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Creating Custom Book Pages in Photoshop
Creating a Pre-Defined Layout with Bleeds
(2/17/2008)  

Open the Template for your Book. Then before you forget, do "File>Save As" ... I recommend using a set of consistent naming conventions which describe the page layout. In this case I used "Blurb-4pPg-2H2Vbleed.psd", meaning a layout for a Blurb book with four images per page, two horizontal and two vertical with bleeds. I should have also included the book size in the name, since there are different size Blurb books. (This spread has some extra guide lines which we'll learn about in the next part ... they're not used with bleeds.)

Spread

Next I play around a little bit trying to decide what size images I want on the page. I use the Rectangular Marquee Tool with a "Fixed Ratio", usually 2x3 since that is roughly the aspect ratio of all SLR cameras (digital or film). Note: If you are using a point-and-shoot camera the aspect ratio may be 3x4 in which case you'll want to use that ratio.

Tool

Be sure you create a new layer first:

Layer Pallet

Next I clicked outside the page (since this is a bleed) in the upper left-hand corner and dragged down and to the right until I had about the right size selection. The arrow below points to the bottom right corner of the marching ants (although they are not marching in this screen shot).

Spread

When you do this make sure the Info Pallet is visible and make a note of the size of the rectangle. The green arrow points to the upper left corner, the red arrow shows where the size of the rectangle is reported.

Info

Don't worry about having even numbers at this point. Once you've decided on an appropriate size for some of the images in this layout you can round off, or make the selection again to find some nice round numbers you can remember ... here I settled on 5 and a quarter by 3 and a half inches (but that was much later after I had created several holes and was happy with the size).

After you make the selection, first make sure you are on a new empty layer and then use the paint bucket to fill it with black.

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Spread

Keep adding holes until you like the look of the page. As you switch from creating landscape to portrait masks, click where the arrow points to flip the aspect ratio.

Tool

Once you've decided on the look for your page, delete any layers with masks that are not precise and start over. At this point change the Rectangular Marquee Tool from "Fixed Ratio" to "Fixed Size" and enter the size of the holes in either inches (seen here), pixels, or for those who use a more logical system (unlike people in the US), centimeters.

Tool

Once you've decided on the size holes you want on this page, create the first one and rename the layer. I used the name "CM Top Hor" to indicate a clipping mask at the top of a page which was horizontal (landscape). Use whatever is quick to type and will make sense to you days or months later (since you're going to reuse this layouts over and over.

Spread

Layer Pallet

Next I created a new layer, selected the area for the mask, filled it with black, and renamed the layer.

Layer Pallet

Spread

Layer Pallet

Keep repeating this process ...

Spread

Layer Pallet

Here you see I've selected the area for the last mask, but have forgotten to create a new layer. Not a problem if you always remember to check that you are on an empty layer before you fill the selection with the paint bucket. Just create the new layer and go ahead with the fill, it doesn't matter that the layer wasn't there when you made the selection.

Spread

Layer Pallet

At this point we have created all the masks for the left-hand page.

Spread

Layer Pallet

For the right-hand page I would like to just reverse the layout, keeping the vertical image at the top next to the bind. Doing this is quick and easy. Select all the layers with masks (there's more than one way to do this, I just held down Ctrl/Command and clicked on each). Then right-click and choose "Duplicate Layers...".

Layer Pallet

When the "Duplicate Layer" dialog box appears it will default to the name of your current document (PSD file). That's where you want them so just click OK.

Dialog

It doesn't look like anything on the page changed, but there are now four more layers on top of the existing ones. You can see the names of the new layers all have "copy" after them and the new layers are automatically selected.

Spread

Layer Pallet

Since the new layers are all selected choose Edit>Transform>Flip Horizontal.

Menu

Spread

It just looks like a big square doughnut, but you really have eight layers or which four are still selected. Using the Move Tool, hold shift down so they don't move up and down and slide the layers into position on the right-hand page.

Spread

Since in this book I wanted drop shadows under all my images, I applied them to the masks at this point. Select one of the layers and at the bottom of the layers pallet, click on effects (it looks like "fx") and choose the effect you want..

Layer Pallet

I chose "Drop Shadow" and got this dialog box. For Distance / Spread / Size I choose 40px / 15% / 40px but those numbers depend on the DPI of your file (mine was 300dpi) and the look you want.

Spread

After you press OK to apply the effect, the layer in your layers pallet will have a "fx" on the right and will show you the effects applied below it (you can hide or roll-up this information by clicking on the up arrow next to "fx" so it takes up less room in your layers pallet).

Layer Pallet

To copy the effects from one mask (or layer) to another, hold down Alt/Option and drag the "fx" from one layer to another. If you fail to hold down Alt/Option (as we all do) it just moves the effect instead of copying, so it's easy to just copy it back (and this time you'll remember to hold down Alt/Option).

Layer Pallet

Repeat the copy until all the mask layers have the effect.

Layer Pallet

That's it! You have page layouts for 4 images with bleeds. It wasn't really an issue here, because we were using a fixed size selection which butted up to the edge, but one thing you want to be very careful of when making layouts is that when you have multiple images on a page, make sure they line up perfectly. Images which "almost" line up are distracting when viewed on the printed page. Your screen resolution is fairly low, so they may look like the line up on your screen, but don't really. As you'll see in the next part, the best way to avoid this problem is to use guides and have Photoshop setup to snap to the guide.

Hope you learned something more.

-Wren

Download 4 per Page Clipping Masks (The one created here and the one created in the next part.)

Back to List of Custom Book Page Lessons or onto Part 6.


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