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I've seen it done with full opacity and also in cases where there are various degrees of transparency. How is this accomplished? I use Photoshop 5, occasionally PSP6.
Of course, the super-pro way to handle it would be to position each image in it's own layer and create a transparency mask for each. Then you can alter the edge feathering, etc., on the mask without actually deleting the image itself. Just use a 0 sharpness brush to "paint in" each collage image on it's individual layer mask.
>Pick one image to use as a 100% opaque background, and layer the others on top, with feathered edges
How about if there's to be no image to be used as a background, like doing 4 photos in a 4 portion square - or slighly skewed asymetrically, or side by side in a row, just placed on a background.
Pick a pattern that will coordinate smoothly/complimentarily (is that a word?) with all of the photos... Or, if the photos have a common element (trees in the background, water, clouds, etc.), pick the most "generic looking" section of one of the images and stretch it out to use as a background.
The point is just to have something to blend/fade the photos over, so there aren't any accidental gaps of solid color glaring out. I've found the "busy-ness" of using a photo as the background layer just makes the edges less noticable than using a solid color background, if there happens to be a slight gap between collage elements.
When feathering doesn't give me the image "edge blur rate" that I want, I sometimes do another selection part way into the blurred area, invert, feather and do a Gausian blur filter - to get faster blur in less linear space.
In some collage work, I add visual elements that pretty much cover the whole image, to help integrate the elements visually, like an overall texture or pattern, a fuzzy larger B&W image directly behind an element, a few vertical & horizontal lines (like those drafting sketch lines cliche), etc.
Oh, and of course, I use Edit > Transform to rotate, scale, distort, etc. the collage elements/layers. And not all are 100% opaque, depending on their importance to the visual dynamics of the composition.
By using layer masks you can make subtle changes and modify as you go.
In fact I tend to do the whole thing with the eraser - stick one layer on top of the other and carefully erase the bits I don't want (history brush at the ready, mind).