Compositing a Picture Book Dummy in Photoshop.

This lesson assumes that you already have at least some of the art already.

1: Scan the art into the computer. The process for this varies with the computer, scanner, and the software available on the computer.
On a Mac, you can scan using Image Capture, Preview, or Photoshop (if you have a plug-in).
Make sure the art is clean, and if there’s wet media, make sure the paint is really dry. If you’re using oil paint then let it dry for at least a week. Most other wet media should dry in an hour, although thick acrylic can take longer, and slow-drying acrylic can take a couple of days to harden. Wet paint can ruin the scanner’s platen.
If you’re using dry media that’s dusty or powdery, then make sure you clean there platen after each scan.
Photoshop has a very useful scanning tool called Photomerge. If you have a big piece of art to scan, and you have to scan it in several sections then Photomerge can re-composite the separate files back as a single image file.

2. In Photoshop create a new image-file the shape of a double page spread of your book, so if the book is going to be 8.5 x 11, then create an 17 x 11 file in portrait format.
Save the file as a Photoshop file at 360 dpi resolution, and RGB (as opposed to CMYK).
Create a guide that marks the gutter between the pages (8.5 ” from the left).

3. Begin with the title page. This wouldn’t be a double-page for the printed book, but for the purposes of the dummy it needs to be. Using cut and paste, transfer the title page image from the scanned file to the right hand half of the double page (I can show you how to do this with all the commands). Resize it so it fits the way you want. Add text using the type tool, and don’t forget your own name as author. When you’re happy with the design save the file as a copy––JPG––into a new folder, which we could call ‘Picture-Book.’. Call the new image file Picture-Book-0001.

4. Save the Photoshop file. Create a new layer. The left hand side will be front matter. You can leave it blank, or type in ‘Front Matter.’
The Right half will be the first page of your story. Cut and paste your artwork, add text using the type tool, and save it as a JPG copy, titled Picture-Book-0203, in the same folder as the previous file you saved.

5. Repeat the process until you reach the last page, which you’ll save as Picture-Book-2400, or Picture-Book-3200. Once again the last page would be a single page in the printed book, but we want to keep all the pages a consistent size for the PDF to work.
At this point you might not have art for every page, but you should should have text.
If you only have text place it on it’s relevant page, and save it just as if you had art.
Don’t forget to keep saving the Photoshop file as you go along.

6. You should now have 17 files (for a 32 page book) in your folder, ‘Picture-Book.’
Now you need combine the files as a PDF.
On a Mac, select all the page files, and open them in Preview.
They should open in order.
Make sure they open in one window. Sometimes they open in more than one. If they do then just close the windows and open the files again. They should open in one window.

7. When you have the images open in Preview, hit PRINT (command-P)––but don’t print the files. You should get a print dialogue page. Select 11×17 or Tabloid in the page size panel. Select ‘Print all Pages.’
Now hit the button in the lower left of the dialogue box, which should say, ‘PDF.’
You will then get another set of options which include SAVE AS PDF.
Select ‘Save as PDF,’ and the file will be saved as a PDF.

That’s it. You have a submittable PDF, just give it a title.
The PDF might be big, so make sure you can submit a bog PDF to your client.
You can reduce the file size in Acrobat Pro if you have it, or you can reduce the size of the component files.

Best of luck.