Primarily for the main part of insert creation, I use Photoshop. I first create a master template of lines, grids and boxes, etc. and then add all the pretty parts.
Here’s a brief look at how I do it. If you don’t have Photoshop, Paint Shop Pro will do the job adequately, or if you don’t have either, try the free Gimp programme. I’m told it’s very similar to Photoshop but I’ve never used it.
Firstly you need to create a new image. This MUST be the correct size for printing. The example below shows my template for Personal size inserts (UK size is 95 x 171 mm) and make sure the resolution is set to 300 ppi which is print quality.
There are a LOT of layers in my templates so I make sure they’re properly grouped and named otherwise I’d never find anything!
I created the boxes and grids by using the line tool in various thicknesses. The spacing was set up by using the grid (making sure you have “snap to grid” activated). Yes, this IS fiddly and very time consuming, but once they’re done it’s just a case of selecting the template I want. You need to make separate ones for “front” and “back”, or “left” and “right”, however you want to name them as the front or right page has a larger left hand margin, and the back or left page has a larger right hand margin. This, obviously is where the rings go.
In the example below, to make the date box at the top, I created a new layer and used the selection tool to make a rectangle shape then filled it with a dark grey colour. I used the size manipulator to get the width and height right, then went to Select >Modify >Contract and contracted the selection by 1 pixel then hit the delete key, leaving the 1 pixel edge that forms the box. Then it’s simply a case of using the text tool to create the labels. Always create each label on a separate text layer so that you can get the spacing just right.
For precise placement set the snapping tool to snap to everything.
I have my image layers set into 2 groups – Patterns and Art. The art group is mainly floral images or landscapes/fantasyscapes that I’ve created in my 3D software.
Below, I’ve selected the “Rock” scene which is a group of rocks and grass reflected in still water. I don’t want the image to dominate the page, and if it did you’d have trouble reading your entries no matter what colour pen you use. I’ve set the layer opacity on the image to 26%. This is about right for this one but I do vary the opacity depending on the image. Note that the image layers are below the template layers in the list – this means that the lines and grids will always be on top and won’t be obscured by anything.
I also have pre-made print templates which are marked up a/ for lining up the pages and b/ as a guide for cutting after printing. Personal sizes fit 3 pages on A4 paper, pocket will fit 4. On A5 sized inserts I provide 2 printing options – a single to print onto A5 paper or 2-up to print out on A4 paper. When making up these print pages, as they’re designed to be printed on both sides you must make sure that the images are completely central to the page. I created an action for PS that aligns the layer centrally both horizontally and vertically so that I can quickly do this in one click.
When the first side has printed off, I turn the paper over, put it back in the printer feed tray and print off the opposite side. Some printers will do double sided printing automatically. Mine doesn’t.
Here’s a shot of my print template with the above example in position
The design above has the same image on both left and right pages, but some collections have one image that spreads across both pages. For that, I create a new image that’s the same height as a single page and double the width, so for Personal size you’d need 190mm wide and 171mm high @ 300 ppi. I then create the design and copy it to the clipboard. I then paste it twice into the template, moving one layer all the way to the left, the other all the way to the right. I then crop off the excess (select all >Image >Crop). The result as shown below
Hope this is helpful 🙂