How to Create Stack Of Photos in Photoshop CC 2015

How to Create Stack Of Photos in Photoshop CC 2015

Today I will explain you how to create stacks of photos in Adobe Photoshop CC 2015 which is full of new and exciting features like Quick Export as..., Search Adobe Stock where you can download (directly to Libraries) watermarked images which you think may work for your project or to search for inspiration. I am scratching the surface with new features just to remind you to update our friend, otherwise we will deal exclusively with a stack of images in this post.

Here is a link to try/buy Scattered Collages, my product with PSD templates. Template that we are going to create in this post is one of many included in the package.

Steps to create stacks of images

My goal is to give you an idea which approach to take. Feel free to use your own creativity or search Adobe Stock as mentioned above for inspiration and to see how others are doing staking.

Step 1 Create a new blank document
The very first step is to create a blank new document. I will start with 3:2 ratio document or 2100x1400px. Set Background Contents to gray if you want to follow along.

Step 2 Create base frame
I will call our first shape: frame. That's the base which will be visible only at the edges. For that matter, I will fill the shape with color white and the rectangle will be drawn using the Rectangle Tool (U). You can use and Rounded Rectangle Tool, by the way. Dimensions of the rectangle are: Width: 1200px and Height: 800px. To make things more interesting, I will set the corner radius for all 4 corners.
set corner radius for rectangle


Step 2 Create shape for a clipping mask
In this step we will duplicate our first shape, remove corner radius and lower dimensions of the shape. Fill second shape with any color so it is easier to distinguish it. We are going to use second shape to clip the image. In this way we are getting more flexibility.
create second rectangle


Note: I will guide you through the steps without to type each and every value that I am using. Feel free to use your own values and do not fear if you make mistakes or you think your design does not look as mine or design of some other Photoshopers. It is better way to learn and gain required experience and certainty in your creativity and skills. Just by following precise instructions you won't learn that much and you will develop bad habits.

Please provide feedback
Let's give a try to this approach of giving instructions and please provide feedback what you think because I know my way and what is the best way for me to learn and to do things, this blog and tutorials are for you and it matters what you think.

Step 3 Rename layers and assign colors
I will suggest you to rename created shape layers and to assign colors to them because you can easily filter layers later using Filter type options at the top of the Layers panel. You can also add Drop Shadow effect to the bottom (frame) layer. Actually, you can start experimenting if you want and try some other effects like Bevel and Emboss for example, or do that later after creating our template. Our goal is to create, in essence, re-usable template which can be quickly and easily changed and adopted.
rename layers and assign colors


Step 4 Duplicate base layers
In this step we need to duplicate created shape layers (frame and clip area) couple of times. I will do that exactly 5 times. It is a good habit to name your layers and I will suggest you to do that. When renaming layers you can press Tab key to jump to the next layer below or Shift + Tab to jump to the previous layer above where the name of the layer will be highlighted and ready to change or retype it. I will also change colors for the clip area shapes. It is an optional step, but it can help to work easier throughout this entire process and after when re-using a template.
duplicate layers and rename them


Step 5 Rotate frame and clip area shapes
In this step you need to select: frame and clip area shape pairs and to rotate them. After selecting both layers (click on the layer, then Ctrl/Cmd + click on second layer) in the Layers panel, just press Ctrl/Cmd + T to enter Free Transform mode and start moving and rotating.
move and rotate both shapes


Here is how my job looks like (with Drop Shadow applied to the bottom shape) and background color changed to white.
composition after rotating all shapes


Step 6 Place images
In this step we need to place images. I will do that using Place Linked command, although we could record Photoshop action to automate the task in a couple of different ways. In essence, for this particular stack, the only photo that will draw attention is top one, the rest of photos you can choose randomly and to re-use the same images with some other top-most photos.
composition after placing images


Step 7 Change background (I will use Filter Forge)
I think that composition can be improved by changing the background from solid color to wood, for example. I will use Filter Forge plugin which have more than 11000 filters including wood backgrounds (perhaps 50 different wood background patterns they have in their library). It just saves time and you will find whatever you are looking for. I will use Old Wood Panel filter and you can see result below.  Here is the link to download full functional trial of the best individual Photoshop plugin.
filter forge window


Final composition
Here is my final composition in all its glory.
final composition


Download template

Here is a link to download template which I have created while writing this tutorial. All photos used in this tutorial and template are from SplitShire. You will find note in the file which you can expand and read terms of use or to copy URL and visit their site.


Product used in this tutorial:
Adobe Photoshop CC 2015
Filter Forge

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