Before Rei Baby was born I bought a notebook and planned on writing a little something about her and our experiences each day. Although I’ve removed the plastic wrapping, that notebook is yet to be used – in fact I don’t even know where it is…
What I have managed to do though, and will keep doing on her monthly birthday (that’s a thing right?), is create a baby progress poster which covers the essentials:
My plan is to create a photo book when Rei Baby turns one, and I’ll use these posters as the cover pages for each new chapter.
I have created mine using PS (Adobe Photoshop CC) and have included a tutorial below indicating the steps that I used to achieve it.
First of all, you’ll need to get a photo to use. I set up a light piece of cloth on the floor and lay Rei Baby down. I then stand over her and snap away! I’ll usually take between 20 to 50 photos – it all just depends on her mood and if I’m happy with whats happening.
I do find it best to get a photo with her legs curled up as it fills the space on the poster better. I also try and capture her in a pose that best describes her behaviour over the past month, for example, she spent most of her 1st month crying so I used a pic of her doing just that.
Load your photos on to the computer and choose your favourite.
In PS open a new document choosing international paper size A4 with a resolution of 300 pixels/inch and white background.
Set horizontal guides at 3.8, 4.8, 5.4, 8, 27 & 29 cms and vertical guides at 3.3, 10.5 & 17.7 cms.
Go to File -> Open and choose the photo you are using. Open the image and crop around your baby to remove excess space.
You need to change the image size to fit into the space on your A4 page. Go to Image -> Image Size and change the height to 19 cms (the width will automatically be adjusted). Check that the resolution is also 300 pixels/inch, adjust if necessary.
You now need to transfer this image to your A4 page which you do by duplicating the layer and choosing Untitled 1 as your destination. Then close this document (I don’t usually save but you can if you prefer).
You should be back on your A4 document, Untitled 1 which will now have a copy of your photo titled Duplicate Background Layer. Turn off the guides and duplicate this layer in case you make a mistake. Turn off one of the duplicate layers and select the visible layer then use the Polygonal Lasso tool and trace around the edge of your image – I find it’s best to blow your image up large and take very small steps with the lasso tool. Cut your image out, then select a new layer and paste your image into this layer which should be titled Layer 1.
Turn the guides back on and using the move tool, move the image so that it sits between the 8 & 27 cm horizontal guides and 3.3 & 17.7 vertical guides.
Once you are happy with the position of your photo, the next step is to make it black and white. Select Layer 1 then create a Black and White Adjustment Layer and adjust to your preference. In this instance, I left mine at the default settings.
Create a Channel Mixer Adjustment Layer tick the monochrome box then adjust to: Red – +25, Green – +35 and Blue – +45. Reduce the Opacity to 30% and change the light to Soft Light (located in the drop down box to the left of Opacity).
Create a Brightness/Contrast Adjustment Layer and adjust to your preferences. I set brightness to 50 and contrast at 65.
If you are happy with the way your image looks, you can now delete the duplicate background copy layer. If not, then you have this as a backup and can start again.
To add the speech bubbles select the custom shape tool and the colour you want your speech bubble to be. Using the shape drop down box, select the speech bubble you will use – I’ve used Thought 2. If you don’t have the speech bubbles in your shapes, click on the little cog on the right which will create a drop down list and choose talk bubble.
Zoom in and place your cursor at the centre where the 3.3 vertical and 5.4 horizontal guides intercept. Click your mouse and a Create Custom Shape box will appear. In this box enter the following dimensions – Width 542.94 & Height 697.09, then press OK.
For the remaining bubbles use the following dimensions:
- Centre bubble – cursor at the intersection of 10.5 vertical and 5.4 horizontal. W = 873.91 & H = 890.09.
- Right bubble – cursor at the intersection of 17.7 vertical and 5.4 horizontal. W = 542.94 & H = 697.09.
Now you need to flip the left speech bubble so that the bubbles are coming from the head and not the left margin. To do this, highlight Shape 1 layer -> Edit -> Transform Path -> Flip Horizontal.
Using the guides that you have set up add your font. I used:
- 63 (her height) – Click on the 3.3 vertical guide to centre your text & use Special Elite font size 48, sitting on the 4.8 horizontal guide;
- centimetres – Click on the 3.3 vertical guide to centre your text & use Special Elite font size 12, sitting on the 5.4 horizontal guide;
- THREE (her monthly age)- Click on the 10.5 vertical guide to centre your text & use Special Elite font size 48, sitting on the 3.8 horizontal guide;
- MONTHS OLD – Click on the 10.5 vertical guide to centre your text & use Special Elite font size 24, sitting on the 4.8 horizontal guide;
- 5.46 (her weight)- Click on the 17.7 vertical guide to centre your text & use Special Elite font size 48, sitting on the 4.8 horizontal guide;
- kilograms – Click on the 17.7 vertical guide to centre your text & use Special Elite font size 12, sitting on the 5.4 horizontal guide.
Scroll down to the bottom of the page and use the 27 & 29 cm horizontal guides as a box to contain a list of achievements and likes. Obviously, you are not going to fit a lot into this space, so choose the most significant achievements for the past month.
Click on the 10.5 vertical guide to centre your text. I used Krungthep 16pt font in black for mine.
Zoom out, turn off the guides and assess. Make any adjustments before saving.
If you wish to make no future adjustments, flatten your image before saving via Layer -> Flatten Image.
I’ll be making one of these on each of her monthly birthdays to use as cover pages in a book documenting Rei Baby’s 1st year.