Another cool image tool: Pic Collage
We’ve recently looked at a way of easily presenting streams of single images to your website, but what if you want to display a collage of images – either as a way of commemorating an event which has taken place, or publicising one coming up?
Images are so important on the web – people read less on screen than they do in print – so having a compelling presentation of information in picture form is really crucial. Pic Collage could be just the thing you’re looking for.
It’s an app for iPhone and Android, as well as having an iPad specific version. After holding out since the release of the first iPad as they weren’t quite right, I finally got one recently. I was moving offices and flying abroad on the day of the launch of the new iPad and I didn’t think I’d get away with queuing with so much going on, so was surprised to find a Dixons with new iPad stock, post-security, pre-boarding at the airport ; )
Back in the day, to create a photo collage, you would have needed to source and download the photos from various sources (the laborious bit) and then put the collage together in a graphic program like Photoshop, the resizing and adjusting of images on the page being rather fiddly. Well, galloping down the road comes Pic Collage to our rescue. As opposed to Photoshop's £667, Pic Collage is my favourite price: Free : )
There are a number of features in Pic Collage which make it really easy to use. Firstly, sourcing images – you can pull them in directly from your device camera, photo album, from the web (though you need to be careful of copyright, so that’s probably best avoided) – or directly from Facebook.
In addition, once you’ve connected up the app with your Facebook account, you not only have access to your own images there, but any album and photos belonging to your friends and can add 9 images at a time to your collage from any of these sources. This makes getting the requisite pics together like falling off a log – though it would be polite to get your friends’ OK to use them.
Once the images have been added to your collage canvas you can move them around, change orientation and size via simple drag or pinch & twist finger manoeuvres – text titles can be also created and manipulated in the same way.
The ordering of pictures on the page (to control overlap effects) is a simple tap away and cutouts can be made by dragging an outline around your image.
Graphic backgrounds can be inserted. Image border colours can be amended plus drop shadows added. Don’t think you need an image after all? No problem, just flick it off the top right of the screen and it disappears, to sit in an Undo tray – you can get it back later if you need to.
In the featured example (click on it to see it full size), some friends of mine are involved in an excellent production of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, set in the Western isles of Scotland. I thought I could help promote this further – so, I accessed the photos from a friend’s Facebook album and got to work. Just over 5 mins of enjoyable fiddling later I had this result. Not bad, if I say so myself – obviously, having good pictures to work with helps.
However, once the creative work is done, there’s further groovy cleverness – you can send the finished result to yourself via email, or even get a printed postcard sent to an address of your choosing via Sincerely.com (although the one I received was over-cropped and cut off too much left and right of the image). It’s not clear what the price of this is, but the first one seems to be free. NB As these were originally screen images, they don’t have enough information to print large, so this isn’t really a workable solution if you want to create posters.
In addition – and probably most importantly in these days in which social media is so central to communications – you can post your artistry for the world to see via Twitter or Facebook along with a caption. I’ll be doing that at the right time with this creation.
For more inspiration and to see how others have used this app, see the Pic Collage gallery at http://pic-collage.com
Alistair Birch, 24/07/2012