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What makes a good magazine cover? Author Nigel French examines the design of magazine covers, dissecting the cover and explaining the purpose of the different components that make up the whole design. He then covers the design process from start to finish in Adobe InDesign, going on to show alternative workflows that exclusively use Photoshop and Illustrator. Each workflow shows you how to place and scale your image, position the masthead, add cover text, and package the end result as a print-ready PDF.
In this chapter we are going to look at an alternative workflow, and that is using Photoshop rather than InDesign to create the magazine cover. Why would we want to do this? Well, two reasons, one is maybe you prefer Photoshop. That's a pretty compelling reason, and the second reason maybe you don't have InDesign. Maybe Photoshop is all you have. So this is the same cover that we saw in the previous chapters, but this is all been created within Photoshop, It's been created with layers.
Let's just take a quick spin through it. I'm going to hold-down the Alt key or Option key and click on the eyeball of the bottom layer. There's the masthead, there's the cut out, barcode, our sticker, and our slash, the cover lines, and then finally, you can't see them because the guides are turned on. I'll have to turn the guides off for this, the crop marks. Most of the aspects of designing this in Photoshop are very similar or the same to doing it in InDesign.
The type conventions are broadly similar. The Character panel. The Character panel gives us access to familiar type options, type size, leading, tracking, et cetera. What is very different, though, is the way that you set the document up, and this is how I'm going to do it. I'm not going to open the cover image and then resize that to the trim size of the magazine.
Rather, I'm going to create a blank document and then drag the image into it and then position it within that blank document. So I'm pressing Command+N or Ctrl+N to go to File and New. I'm going to specify the trim size in inches. Now we want a document size of 8 inches by 11 inches, that's our magazine size. We need to add the bleed amount to that. There is no command here to specify a bleed guide.
We have to do this manually. We want an eighth of an inch left and right, so that means I'm going to add a quarter of an inch to the width and a quarter of an inch to the height. Resolution, as we have discussed, we want this to be 300 pixels per inch. The Color mode I'm leaving as RGB. These RGB colors or screen colors will be converted to print colors CMYK when we output to PDF as the final step. If your cover image is already in CMYK, then you could make a case for choosing CMYK Color here, but the image that we are going to be using is RGB.
And the Color Profile I'll leave that at Adobe RGB (1998). This is the most commonly used RGB working space for print work because of its relatively large color gamut. That's set up, we now need to add our guides. To do this, I highly recommend that you download a free extension because it's going to make things a whole lot easier. Without the free extension, you literally have to draw the guides. We don't want to do that. Life is too short.
The extension is GuideGuide, and you can get that from this website, guideguide.me. It's free, but the author does request a donation, and the author is Cameron McEfee. I hope I'm pronouncing that correctly. So here is the GuideGuide panel, and I'm going to start out by adding the bleed guide on all four dimensions. I'll click on the GG button, and that gives me my Bleed Guide, and then I want a safe area or margin of 0.2 of an inch.
And this is going to get added to the Bleed amount, so I'm going to just increase this value to 0.325. I'm also going to add in some rows and columns. And as I mentioned before, this bit is optional, but I like to do it. I'm going to have 12 points of space as the gutter between the rows and the columns. So when I have these values in, I'll click on the GG button again, and I now have my Layout Grid, I have my Margin, and I have my Bleed Guide.
What I don't have is crop marks indicating where that Bleed Guide is. If you're printing your final document from Photoshop--which is unlikely because your printer is probably not going to want to accept a PSD file, they are going to prefer instead a PDF--but if you were printing it from Photoshop, in the Print dialog box you can specify printing marks right here. And in the year 2012 this does seem rather primitive, but instead, I'm going to draw the crop marks manually.
I'm going to create a new layer for this which I'll call--not surprisingly--crop marks. Choose my Pencil tool, zoom in, choose a 1-pixel brush, and then I'm just going to hold down my Shift key and draw those marks. If you draw them exactly on the guide, you may not see them, so you might need to just toggle the guides on and off--Command or Ctrl+Semicolon will do that--and I now need to go and add those in on all four corners.
Make sure that your foreground color is black when you're doing this. So there is our document, it's at the right resolution, it's at the right size, incorporating the bleed, and we have the crop marks indicating where the bleed is happening, and we have a margin indicated and the crop marks are on a separate layer. And next step, which I'll leave to the next movie, is to place our cover image within this document.
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