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Path Layout in Photoshop Print E-mail


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Layouts play an important role in design. Resultful layouts catch the audience's attention and "force" to read the whole design. Think of advertisements or billboards as an example, where grabbing attention is extremely wanted. Through layouts designers can express themselves and communicate with readers as long as their designs are cohesive and well planned. Moreover, they need to follow certain rules. One of the rules is a path layout which will be covered in this tutorial. Also, we will talk about a "rule of thirds".

We will use a photo of jeans (the picture has been obtained from website as royalty free) and logo of Lee brand.


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1) Open the new document in Photoshop. In the New Document window, set size to 60x40cm, resolution to 240dpi and Colour Mode to CMYK as we are preparing a ready-to-print file (although some people prefer to use 300dpi or more, I think 240dpi is enough for this project, however when creating a project for your client make sure the print-out is crisp and non-pixelated).


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2) Place the image on the canvas. Go to File > Place and select the picture.

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3) When you choose Place, you can notice two crossing lines over the photo, so move the image in the position where you want it to be and hit Enter. This will convert the photo, we just placed, into a Smart Object.

Tip: The good thing about working with Smart Objects is that when you scale it down and up, the image remains crisp and sharp in opposite to "normal" object pasted on canvas


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4) Now, we are going to apply a "rule of thirds" into our design. The rule tells us to create three columns and three rows across the image in order to get nine equal rectangles. Photoshop has a very nice tool which will help us to divide the canvas. Get the Custom Shape Tool from the Toolbox as shown below.


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5) From the Options menu at the top click on the arrow to select the Custom Shape picker and choose Grid from the list (as shown below).


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6) Start drawing the grid shape from upper-left corner to bottom-right corner covering the entire canvas.


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7) Following the "rule of thirds" we put the important composition elements near the intersection of the lines creating a focal point - Lee logo, which needs to be exposed the most. Place the logo into the intersection point repeating steps 2 & 3.


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8) Get rid of the grid shape by hiding the layer and add some more elements (website address, motto, etc) into our design to create a cohesive and effective advert.


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9) By using the path layout the advert flows from one element to another in a given order: Lee logo > motto > website > annotation. Bear in mind to keep a good balance between elements of the design to convey a message to the audience.


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