I earlier recommended AutoCollage for making photo collages but the trial version adds a watermark to the final print. The second good option is Picasa but this Google software doesn’t offer enough options to customize the generated collage image. So what’s the next choice?

Vincent Cheung, who has previously worked at Microsoft Research and Google, has developed an automatic photo collage maker software that can create extremely impressive collages / posters / photo mosaics in few mouse clicks. Here are some sample photo collages created using Vincent’s software.

Cat Collage   Apple Collage

Called Shape Collage, this software is absolutely free, lightweight (~300kb) and it’s written in Java so it works just the same on Mac OS X, Windows and Linux machines.

You can either specify individual snaps or full picture folders that are to be used in a collage or poster. Then you select a shape for your collage – it could be a pile of scattered images, a rectangle or you could draw some shape (like an emoticon) with the mouse and Shape Collage will match the layout of pictures in the collage with that hand-drawn image.

photo collage software

Shape Collage can save your picture collages as JPEGs or layered PSD files so you may fine tune the collage image further using professional graphics software like Adobe Photoshop or GIMP.

emoticon collages

The software also lets you create text photo collages – you can type some text using any of the installed fonts and Shape Collage will arrange pictures along the same path as in the Lolcats logo below.

collage lolcats

Related: Create Obama’s Hope Poster