For as long as I have used adobe photoshop elements, I've always found it lacking in at least one respect. Although you can technically use it to create photo collages with your favorite images, it takes a lot of time and skill to do so. That's why I'm so excited about a new app for Mac and iPhone called Diptic. With this app, you can quickly and easily create photo collages using your favorite images (I like to use my Instagram photos). Heres how to get started.
Download Diptic from the app store
At just $.99, you won't want to miss this. Go to the app store and search for "Diptic." Or see Diptic's Website.
There are two versions of the app by the way. I have both. The Mac version is really good if you need to edit
What can you do with Diptic?
My favorite use is creating desktop backgrounds with my photos. I have a lot of images that aren't particularly spectacular on their own but look great when combined with others. That's my chief use. Aside from that, I like to create quick photo collages to post to Facebook. It's a nice way to quickly recap a day.
Creating desktop wallpapers
As much as I enjoy the convenience of using Diptic, the process of creating desktop backgrounds is neither easy nor readily apparent. You need to know your computer's screen size before you begin. On both Mac and P.C., go to Settings -> Display, and then have a look at what is selected.
If it's your first time making desktop backgrounds, you might want to write your screen resolution down on somewhere. You'll need it later.
Now we're going to go to the “finish” panel (don’t worry about the other stuff, we’ll do it later). Where it says "size," type in the width of your screen. Don't type in the height just yet. It won't work. That's because you still need to set the aspect ratio of your screen.
The aspect what?
It's basically a fancy way of talking about the kind of rectangle your screen makes. The default in Diptic is 1:1, which is basically a square. Most widescreen computer screens are 16:10. For every 16 inches of width, there are 10 inches of height. If you have an older square monitor, the ration is 4:3.
As you move Diptic's aspect ratio slider to the left or right, the aspect ratio changes. Keep adjusting this slider until the screen size number below matches your screen (trust me, it eventually will). Now it's time to select a layout, add your photos, and export the file.
Using the rest of Diptic
Now that you’re setup to export a desktop background for your screen size, you can simply return to the Layout menu, pick a layout, and click on the individual panels to choose which images you want to place in your desktop background.
The Photo panel lets you adjust each individual image. You can change the brightness, contrast, saturation, and hue.
If you go back to the Finish panel, you can adjust the border size and color. It also lets you apply a single effect to all of the images in your collage. Very handy.
Setting it as the background
Once you are happy with your new desktop background, click on the export button to save it. It's the button on the bottom left with a down arrow pointing towards an styalized inbox.
There are a few ways to set your new image as your desktop background. You can save your wallpaper in a special desktop backgrounds folder and then go to Settings -> Desktop and Screensaver, and then find it in your folder. Alternatively, you can import the wallpaper into iPhoto and grab it from there. You can also right click on any image and select "set desktop background." to accomplish the same basic thing.
Creating and sharing photo collages with the Diptic iPhone app
Diptic is on the iPhone and iPad. It isn't as fully featured as the Mac version, but it's still really great for creating and sharing quick photo collages. When you combine this with photo sharing apps like Instagram, it really turns into a one-two punch.
Step 1: Select a layout for your photo collage
Diptic has tons of 'em. If you don't like the ones you see right away, you can keep swiping your fingers left and right to find the one that works best for you. The default layout is a square, but you can also pay an extra $.99 for the option to create any rectangle you like using the other layouts as a base. This allows you to get the same functionality out this app that you would get from the Mac version.
Step 2: Select your photos
Once you've picked a layout, you're ready to pick the photos you want to place inside of it. Picking photos is really easy. You simply tap on the rectangle you want to change, and then you select a photo from your camera roll or photostream.
Once you've selected your photo, you can pinch to zoom in on the photo, and you can also slide you fingers across the screen to adjust your photo's position. It's nice to know this is there when you're working with Instagram photos. You have to zoom in a little to get past the border the app puts on most images.
Another thing. If you tap the dice in the upper right hand corner, Diptic will fill your frame with a completely random set of photos. If you shake your phone, Diptic will get rid of the images.
Step 3: Move the frames around
The third menu button lets you modify your frame even more. I didn't find this option too useful, but I could see how it might help out when someone's face is just barely in the frame, and you need to move the borders around to reveal it. If you tap the button in the upper right hand corner, and then slide the borders to the left or right, you'll adjust their position.
In this same menu, you can rotate images by tapping on them and selecting either "rotate 90 degrees" or "mirror image."
Step 4: Apply an effect
The effects pane allows you to adjust the brightness, contrast, saturation, and hue of the individual images. There's are many hidden features in this app. You can put a filter on one or all of your images, and you can pick the border color, thickness, and roundness. It's downright dizzying.
By tapping on a single image, you will bring up the image adjustment menu:
You can also pick from a list of different photographic filters when you tap on the filters button. The intent, if it's not already clear, is for Diptic to take over most of the things you might do with other photo editing apps.
Step 5: Export your photo
Now that you're happy with the way your photo turned out, you can tap on the export button and save, share on Facebook, Tweet it, or do whatever else you please.
By the way, I always select "Hi-Res" whenever I'm making a Diptic photo. If you're having issues sending the larger files over email, don't worry. It'll get automatically uploaded to your photostream, and you can grab it from there.
Well, that's it for Diptic. I think it's a really cool way to share your photos and create unique desktop backgrounds your friends will envy. Let me know if you run into any problems, and I will answer them in the comments.
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