julianna kunstler logo
matching shapes

Photoshop layers

by JuliannaKunstler.com

Intro to layers in Photoshop. Matching shapes. Visual Literacy lesson

This is an introductory assignment for learning to work with Adobe Photoshop.

You are going to combine two photographs in one collage.

Find images of two completely different objects that have the same shape.

Match the shapes of both objects to look like one.

You can use any geometric shape: circle, square, rectangle, triangle, star, etc. Below are some examples.


photoshop layers. matching shapes
photoshop layers. matching shapes
photoshop layers. matching shapes


Open Adobe Photoshop application.

File > New...

In the pop-up window:

Set dimensions to 8" x 10" (make sure the units are inches)

Resolution is 150

Click OK

This is what it should look like at this point.

File > Save As...

Search for images.

The images should be a good quality.

You can check that by rolling over the image thumbnail. The smallest image dimension should be at least 600 pixels.

Right-click on the image

Copy image

Return to Photoshop.

Paste the image. Depending on the image size, it can fit or not fit inside the image window. Either way no worries.

Find and paste the second photo.

As you see from this example, this photo is much bigger that the image window. So we ar4e going to resize it.

Open Layers Palette. Go to the Menu Bar at the top.

Window > Layers

You should have a blank Background Layer, Layers 1 and 2.

Each layer holds an image that you placed.

To edit each image you need to select its layer (by clicking on it in the Layers palette)

Moving and resizing

In the Tools box: select the Move tool.

Use this tool to move a layer.

A layer needs to be selected.

To resize:

Go to the Menu bar.

Edit > Free transform

You will see a bounding box around your photograph (layer).

If the photo is bigger that the image window - the box will extend outside.

Hold Shift key when resizing to constrain the image proportions. Otherwise you will distort the photo.

Resize a layer.

The shapes don't have to match perfectly yet.

To apply the transformation (resizing): hit Enter key.

Repeat resizing steps for the other layer if needed. Remember to select the correct layer in the Layers palette.

Hide one of the layers by clicking on the eye icon in the Layers palette.

Select the other layer.

Choose Rectangular Marquee tool in the Tool box.

This is a selection tool that allows you to select parts of the layer to edit.

This particular tool selects rectangles and squares.

Click and drag a selection of the photograph that you want to remove from your collage.

It should include a half of the shape that you are using.

This is the part of the image that I am going to remove.

Edit > Clear

Deselect the area: Select > Deselect (or Ctrl D)

Make another layer visible by clicking on the eye icon.

You can drag Layer 2 under Layer 1..

This is what my layers palette looks like now.

Select your Move tool again.

Reposition and resize the bottom image. Make sure the correct layer is selected.

Match the edges of the shape:

Edit > Free Transform

Hold Shift as you resizing.

Hit Enter to apply the transpormation.

The last thing to do is to crop the collage.

Choose Crop tool from the Tool box.

Click and drag the area you want to keep.

You can readjust it if needed. If you want a perfect square - hold Shift key while dragging.

Hit Enter to apply cropping. You are done!