Quickly & easily assemble your latest photos into a charming collage for use as your computer desktop image, sharing with loved ones or printing and displaying in your home. All you need is photos and Google's free photo editing/sorting software Picasa.
If you don't already have Picasa installed, the first step will be the longest if you have a lot of photos, but it will be worth your while. Download Picasa, install it and let it detect some or all of your photos. Besides collage-making, Picasa has a lot of other great features: you can organize your photos, crop them, make basic color/lighting adjustments, add text, easily export to different sizes, share, make slideshows, and more. This article will focus on collage-making.
First you need to select which photos you would like to use in your collage. Find your photos by clicking on the folder names in the left hand column until you locate the ones you want. You can also use the search and filter tools at the top right of the screen.
There are several ways to select multiple images:
Whichever you choose, the lower left corner of the screen will show you what your selection looks like so far.
To the right of the selection area is an array of options for what you can do with your selection.
Click on "collage", the third from the right.
The collage-editing screen opens, with your preview on the right and settings on the left.
Experiment with the settings to find one that works with your photos.
Start by selecting your target Page Format. "Square" was selected for this example, but there are lots of other options, including custom.
Try different collage types as well: Picture Pile, Mosaic Frame Mosaic Grid, Contact Sheet or Multiple Exposure.
Try increasing the grid-spacing (if the slider is available for the collage type you've selected) and/or changing the color.
You can decide to remove any of the images from the collage by selecting and deleting. the You can manually swap images between spots by click/dragging them, or automatically shuffle them all by clicking the "shuffle" button. Click on the "clips" tab at the upper left to get more pictures to add to your collage.
Here are some examples of different settings using the same photos as above:
Frame Mosiac (central image surrounded by others)
Grid (equally sized images)
Picture Pile (mimics a stack of photos)
Thumbnail (small thumbnails to be used as a visual reference for a set of photos)
When you're done, click on the "desktop background" button to make your collage the background for your computer, or click on "Create Collage" if you want to use your collage for some other purpose.
Once the collage is created, you can use the buttons along the bottom of the main screen to: upload it to the web, print it yourself, upload it to a printing service like snapfish ("shop" button), save it to removable media and have it printed locally ("export") or blog via blogger. "Export" is also useful for making copies at different resolution and/or if you want to attach your collage to an e-mail via your regular e-mail program rather than via Picasa's built-in image sending feature.
Make post cards commemorating a recent trip or event.
Make inexpensive DIY wallet-sized prints by putting 4 images to a 4x6, ordering a standard print and then cutting them apart yourself.
Make desktop images for the grandparents.
Print to regular paper and glue onto a smaller scrap of corrugated cardboard (folding paper edges around the cardboard) for inexpensive temporary art.
Send an assortment of photos as a single image to someone who is not good with attachments so that they only have to download one file.
Illustrate your blog post or facebook update with a photo summary collage (saves time for you, and clicks for your viewer).
Speed up your digital or physical scrapbooking by supplementing your detail work with quick picasa collages. Lavish your attention on a page or two for each event or subject, and follow each up with a few pages of simple picasa collages showcasing the other hundred photos you took.