Digital Focus: Make a Four-In-One Photo Poster

Feature: Create a Four-In-One Poster

You've seen them--photos that have been quartered, framed, and hung on the wall a small distance apart from each other. It's an artistic way to present a photo, and it also allows you to present an image a great deal larger than your inkjet printer allows you to print. For example, you can turn a photo like this into something like this.

Not every picture will look good quartered. You won't want to try this on a picture in which you'd end up slicing someone's face in half between frames, for instance. The picture should also be pretty big to begin with--6 megapixels or more if you want to turn it into four 5-by-7-inch prints. If you can start with an even larger image, you might be able to make four 8-by-10s.

Start With the Right Proportions

Want to give it a try? Find your own photo that you can slice up, or save this image to your hard drive. Open the file in your favorite image editor (in this example, I'm using Corel's Paint Shop Pro). First, we need to crop it to the same overall proportion as the print size that we want each quarter to be. If you're going to make four 5-by-7s, for instance, crop the image to 5-by-7 proportion. Remember that the cropping process doesn't make it 5 by 7 inches, it just gives the image a 5-by-7 aspect ratio.

Click the Crop tool; in Paint Shop Pro it's the third button from the top in the tool palette on the left side of the screen. Make sure the Tool Options palette is visible at the top of the screen. If not, toggle it on by choosing View, Palettes, Tool Options.

In this example, let's make four 8-by-10 inch prints. Of course, since the sample image is small to begin with, I don't recommend printing and framing this proect--it will print very grainy and blurry.

Since this picture has a vertical layout, click the Presets menu in Tool Options and choose 8 X 10 in Vertical. Left-click on the photo and move the crop frame until you've selected the part of the image you want to keep, and then double-click or select the check box in Tool Options to complete the crop.

From One, Make Four

Since we'll be making four versions of this photo, now it's time to create four different image files. Copy the picture to the clipboard by choosing Edit, Copy, and then paste it three times into Paint Shop Pro--choose Edit, Paste as New Image three times. Now you've got four copies of the same picture on the canvas.

Crop It Into Quarters

Now for the fun part. Click the Crop tool again, set the preset to "8 X 10 in Vertical," and look for the "Right" and "Bottom" boxes on the right side of Tool Options. The numbers indicate the width and height of the crop box. Since we want to make four identical crops, we'll divide one of these numbers in half. Choose the number that divides most evenly. You'll see the crop box resize to the upper left corner. Double-click inside the crop frame or select the check box to accept the crop. If this were your actual project, you would save or print this picture and then get it out of the way to work on the next quarter.

In the next image, click the crop tool and set the preset to "8 X 10 in Vertical." Repeat the division procedure we employed above. Drag the crop frame to the upper right quadrant of the image. If you drag it past the edge of the image, it'll automatically snap to the upper right corner, which is exactly what we want.

Accept the crop. Keep this crop and move on to the remaining images, using the same process to do the lower left and right quadrants. If you print out each final image, you'll have something like this.

If you were to hang these prints on the wall, you'd want to position the frames about an inch apart from each other.

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