Saturday, November 29, 2008

How to create contact sheets of your kits.

I have always been a bit lazy about backing up selectively. In other words, I just tend to back up everything regardless of whether I'm backing up the same kits over and over. I have found it easier than going through my folders and working out what's new. That can work in theory but what about when you decide you want to delete some stuff. How will you know where to find it again when you want it? I have decided that enough is enough and I'm not going to do this anymore. The first thing I realised I had to do was catalogue everything I have, by printing out contact sheets. Before you shudder at the thought of all that paper for the hundreds of items in your stash, why not try this?
Most kits you download have a preview photo. This shows you everything in the kit. You can make a contact sheet of all the preview photos of your kits by opening them all on your desktop first.
Secondly, if you have just downloaded a new kit, you can make a contact sheet of everything in the kit. You may want to start doing this from now on.
To make a contact sheet in Photoshop, go to File, Automate, Contact Sheet II. A new dialogue box will open, giving you some options. First, decide what you want to appear on the contact sheet. It will either be a folder on your hard drive that you will navigate to or the current, open documents on your desk top. Next you need to type in the size of the page you're printing and the resolution. Some people like to make CD/DVD case contact sheets, but since I keep my discs in a 3 pocket plastic sheet in a folder, I put in the A4 sizes at 300 dpi. You can also choose how many columns and rows, the font and font size. If you are choosing a folder from your hard drive you may want to click, "include sub folders" as well because some kits come with about two or three folders. On the right hand side of the dialogue box you will see how many images are going to be included and how many contact sheet pages will be generated. Click okay and watch your contact sheet come together in record time. You'll probably want to print out the kit contact sheets in colour but for files like overlays, brushes and templates, black and white will be fine.
I print it out and include it with my back up disc. From now on, keep a list of newly downloaded kits and make a contact sheet straight away. The only regular backups you'll have to make are your project files. The benefits are two-fold. Not only will you not keep backing up the same stuff over and over but you can see what's in your kits when you're planning your pages without having to open all the folders on your computer. I'll bet you find some things you never knew you had.
Credits: Katie Pertiet - Bontanist No 13 (our class kit) The kit needed two contact sheets but I've only put one of them here.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Quick Christmas presents.

I've been trying to come up with some ideas for little Christmas gifts that I can make easily for my family. Jotters, notebooks, shopping lists, etc make great gifts that you can put together with a minimum of fuss and time. I began with an 8 inch x 8 inch page at 300 dpi and created two jotter covers side by side. It saves paper because you just cut them in half when they're printed. I used Jessica Sprague's mini brag book as my original template (great if you're short of time and ideas) because they are the right size. Once you have created your two covers, printed and trimmed them, you need to create a cardboard backing and some plain white paper inserts. I've made a template with cutting guides for you to download here. You can use it as the basis for your covers too if you like. Print the template out on plain paper for the inside pages and on cardstock for the backs. I know it's a bit tedious cutting all that paper but you can probably cut several sheets at once. I'm putting 20 pages in each notebook.

Next, you need to work out how you're going to bind them. There are lots of ways to do this with ribbons or rivets but I like the wire binding so I purchased a Zutter "Bind It All" machine from Lincraft. If you want to use the small 3/8" (10mm) Owires you need to make sure you get Version 2 which has a spacing bar attachment. The older version only uses the larger 5/8" (20mm) wires which can look cumbersome on small booklets. With the spacing bar, you can punch your holes closer to the edge.
Credits: Kits: Fly kit, Rag Doll paper pack and Tied Fasterners No 2 by Katie Pertiet. Fonts: Scriptina, Chocolate box and 1942 Report.