Printing Your Own Calendars

I like to do something to show my Muse Models a little appreciation for the holidays. I came up with something to thrill the models and keep them motivated to shoot all year… Calendars!!

I started with Jeffrey Frield’s Calendar Script for Photoshop, and installed it per Jeffery’s instructions. Run Jefferey’s calendar script, just like any script in Photoshop. Go to; File/Scripts/Jeffery’s Calendar. You will next be presented with the option menu and several choices, paper size and orientation, output DPI and so on. I noticed that when you run the full year option you will create 12 files. One month per file. I was not happy with the text effects (Layer Style) and I chose not to rasterize text layers to allow for my own customization later. I was also not happy with the twelve individual files.

I need to make at least ten calendars for models, family and friends. Realizing the automation benefits, I decided to create a customized the calendar, so Photoshop could do the hard work. After running a full year and combining all 12 months into a single year/file I began my text customization. This was easily accomplished by selecting all of the text layers at once, then Right click/Clear Layer Style. With all of the text still selected, go to the Text Properties change the color as desired.

My file was huge, at 300dpi. I decided to consolidate. I created a Common Folder and move all common components tothat folder (photo mask, week days, grid, etc.) Next I deleted the duplicates from within each month. This greatly reduced the over all file size. Arranging my months as shown right, it gave me the ability to run actions for a significant production increase.

You can see the structure of my file in the screen-shot to the right. I copied the title and all of the days of each month to a corresponding folder. Next, I created the common folder and moved one grid, one set of weekday titles and the year, to this folder. I then rasterized the days and Month title within each folder. This created a single file within each month and further reduced file size. It is easy to change the size and format by resizing the canvas. Select all folders and resize by dragging all to suit your own needs.

When printing on 8.5? x 11?, either vertical or horizontal, it’s fairly straightforward and simple to keep your image to month correlation straight., simply prints your months on the backs of photographs. You can then finish by spiral binding or your prefer method of finishing.

I’m using a large format Epson 7880 printer to make 12?x12? calendars. I fold and staple each calendar in the center after assembly. The fold in the center complicates the project and requires additional forethought. My main concern was to ensure my snow pictures corresponded with winter months and my bikini pictures with summer months.

Pagination would resolve this minor dilemma. Pagination is the process of arranging and numbering the pages with respect to the final printed product. This example below will illustrate my problem better than words. The most effective way to paginate your own calendar is to take a piece of paper, fold it up until you have the correct number of days and then cut the edges. Write in the months, noting where images and pictures go.

With all of the customization and planing finished we are ready to have some fun.

The first thing to do is to carefully align each monthly image. This can be a pain, but subsequent new calendars become much easier when using each previous calendars image as a mask. Right click and use the Select Pixels command. Then simply paste your new image into. (Ctrl + Shift + I on a PC, Command + Shift + I on a Macintosh)

You might have noticed, I like to use a B&W as the background behind the dates. It’s a nice touch. Close-ups work exceptionally well for this. Be creative and let yourself run wild and have fun with this project.

Here is where I start to record an Action. Before you begin make sure the little eye on the Common folder is turned on (exposing the grid, year title and weekdays) and the Cover layer is turned off . Click on the little eye on the January layer to turn it on to make January visible. Create a common folder on your hard drive to save your work. I like to name mine 2011Calendar. Now start recording the Action, by saving January as 01-2011.jpg. Turn off the eye next to Jan, turn on the eye next to Feb and save it as 02-2011.jpg. Run through the entire calendar saving each month with it’s corresponding numeric name and stop recording after December. You can record a Print step if you wish. I always wait until I do the back cover myself.

We are almost finished, we only need a back cover. I like to include a small shot of each month with a text description and of course ,all of my contact information. I saved a single JPG copy of each month to a common folder. This made it simple to make a contact print. (File/Automate/Contact Print II) For my purposes ,I added .5 times the height, which I will crop later. Using the rectangle selection tool to select the second row images I copy/paste my selection up to the previous row. Do the same to the bottom until you have room to crop the back page square. I also have a clean area for advertisements and contact info.

Paste your finished back cover into position beneath the front cover and save a copy to your common folder as 00-2011. If you would like to continue recording your Action you can do a Print step here. Do not forget to insert a Stop with Continue . I like to ad a note on my stop command, so that I do not forget if interrupted during the process.

I like to copy the entire 2011Calendar folder to the models folder for safe keeping before deleting the contents. Now you’re ready to make the next personalized calendar. It took us about two and a half hours to customize this. Now on we can crank one out in about 5 to 10 minutes or less :)

Enjoy the Holidays with photography.


All photographs were supplied by Dave Davis of Dave Davis Photography.