How to make a Triptych using Photoshop

This workflow will show you how to take three portrait-format pictures and combine them into one image of 1024x768 pixels in size made up of three vertical panels. Your three images need to have a common theme, or contain shapes or colours that make them work well together.

This workflow works in Photoshop CS3 - other versions may differ slightly.

  1. Click on File; New... and in the dialogue box that opens set Width to 1024 pixels; Height to 768 pixels; Resolution to 240 ppi; Color Mode to RGB Color 16 bit and Background Contents to Background Color. Click on OK.

  2. You will now have a 1024x768 blank image. Let's call this the Background Image. Minimise this window.

  3. Next, open the first of your three picture images. Click on the Crop Tool and in the tool attributes in the top of the window right click inside the box for the Height value and select Pixels. Set Width to 342 px and Height to 768 px. Now click on the top left of your image and holding in your left mouse button drag to the bottom right a marquee (dotted line) selection. If you do it wrong, just start again drawing from the top left. To resize your selection, just click and drag any of the handles in the corners of the selection marquee. Once your selection is the right size, left click inside it and drag it into the best position over your image to select what you want to appear in the final image. Use the arrow keys on your keyboard for fine tuning. Hit Enter to crop the image. Save this image and minimise it.

  4. Open the second and third of your three images and following the above workflow in point 3 resize all the images.

  5. You now have four files open in your workspace.

  6. Go to your first picture image and copy it using CTRL+A to select and CTRL+C to copy. 

  7. Go to the Background Image and paste the first picture into it using CTRL+V. Select the Move Tool and move the image to the far left of the screen by left clicking inside the image and dragging it.

  8. Repeat as above, copying and pasting the second picture in the middle and the third picture on the right. Do not worry if any of the pictures overlap a bit.

  9. Click on the Set Foreground Color icon to switch foreground and background colours so that the black square is uppermost.

  10. Select the Rectangle Tool and in the Tool Attributes, deselect Anti-alias. Starting exactly on the edge of your Background Image, drag a black rectangle onto your picture right along one edge so that it extends into your image 8 pixels wide (thick). You will find it easier to achieve an exact measurement if you have the Info Bar open and can see the pixel size. The Info Bar tab is normally on the top right of your workspace after the Navigator and Histogram tabs. Do the same with the other three sides so that your picture now has a black frame all around it 8 pixels wide.

  11. Do the same vertically down between the left and middle images creating an 8-pixel border between them, and likewise between the middle and right images.

  12. Now save this image as a PSD file which retains the layers and allows you to go back and change the various aspects of the image later, which you cannot do in a JPEG.

  13. Then, in the top menu, go to Layer; Flatten Image... and Save As (or Save for Web and Devices) and select the JPG / JPEG option.

  14. You now have three images each separated by an 8-pixel border - and a very pleasing triptych!

You can alter the colour of the background or the width of the frame lines to suit your own taste.




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