How to Create Instagram Carousels With PhotoshopReading Time: 5 minutes
If you want a higher engagement rate on Instagram, consider making a carousel. It’s easy with Photoshop.
Instagram carousels, where a user can swipe through a series of images or videos, have become an increasingly popular way to tell stories and create dynamic content.
For these carousels to look their best, one of the best tools to use is Photoshop. Here, we’ll explain the whole process of designing and creating carousels for Instagram using Photoshop, from the basics of creating a canvas to the final steps of editing and publishing your content.
Step 1: Create a New Canvas
To create a new canvas, you have to decide what size you want your Instagram photos to be. Ideally, the carousel should be 4:5 (1080 x 1350 px) instead of 1:1 (1080 x 1080 px), it gives you more legroom to place headers and footers.
Here’s how to create the canvas for your carousel in Photoshop:
- Open Photoshop and click Create New. Alternatively, go to File > New.
- From the right-side panel on the New Document window, set the canvas to Pixels from the drop-down.
- To decide how wide your canvas should be, multiply the number of slides by 1080 px. In this case, it’s 10 slides, so set the Width to 10,800 px.
- Set the Height to 1350 px. Height doesn’t change for any number of slides that you may want to create.
- Set the Resolution to 72 PPI, which is the standard for web images.
- Keep Color Mode to RGB Color and 8 bit, and Background Contents to White.
You can save this preset by giving it a name in the Preset Details field at the top right. Saving it will save you the effort of the above steps next time you create a carousel. Once done, click Create, and a new, super-wide canvas will be created.
Step 2: Set the Margins
Each slide of the carousel is in the 4:5 ratio, but only the central 1:1 area of your carousel (denoted by the red box below) will be visible in the profile grid view. Your followers will only be able to see the full picture when they tap and open it. Thus, we have to ensure that no content is placed out of bounds.
To do this, you have to set margins on your canvas:
- Go to View > New Guide Layout.
- Check the Columns toggle, set Number to 10, and Gutter to 80 px.
- Check the Margins toggle, set each margin to 40 px, and click OK.
- Go to View > New Guide Layout, uncheck the Margin toggle, set Gutter to 0 px, set Number to 10, and click OK.
- Go to View > New Guide Layout again, uncheck the Columns toggle, check the Margin toggle, set Top and Bottom to 135 px, and click OK.
- Finally, go to View > New Guide Layout once more, toggle Margin, set Top and Bottom to 175 px, and click OK.
Now we’ve set 40 px margins for the whole canvas, 40 px margins for each slide, and 40 px margins for the viewable 1:1 area in the center. Not only will these margins contain the content within viewable limits and equidistant from the edges, but will also help ensure the design stays uniform, neat, and geometric.
Step 3: Create a Box for Each Slide
Since each slide has to be designed separately, it needs to have a container, which can allow you to change the color if you want to.
To create a box for each slide:
- From the toolbar on the left, click the Rectangle tool.
- Once your pointing cursor changes to a crosshair cursor (denoting that the tool is active), from the toolbar at the top, click Fill and select a solid color. This will create contrast to help you adjust the boxes onto your canvas.
- Click on your canvas, and a Create Rectangle window will pop up. Here, set the Width to 1080 px and the Height to 1350 px (the dimensions for each slide). Click OK, and a new rectangle will appear on your screen in the color you chose.
- From the Layers panel on the right, double-click the rectangle layer’s name, and rename it BG 1 (Background 1). This way, you can keep everything organized.
Now, you have to move the box and adjust it between the margins for the first slide. Before you do, go to View > Snap To and enable Guides, Layers, and Document Bounds. This way, when you’re moving any layer/object on your canvas, it will snap to the nearest layer, guide, or boundary of the canvas.
Duplicate the rectangle layer, and create 10 of them. Move all of them to their proper positions, and rename them BG 2 – BG 10. We’ve given alternate layers different colors to demonstrate how they’re placed. You can keep them in the same color.
Step 4: Group the Layers
A small yet important step here is to group each background box. This way, you can deal with each slide separately, and keep the layers nested to their respective slides.
To do this, select BG 1 and press Ctrl + G (or Cmd + G on Mac), and it will be grouped into a folder named Group 1. Now, double-click its name and rename it to Slide 1 for better navigation. Repeat this for each BG layer; group and rename.
Step 5: Design Your Slides
This part is where the fun starts. Play with different text styles, insert and crop your images, and use Photoshop shapes to add personality to your carousel. If you’re creating the carousel for your channel, you’d want to add headers and footers to brand it.
Use the header to number the slides.
And, use the footer to add a channel title and username.
Your first slide would contain the title for your carousel—make the text big and catchy here. Be sure to use your brand colors and logo!
For the middle slides (number 2 to 9), be sure to keep your text concise and smaller than in the title slide and last slide.
The last slide should have your contact details or a call to action.
Be as creative as you can, and design your slides however you want to convey your message or tell your story.
Step 6: Slice the Margins
This is where, once you’ve finished designing your carousel, the finalizing process begins.
- Go to View > Clear Guides to remove all the existing guides.
- Go to View > New Guide Layout, and set the Number of Columns to 10, with everything else set to 0.
- From the toolbar on your left, right-click the Crop tool and select the Slice tool.
- Now, from the menu at the top, click Slice From Guides to cut the whole canvas into 10 slides. You can still edit the contents of your slides after you’ve sliced the canvas.
Step 7: Export Your Carousel
Once the slicing is done, it’s time to export your carousel. To do this:
- Go to File > Export > Save for Web (Legacy).
- From the Save for Web menu, change the Image Type to GIF. This format ensures that carousels look sharp after you’ve uploaded them.
- Click Save from the bottom of the window, and wait for the Save Optimized As menu.
- Once opened, give your carousel a name, and select the location where you want it to be saved.
Your carousel is now ready—access it from where you saved it. All that is left now is uploading your carousel to Instagram and posting it.
Create the Perfect Instagram Carousel With Photoshop
That’s it—you now know how to create organized, professional, and high-quality carousels for your Instagram account. Be sure to go all in with the creativity—the catchier your visuals and copy are, the bigger an audience you will reach.