In my digital collage, I pieced together several of my baby pictures to create a single image. I looked for ones where I looked particularly dumb to show that I've been a hot mess since birth. When I found the picture of me scribbling away, my initial idea was to have that piece as the background image with the collage centralized on the piece of scribbled on paper. I decided in the end to have the collage in the background instead, so I could take better advantage of scale. My intention was to give the impression that the cutouts were all gathered at the table looking dumb together.
I cut out each selection with a combination of the polygonal lasso tool and the eraser tool. For some, I had to edit the image further to compensate for the other elements in its original photo. For parts that were blocked or cut off, I essentially had to paint them back in and used the clone stamp instead of a regular brush in order to emulate the photo texture. In a few photos with various lighting, I also adjusted the brightness and saturation to make them more similar to the rest.
I added and emphasized certain shadows to make the cutout fit more into the environment. I first painted the shadow in with a brush in its own layer and then selected what was on that layer by clicking command+left click in the layers window. I then went to select>modify>expand to enlarge the selection, followed by select>modify>feather to soften the edges and mimic a shadow. I refilled that feathered selection with my shadow color and set that layer's transparency to multiply. Finally I went to filter>noise>add noise to add texture that would blend in with the photo's grainy look.
After I had all my cutouts placed, I wanted to push a few further in the background and create some depth. I decreased the opacity but noticed that the image ended up washed out. To counter that problem, I changed the transparency to hard light which resulted in an image with higher contrast. That combination allowed the selection to be set back but not get lost.
In the end, I have no idea what kind of monstrosity I created, but I guess that is also the essence I aimed to capture in this self-portrait. I just wanted to look at my baby pictures to be quite honest.