PI5 Fantasy Collage

This tutorial shows how to combine fills, objects, filters, and particle and lighting effects to create a one-of-a kind image.

fantasy collage

View full size collage

Once you learn these techniques, you'll be able to turn almost any photo into a fantasy collage. The key to success in making a collage is to start with a simple image that has plenty of room for adding objects and displaying PhotoImpact's awesome special effects. One with a background that's easy to select, and that fits your metaphor doesn't hurt, either. Add any picture to the foreground -- I've used a fabulous child object from Hemera's PhotoObjects.

The Stonehenge photo used in this tutorial is on the PI 5.0 CD, under Samples, Images, Landmarks, arche089.jpg. The first thing we need to do is get rid of the people on the left side and the yellow object on the right side, both near the horizon. Select the Clone Paint Brush tool and leave the default values as they are.

First we'll clone out the people on the left side. Hold down on the Shift key while clicking just below the people (crosshairs) to clone the grass. Then carefully paint the people out. If you make a mistake, right click, Undo, and try again.

before and after clone paintbrush

On the right side, Shift-click to select the grass and bushes around the yellow object (I don't know what it is), then paint it out.

cloning out big yellow thing

Choose the Magic Wand selection tool. We're going to select the sky so it can be filled. In the Attributes toolbar, set the Similarity to 51. Make sure you are in Add mode. Click just above the central stone, which will select most of the sky. Click again toward the upper left corner. Click anywhere else you need to in order to select the entire sky. Don't forget to click in between the stones, where the sky shows through. The selected sky should look like this.

sky selected with magic wand

From the EasyPalette, choose the Fill Gallery, Gradient. Scroll down and double click on Navy to fill the sky with a deep, starry blue.

Fill Gallery, Navy

While the sky is still selected, choose the Particle Gallery, Firefly. Right click on Firefly 5 and choose "Modify Properties & Apply," which opens the Particle dialog box.

Leave all of the default value as they are except: Size=25, and click in the Softness color box to choose the pale lavender color at the bottom of the standard color box. Click OK to apply. Right click, Merge All.

Particle parameters

To deepen the colors of the grass and stones, and tone down the yellow, select Format, Style. When the Style box opens, click the Sculpture tab and select Bronze. Click OK to apply. The image takes on a nice, dark, brooding effect.

apply Style filter

There are harsh white lines here and there around the stones, where the dark navy fill did not come right up to the edges of the stones. To fix that, select the Blur Retouch tool. Set the size to 5, and bring the slider down to 2 in the Attributes toolbar. Lightly blur around the white areas surrounding the stones. Right click, Merge All.

apply Blur tool to edges of stones

Now we'll add an arching trail of stars across the image. From the EasyPalette, select the Particle Gallery, Stars. Right click on Stars 3 and choose "Modify Properties & Apply." When the Particle dialog box opens, leave the default values as they are, but click in the Halo size and Star size color boxes to select the colors shown below. They are in the standard color box. Click OK to apply.

Stars Particle parameters

So far the image should look like the one below, shown at 1/3rd size.

image so far

Open the EasyPalette's Image Library. Drag the Sundial from the thumbnail onto the image, and place it on the far left side of the image. About 1/4th of the sundial should extend off the image, so that it doesn't show. This big, dark sundial doesn't add much to the image yet, but it will soon. Right click on the sundial object and choose Properties.

add Sundial to image on left

When the Object Properties box opens, from the General tab, select "Inverse of Multiply" from the Merge dropdown list. Click OK. The sundial becomes semi-transparent, showing only pastel tones.

Object Properties box

While the sundial object is still active, select the Transform tool. In the Attributes toolbar, rotate the sundial 10 degrees counterclockwise. Position it to your liking, then right click, Merge All.

Next let's add a little drama by choosing the EasyPalette's Lighting Gallery, Lens Flare. Right click on Lens Flare 2 and choose "Modify Properties & Apply."

add Lighting Gallery effect

When the Lighting dialog box first opens, the image in the Preview window will look terrible, a blazing star of orange-yellow that seems to blot out everything. Position your cursor near the star in the Preview window until it turns into a set of crossed, double-headed arrows. When that happens, you are on top of the Lighting effect and it can be moved. Drag the star into the upper right corner of the image.

Edit the Lighting parameters as shown below. Change the Intensity to 150, and click in the Light color box. Mix a custom pinkish-brown color, RGB=150, 92, 100. Click OK to apply. You will see a big change in the look of the star, and green and yellow lens flares will fill the lower left part of the image.

Lighting Gallery parameters

To brighten up the contrast, click the Quick Control Contrast key's plus (+) sign 1X.

click contrast 1X

OK, here comes the fun part! Open up the child.ufo file and drag the child onto the right side of the image, or add an object created from a picture of your child, a pet, or whatever. Right click and Merge All.

add child to image

The green in the grass around the child's feet is a different color than the grass around her. Select the Clone Paint Brush tool again. Leave the default values as they are. Shift-click to clone the darker green grass, then paint out the yellow-green grass around the child's feet. You don't have to get rid of every bit of it, just do enough to blend them together so there's no obvious line.

clone paint brush to blend grass

The fantasy collage is done! You really have to view it full size to appreciate its effect. Remember that you can add magic to almost any image this way. Making collages is addictive and you might find yourself getting into them in a Big Way.

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