Importing the PDF File into Adobe Photoshop®



In this video, we’ll open the book cover PDF file in Adobe Photoshop®, I’ll take you through the template instructions, introduce you to layers and introduce you to some terms that will help you successfully create your book cover.

Extract the file attachment to your desktop, or other location. You’ll find information and naming instructions in the body of the email.

Open Adobe Photoshop and select File >> Open. Make sure the file type is “All formats.” Select “9780978297800-Perfect.pdf.” Click Open.

The Import PDF box opens. Note the number in the Resolution field: 300 pixels per inch (ppi). In the mode field, change it to CMYK and change the bit depth to 16 bit depth, or “color bit depth,” in images.  Sixteen bit is capable of holding more colors, whereas 8 bit will hold 256 colors. The result is richer color. Click OK.

Three hundred (300) ppi and CMYK colors meet Lightning Source’s® specifications for cover design: Page 16, File Creation Guide. The link to, LS_FileCreationGuide.pdf is located under, Tools and Calculators on Lightning Source’s Publisher Resource page.

In the layers palette, the file imported as Layer 1. If we were designing a real book cover, the template layout is the bottom-most layer. I’ve added a white layer beneath it, or behind it, so you can see the text on the template.

Layers allow you to manipulate elements—in the cover document—without affecting other elements on other layers. Each layer can be moved and edited independently of the others and moved behind, or in front of other layers. Text and images can be superimposed over each other, until you get the result that you want.

The checkerboard indicates the transparent parts of the layer.

The easiest way to think of layers are sheets of acetate on top of one another. If your book cover had a park scene on it, the top sheets will have elements in the foreground of the image. For example people walking dogs, or children playing; layers with a park bench, trees, flowers, sky and a path will be on the layers behind them. The part of the layer without content will show through to the top layer.

Similar to a painter, you build your cover beginning with the background and placing elements on top of one another and moving them around, until your composition is complete.

Let’s look at the work area on the template. The pink area of the front cover, back cover and spine are safe areas to place text, images and graphics.

The blue area is the bleed. It’s the space that copy‑printers need, to account for inconsistencies and paper movement through the machine. There’s also a bleed on the spine, at the top and bottom, and the bend of the spine. Anything in the blue area is at risk of being cut off. The only thing that should cover the bleed is the background, or a page element; i.e. a map that you want extended to the edge of the cover, and trimming it off doesn’t matter.

The white area of the template—outside the blue and pink areas must remain, as is.

The document size must be the same as the cover size (lower left corner) when submitted. But we’ll get to that, once we go through checking the PDF file in Adobe Acrobat®, before it’s uploaded to Lightning Source (called pre‑flight).

Save your document in Adobe Photoshop’s format. The naming convention for the cover file is ISBN_cov.psd: 9780978297800_cov.psd; that, stands for Adobe Photoshop Document format.

This formats maintain their layers and color accuracy. We’ll save it in .PSD until we are ready to convert, or distill it in Adobe Acrobat (.PDF).

Because we’re working in CMYK, we’ll have to change the color palette to “CMYK Sliders.” CMYK stands for cyan magenta yellow and black.

I will show you other areas of the Adobe Photoshop desktop, as we cover them.

I encourage you to experiment with the tools. There are many online resources that will round out your understanding of Adobe Photoshop.


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