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Contact Sheet

Okay, technically it's called Contact Sheet II, but let's just call it Contact Sheet for the sake of time, shall we? Here's a way to customize your own version of the Contact Sheet. This technique is a variation of a method described by Kevin Ames in the July/August 2004 issue of Photoshop User magazine.

Step One.
You can create your own contact sheet using either File>Automate>Contact Sheet II in Photoshop (and choose a folder), or select files in Bridge and go to Tools>Photoshop>Contact Sheet II. In my example, I highlighted several images in Bridge that I used to create my contact sheet.

Step Two.
In the Contact Sheet II dialog, enter a Width of 7 and a Height of 9, and use the Resolution that's appropriate for your output device (I used 200 ppi in this case). The reason we're using less than a full page is to allow room for the customizing we're going to do later. Choose the number of images you want on the page by changing the Columns and Rows fields.


Make sure that Flatten All Layers is not checked (so you can view and edit the individual text and image layers) and click OK. Once the automated command is finished, you can run the optional step shown in “Custom Thumbnails.”

Custom Thumbnails

Since you have all layers intact, you can customize the thumbnails if you like. Select one of the thumbnail's layers and add a layer effect such as Stroke or Drop Shadow (Layer>Layer Style). Control-click (PC: Right-click) on the Layer Effects icon (looks like a lowercase “ƒ”) and from the contextual menu choose Copy Layer Style. Then from the Select menu, choose Similar Layers to select the rest of the thumbnail layers. Control-click (PC: Right-click) on one of the selected layers and from the contextual menu, choose Paste Layer Style to add the same effect to all the thumbnails. Then you can continue with the remainder of the steps.

Step Three.
Now we'll create a new document that we'll customize with a name, logo, etc. First create a new document (File>New) and make it letter sized (8.5x11"). Be sure to use the same Resolution you entered in the Contact Sheet II dialog. Add your name, logo, etc., in the new document and leave the middle area empty.

Step Four.
Return to the layered contact sheet document. Hide the Background layer by clicking on its Eye icon and from the Layers palette's flyout menu, choose Merge Visible. Hold down the Shift key and with the Move tool (V) drag the merged layers onto your customized document. The images and their labels will be centered on the “template.”

Step Five.
Save and Print (from the File menu). Then delete the contact sheet layer and save the document to keep as a template that you can use again.



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