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Creating a Contact Sheet in Adobe Photoshop CS5

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You can use a contact sheet to catalog images, such as the photos that you back up onto DVDs, for easy reference and identification. In this excerpt from Photoshop CS5 for Windows and Macintosh: Visual QuickStart Guide, Elaine Weinmann and Peter Lourekas show you how to create a contact sheet.
From the book

A contact sheet is an arrangement of image thumbnails in one document, an electronic version of the contact sheets that are traditionally created from film. Use them to catalog images, such as the photos that you back up onto DVDs, for easy reference and identification.

To create a contact sheet

  1. In Bridge, put all the files to be displayed on the contact sheet in the same folder, in the order in which you want them to appear on the sheet (they can be grouped in a stack), and display the contents of that folder.
  2. Click the Output workspace (or from the Output menu output-menu.jpg on the toolbar, choose Output to Web or PDF).*A A Preview panel displays above the Content panel, and an Output panel displays on the right side.
  3. At the top of the Output panel,B click PDF, then from the Template menu, choose 4*5 Contact Sheet or 5*8 Contact Sheet, for the number of columns and rows.

    If you’re content with the default settings for the chosen template, skip ahead to step 10 or 11; or if you prefer to customize the template, follow all the remaining steps.

  4. In the Document category, do as follows:

    Choose a Page Preset, such as U.S. Paper, and a preset Size, or to produce a custom-size sheet, enter Width and Height values.

    Choose image Quality settings. For onscreen output, for example, choose 150 or 72 ppi and move the Quality slider to 60–70.star.jpg These settings will affect the file size.

    From the Background menu, choose a background color for the contact sheet. For print output, we recommend choosing White.

    For the Password options, see step 4, page 380.

  5. Select around 10–15 thumbnails (to minimize the preview time), then click Refresh Preview to preview the current settings in a layout.
  6. In the Layout category, change any of the following settings:

    Choose an Image Placement option for the order in which the images are to be arranged, based on the current order of the thumbnails.

    Enter the desired number of Columns and Rows for the contact sheet, depending on how many images it will contain.

    Check Use Auto-Spacing to let Bridge calculate the spacing between thumbnails (the easy way); or uncheck this option, enter the desired spacing between thumbnails in the Vertical and Horizontal fields, and enter Top, Bottom, Left, and Right margin values.

    Optional: Check Rotate for Best Fit to allow thumbnails to be rotated for a better fit (we keep this off, for a uniform orientation).

    Keep Repeat One Photo per Page unchecked.

  7. Optional: In the Overlays category (scroll downward if you don’t see it), check Filename and Extension to have that data appear below each image, and choose a Font, Size, and Color for the text.
  8. Optional: To display a header above all the images, in the Header category, check Add Header, choose an alignment option, enter text, and choose text attributes. Ditto for a Footer.
  9. In the Playback category, uncheck all options (since the sheet is going to be viewed manually).
  10. Optional: In the Watermark category, check Add Watermark, enter copyright text to appear in the center of each image, choose Font, Size, Color, and Offset options, and choose a low Opacity.star.jpg
  11. Select all the thumbnails to appear on the contact sheet, then click Refresh Preview to preview it. Adjust any settings or rearrange any thumbnails, if needed, then click Refresh Preview once more.A
  12. At the bottom of the panel, check View PDF After Save, then click Save. In the Save As dialog, enter a file name, choose a location, then click Save. A PDF file will be created; Adobe Acrobat, Adobe Acrobat Pro, or Adobe Reader will launch; and the PDF file will open onscreen.B If it contains multiple pages, you can use the arrow buttons to cycle through them.
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