With the recent release of iLife 08 and iWork 08, I thought I’d spend a little time sharing how I use Pages to create layouts with my photographs. I’ve been using Pages as my full-time word processor for a long time now, and iWork 08 has brought a few welcome changes, including dedicated word processing and page layout modes and a context-sensitive Format Bar. But it’s probably the new layout templates that are most exciting for anyone that uses Pages as a quick design tool — and for photographers, the poster and flyer templates are potentially the most useful.
Next time you have a few minutes to experiment, try creating a quick poster or flyer in Pages using one or more of your favorite photographs from Aperture:
Launch Pages and from the template dialog, click on Posters. You’ll see a handful of pre-designed and customizable templates in a variety of different design styles. For our example, I’ll choose the new Movie Poster Small template and click Choose. Pages opens a new document based on our template, and ready to be customized with our photograph and text.
In order to get our photograph from Aperture into Pages, we’ll need to access the Media Browser: from the View menu choose Show Media Browser. Click the Photos tab in the Media Browser and you should see your entire Aperture library — Projects and Albums intact. Choose a favorite image and drag and drop it onto the placeholder image in our Pages layout. You can modify your photo’s placement a few ways. Single-click on the photo to bring up the Edit Mask HUD which allows you to zoom in or out on your photo. Double-click on your image and your cursor will change to the familiar hand icon, allowing you to move the image within its mask.
Editing the text is easy: just click and type. But here’s a neat tip for customizing your layout’s colors: click on a colored object in your layout — in my example, I’ll use the large red color block at the bottom of the poster. To change the red color to something that looks smarter with your photo, click the new Fill square in Pages’ Format Bar. You could simply click one of the existing color swatches, but instead, let’s click on Show Colors to bring up the Colors Palette.
Try using the Colors Palette’s eyedropper tool (the one that looks like a magnifying glass) to sample a color directly from your photo. In my example below, I sampled the burgundy color of the car’s paint, and then used the color wheel to select a contrasting color from across the wheel. I also deleted some of the template text, and moved my title text down a bit. Not bad for a few minutes of work.
Now, a little sidebar information based on some questions I’ve received in the past. When you drag and drop your photograph from the Media Browser into Pages (or any other iLife/iWork application), you are placing that photo’s JPEG preview into whatever project you’re working on. There is no link between that JPEG and the image in Aperture, so if you make adjustments to that image in Aperture, you’ll need to re-drag it into your iLife/iWork project.
Before and after: the original template on the left, and my custom layout on the right.