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Real-world collage

There are few who will dispute the fact that Photoshop is the world's greatest collage tool. The ability to assemble different components and the tools included to do so are unparalleled. Where else can you build up stacks of layers, alter how they blend with underlying layers, as well as group and mask those layers? The flexibility and functionality of the software make it the definitive collage tool. And as a result, you can rarely lay your eyes on any form of media without seeing the presence of Photoshop collage.

The downside to this is that, more often that not, digital artists follow the path of least resistance. As a result, you begin to see the same collage methods and techniques appearing over and over again. You get a lot of blended digital photography, stock photos and textures from CD, and in the case of something really innovative, you might just see a desktop scan used. Our aim with this tutorial is to offer you an alternative to the de facto collage conformity.

As is evident in the illustration on these pages, we're going to encourage you to dust off those old paintbrushes and tubes of acrylic paint that have been sitting in storage ever since you purchased Photoshop. It's time to get hands-on and combine some real-world materials to give your collage a distinctly non-Photoshop look.

Start to look around for some interesting objects, and try to envisage which elements work well on their own and which elements can be altered before or after shooting, then start to sketch a rough composition. Now, if you feel like making a bit of a mess, feel free to substitute your own paintings and photographed elements. And if you wish to replicate what we've done here exactly, all of the necessary files are included in the support files.

Click here to download the support files ( 14MB)

Click here to download the tutorial for free