In this activity you will learn how to produce a digital collage in Adobe Photoshop CS5.


Definiton Collage

A collage is an artistic composition of fragments (combination of photographs, hand made papers, part of other artwork ) pasted on a surface. The French word “coller” means to glue.

In a digital collage the basic idea of arranging different photos to one image is the same; however, the collage will be created in Adobe Photoshop for example.

Learning Outcome

Students will be able to:

  • Manipulate a digital image to create a new image by:
    • using selection tool (quick selection tool)
    • using refine edge command
    • using painting tool (brush)
    • using editing tools (scale, crop)
    • using layers (create, adjust, lable, duplicate)
    • using image properties (transparency/ opacity)


  • Produce a digital collage in Adobe Phtotoshop
  • Choose a backgound image of your choice.
  • Add 5-10 photos on you background image.
  • Use the quick selection tool to cut out the images.
  • Use the refine edge command to soften the edges.


Follow the instructions below and watch the video tutorial .

Step #1: Open Images

Step #2: Quick Selection Tool

Quick Selection and Magic Wand Tools

  • Using the Quick Select tool, drag around the contours of your object in your picture.
  • Subtracting from the selection is the same as the other selection tools in Photoshop, in that you’d hold down the Alt (Windows) / Opt (Mac) key, and draw across the part of the selection you want to remove.

Step #3: Refine Edge Command

  • The Refine Edge command is found on the Options Bar on top, just below Photoshop’s menus.
  • As long as you have the quick selection tool selected, the “Refine Edge” button will be available in the Options Bar.
  • Click the button to bring up the dialog box.
  • You’ll see it is broken into 4 sections: View Mode, Edge Detection, Adjust Edge, and Output.
  • If you click the View Mode drop down button, you’ll see several choices of how you can view your selection: Marching Ants, Overlay (like a quick mask), On Black, On White, against transparency, as a Black and White mask, On Layers, and Reveal Layer.

In the example here, I have the horse against a pink overlay. I usually look at my subjects against black and against white, to see if there’s any contamination or fringing when they get cut out. But that’s where the real power of this new improved tool comes into play. As you can see in the initial preview, the edges are very sharp and jagged. Let’s see how to make it look more natural.

Video Tutorial