If you’re familiar with contact sheets, you know how helpful they can be. If you ever viewed a page of 20 sleeved slides and raised it to the light, you know how easy it was to get a quick view of your images. If you’re not familiar with these two photo assets, but you’ve had the need to create a thumbnail print out of a group of photos, if you use Photoshop and have Bridge, the seldom-used Output Module is the answer. Mimicking contact sheets from the days of darkroom work, there are many similarities, but there’s so much more you can do to the “contact sheet” you create in Bridge. Here’s how.
1) Open a folder of pics from which you want to create a “contact sheet” in Bridge. Go to the pull-down arrow at the top right of the Bridge workspace and drag the cursor to the OUTPUT option:
2) Go to the EDIT menu and choose Select All. The keyboard shortcut is Command A on a Mac or Control A on a PC:
3) At the top right portion of the Output work space, choose PDF. Since you’re going to change the defaults, the Template field will switch to Custom. Each time you create a new PDF or want to reset previous work, click the Refresh Preview button. More on this later.
4) In the DOCUMENT section, set your parameters to the paper size you desire. If you use 8.5×11 paper, mirror the settings I highlighted inside the red boxes. Use the pull-down arrows to make changes. If you need the document password protected, set this up in this section. If you want a custom color background for the images, click on the color swatch next to the word BACKGROUND to choose a custom color or choose a standard color from the pull-down arrows:
5) In the LAYOUT section, I most often choose five rows and five columns. This gives me 25 images to a page. I find the size of the thumbnail on an 8.5×11 sheet of paper works well. I also enable the USE AUTO SPACING option when needed:
6) In the OVERLAYS section, File Name and Extension are checked by default. I leave them checked as I want this information on the “Contact Sheet.” This information is printed out under each thumbnail. If for some reason you want to change the font or font size, use the pull-down arrows. If you create a multi page PDF and want the pages numbered, enable it in the Page Number section:
7) If for some reason you need to include a title, contact information, website address, etc. on the “Contact Sheet,” do this in the HEADER / FOOTER sections. Be sure to tick the check box next to Add Header or Add Footer to be able to create the text. If the contact sheet is sent to an editor or used to submit images for official review to a contest, then I suggest you add the above information to the PDF.
8) If you want to add a copyright to each thumbnail, do so in the WATERMARK section. Experiment with the size of the font based on the number of photos that appear on each page. Each time you change the font size, update the PDF by clicking on the Refresh Preview button I cited in Step 3 above. I find a font size of eight works well for a layout of five rows and five columns on 8.5×11 paper. To illustrate an example, I set up the PDF to add a watermark so you can see how it’s done. If you want the watermark to appear diagonally, set the Rotation to 45 degrees:
9) At the bottom right, click SAVE and the pdf will be generated. If you want to print out a hard copy, tick the View PDF After Save and save the PDF to your desktop. If you make a change to any section, go to the top OUTPUT section and click on Refresh Preview. The regenerated version will appear inside the OUTPUT PREVIEW workspace.
10) Below is a screenshot of the completed Output product in addition to a PDF version of the Contact Sheet:
To Download the Adobe Output Module, click on this link.
Choose the appropriate platform for Windows or Mac and download the file. It’s a small file that downloads in a matter of seconds.
Follow these steps very precisely. See the screenshot below to see the exact path of steps.
Open the downloaded “AOM_Package_Mac, // AOM_Package_Win64, // AOM_Package_Win32” folder that appears on your desktop folder. This folder contains:
- the Adobe Output Module folder
- the AdobeOutputModule.workspace file
Copy JUST the Adobe Output Module folder (NOT the downloaded AOM_Package folder) into the Bridge CC Extensions folder in the appropriate location:
- Windows: C:\Program Files\Common Files\Adobe\Bridge CC Extensions
- Mac OS: /Library/Application Support/Adobe/Bridge CC Extensions
Copy JUST the AdobeOutputModule.workspace file into the Workspaces folder under the Bridge CC Extensions folder.
Quit out of Bridge.
Relaunch Bridge CC and the following warning appears:
“The Bridge extension “AdobeOutputModule” has been added to Bridge. Do you want to enable it now?” Click Yes.
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