Posted 28 April 2010 - 03:22 AM
Your initial error is in creating a new,blank layer and trying to drag an image onto that. Not the way to go.
Open Photoshop and have the tools box, the layers pallette and nothing else visible. The screen and the layers pallette are empty.
Navigate to whereever you store your images and open one into Photoshop.
You now have an image on your screen, the tools and the layers, and in your layers is a thumbnail of the image. The word thumbnail is important, as you cannot edit a thumbnail in any way, you can only edit or work on the actual image.
Now, navigate to your pics again and open a second image. You now have two images on your screen, but the thumbnail in layers of your first image has disappeared and has been replaced with a thumbnail of your second image.
Now, look at the two images on the screen, not in layers, and notice the difference. The title bar on the first image is now "greyed out", whilst that on the second is bright and cheerful. What this is is the concept of "active" and "inactive" images, greyed out being inactive and bright being active.
You can have only one active image at a time, the other, or others if you have opened more than two, are all inactive and the layers pallette will show the thumbnail of the active image only.
You can toggle the images between active and inactive by simply clicking on the title bar of the inactive one, this will make it active, then reverse that to go back to the other image and as you click and toggle between images, so the thumbnail in the layers will toggle back and forward as appropriate to show the thumbnail of the active image and hide the thumbnail of all the inactive ones.
It will be apparent from this that as you open images to collage/montage, and you click on each different one to drag and drop or select, each will become active/inactive/active for a moment,the appropriate thumbnail will appear in layers and then change as you click/drag the next image or bit of an image.
This can give the impression that you are somehow creating thumbnails all over the place, but you are not. Layers are merely displaying the one appropriate to the then current active image.
Now, to the fun. To put one image onto another image to form a collage.
Have you two images open on the screen, one will be active, the other inactive. Click on the one you want as a background, it will become active and it's thumbnail will be in layers as a "background layer".
Do not, repeat not, make a new layer.
Click then on the image that you wish to superimpose onto that background. That image will become active, will show it's thumbnail in layers and the "original" background layer will apparently disappear. Don't worry, it is still there.
Now, go to your toolbox and select the move tool, (the wee arrow thingy up near the top), the cursor will change to the same tool icon. Click that in the centre of your active image that you wish to superimpose, and drag that image on top of the background image.
Important, drag it onto the image not into the layers pallette.
When that dragged image hits the background image, the background image will automatically become the active image, the thumbnail for the background will appear in layers and you should also get a thumbnail of the dragged image on it's own layer immediately above the background layer.
You can now click again on the title bar of the newly superimposed image (image, not layer),it will momentarily become active and display it's thumbnail in layers, click on the red cross top right hand corner to make it disappear, this will leave only your newly collaged imaged open and thus active and it's thumbnail with the new second layer will reappear, then navigate to you pics., and select the next for collaging. When that opens on the screen, it will become active, you collage will become inactive, click drag and drop onto the collage image (image not layer) and the process will repaet itself.