How to Make a Collage in Photoshop CS6

By Barbara Obermeier

Adobe Photoshop Creative Suite 6 gives you the options of creating layers and using the Paste Into command to make a collage. To create the first layer of your collage, follow these steps:

  1. Decide on two images you want to use in your collage and open them by choosing File→Open.

    You should pick an image to use as your main canvas and then opening up a supporting image that you can select and then drag onto that main image. You can also start with just a blank document.

    [Credit: © mura #4475506 and Image #6672627]
    Credit: © mura #4475506 and Image #6672627
  2. Choose Window→Layers to open the Layers panel.

    Always be sure that the Layers panel is visible whenever you’re creating a composite from multiple images.

  3. Select the desired element in the supporting image.

  4. Optionally, choose Select→Modify→Contract and, in the Contract Selection dialog box, enter a value. Then, choose Select→Modify→Feather and enter a value in the Feather Selection dialog box.

    Contract the selections lightly before you apply a feather to avoid picking up some of the background during the feathering process. Note that the values you choose depend on the resolution of your images — the lower the resolution, the smaller the value needed.

  5. With the Move tool, drag and drop the selection onto the background image.

    The Layers panel shows that you’ve produced a layer. Notice that your main image remains as the background below the layer.

    [Credit: © mura #4475506 and Image #6672627]
    Credit: © mura #4475506 and Image #6672627
  6. Choose File→Save As. In the Save As dialog box, name the file collage and make sure the format is Photoshop.

This time the image of a garden with a bridge was pasted into the doorway of the house. To paste one selection into another on your collage, follow these steps:

  1. Choose File→Open. Select the file you saved from the preceding exercise. Also, open a new supporting image.

  2. Choose Window→Layers to open the Layers panel.

    Always keep the Layers panel visible whenever you’re creating a composite from multiple images.

  3. Select the part of the supporting image that you want to use.

    [Credit: © mura #4475506 and Image #6672627]
    Credit: © mura #4475506 and Image #6672627

    Unless you’re going for some special effect, be consistent with the treatment of the edges of each of your elements in your composite.

  4. Choose Edit→Copy.

  5. In your saved collage file, move the first supporting image (the image you added in the preceding set of steps) to the side with the Move tool. Then, use the Marquee tools, the Lasso tool to create a selection in which to paste your new supporting image.

    Use the Rectangular Marquee tool and select the doorway to make the garden image look like it’s peeking through the doorway and windows of the house. Hold down the Shift key with the Marquee tool to add both windows to the selection.

  6. Choose Edit→Paste Special→Paste Into.

    If you use the Move tool to move the pasted image around the canvas, you see that the pasted image is invisible outside the boundaries of the selection outline. Position it as desired.

    The Layers panel shows a second thumbnail next to the garden thumbnail. This thumbnail represents the layer mask created automatically when you pasted into a selection. A layer mask allows portions of the layer to show and be hidden.

    In the example, the white areas on the layer mask are where the garden shows through. Those white areas correspond to the selection made in Step 6. The black areas represent where the garden would be hidden if it were moved into those areas.

  7. Choose File→Save.

    [Credit: © mura #4475506, Image #3200044 and Image #6672627]
    Credit: © mura #4475506, Image #3200044 and Image #6672627