Sometimes, things happen that stir the feelings in your soul. Maybe it's something that happened in the world, like a current event, sports game, or news occasion. Maybe it's a photo or Snap of your friend or gossip you hear about someone you known. Maybe you're reflecting on an abstract memory or anticipating a future event.

Whatever it is, reaction collages are a fun, creative way to express your reaction and share that experience with others. Reaction collages bring us closer to our friends and communities by sharing a personal emotion. They can be funny, relatable, serious, and thought-provoking. Reaction collages are also popular on Pinterest, where Pinners will put a meme underneath a photo of a thing, person, or event to express a response to the photo.

In this tutorial, I'll describe how to make a multimedia reaction collage. This technique applies to any format: memes, captioned videos, top-bottom images, etc. I'll use a free Collage Maker called Kapwing and make a reaction collage in five steps:

  1. Open Kapwing Studio
  2. Upload the Thing You're Reacting To
  3. Show your Reaction
  4. Arrange the Collage
  5. Publish and Share

Step 1: Open Kapwing Studio

To make a reaction collage, you need a digital canvas. I recommend Kapwing's Studio because it is free, online, and works with any type of multimedia.

Blank Studio on Kapwing

Once you've opened the Kapwing Studio, start with a blank canvas. Kapwing defaults to square, but you can choose to resize the background to whatever aspect ratio is ideal for you. I'm creating a reaction collage for my Instagram Story, so I choose the 9:16 size. Creators can also specify an exact pixel size with the "Custom Size" button.

Step 2: Upload the Thing You're Reacting To

A reaction collage has two parts: the thing you're reacting to and your reaction. A reaction collage visualizes these two aspects with multimedia: videos, images, text, photos, etc.

The first step is to show other people what you're reacting to. Find a way to express this in one of the following formats:

  • A video clip: Videos can show others the action. Find the video of the highlight, speech, or moment that stirred all the feels. Then, illustrate that moment in your collage by uploading a video or by importing a video from YouTube.  
  • A photo or series of images: A picture speaks 1000 words. Upload a picture or search for an image using Kapwing's "Images" tool.
  • A GIF: Kapwing supports all types of media, so you can also use a GIF scene for the thing you're reacting to.
  • Text: Creators can always spell out exactly what they're reacting to with words. Use the "Add Text" tool to insert and input the words that you want to appear on the canvas.
Reaction Clip in Studio

I wanted to make a reaction collage responding to the fact that Ash Ketchum, the protagonist of the Pokemon series, FINALLY won the Pokemon cup. Despite the fact that he is a cartoon character, Ash was a hero of my childhood. After 20 years and many loses, Ash finally won the Pokemon cut, the biggest award in the Pokemon universe. I was very proud of him, and I wanted to share this reaction on social media.

I clicked Upload and imported a YouTube clip by pasting a YouTube URL. Then, I clipped the video to a middle section showing Ash holding the trophy. Since Instagram stories must be shorter than 15 seconds, I trimmed the YouTube clip to 11 seconds long.

Step 3: Show your Reaction

To complete your reaction collage, upload the visualization of your reaction. You can browse Giphy or Google Images to find a reaction image, or you can take a photo or fill a video to show your response IRL. If you prefer, use the "Add Text" tool to write out a reaction instead.

Reaction Collage

Because I was freaking proud, I imported an applause GIF from Giphy.

Step 4: Arrange the Collage

Now it's time to get crafty! Rearrange the media clips in whatever style you want to best show off your reaction. Use the sliders in the corner of each layer to make it the right size, and drag the layers to position them on the canvas.

Reaction collage arrangement

If you added a text layer to your reaction collage, you can choose a custom font, color, style, and rotation for the text box. Creators can also animate the text with one of Kapwing's custom text animation options. In my example, I put a black rectangle under a green text layer in the center of the collage.

If you want the collage to come out as a GIF, change the output file type under "Settings."

Step 5: Publish and Share

Once your collage preview looks correct, click "Publish" to process it together. Kapwing will process the collage for a few moments before returning it back to you as an image or MP4. Here's what my reaction collage looks like:

After the video has loaded, users can:

  • Share the clip directly to social media
  • Send a short URL to their friends
  • Download the clip to save for later or publish on social media
  • Edit the reaction collage to change it up or use it as a template
  • Embed the output (in a blog or website, for example)

That's how you make a reaction collage using Kapwing! I hope this tutorial helps you bring your creative multimedia vision to life and share digital stories with others. Please tag #kapwing on your reaction collage for social media to get another like and follow from Team Kapwing.

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