Although there are several app options specifically for blending photos and creating photo collages with the iPad, I like using PhotoWizard in conjunction with PhotoForge2 because of the control and accuracy I feel they give me.
IPad Photo Collage Tutorial
For this tutorial, you need:
- Photogene - optional (for adding shadows)
- PhotoSync or Photo Transfer - optional (to get photos into iPad if they are on iPhone)
3. Two or more photos in your Photos app Camera Roll for combining for the collage
4. Stylus - optional (my favorite stylus is the Wacom Bamboo Stylus because of its slightly smaller tip, but your finger will work also.)
I will be using a photo of a sheep and one of a man in a park. Here is a photo of a toy sheep I made with batting, pipe cleaners, and embroidery floss. I took the photo with my iPhone, then transferred it to the iPad using the Transfer Photo app.
I want to add it to this photo
1. First I import the sheep photo into the PhotoWizard app. Here you can delete the background, leaving a clean selection of the sheep.
PhotoWizard has powerful selection tools, similar to ones in Photoshop. Click on the little mask icon in the top tool bar to enter the Masking mode. A large tab appears at the right side of the screen. Tapping on the tab will bring up a menu with the selection tools.
Masking mode selection mode menu
The Magic Wand will select neighboring similar pixels to mask. Color Range will mask pixels that match the color of the pixels where you tap. There is also a lasso selection tool and both rectangle and ellipse selection tools. The lasso tool is also very useful.
2. Here I use the Magic Wand to select most of the background. Tap on Magic Wand to select it, then tap on photo in area you want to delete. The Magic Wand will select areas in the photo that are similar to the pixels you tapped on. These pixels will be masked and appear transparent.
If you click on the settings symbol at bottom right of screen, you get a pop-up box with settings for the selected tool. Here you see the settings for the Magic Wand. I leave the settings at the default to start. Then I can reduce the threshold as I get closer to the object to try to avoid masking parts of it. Reducing the threshold reduces the number of pixels selected.
Here I have started to tap on the background. A tap will select areas of the photo that have similar pixels to the ones you tapped and mask them so they don't show. Any areas showing the grey and white checkerboard have been masked. This selection method will pick pixels that are right up against an object giving a cleaner, more accurate edge than just using the brush by itself.
3. Use the Magic Wand until you start getting masked areas in places you don't want. In the photo below, you can see part of one of the front legs is missing.
4. Then click the Undo button (left facing curved arrow) at the top left side of the tool bar. Keep clicking the Undo button until the desired part of the image shows again. If you do too many clicks, you can click the Redo button (right facing curved arrow).
5. You can also use the lasso selection tool to draw around an area to mask. (See below.). This is especially helpful for large background areas that can be selected all at once or a background area with a lot of small patches of pixels to be masked. All pixels within the lasso will be masked. When I feel I can't use the Magic Wand any more without masking parts of the sheep, I try to capture large parts of the background that have little areas of still visible pixels with the Lasso tool.
6. Then I switch to the Brush tool (still in the masking mode).
Showing Brush settings in the Masking mode
Because I will be working up close to the edges of the sheep, I decrease the size of the brush and increase the softness. This gives me more accuracy and makes a softer, more realistic edge around the sheep.
I start brushing in the background using my finger or a stylus. Then I gradually move closer to the object edge moving my stylus in a parellel direction to the object edge. This way, when I get close to the object, I can gradually shave away the background until only the object is showing. I do a pinch out with my fingers to get a magnified view of the area I am working on. (A note - doing a pinch out usually takes you out of the brush mode, so you then may have to reselect the brush and redo any brush settings you have made as they will have reset to the default settings.)
7. After you are satisfied with your selection, click on the filters icon (looks like two horizontal slider bars) at the top of the screen. This takes you back to the main screen mode where you can save the photo as a masked ping. I use export at maximum size.
sheep mask complete
The saved photo will show in the photos app as having a black background, but the background will appear transparent in programs supporting .png transparencies.
8. Now I go into the PhotoForge2 app where I can add the sheep to the photo with the man in the park. I import the man photo.
9. Click on the layers icon (3rd icon from right at bottom of screen - looks like a stack of papers) and a thumbnail of the photo shows as a layer on the right side of the screen. Then I click on "New Layer" above the thumbnail.
10. Tap on the little photos icon that appears. This will take you to your photos. I select the masked .png version of the sheep photo. This takes you to a layer editing screen. You can't see the first layer, but if you click on the second icon from the right on the top right of the screen, the first layer appears underneath the sheep. Now you can size and position the sheep in relation to the man.
11. Click on The first icon at the top right of the screen to get the layer edit pop-up menu. Choose Translate and you can move and resize the object the way you want it. (Two fingers to resize, one finger to move.)
When you have the object placed and sized the way you want it, click the check icon on the top left of the screen. You are taken back to the main editing screen.
12. You have the option to change the blend mode and opacity in PhotoForge2. Click on the second layer to get a pop-out menu of small icons. Clicking on the bottom icon brings up an opacity and blend mode box. For this photo, I reduced the opacity some so that the white sheep wouldn't pop out of the finished photo so much and kept the blend mode at normal. You can experiment with different blend modes and opacities to see what you like for your photo.
13. If you are happy with the collaged photo, you can now save it. Depending on your photo, your collage may now be finished.
I decided I wanted to give the sheep a shadow to make it look like it is standing more realistically on the ground. An easy way to do this is to use the Burn/Dodge mode in the Photogene app.
14 . If you want to add shadows, import the saved photo of the man and sheep into Photogene. Then click on the Retouches icon on the bottom of the screen. This brings up a Retouches menu on the right. Under Masking Overlays choose Burn.
A Brush and an Intensity icon will appear. These adjust the size, softness, and darkness of the Burn brush.
15 . Paint in the shadows. I added a shadow for the man, also. A low intensity makes a more realistic shadow here. When you are happy with the shadows, you can save the photo.
Here is the finished photo collage of the man walking his toy sheep in the park. You can use this technique as a start for more complex photo collages.