Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Creating Photo Shapes: How To Merge in PhotoShop

Have you ever wanted to shape your photos? One thing I do quite often is merge my photos into templates to create photo shapes.

For example:


Maybe even:

Yesterday I provided a 4-leaf clover "Lucky" template for you to download.
(If you haven't already, you can grab it here.)

Today, I am going to show you step-by-step how to merge photos into a template in Adobe PhotoShop, so you can create your own photo shapes. I have PhotoShop CS3, but any version of Elements or CS will have these same basic steps.

Let's get started.

Step 1: Once PhotoShop is open and running, open a template from wherever you saved it on your computer. (File, Open or Ctrl+O). Also open whatever photo(s) you will be using.

Step 2: On your template, select a shape using your Move Tool. It's the arrow or you can simply hit the "V" key. I selected Picture 4, so notice the dotted lines around it showing the selection. You can also see in the layers palette (bottom right-hand corner), that Picture 4 is highlighted.

Step 3: Select which photo you are going to use for Picture 4, and while it is still selected, drag it with your mouse over to your template so you get something like this.

Now you'll see in the layers palette that my photo (Layer 1) is directly above Picture 4. If you need to move your layers around, you can do so by going to Layer, Arrange from your menu bar.

Step 4: In your layers palette, make sure your photo (Layer 1) is selected then you will need to hold down the Alt button and click the line directly in between Layer 1 and Picture 4. This will merge the photo.

Step 5: Scroll your arrow over a box located on the four corners of your photo. It will change the arrow to a slanted double arrow. Click while holding down your shift key to resize your photo as desired. *If you don't hold down the shift key, the photo will resize unproportionately. Then you can use your arrows or mouse to position the photo as desired.

Once it's the desired size and showing up in the template shape as you would like, click the green check mark in your menu bar to commit the transform.

Step 6: At this point your photo and shape are still two separate layers. If you don't want to use that photo with that shape, you can still move it. Hold down the Alt button and click on the line between the layers in the layers palette just like you did to merge, and it will unmerge the photo. If however, you are satisfied with that photo going with that shape, hit Ctrl+E on your keyboard and Picture 4 in the layers palette is now your photo.

That should be it. Go ahead and repeat for your remaining shapes and it will be done. Save the entire thing as a jpeg file and print out.

Please let me know if you have any questions.

You can also make your own templates by drawing shapes. If this is something you guys would be interested in a tutorial on, let me know and I'll get it put together!


  1. I would love a tutorial on how to make templates...that would be amazing:)

  2. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! I've had photoshop for over a year now and have no idea how to use it. I went through this tutorial step-by-step and it worked. Yea!!!

  3. I learned so much by following this tute. Thank you soooo much. I would be interested in the shape template, too. Thanks so much

  4. I have always wondered how to do this! Thanks for sharing the information. I would love to learn how to make templates too! The possibilities with that would be endless.

  5. Thank you so much! I'm so excited about using this tutorial. I would love to learn more and any tutorial you want to put up will help me. I just happened upon this today. Looking forward to more! thanks soooooo much!!!!!

  6. Thanks! This will be perfect for an upcoming project. And yes, help on creating a template would be WONDERFUL!!!

  7. Ditto to what everyone said!

  8. Fun stuff! I wrote about blogging & photography today and linked to this post, it's a great tutorial!


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