How to cut your photo into panels
Adobe Photoshop CS4
1. Get a well exposed photo to start with and decide how many panels you wish to break your photo into. Then you need do a little math to divide it evenly into sections. With a digital format photograph equal to 4×6 dimensions I chose the marquee tool in Photoshop and set the option style bar to a fixed ratio of 1.99 width and 4 height. This will give me three proportionate sections.
2. On the background layer, start in the left top corner and drag the marquee tool across to the bottom of that guide line. This will create your first panel. Now before moving on, drag a guide line (from the left side of the rulers bar to match the far cut line of your marquee. Copy then paste (Control J on PC, command J on Mac for shortcut) and you now have your first piece cutout. It will be on layer one.
3. Go back and make the background layer active and now start with the marquee tool at the vertical guide line you last created making sure to start from the top of it and drag down to the bottom of the horizontal guide line. Now before moving on, drag a guide line from the rulers bar on the left to match the far cut line of your marquee. Copy then paste and you now have your second piece cutout. It will be on layer two.
4. Go back and make the background layer active and now start with the marquee tool at the last vertical guide line you created making sure to start from the top of it and drag down to the bottom horizontal guide line. You now have your third piece cutout. It will be on layer three.
5. Click on the background layer and turn off your eyeball on this layer.
6. Click on new layer icon at the bottom of the layers palette and an empty layer four comes up right above it. Here is where you will decide what color to put on your background. With your default colors to B&W, reverse so white is your top color by hitting the x key on your keyboard. Now using your paint bucket tool, click inside the photo to dump the white.
7. Now you need to make your canvas larger or make your photo smaller so I will opt for the 2nd scenario. Click on your top layer one and holding shift, click on layer 3 and all 3 layers will be highlighted.
8. Drag two new guide lines horizontally, top at 2 ½ ” and bottom at 36½”. Control T (transform) and holding shift and alt (option-mac) drag the arrow at the top left corner inward to your liking to leave enough room to spread out your images. Hit enter.
9. Now take only the left layer and using your move tool, space it out evenly to your liking. Make sure to hold shift while moving it to help you keep it on the same plane. Drag it over so the right side of this panel meets your original vertical guide line. Do not move the center panel. Now repeat for the right layer and go to the vertical guide line on the right side.
10. Drop shadows are what will give this relief. Choose layer one and go to Layer Style Box at the bottom of the panel (fx). Click on the word Drop Shadow for the options to open. Choose your distance 28, spread 15 and size 24. The Angle should be set at 135. Click OK.
11. To add this drop shadow to the other two layers, hold down the shift and option keys and clicking on the fx word to the right of layer one, drag it down to layer two and it will duplicate your drop shadow results. Do the same to create it on layer three.
Your piece is finished.
I find that sometimes it works better if you leave the middle panel a little bigger than the two side panels. So keep your image in layers till you find the best look.
Another option is to turn the background layer eyeball on and make this layer B&W. Now set layer four (white color) to 70% opacity to give it a nice effect.
Good luck creating and hope you enjoyed this project by Katydid.