Generating a PDF contact sheet
Generating a PDF contact sheet
In this exercise I am going to show you how to generate a contact sheet. A contact sheet is a bunch of images grouped onto one or more pages. They can be printed as itty-bitty thumbnails or large generous previews. The idea is that you are trying to catalog an image collection or you want to hand-off the contact sheet to a client, so that they can select their favorite photographs. But this is not technically a printing function and it's not something you do inside of Photoshop. Instead what you do is you generate a PDF document that you have for evermore and you can e-mail to a client or you can print from the free Adobe Reader or from Adobe Acrobat.
And you generate the contact sheet from the Bridge. So we are going to switch over to the Bridge by clicking on the Launch Bridge icon up here in the Application bar. I have the Bridge directed at the contents of the 11_printing folder inside the Exercise Files folder. We are seeing this group of images from photographer Jason Stitt of the Fotolia Image Library. Now what we need to do is bring up this panel called the Output panel. But it's very hard to get to it, because it's not listed for whatever reason. I have no idea what Adobe is thinking here.
It's not listed under the Window menu. Instead what you have to do is go scurrying around for it. You can either click this down pointing arrowhead and switchover to the predefined Output workspace. But that's going to switch out everything in our screen here. That's not really my favorite approach. The other thing you can do, just to bring up the Output panel, is to go over here to this Output icon and click on it and then choose Output to Web or PDF. So notice how it very conveniently does not say contact sheet anywhere in this command. Nor does it say contact sheet over here in the Output panel, which is now displayed onscreen.
Instead what you do is you click on PDF to make sure it's active. I know, it doesn't make all that much sense, but that's the way it works. I have a fairly large Content panel going right now. When you first bring up the Output panel, you will probably see a very small Content panel down here. What I would like you to do, if you are working along with me, is click on Boy in yellow.jpg, because he is the first image in alphabetical order and Shift+Click on The joy of color.psd. So that you have a total of eight images active.
And now we are going to arrange these images into a contact sheet. Now, we have this Template, 2*2 cells, which is fine. If you want to see what that looks like, then you click on Refresh Preview. You are going to spend a lot of time when you are generating a contact sheet clicking on Refresh Preview, so you can see what in the world is it that you are doing. Clicking on Refresh Preview brings up yet another panel. Very mysterious, hard-to-find panel, called Output Preview. Again, not listed anywhere inside the Window menu. This is where you see what the first page in your contact sheet looks like.
This is going to be a multiple page contact sheet, because after all, we are only seeing the first four images, we are not seeing the second group of four images, so there's got to be a second page. However, we are only seeing the first one. Which I think is fine. We can imagine what the second one is going to look like. But I don't want 2*2 Cells. I want to go ahead and arrange the cells myself. The cells, by the way, are the virtual containers that hold the image and the image name. So you are going to see the file name below the image. Now, I don't really like the way this panel is organized by default.
So I am going to switch things around a little bit, so that we can see more of my options at a time, because otherwise it's fairly confusing on this tiny screen. I am going to press Ctrl+K or Command+K on the Mac to bring up the Preferences dialog box here inside the Bridge, and I am going to switch to Output. I will click on this check box. Again, nothing about working with the Output panel is the least but intuitive. I am going to turn on this check box. It goes by the name of Use Solo mode for Output panel Behavior. I gather they mean Han Solo.
I have no idea what Solo mode even means. It just happens to give us a much better view of this panel. I will also say that I want to Preserve the Embedded Color Profiles, so that I am working in Adobe RGB, might as well. And then click OK in order to customize your display. Notice now that we can twirl open a single one of these panels at a time. That's what it means by Solo mode, incidentally, one panel at a time. It works really great for smaller screens. I actually would argue that it works great for all reasons, anything that you are trying to accomplish inside of this panel, the Solo mode is better. All right.
So anyway, I will click on Document, so that we have an option for changing the size of our page. By default, the page is set to International Paper A4, which might be fine. A4 is a very common standard for inkjet printers and so you may want to work with that. I prefer, just because I am an American and we haven't gotten with the metric program, and probably never will, I am guessing, I am going to switch to inches so that I can see things that make sense to me. But you can stick with centimeters if you want.
You can also stick with A4 if you want. I am going to switch out to good old- fashioned U.S. Paper and I am also going to go with Letter, because it's familiar to me and I am thinking I am going to be printing this off on a Laser Printer, for example, which would be stocked with letter sized paper here in the States. I definitely want my Quality set to 300 ppi. That's a great idea. So we will have high-resolution images. The Quality - what the heck - let's go with 100% Quality here people. I don't know why we would want less quality out of this. That does mean, by the way, you are going to have a larger PDF file.
If you intend to e-mail this to somebody, you might want to crank the quality down, because you are going to get a smaller file out of it. However, I am interested in printing. That's the topic of this chapter after all. Now, you have the option of changing the Background. Don't know why you would. I want to leave it set to White. Also, if this is a top-secret document, you can create a Password, so that only privileged people can open your PDF file. Or you can set a Permissions Password. That means that anybody can open the PDF file. However, if they want to modify the file, they are going to have to enter a password.
And then you can even Disable Printing, so nobody can print it, if it's that top-secret. Anyway, mine's not, I want to share it with the world here. So I am going to switch over to Layout at this point. I am going to explain the remainder of these options to you in the next exercise.
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