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7. Creating contact sheets

From: Bridge: 10 Things Designers Need to Know

Video: 7. Creating contact sheets

What if you want to share what you are looking at in Bridge with somebody else? You could take a screen shot of it but it would be nice if you could actually make a contact sheet, something that would have each of these images in a larger size, maybe with a little header and footer. Now one issue with Bridge CS4 is that inexplicably, Adobe decided not to include the wonderful contact sheet script that used to appear here in the Tools menu under InDesign. In fact there is no scripting for InDesign at all and please go to the feature request form on Adobe's site and ask them to bring it back.

7. Creating contact sheets

What if you want to share what you are looking at in Bridge with somebody else? You could take a screen shot of it but it would be nice if you could actually make a contact sheet, something that would have each of these images in a larger size, maybe with a little header and footer. Now one issue with Bridge CS4 is that inexplicably, Adobe decided not to include the wonderful contact sheet script that used to appear here in the Tools menu under InDesign. In fact there is no scripting for InDesign at all and please go to the feature request form on Adobe's site and ask them to bring it back.

I can't tell you that the developer who actually wrote that script for Adobe has updated it for CS4 and is offering it for sale on his website for $25. Now, if you do a lot of contact sheets, it's actually quite worth this money and I have been talking with him. He might be releasing a version of the script for free but definitely get thee over to creativescripting.net if you are interested in a CS4 compatible contact sheet script for InDesign. That doesn't mean that it's impossible to create a contact sheet with Bridge CS4. It's just that we can't use that particular script.

What Abode has done instead is they have included this new Outputs panel. So I am going to go to this workspace and choose Output and the Output feature lets you print out either the PDF or to a Web Gallery the selection of images that you have in your Content pane. The idea is first of all you gather all the images that you want into the Content pane using any of the methods that I have so far have described, right now I am just looking at the contents of this folder. Then you select the one that you want to include in the contact sheet. So I am selecting the first item and then scrolling to the right of this little film strip bar and Shift+Clicking the final one and then we are going to talk about using the PDF Output, the Web Gallery is for a different video tutorial, that's not really a contact sheet. We want something that we can email to somebody or print out.

So I am going to choose PDF and then let's just click Refresh Preview where it's going to show us a preview of what this PDF is going to look like with our current settings. So these are 2 X 2 cells and this what the page one would look like and I can zoom in as much as I would like to see it and then click Refresh Preview to see it back at it's original size. Now there are a few different templates built-in. So I won't go through all of them but let's say 5 X 8 contact sheets, Refresh Preview, they are smaller images so you can see what it's going to look like.

Now there are some other settings that we can do, we can say what is the page size, let's change this to U.S. Paper, and 8.5 X 11. What resolution do you want the images at, since this is a PDF, I don't think I am going to need full res, 150 res is just fine. I am going to try and keep the size of the PDF kind of small. The Background is White, I can assign security to it. So somebody needs a password to be able to open it and then you scroll down and here we have under Layout; how many columns and how many rows do you want and as you adjust these settings, notice that the template says Custom because it's sort of like you are editing a preset in InDesign.

Actually I am going to set this back to, let's say, 4 X 5 Contact Sheet. I kind of like that look. So little bit larger. You can choose how it's going to auto-size them if they can rotate them continuing what do you want to be overlaid meaning, what's going to be on top of the layer that has the photos, what kind of caption will appear. So unfortunately all we have is the option of including the filename, along with the extension, that contact sheet script lets you include all sorts of information but here we are just stuck with filename.

You can choose the font size and so on but this is nice, you can include a page number. So if you want a page number, let's say placing on the footer's, yes we want to enable the footer section and then you can say well I want the page number to be kind of large, I will make it 16 points, again you need to refresh the preview. Okay so it should be between 0.56 and 2.89 cm for the footer distance. So we need to come down to the Footer Distance, type something in here, let's say 1.0, let's try that.

So there is our little Footer. So I am going to scroll down. Now that we have our page footer in there and you can choose when the person opens it in Acrobat, you can have it set so that it automatically opens in fulls screen mode, like a very fancy kind of playback where it advances on itself and then it loops but actually I don't want any of that. But you can include if would like Transitions after every page as they flip through the pages, I don't need any of that either, you can include a Watermarks, like if you want to say, prove this. Now all these kind of things you can do right in Acrobat itself. They have kind of just glommed on some of the Acrobat features here.

Let's just go right through here and turn on the View PDF After Save and I recommend that you do that so that when you click Save, then you get a chance to say, where it's going to save this document and I am just going to save it right on my Desktop, we will call it PDF contact sheet, click Save and here we have our little Acrobat contact sheet. So this is the PDF. Now if I go to File, Properties, the PDF size is 2.92 MB, so not too big at all for this many images. Now I can show you a manual way to create a contact sheet. I am going to go back to Essentials and this time we don't need any thing selected, I am going to switch this to Compact mode which I talked about in the previous video and jump over to Adobe InDesign.

You can create a manual contact sheet if you would like because there is a script built into InDesign CS4 that will automatically add the files names to these images. I have already created a contact sheet template and all that I have done in this contact sheet template is put like a nice little header and an automated page number in the footer. The idea is you would put Bridge after you have gotten all your images to show, open the Content pane into this Compact Mode and I select all these guys and then drag and drop them on to this page and then I am going to switch to InDesign, letting it build these little previews and then if you hold down the Command+Shift key or Ctrl+Shift, you get contact sheet place, which is a new feature in InDesign.

So as I start to drag, you can see a little grid showing me where the contact sheet, how many images are going to appear here and I am going to bring it all the way down to the margin guides, I am holding down the Shift key and tapping the Right Arrow key to increase the gutter space and same thing with Shift+Up Arrow, to get a little bit more room there, that's good and then release the mouse button and all those images are placed. Let me hide this guy and then come back to InDesign and in Pages, we are going to add another page, I will zoom out a bit, so you could see what I am doing and then again I hold down the same two keys; Command+Shift or Ctrl+Shift and that remembers my settings from the previous drag and I drag this way until all my pictures are placed and now if they are placed, last step is to go to Automation, Scripts, this comes with CS4 and open up Application, Samples, JavaScript and you will find a script here called LabelGrpahics.jsx.

So with all these still selected, I can just double-click Labelgraphics.jsx and I want to include the filename, that's all I want but notice that it can also include a description or the author, but only one of these types not all of them together and I already created a caption style. So I will just say, that's fine and there you go. We now have a contact sheet and I guess I made paragraph style little too large. So let's reduce the type Size here from 18 to say, 12 and I think I have fixed it. With little labels underneath each one of our graphics, and there is a very fancy but manually created contact sheet.

All this is possible by virtue of Bridge being able to quickly let us locate the images that we want and then how the other programs like Acrobat and InDesign have been merged with Bridge to make it easy to create contact sheets.

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Bridge: 10 Things Designers Need to Know

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Anne-Marie Concepción
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