Creative Printing – Part Two

In the previous part of this tutorial we made a file in Photoshop that will serve as the base for the print we will make in Lightroom. After you have imported the file, select 5 additional images and move to the Print Module.

In Lightroom

The Layout Style we will be using is the Custom Package which was introduced in version 3. Lightroom has several templates built in so lets start with one of those. I chose the Custom(2) 4 x 6 template from the Template Browser.

If you recall, our document is 2000 pixels wide by 720 pixels high or at a resolution of 100ppi thats 20 inches by 7.2 inches. Lets start by setting that up in the Print Job panel.

We’ll use the existing two cells as starting points for our cells. click on one of the cells and open the Cells panel. Type in the size of the black boxes we created in our Photoshop file. In this case it was 3 x 4.5 inches. Be sure to uncheck the Lock to Aspect Ratio box.

For the second cell, type in the full dimensions of the file (20in x 7.2in)

To place images in cells, click on the cell to activate it and drag the image from the filmstrip to the cell. With the background cell still active, drag the PSD file on to it. If you find a cell covers another cell you can change the stacking order by right-clicking on the cell and selecting Send to Back.

Your PSD file should still show the black boxes where the images will eventually go. For now we will use them as markers for the cells. I have changed mine to red so they are easier to see. Click on the cell and move into place. There are no fine tune adjustments or keys for constraining the direction to horizontal so you’ll have to be patient on this.
(Mac users may find the ability to zoom in on the system level useful here. System Preferences > Universal Access > Zoom)
To duplicate a cell, hold the Option or Alt key while dragging.
Repeat for the remaining cell spaces.

Once your cells are in place this would be a great time to save a preset print template for future use.
Click the + icon in the Template Browser and name your template. Now your work is safe. If you accidentally or temporarily on purpose move the cells you can return them to the current state by selecting the template name from the browser.

To personalize this print template further we can add some text to it. Open the Page Panel and check the Identity Plate box. By default your computers name will be used. To change this click the small triangle in the ID Plate window and select edit.

Type the name or other information you want, select the font and color, press OK. Drag the ID Plate where you want it.

Now that you have made a change to the Template (added the ID Plate) you may want to save that change. To save it to the same template name, right-click on the template name and select Update with Current Settings

You are now ready to add images but first lets get rid of the red boxes. Open (edit) the file in Photoshop.
Make certain you select Edit Original.

Open one of the smart objects and hide the Image Layer. Close the file and save. You should see the change inside lightroom immediately. Drag the images into the cells. If you mess up the order, or simply want to change it, just drag the new image over the existing one. Resist the temptation to move the images on the page, you will only succeed in moving the cells too.

When you have the position finalized, click the Print to File button, lower right. Name the file and choose a location.

The beauty of all this is the ability to change those images out very quickly inside Lightroom and also change the text because its not locked in to the file we built in Photoshop.
The PSD file can also be modified providing you don’t shift the position to the image frames. Doing that will require changes to the cells in Lightroom. You can create many base files and just as many print templates. I used Vector Shape Layers and Smart Objects in Photoshop to make resizing possible without pixelation and editing easier.

If you don’t have Photoshop to build the base file you can download a copy here.
If you do have Photoshop and have a problem building the file you can download an action here.

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2 Responses to Creative Printing – Part Two
  1. [...] Creative Printing – Part 2 - Continuing from part one, we can now use Lightroom to use the Photosh...
  2. [...] The PSD file is done. Save it with a name of your choosing and import it into Lightroom. We will use the...