My wife, Diana, isn't much of a Photoshop user. She likes to fool around and fix photos every once in a while but she doesn't know all of the ins-and-outs of the program (that's why she has me, right?). Well, one day she wanted to create some prints of our kids to send to her family. She was trying to save paper and ink by resizing photos and fitting them onto a page manually. I wish you could have seen the look on her face when I showed her the Picture Package automation that did this for her in just a minute or two.
Part One: Creating a Basic Picture Package
Let's start off in Bridge. By default, Picture Package will use the first image in the Bridge window so select the photo (or photos) that you want to use. Then choose Tools>Photoshop>Picture Package. You'll see the Picture Package dialog open in Photoshop. Similar to the other automations, you'll see the Source Images section at the top. Here you can decide to change the Use field from Selected Images from Bridge to another option, if you'd like.
Next, in the Document section you can choose the overall document options. For this example, choose 8.0 x 10.0 in as the Page Size setting. For Layout, choose the second option in the pop-up menu, (1)5x7 (2)2.5x3.5 (4)2x2.5, to print on the same page. When you do this, you'll see the Layout section on the right side of the dialog change to reflect your choices. Set the resolution of the page, as well as the color mode. I've dropped the Resolution down to 200 and set the Mode to RGB Color, since I'm only printing to a desktop inkjet printer. Turn on the Flatten All Layers checkbox so that the images and any labels (text) will be flattened down to one layer in Photoshop.
In the Label section, choose None for Content. What you choose here will be put on each photo. That's really it for this part. You can click OK now to create the picture package image, or you could be adventurous and read onyou'll see how you can customize the picture package so you can create your own.
Part Two: Customizing Picture Packages
Let's say you have a bunch of 4x6" picture frames lying around your house and you want to create prints to fit in them. Since none of the custom layouts meets these needs, it's time to take things into your own hands and create your own.
Follow Steps One and Two in Part One to start creating a picture package. After you've changed the layout option, move your cursor over one of the photos in the Layout section. You'll see a tip telling you to Click to Select a Custom File. If you click on one of the photos, you'll see the Select an Image File (creative name, isn't it?) dialog appear. Here you can select another image in place of the one you clicked on, and just click Open to have it replaced.
You can also edit the overall layout of the Picture Package. First, in the Picture Package dialog, select the (1)5x7 (2)3.5x5 Layout option to use as a starting point. Then click the Edit Layout button in the bottom-right corner of the dialog. You'll see the Picture Package Edit Layout dialog appear.
In the Layout section, give your layout a descriptive name. Here, you can enter any custom Page Size, Width, and Height settings, as well. Before you move on to the Image Zones section, turn on the Snap To checkbox in the Grid section at the bottom of the dialog and enter 0.5 in for the Size setting.
Next, delete the two bottom photos (the two 3.5x5" photos) by clicking on one of them and then clicking the Delete Zone button in the Image Zones section. Do the same for the other photo.
Click once on the top photo (the 5x7" photo) and in the Image Zones section change the Size Width to 6 in and the Height to 4 in. Then click the Add Zone button to create another 6x4" picture in this layout. Position the photos in the center of the layout by clicking-and-dragging them until they snap into place. When you're done, click Save and enter the new layout file name in the resulting dialog to save this new layout. Click Save and you'll be back in the original Picture Package dialog where you can finish off the automation by pressing OK.