return of the puzzle

program cover
Last month I used AV Bros Puzzle Pro once again for a program/ad booklet. The booklet was made for the Neponset Valley Sunrise Rotary Club's first annual Service Above Self Award. The Award was presented to the Challenger Program at a dinner to boost awareness of and to benefit the program and other Rotary charities. The Challenger Program in Norwood provides sports programs for intellectually and physically challenged youth. Eighteen years ago they began with Little League Baseball and have grown to include football, soccer, and basketball programs for Norwood and surrounding Neponset Valley towns. Steve Grogan, Patriot's Hall of Famer, was the keynote speaker, and the athletes that attended were delighted that he signed their programs.

In putting the booklet together, I began by reviewing digital photos that were provided by the Challenger Program. I knew I would need at least six (for a six piece puzzle, two columns, three rows) and that I wanted to represent every activity the program supported—including skating activities. I also chose a few extra photos so that I had alternates at hand. I knew the cover area would be 8.5 x 5 and created a document in Photoshop that would fit approximately within the parameters of the final layout (there is actually a quarter inch white space around the picture to the right).

Color choices of blue and yellow fit well with the Rotary logo and Challenger uniform colors. I filled the background layer with blue and added a layer with a yellow star pattern. After several adjustments to both layers the stars were faintly visible in between the photos and the background framed the collage. Since I knew I would use the puzzle splitter, I placed the photos carefully in a grid to retain a more or less complete photo within each puzzle piece. I managed to fit seven pictures in, combining a football player with football teammates in the second row, column 2.

When the collage was split with the Puzzle Pro filter, adjustments were made to the tabs for a better overall look. I pulled the pieces out into five files, created clipping paths, converted to eps and placed them in the (Quark) layout. Text was then added and the text and images were arranged for this final look.



The truth is rarely pure and never simple. - Oscar Wilde

Annual Report FrontAnnual Report back
I recently wrapped up an Annual Report for Ursuline. I had the chance to create a look with puzzle pieces, something I’ve always wanted to do. I used puzzle shapes in Photoshop CS4 (customizing them to suit each picture) and Puzzle Pro by AV Brothers to make the theme a fun reality. (front and back covers shown here).

Photoshop comes equipped with plenty of shapes and there are a few puzzle shapes included. First, I processed and formatted each photograph in Photoshop, leaving enough room around the subject to accommodate puzzle tabs and indents. Next, I selected the shape I thought would best fit the photo. That created a shape mask layer above the photo layer. I moved the photo layer up above the shape layer, changed the setting from normal to overlay, and voila, the picture appears in the shape. I customized shapes as necessary — rotating, scaling, or using the pen tool to add and delete anchor points and the selection tool to pull the indents and tabs where I wanted them. I also used the pen tool to create side and corner pieces for variety. Clipping paths were created and adjusted. A copy of the layered psd file was saved as an eps, ready to import.

I used Puzzle Pro to "cut" other photos and collages to create the look of several pieces fitted together. The cover was a collage created with Photoshop then processed with the Puzzle Pro filter and saved as a layered psd file so that I could pull the pieces apart. It was necessary to adjust the tabs and indents so that faces were not cut in half and to introduce more variety in the "cut" of each piece. I ended up importing those in separate files, then scrambled them across the page. The back cover is a reduced collage / puzzle intact, with a few "contact" pieces along the side.

I added similar bevels and depth to all the puzzle pieces within Photoshop and the Puzzle Pro filter, and added a drop shadow once they were imported into Quark to make them pop a bit on the page. I would now recommend adding a drop shadow in Photoshop for a smoother, worry free workflow.
Two page spread

Almost every page spread features a one column back photo (two page spread, right) - ice for the hockey player, grass for the field hockey player, pool water for the swimmer, a cello for the musician, etc... Any subhead on the left page picks up the color of the backing photo on the right side. Rules were in a gold tone, listings were set four-column on the left and two-column on the right page.