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Create a Striking Collage Fusing Ancient and Modern

Create a Striking Collage Fusing Ancient and Modern

Today we’re going to be creating a cool collage that fuses various photographic and textual elements to create a combination of ancient and modern styles.

Final Image

Here is a preview of the image that we are going to be creating:

Step 1

Start by creating a document (600X650px).

Paste in your crumpled paper texture, and change this layer’s opacity to 40%. Then go to filter>sharpen>sharpen just to bring out the detail of your texture.

Step 2

Paste in your mountain range image, calling this layer ‘mountain’.

Now go to layer>layer mask>reveal all. Use a large black paintbrush (40% opacity, 0% hardness) to brush away the sky part of your mountain image, and soften the edges of your mountain range. Then reduce your mountain layer’s opacity to 40%.

Step 3

Now paste in your photo of clouds. Repeat the same techniques as the last step in order to blend them nicely with your overall composition:

Step 4

Now create a new layer called ‘background highlight’. Drag a white to transparent radial gradient out from the center of your canvas. Then reduce this layer’s opacity to 65%

Step 5

Now use a small gray paintbrush set to 100% hardness to create a series of dots over your canvas.

Then use your 1px line tool to connect these dots with gray lines. Reduce both your line and dots layer’s opacities to around 30-50%.

Step 6

Cut out and paste in your statue bust image. Position it centrally and resize as needed:

Step 7

Now apply a hue/saturation, levels, and exposure adjustment layer.

Very importantly you must apply a clipping mask to each adjustment layer, so that they only effect your underlying statue bust layer. To do this simply go to layer>apply clipping mask.

Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer Settings:

Hue: 0
Saturation: -90
Lightness: 0

Levels Adjustment Layer Settings:

28 / 0.96 / 233

Exposure Adjustment Layer Settings:

Exposure: +0.38
Offset: 0
Gamma Correct: 1.02

Step 8

Now duplicate your statue bust layer, moving it above your adjustment layers. If needed, reapply a clipping mask to each adjustment layer.

Change the layer mode of this duplicate statue layer to ‘hard light’ and then reduce it’s opacity to 25%.

Step 9

Now paste in your spiral staircase image. Use your lasso or pen tool to cut out out properly, including areas where you want your main image background to show through (e.g.: between rails).

Then go apply a layer mask, and using a medium sized black paintbrush (30% opacity) blend in the top of staircase with your statue bust.

Step 10

Now apply a hue/saturation adjustment layer and levels adjustment layer. Apply a clipping mask for each of these adjustment layers, ensuring that they only effect your spiral staircase image.

Also, you’ll notice that the color of the staircase is slightly different from your statue bust. To fix this, apply a color overlay blending option on your staircase layer (settings also below):

Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer Settings:

Hue: 0
Saturation: -90
Lightness: 0

Levels Adjustment Layer Settings:

11 / 0.83 / 255

Color Overlay Settings:

Color: 3d3a34
Opacity: 100%

Step 11

Now repeat the last step, but to create a smaller spiral staircase on the left half of your statue:

Step 12

Now use your circular marquee tool to select a perfect circle of your background texture. Paste this in as a new top layer.

Now go to filter>liquify. The exact settings for this stage aren’t important, but basically you want to use your pucker/bloat tools on the edges of your texture circle in order to make them wavy and distort them:

Step 13

Now duplicate your texture circle, repositioning and resizing each duplicate. Merge all of your texture circle layers together to make a single ‘texture circles’ layer:

Step 14

Now apply a levels adjustment layer above your texture circles layer. Create a clipping mask so that only your texture circles are effected by your adjustments:

Levels Adjustment Layer Settings:

8 / 0.92 / 241

Step 15

Now apply various shapes using your marquee/shape tools. Fill each shape with red (d30000). Then change these layer’s blend modes to ‘multiply’. This should add a nice abstract effect to your composition:

Step 16

Now create a new layer called ‘white highlights’. Drag out some white to transparent radial gradients over your statue. Reduce this layer’s opacity to 60%. This should add some subtle but attractive lighting to your piece.

Now create a new layer called ‘color highlights’. Drag out some yellow and red to transparent radial gradients. Then change this layer’s blend mode to ‘overlay’ and reduce it’s opacity to around 25%.

Step 17

Now create a new layer called ‘border’. Go to edit>stroke and select a 10px stroke, 858585, location: inside.

This should create a nice border effect for your piece:

Step 18

Now apply a final levels adjustment layer, just to bring out the intensity and sharpness of your image:

Levels Adjustment Layer Settings:

9 / 0.89 / 232

Step 19

Now create a new layer just beneath your ‘border’ layer called ‘vignette’. Use a large, soft, black paintbrush at around 30% opacity to brush in a subtle vignette effect around the edges of your canvas. This should help draw the users eye towards the center of the composition:

And We’re Done!

You can view the final outcome below. I hope that you enjoyed this tutorial and would love to hear your feedback on the techniques and outcome.

Download Source File for this Tutorial

About the Author:

Tom is the founder of PSDFAN. He loves writing tutorials, learning more about design and interacting with the community. On a more interesting note he can also play guitar hero drunk with his teeth.

Leave a comment


  1. Eric Vasquez says:

    Nice tutorial! I really dig this. I am loving the combination of the crumpled paper texture with the statue and the spiral stairs especially!

  2. MessM says:

    Me encanta este tutorial , es precioso y me ha ayudado muchisimo ! Gracias

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