Fish Eggs: Creating a Digital Collage!

Creating a digital collage using PS Touch, Repix, and Snapseed

 A guest post by David Hayes


One of the fun things about Instagram (IG) are the photo challenges that one can take part in…it’s always a great way to sharpen your skills as well meet other users. Recently someone whose stream I follow, sleekmaus (@sleekmaus), posted a challenge that involved using an element he provided. After downloading this element and giving it some thought, I was inspired to create a digital collage that I titled “Fish Eggs.” After posting the collage on IG, I received a lot of positive feedback including that from @ladybird_aj who encouraged me to share how I created “Fish Eggs” in my next CMM tutorial. So…Amy…this one is for you!!



While there are many layering apps out there, my workhorse is more and more PS Touch…so that’s where I started my creation. My first step was to bring in a background I had created earlier. (I believe I used Distressed FX.) With this in place, I then clicked on the Add icon to bring in another layer.



I added a Photo Layer so I could go to my Camera Roll for my next layer.



This is the element provided by sleekmaus for his challenge. (It was a JPEG file when I downloaded it originally…I converted it to a PNG file before starting this project.)



Using the Move controls in PS Touch, I rotated, scaled down, and placed this element as shown. I clicked on the check mark icon to put it into place.



Repeating my steps, I added another Photo Layer and went to my Camera Roll.



This time I brought in a photo of a fish that I had originally photographed for a different project.



Again, using the Move controls, I place the fish element so it looked like it was emerging from an opening or cracked egg.



I then went to the blending tools to give the illusion that the fish was more in the egg than on top of it. Not quite perfect…but better than looking like it was “floating” on top of the egg!



Now for a step that not only will save me some time, but also decrease the number of layers I have active at once. (This will become important later!)

I opened the Layer controls and clicked on “Merge Down” to merge the fish element with the “egg” element.



With these two layers merged into one, I can now repositioned them at the same time…and duplicate them! First, I used the Move controls to resize and place this combined image as shown.



Making sure that this layer was still active, I reopened the Layer controls and this time clicked on the “Duplicate Layer” tab. This will create a duplicate of the active layer right on top of the original layer. (I point this out so you don’t wonder where the duplicate layer is!!)



Like before, I used the Move controls to resize/reposition this layer.



Repeating the “Duplicate Layer” and “Move” steps three more times, I added three more of my fish/egg image…making sure to give each a little different “twist” and size. Keeps things interesting…



Next up was to add in some empty “eggs” to keep things…interesting!! This time I used a Photo Layer to bring back the “egg” element.



Like so!



Using “Move,” I placed this element as shown…



I then used the “Duplicate Layer” steps to add one more empty egg element…and when I went to add another, this message came up! Nuts! All I could do was Flatten my image and go on. Which I did!



After going using the Layer controls to “Flatten” my image, I then added back in the egg element…and using the Duplicate Layer and Move controls, added in three more empty eggs to complete the first part of this image. I saved this to my Camera Roll and moved to the next app, Repix!



Here’s what my “sea” looks like so far. Coming along nicely but needs more pizzazz!



And to give it that pizzazz, I used Repix!



I first went to “Hatching” and painted in some light hatch marks along the edges of the image…you’ll see this in the next screenshot.



The hatch marks give the image a feeling of depth…but it needs more. So I next went to “Dust” and painted dust all over the image. Again, the next screenshot shows what I did in this step.



Looking better and better…now for some “Stars” to give the image a bit of magic!



Stars added! All done in Repix, I saved to my Camera Roll.



I could have stopped here, but studying the image I still found it to be a little “flat.” So…I went to my lifesaver…Snapseed!!

A great way to give an image more perceived depth is to adjust its focal point or center focus. Once opened in Snapseed, I first went to…”Center Focus.”



Using the “Vignette” preset, I adjusted the Overall, Outer and Inner Brightness of the edges while keeping the center of the image clear.



Still not happy with the perceived depth, I next went to “Selective Adjust” to brighten the center a bit more.



Following the sequence on the screenshot, I added a Control Point to the center of the image then used the Brightness slider, brightening the center that had the effect of popping this point out while knocking back the darker areas. Now all my sea needs is a frame to hold it in place!



Snapseed has a great selection of Frames…so naturally I went there!



I normally like the black-edged frames but this time I opted for a white-edged frame, Frame 8 to finish my creation.


Made with Repix (

Here it is, “Fish Eggs”. Actually this is Version Three…I made some artistic changes as I built this version. If you want, go to my Instagram stream (@clearerreflections) and you can see the first two versions. I’d be curious to know which one you like best!

David Hayes is a photographer, mixed-media artist, painter and explorer of life. Visit his blog at

Photo Craft_160You might also enjoy Photo Craft by Susan Tuttle and Christy Hydeck.

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