Monday, February 16, 2009

Image to polaroid collage

Hmmm.. it seems I've been busy for some time (not really ;-)). Anyway here comes another GIMP tutorial that I wanted to write from some time, but couldn't. Better late than never :-)

Following tutorial is to get a polaroid collage effect on an image. What I am going to do is just place some randomly rotated polaroid frames that we will create in step [3]. To give it a little realistic look we will use shadows and Curve Bend tool.

GIMP version: 2.6.4
Image size: 1024 x 768

Before we start just preview of what I finally got:

1] Create a new image in GIMP of size same as original image (i.e. 1024 x 768 here). The idea is to create all the frames and finally put the original image in the background.

2] Hide the background layer and create a new transparent layer which is 300px wide and 400px high, and name it "frame".

3] Now add little off-white borders to the layer. I used (240, 240, 240) color. Make the borders 10px wide on left, top and right side and 30 px wide on the bottom side. You can use the rectangle select and the bucket fill tools. After drawing the borders you must have something like this:

4] Now create a transparent layer, and name it as "collage". We will use buffer to temporarily put a frame, then rotate and distort it a little, and then put on the "collage" layer.

5] Lets start with the first frame. Select layer "frame" hit Ctrl+A to select the frame that we made. Select layer "buffer" and hit Ctrl+V to paste, but don't merge down the floating layer yet. Select Filters | Distorts | Curve Bend, and slightly bend the upper curve, press copy button to copy the same curve to the lower region. Press ok to apply the transformation. You should get something like this:

6] Now, take the rotate tool and rotate the floating layer with some random amount.

7] Select Filters | Light and Shadow | Drop Shadow, and drop a shadow. I used the x-y offset as 5 and blur radius as 8, opacity as 80.

8] Now merge down the floating layer on the layer "buffer". Rearrange the layers as "buffer", "Drop Shadow" and "collage". Merge down the "shadow" layer to the "collage" layer. Select the layer "buffer", take the "fuzzy select" tool and click inside the blank area in the frame. Now merge down the "buffer" layer to the "collage" layer. Now press delete to delete the selected area. This is what I got after this step:

9] As you would have noticed that the "buffer" layer is lost. Create another "buffer" layer. and repeat the steps 5-6-7-8 several times, with frames rotated with different angles, distorted with different amount, and pasted at different places.

10] After repeating steps 5-6-7-8 several times, I got this:

11] Now, just place the original image in the background. To get better results you may place the original image in the background before and then put the frames according to the image.


  1. Wow!! Really fantastic idea.. simple and easy.. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Chetan, Thanks for the tutorial.. it helped me a lot... I tried it, looks fantabulous! Keep it coming..

  3. thx for tutor...
    i like it...

  4. While I surf blog , i found a all new trick in
    Vistor can comment and EMBED VIDEO , IMAGE . EX :
    I wonder how they do it ? Anyone know about this , please tell me :D
    (sr for my bad english ^_^)


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  6. hi.......i rily love this tutorial...but i have being have big issuess from step 5 downwards....especially the final step where i use the magic wand to pick inside of the frame...after clicking delete nothing happned...and myframes are transparent...they are not ovalaapy each other.........wud really really reallly really appreaciate it if u could show the screen shots of the teps...and expand a little bit on the explaination from step five downwards......pls
    i have tried google to find other methods but all her jst on polariods effect...nt pollariod collage...and this methods is far awesome dan they are..pls am begging

  7. [5] Are you having troubles in distorting the frame? For this you can refer to

    [6],[7] I guess you don't have problems in these steps.

    [8] Regarding deleting, make sure you have selected the correct layers while using fuzzy select tool and pressing the delete key. Also after you merge the layers don't lose the selection. Make sure that after merging and before deleting you can still see the 'marching ants'.

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  9. tnaks for taking the time to reply myfirst comment...hope am nt gona turn into a bugg with the remaining Q i hav..
    i created my white-off border...using the box tool,painted it with white by using the bucket tool...then creating a inner box, then using the color to alpha to make it transparent...pls tell me if my steps are wrong...tanks.
    Problem 1:the collage layer should it being the same size as the frame or jst make it 1027x786 size....since the 1024x786 is the normal size chosen by default

  10. In step4 for when u said 'buffer' did u the floating selection layer that the frame we haded curve bend to or the buffer submenu in 'Edit' menu...
    i have no issues with rily simple2do.

    and after merging..the matching ants remained...and also remained after pls tell me if this is a wrng sign

  11. oh my.............i am so blind to the spot........REd right it was so simple.....
    Chetan i truelly appreciate you answering myquestion even though it ws so simple dt i made a mistake at the last step of step7....itruely appreciate ur rily helped me work far more carefully n systematiclly worked through ma steps n found my mistakes...and tanks for the wonderful,simpe is another satisfied blogger.!

  12. Nice tutorial, thanks for sharing, i like GIMP and this inspired me for a banner.

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  15. Amazing, how simple some things are if someone just shows you how to do it. Great tutorial! I need to spend more time trying out new things on gimp.

  16. thanks dude i realy like this project if i could i would post what i created on google but..... i cant but good job i had a good time exploreing this project and my out come was incredibly exceptional!!!