I didn’t like the size of the new cover photos over on Google Plus, so I decided instead to keep something similar to the scrapbook photos I had previously. I thought maybe other people would also like to do this, so I’m sharing the template. This will give you space for 6 photos and leave the bottom portion free for your profile photo, name and the “About” information that Google displays. I have saved it as a png file so you can use various editors to add your photos to the template. I am a PS user, so I’ll include instructions for that program. Click on any of the images below to enlarge them. If anyone can add the instructions for other programs, that would be awesome.
To download this file, click the link, hover over the image and select “Original” in the dialog box that opens on the right side. Then right click the image that opens and select “Save Image As” to save it to your harddrive. http://smu.gs/12z3lKC
1. Download and open the above template file in Photoshop. You will notice that it looks wrong – too much weight on the left side of the frame. Ignore that – it’s to counteract some weird cropping that Google does. Now rename “Layer 0” to “Template” by double clicking on the layer name and typing over it.
2. Open the first image file that you want to slot into the template. Make sure you have a consolidated layer (command, option, shift, e) and duplicate that into the template file (right click on the layer and choose Duplicate Layer and then choose the template file as the destination). Then close the image file (not the template file). I used images that were 900 on the long size to keep it manageable, I advise using lower res images like this to keep them easier to manage within the template. Remember that the images in the template do not need to be very large.
3. Go back to the template file, select the duplicated layer, rename it to something you can identify it by (location name for example) and move it below the template layer. You will see immediately that only the transparent portions of the template will show your image.
Resize (command T and then shift drag) and reposition the image layer to fit the opening. If your image can’t be properly resized to fit the opening, see step 4, otherwise skip it.
4. Size and position the image layer so that the portion showing through the opening is what you want, but the edges of the image extend beyond it. Select the marque tool (m) in normal mode and use it to create an edge around the opening (be sure to be on your image layer, not the “Template” layer) that is slightly larger than the opening, but does not extend into the adjacent openings.
Once you have created this selection area, select the inverse (command, shift i) and press delete on your keyboard. This will delete the outside portion of the image layer, leaving enough to show through and slightly overlap the template’s opening. Deselect (command d) the selection.
5. Repeat steps 2 through 3 (or 4 if necessary) for the remaining images you wish to add to your cover photo collage. Feel free to use the Paint Bucket Tool (g) to change the templates background color. I made it grey for the tutorial so it would be easy to see. I’ve used white on my own Google Plus page.