Thought I’d pass along some information that helped me get started! I loved doing the collages & I’m so happy now that I’ve figured out a good way to do them. I get to show more pictures per post & some details without each post having dozens of photos. (above boards from Design Aglow rounded set)
I started out with MCP Actions. They have tons of Photoshop (CS5) & Photoshop Elements (PSE) actions to do processing, retouching & collages. They have 2 sets specifically for blogging & 1 set for printing (plus a brand new set with rounded corners). I bought the Magic BlogIt Actions PSE (also available for CS5) set for printing at the time, thinking I’d make my annual My Publisher pages with it & I could just shrink them down to blog size. $70 for 15-16 layouts + a few blogging tools (re-size, sharpen, remove border, etc). My complaint about these is that you get one shot & if you pick something wrong or decide you want to change a photo/position, I haven’t figure out a good day to do it yet. I was lucky enough to upgrade to the full Photoshop CS5 & I’d bought these actions for PSE so I’m not using them too much anymore.
My next stop was the Becky Earl BeART Blog Your Art Templates. They are PSD files that are set up where you simply cut & paste your other photos into the correct slot. They take a few steps, but are pretty flexible & let you make changes. $25 for 20 layouts for CS5.
My next was to try the Creative Blogging Actions by Jessica Feely $35 gets your 33 actions with about 16 layouts & a few tools (sharpen, resize, color boost) for your blogging photos. These are for CS5, but PSE actions are coming soon. These are my favorite so far! I have re-assigned a shortcut key to do the “Place” command, so I can insert photos with 1 step, transform/size them, move them around and be done! The flatten, sharpen & re-size actions are also great & super quick.
Finally, I hope to get Moirai’s Compistor in the near future. I’ve heard really rave reviews about them from numerous photo friends. More powerful than actions, they are CS5 scripts that look at the pictures you have selected & the size to offer the best layouts. $80 – unknown number of layouts, but overlay options. I’d also like to try this set as it will allow you to do a portrait (tall) collage with many photos up/down.
I have also run across these blog/web boards from Design Aglow. They have some different fun setups with frames/windows instead of just the plain squares/boxes and a fun set of rounded boards. I haven’t purchased any of these (yet!), but I will be putting them on my Christmas list for sure. $50 for ~15 layouts & a few other helpful tools.
The Coffee Shop offers tons of freebies- including several web boards such as the one above (Rounded Corners 1). The Storyboard 1 is also a great collage, but these are fully automated actions, so you can’t change them around later or interrupt them. They are all compatible with Photoshop Elements too. These were just a few random photos I had from our first few months of dating in 2004.
EDIT TO ADD: I finally purchased Moirai’s Compistor and that’s what I use 95% of the time since 2011. It’s super fast & allows a ton of photos at once. I occasionally still use the Creative Blogging Actions for 2, 3 or 4 photo layouts that I like a little better and want more diversity in arrangements.
GOOD NEWS OF THE DAY: Sneak peak at an amazing wedding from last weekend- I am so excited to see more beautiful photos!