The coolest FREE alternative I have found lately.

http://www.shapecollage.com/ - check it out!
http://www.comiclife.com
http://comic-life.wikispaces.com/ - tutorials on everything about comic life
http://www.photovisi.com/
another option to try out - from a direct message from a twitter friend. check it out???

CREATING PHOTO COLLAGES

to download actual file
By Susan Gilley
Technology Coordinator
Bergman School District
[[mailto:sgilley@bigfoot.com |sgilley@bigfoot.com ]]

http://sgilley.wikispaces.com

Additional files that you might find beneficial.







¨ Create a blank publication in Microsoft Publisher.

¨ Using the drawing tools, create a rectangular box that measures the size of the picture you want to create (i.e., 3 x 5, 4 x 6, 5 x 7, 8 x 10, 11 x 14, or other special size)

¨ Format the created box to have a background color and a border color to match your intended design.

¨ Insert pictures and arrange and/or rotate to create a collage on the page. Pictures can be scanned or digital pictures. The camera I use takes pictures that are 4 megapixels.

¨ Another option includes inserting a shape into your document. You can choose to fill the shape with color and a border and/or you can also choose to insert a picture into the shape. To insert pictures into shapes, insert the shape, then right click and choose to format the shape, choose fill, fill effects, click on the picture tab, browse and select your picture.

¨ Add any appropriate word art. Change the colors, styles, etc, of word art as appropriate. Note: If you choose to use a text box instead of word art, when you change the size of the picture, your text box and text will not reduce in size appropriately while word art will adjust accordingly.

¨ Select all pictures and right click to give each a border or select some and give them one border color and the others another border color. I use a 2 to 3 pt size border.

¨ Allow about ½ inch as a gutter around the measured size of the picture to allow for the picture frame to cover up part of the created collage.

¨ Decide how you want to overlap pictures by moving some forward or back.

¨ Save your completed document so that you can make changes later. This step is VERY important!

¨ Select all pictures (CTRL – A) and group them as one picture. Right click on the grouped pictures and save them as a jpeg file. You also have the option at this point to save the picture with 150 dpi or enhanced 300 dpi. Honestly, I can’t tell the difference when developed but the larger the photo, the better image you need. I also recommend opening the saved jpeg, just to make sure the picture looks like what you expected it to look like.

¨ You can also re-size the picture at this moment if you want to print the same collage in different sizes. Using the object size measurement bar located in the bottom right-hand corner, double-click and enter the specific size you want. Right click once the document has changed in size, and save your new jpeg file under a new file name. I include the size of the picture in the file name, i.e., lucy 4 x 6, lucy 8 x 10.

¨ Send your saved jpegs to a photo developer or save them to a CD and take them in to be developed.

¨ Events that I have created collages for include sports, birthdays, graduation, Christmas, and senior night. However, they are an unlimited number of possibilities. It’s also a great fundraiser as pictures are pretty inexpensive to have developed and students LOVE the creative process.