Project 1- Digital Collage (P01LastFirst.psd)




Art by George Ramos


Students will use the Web and their digital cameras to create a composite image of their favorite topic or hobby. Instead of traditional collage techniques, this image will be created in Photoshop and “composited” together using images found on the internet and at least one digital photo taken of you. You will create this piece, this small universe- so practice good composition skills by organizing your images for maximum interest!

“Everything is energy and that’s all there is to it. Match the frequency of the reality you want and you cannot help but get that reality. It can be no other way. This is not philosophy. This is physics”  –  Albert Einstein

  1. Start by opening a new document in Photoshop (Control +N) that is 300 DPI and is 8 inches by 10 inches  (portrait or landscape) with a white background. Name it P01LastFirst, save it to your student folder on the “R” drive and make sure it is a photoshop document.

    Use the Rule of Thirds to create the perfect digital collage!

  2. Choose View – Show Rulers from the top menu so you can see the rulers appear on the sides of your blank document. Now choose View-New Guide and a movable light blue line will appear wherever you tell it. I chose mine to appear both horizontally and vertically at the 1/3 and 2/3 measurements. Now I can see how to compose using the Rule of Thirds to create interest and flow in my image!
  3. Now you can see exactly where to place the items of highest interest in your collage, on or near the connection of the blue guidelines. Import your first image (Control +O) or use File-Place and place it where it will best support your collage. Now select the background of the image with the Magic Wand Tool (W) and check your selection in Quickmask Mode (see image below) before inverting it and masking it away like the image of Kenny Florian getting hit above.
    Make sure you mask the background, do not erase it. In the layers palette look at the selected layer called penflorian (in blue) in the bottom right-hand corner of the image and you will see a mask is linked to the picture, covering (masking) the rest of the layer.

    Quickmask helps you make perfect selections!

  4. Using the Text Tool (T) create a title that you place on or around the blue guidelines so that you are using the Rule of Thirds. Your text may be vertical, horizontal, or even curved (see above). Place your title in such a way so that it does not interfere with your images, but so that it can be easily read by your audience. Use the Layer Styles Palette by double-clicking the name of the layer itself in the layers palette. Edit your title, adding a drop shadow or other effects to make your title fit the mood and theme of your piece.

    digital collage by Kim Escala

  5. Import at least 20-25  images into your piece, naming each one according to what the layer looks like as an easy way to keep them organized. At least one of your imported images must be a photo taken by you. If you search using Google images be aware of the file size of the images you download!
  6. As you import and mask each layer, be sure to use Select-Modify-Feather and set your amount to 3-5 pixels, based on the image. Feathering your selection makes it blend smoothly with other images, reducing hard edges and creating better unity between layers for your digital collage.

    digital collage by Madison Aguilar

How will this project be graded? On the following criteria:

  • following directions -are all 20-25 layers named and organized?
  • masking- have you feathered and cleanly masked each section on each layer?
  • composition- have you used the guides to organize your images for maximum interest?
  • quality- are your images clean, clear (un-pixilated)?
  • experimentation– have you found a way to break the rules of this project?
  • Have you added a photo of you taken this week with one of the high res digital cameras (not using your cell)?
  • does your title fit into your composition well? Does the style of your title fit the theme of your piece?

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