As I’ve noted, Photoshop version CS4 semi-retired the Contact Sheet, Picture Package and Web Contact Sheet plug-ins. Last week we looked at the modern method of creating contact sheets with Photoshop CS5, and earlier we reviewed an alternative approach to Picture Package. With today’s tip for creating web gallery contact sheets, we now have a full suite of up to date processes, using the current Photoshop technology – and you should be fully prepared to leave the old CS3 (and earlier) plug-ins far behind.
For Web Contact Sheets, we begin as before, in Bridge CS5. Select the images you want to include in your gallery, and at the top of the Bridge window, select “Output” to switch to the Output Workspace. If “Output” isn’t visible, click the black triangle at the right of the list of workspaces to pull down the full list.
As with our previous exercise for Contact Sheets, the Output Workspace looks the same:
- The “Content” panel has moved to the bottom and has become a filmstrip.
- The “Preview” panel is now front and center, containing all the images you have currently selected.
- The “Output” panel now occupies the entire right side panel.
Now, to create our Web Contact Sheet, we again work down the right hand side, in the Output Panel, working from top to bottom. In the very top section, we see this:
We select “Web Gallery,” and for contact sheets, simply choose the Template called “HTML Gallery.”
At this point, it may help to go ahead and click on “Refresh Preview.” The Output Preview panel appears, and as you can see we are already 90% done (in this view, I’ve collapsed the left side panels to give us more room to see the gallery):
The rest is all about customization, and Bridge makes it quite easy to customize the template and preview changes. Let’s make this web gallery look more like a contact sheet. We’ll start with the Site Information section of the Output panel. We can make some changes, as shown:
Again, Bridge makes it relatively easy to see the changes, something you cannot do with the old plug-in. Click again on “Refresh Preview,” and the changes are updated:
The next section down the right panel is the Color Palette. For a contact sheet appearance, we might want to work with some more traditional white backgrounds and black text. Let’s make the changes shown below, for Text, Detail Text, and Cells:
Again, a quick “Refresh Preview” and we can see the changes (almost) immediately:
Next, we’ll work in the “Appearance” section. I don’t know about you, but the giant sequence numbers don’t work for me. We can deselect “Show Cell Numbers” to get rid of them. But, we can select “Filename” to add the file name as a caption – with or without the extension, as dictated by the next option. We’ll leave the extension off.
Further, in this section we can change the number of rows and columns (let’s go with 4 x 4 this time):
Once again, we can slick “Refresh Preview” to see our work in progress:
That’s looking pretty good, if we want to get an even better idea, we can look to the top of the Output Panel and click “Preview in Browser.”
Now that we’ve gotten our web contact sheet looking the way we want it, we can export it in one of two ways, using the final section of the Output Panel – we can save to disk in a given location, or upload directly to an FTP server:
To save to disk, fill out the Gallery Name (which is actually the name of the folder in which the gallery will be stored), pick a Save Location and then click “Save.” The full web gallery is then written out with all HTML and supporting files, ready for integration into another project or for uploading.
However, you can upload directly to your site, if you have an FTP account. Fill out the section for FTP server, User Name, Password, and Folder, and click “Upload.” Note that once you’ve entered your FTP information, you can click the “Save Preset Name” icon – allowing you to store multiple presets for multiple servers, or for multiple folders within a server.
Now that you’ve seen the CS5 method for creating contact sheets, web contact sheets, and picture packages, I hope you’ll be inspired to take the leap and move to the new technology. The old CS3 era plug-ins for contact sheet and picture package are on their last legs. Move to the modern technology, move to increased flexibility, and move to the future. You’ll wonder why you hadn’t made the move earlier.
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