Sunday, August 8, 2010

Collage! How to make a cool header for your blog.

I am a little bit obsessed with making digital photo collages.  Here's one I never posted from our trip to Gramps' in June:

Bobby and Bailey

So, for those people that may have seen some here and may have thought to themselves, I wish I could do that but it looks so hard!, for those people I am going to share just how easy it is.  I'll use my new header as an example.

1.  Download Picasa here.  (It's free!)

Sidenote: I use Aperture for the bulk of my photo management and post-processing, but when I want to make a collage -- a new header for my blog for example -- I export the photos I want to use to a folder on my hard drive (everything else is stored on external drives) and Picasa automatically imports them.  

2.  So... in Picasa, select the photos you want (you can drag with your cursor around a group, or Ctrl/Command-click to select multiple photos), then click the Collage button on the bottom of the application window.  It looks like this:

3.  That'll bring you to this screen:

In the panel on the left above, there are several options you can play around with.  First off, you'll want to select your page size.  The Bobby and Bailey collage above is square; my blog header is approximately 10x3.  Next you'll need to select the type of collage you want -- the Bob and Bailey is mosaic style; my header is picture pile style with plain white borders.  You can also choose a different background color, and there are a couple of other options to mess with that I won't get into here.  When you select picture pile, that's what you get (see above), so you'll need to move and resize the photos until you get the look you want (see below).  If you end up with extra space on one or more sides of the page, no worries -- you can always crop that away later.  When you're happy with your design, click the "Create Collage" button in the panel on the left.

4.  When the collage is done, you will be taken to this screen, where you have more editing options:

At this point you can crop if necessary.  If you'd like to add text to your blog header, click the "Text" button found in the left panel.  Adjust color, font, alignment, etc., until you're happy.
5.  Go to the file menu and click "Export picture to a folder..."  You'll get this window:
If you are in fact making a blog header, you'll want to resize the image to the width of your blog (mine is 1050 pixels).  Choose your export location and click "Export."

6.  Now, in Blogger, or whatever blog editor you use, add your exported collage as a picture gadget at the top of your blog.  (Alternatively you can just use the image as your header in place of your blog title and description.)  You can make it a link to your blog home page if you want to be really cool.  Click save and you're done.  Congrats.

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