can already see some flecks of milk in the original pink cereal image, but you can easily add more if you’d like. Set the foreground color to white and select the Paintbrush Tool. Open the Brush Presets folder and select a brush tip that you think would work well and adjust the brush size so that it’s close to the size of the other flecks. Then, just experiment with the size and placement of your brushstrokes.
Step 9. Add More Milk
In the pitcher file, select the pitcher of milk (Command/Ctrl + A), copy it, and paste it onto the cereal file. Place the pitcher layer below Layer 1 and Layer 2. Move the pitcher around as needed.
To blend the two streams of milk, click on the Smudge Tool and select Layer 2. Smudge in the direction of the milk until the two streams are blended.
There you have it! With a little fancy footwork, you’ve turned a mountain into cereal. Click below to check out more stock images for your next Photoshop collage.
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