One quick method is to reach for your mobile phone, do a quick snapshot and upload to Facebook. Sure thing, but let’s assume we want to do something nicer for the product we’ve put a lot of effort to bring into being.
With some basic to mid-level Photoshop knowledge and understanding of light we can easily make a realistic looking image of a brochure spread.
After all, visualising something means it all boils down to the simple fact of recreating nature as best as we can. Let’s take a photo of a brochure spread and see how it looks. We can see the pages are slightly bent closer to the spine. We can also see how how the light falls on the pages — darker near the spine, lighter where the page bends and then slightly darker towards the edge. And, of course, there is a strong shadow at the bottom cast by the brochure. Let’s start up Photoshop and see what we can do with that information.
Shop a brochure spread in 10 steps
1. In Photoshop, start with Rectangle tool, choose Path from the tool’s options pane and draw a “page” in correct proportions.
2. Choose Gradient Fill from Layer/New Fill Layer. Set the gradient to 0 and check Dither.
3. Click to edit the gradient and add colour stops as follows: 0% location is 70B (HSB colour mode), 1% is 90B, 25% is 98B and 100% is 93B. Transparency stops are all 100% opacity. You can also try to move the mid-point between first and second colour stop to 10%.
Now we want to visually “bend” the top and bottom edge of the page so it looks like on the photograph.
Let’s have a look at the shadow cast by the brochure. It’s almost solid but it’s actually more blurred where the page bends the most. As Photoshop doesn’t have (yet) any ”dynamic” shadow/blur tool, we will do it with a couple of additional steps.
5. Using Pen Tool, draw a shape along the outline of the shadow. Fill the shape with black colour and flatten it with a white background for it to create one layer.
For the local blur effect on the edge of the shadow we are going to use Lens Blur. It allows us to use the layer’s mask to blur parts of the image.
6. Add empty mask to the layer and using Gradient Tool add gradient in the are of the shape. The gradient should have three colour stops (0% 85B, 25% 0B, 100% 85B).
7. Shift-click the layer’s mask to hide it and fire up Lens Blur filter. By using layer mask for the source of Depth Map and modifying Radius slider, you can control how blurred (a part of) the shadow will be. Try something similar to the effect on the photograph. Hit OK and change the layer blending mode to Multiply and opacity to 50%.
Now it’s starting to look “real”, doesn’t it? We just need to add the other part of the spread and fill it with our design.
8. Duplicate both layers with the page and the shadow and flip them horizontally (Edit/Transform). Move them into place so they touch along the centre. Don’t forget to reverse gradient.
Voila! Our blank spread is now complete. Let’s add this fancy design of ours now, so it’s ready to be shared with friends and family.
9. Using File/Place locate first page of the spread. If you are placing a PDF, remember to use Crop Box option so the artwork is not imported with bleed. Resize the layer to the right size and use Multiply mode for it to blend in with our brochure below.
10. Finally, use Warp transformation (Edit/Transform) to slightly bend your artwork along the curves of the pages.
Congratulations! You did it!
If the above tutorial is too difficult for you, please contact PrintHouse and we will be more than happy to help you not only with printing but also showcasing your work, including professional studio photography.