• How to create a patchwork effect in a picture

    Article by Ey@el

    Original en français

    Here is a fairly simple (though a wee bit tedious) photo manipulation to turn your images into patchworks. All you need is a photo editing program (I have used GIMP for my first example and Paint Shop Pro for the second) plus lots of imagination.


    - a photo


    1. Open a copy of your chosen image. Add an alpha layer to your original layer, duplicate and hide it.

    2. Add a new layer (Frame) and with the Rectangle Selection tool draw your desired frame that will be used to create the patchwork. Fill the selection with the colour white using the Bucket tool.

    3.  Apply menu command Selection - Shrink 5px (you may use different values depending on the size of your picture) then Delete and unselect all.

    4. Duplicate Frame layer and rename copy Shadow. Apply menu command Colors - Invert for your frame to turn black.

    5. Apply menu command Filters - Blur Filters - Gaussian Blur  with 10px blur radius.

    6. Move Shadow layer under Frame layer. Use the Rectangle Selection tool to select the inner transparent part of the frame then delete so that the shadow doesn't show inside the frame.

    7. Activate Frame layer and merge down. Rename merged layer Frame 1.

    8. Duplicate Frame 1 as many times as needed depending on the effect you want to create (for this example, I have used five frames).

    9. Arrange frames as you wish using the Move and Rotate tools.

    10. With the lasso, select the overlapping parts of frames. Activate the desired frame layer and press Delete to remove.

    11. Activate the duplicated layer of your original image. Still using the lasso but in Addition mode (or holding the Shift key), select the white borders of each frame (middle of each border), then invert selection and delete. The whole background becomes transparent except for the parts inside the frames. Unselect all.

    12. This last step is optional. You may save your picture with a transparent background or add a new background layer and fill it with colour, gradient, pattern or another picture. I have used the original picture (which I had duplicated and hidden on step 1) to which I have added several effects. So I've added a black layer at the bottom of the layer stack, then made my original layer visible again (Background 1) to which I've applied  menu command  FX Foundry - Artistic - Quick Sketch. I have then duplicated this layer (Background 2) and applied menu command Colors - Invert. Last but not the least, I have changed the settings of these two background layers (Background 2 must be on top of Background 1) as follows:

    Background 2 -- Substract mode  - 81,2% opacity
    Background 1 -- Normal mode - 25,5% opacity

    For this second example made years ago with Paint Shop Pro, I didn't duplicate the frame layer on step 4 to turn it into a shadow layer but applied a drop shadow instead. I have also selected the inner area of some frame and applied a desaturing effect on the selected area of the original background layer. As you can see the desaturation is either complete or partial. For the background, I have also used a duplicated layer to which I've applied a vignette effect with a mask and partial desaturation so as to make the patchwork stand out.

    To take originality further, it would have been interesting to colourise some frame, applied a variety of effects depending on the type of picture used. As always, there are no limits to your creativity and my tutorials only aim at being used as basic tools to trigger your imagination. Have a lot of fun!



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