Building a grid in Photoshop

by Fred Showker

... continued from the previous page.

Transform your Photos into a Mosaic grid

Now, this tutorial will show you how to take photos and craft them into a beautiful mosaic grid. It does not matter in this Photoshop tutorial what files you have -- since I really like my S2000, I'll just use photos of it for this tutorial.

Now that you have your grid file, you can begin using Photoshop layers below the grid layer to decorate the project. Always keep the grid on top, so you can see where images will be positioned. Don't build your montage until you have the grid in place. Sometimes I like to make a duplicate of the grid and color it black for testing very light subjects. (As you will see further into this tutorial.)

drag the montage image files into the grid file to new layers

STEP Import Photos: Now it's a simple matter to just begin bringing in your photos for the montage. Select the Background layer, so that your files will build new layers under the grid as you import them.
STEP Using the Move (V) tool, just drag the image out of its file frame and drop it into the grid file frame. You may want to make adjustments along the way, but I just drag them all and drop them all. Remember, you can always turn off a layer by clicking its eye icon if an image gets in the way.

Feather the edges, scale the images, shuffle layers to design

STEP Adjust the Images: now you can set to the chores of scaling and positioning the images, and feathering or blending their edges. If you need help feathering, see our article on building montages. Drag them around using the Move (M) tool, and get them into perfect position. Shuffle the layers, sending some forward or backwards until you get the transitions between them just right.

Remove some of the grind lines

STEP Remove Grid Lines: As a focal point, I thought I would bring in the 'start' button the 'S' has on the dash board! So, perhaps we should remove a grid strut in order to read the lettering.

I made a selection of just that strut then used Cmd/Ctrl/Shift J in order to "float" the grid strut up to its own layer. I did not want to delete it -- I might want it back later. If you use Cmd/Ctrl J without the shift, it just makes a copy. The shift key actually cuts the selection.

Selecting and inserting white panels into the grid

STEP Varying Grid Panels: Some might wish to vary some of the grid panels. If lightening, just switch to the Grid layer, and use the Magic Wand to select, then shift/select the grid openings you wish to affect. Once selected, fill those selections with White (or any other color you so desire) and then adjust the Opacity slider to suit.

Go for it! Add type, or other elements to finish your masterpiece. Keep the file in this native Photoshop format -- you never know when you might need another 600 pixel white or black grid! Then use File > Save As... to save it out to what ever format you need.
I added a little type just for my own ego -- here's our finished grid mosaic.

As you go through Photoshop tutorials like this one, keep thinking of all the variations and modifications you can make to these steps. The results can be limited only by your imagination. For extra help, see our Feathering tutorial, or feathering with masks tutorial -- and if you need montage help, this montage tutorial, or even better yet, try this Photoshop Tutorial that uses slices

Thanks for reading

Fred Showker

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