Did you know that you can use Corel Vector not only to design icons and illustrations, but also to edit your photos and even to create photo manipulations? If you didn’t know yet, this is your chance to learn more about it!
In this tutorial, we will show you how to remove backgrounds and manipulate shapes and colors to create a photo collage.
Pick some interesting elements
Let’s start by choosing some nice photos that could be put together to form a great collage. You can go to Corel Vector’s Libraries and get pictures directly from Unsplash!
Unsplash folder on the Libraries.
I chose these pictures directly from the Unsplash category for the collage I’m going to create:
Pictures used for the photo manipulation.
To remove the background of an image with Corel Vector, you need to create a Mask. You can do that by tracing around the part of the image you want to keep using the Pen Tool. You can check our complete tutorial on this tool here in case you have any doubts on how to use it.
Draw around the shape you want to keep with the Pen Tool to create the mask.
To make “holes” inside your main shape, like for the little windows of the towers, for example, you just need to draw the shape of this cut, position it on top on the layer hierarchy, then select this and the main shape and use Subtract to create a cut.
Cutting holes in the middle of closed a path.
After you’re done with the hole-cutting process, you need to convert the created Compound Shape back to a Path with Right Click → Convert to Path, to be able to use this shape as a Mask.
Right Click → Convert to Path
Mask the images
Now you can create the actual mask by inserting the image inside the shape you just drew. There are a few ways to do that! You can drag the image layer to the path layer on the Layers Panel, or you can use the Clip Tool: place the image on top of the path, select both and click the “Clip” button on the toolbar:
You can check more details about all the masking techniques on our User Guide.
After you’re done creating your masks, you can make any adjustments necessary to the shapes by using the Subselect Tool. You can move some nodes around and make some corners more rounded until you’re satisfied with the result.
Applying effects and assembling everything
Now it’s time to add some effects to your masks. You can start by creating a rectangle of a darker color and placing it behind the image to better see the edges.
Remove the border or just toggle its visibility, then start by adding the Blur Effect. You can find Blur at the bottom of the Inspector Panel under the Effects tab. You just need enough blur so that the shape’s edge is not too sharp and looks more natural, so I added 1px.
Using Blur to make the edges less sharp.
Before you make any color correction to the images, assemble your elements. This will make it easier to correct the color of each image so that they look like all images belong to the same “scene”.
All the masked elements assembled together.
We’ll be using mainly Color Adjust and Inner Shadow on the images now to adjust them. Both can be also found under the Effects tab as the Most Used effects. Let’s start with recoloring our Taj Mahal! I’ll change Brightness to -7, Contrast to 3 and Hue to -16.
Color Adjust for the Taj Mahal mask.
Next are the mountains, with Brightness to -5, Contrast to 8, Hue to -100 and Saturation to 16.
Color Adjust for the mountains mask.
For the starry sky on the background, change Brightness to 9, Hue to -11 and Saturation to -11.
Color Adjust for the background.
Next is the adventurer on the front, so let’s set Brightness to -24, Contrast to -19 and Hue to -4.
Color Adjust for the man at the front.
As for the moon let’s set the Brightness to -14, Hue to -18 and Saturation to -11, but also an Overlay with Blend toggled on. The Blend is what will give you the transparency effect on the image. You can find the Overlay effect by clicking the plus icon on the Effects tab and choosing the Adjust category.
Color Adjust and Overlay for the moon mask.
That shirt doesn’t look good
The blue tone of the man’s shirt looks a little out of place even after using some color corrections, right? So we need to change the color of the shirt separately. To do that, make a copy of that mask, then erase all the nodes and adjust until you have only the shirt left as a second mask above the original:
Creating a second mask for the blue shirt.
Now you can adjust the settings of the Color Adjust already added to this shirt layer. Set Brightness to -46 and Contrast to -10, then also add a Recolor effect, that can be found on the “Adjust” category along with Overlay. On Recolor, set Hue to 25 and Saturation to 60.
Color Adjust and Color Overlay on the shirt.
Last shadow adjustments
We’re almost there! But something still looks a little off with the shadowing back in the mountains, so let’s create a rectangle which we will use as a shadow. Position this rectangle inside the Taj Mahal mask:
Rectangle to create a shadow.
Set this rectangle’s Fill to a Linear Gradient from black to black, but set the top part to 0% Opacity:
Rectangle with gradient to 0% Opacity.
Set the rectangle’s blending mode to Linear Burn and its Opacity to 60%:
Rectangle with Linear Burn Blending Mode.
Let’s do the same with the lighter part of the mountains:
Rectangle with Linear Burn Blending Mode to create a shadow on the mountain.
And that’s it! Your final result. Feel free to add as many elements as you like.
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