Custom frontpage photo

03/12/2009

Here’s a design technique explaining how to realistically replace a photo on a newspaper page. A simple web-to-print or dynamic imaging template can make anyone a celebrity.

Web-to-print newspaper image

Before you start

Web-to-print before you start

  • Import the background image (photo of a newspaper) in your CorelDRAW template document;
  • Import the image that you will use as the placeholder.

In a nutshell, we’re going to draw a shape that covers the image area in the newspaper and use it to hold a black & white web-to-print image placeholder.

PowerClip container

First thing we need to do is to draw a shape that will hold a user uploaded image. This shape has to be identical to the original shape of the photo that the newspaper has on its front page.

CorelDRAW Polyline tool

Activate CorelDRAW’s Polyline tool from the toolbox menu on the left and start clicking along the edges of the newspaper’s original image.
Web-to-print image cover shape

The result should be similar to this.

Black & White image placeholder

User uploaded images inherit the properties of the placeholder image. This means that if the image placeholder is in Grayscale color mode, the image that the user uploads will also be converted to Grayscale, regardless of whether the user uploads a color image or a grayscale (black and white) one.

Web-to-print convert to bitmap

Select your image placeholder and go to Bitmaps/Convert to Bitmap. We used these settings to force automatic Grayscale conversion.
Web-to-print place inside container

The result should be similar to this. Select the image placeholder, turn it into a variable web-to-print image field and PowerClip it inside the image cover shape (Effects/PowerClip/Place Inside Container).

Bitmap perspective

If the newspaper in your web-to-print template is viewed from an angle, you’ll need to add a perspective to your image placeholder. Since CorelDRAW doesn’t allow a perspective effect to be applied on a bitmap in a way that we need it to, you can skew the image to make it appear like it’s viewed from an angle. Learn how to simulate a perspective effect on a bitmap.

Noise

The color of a newspaper page is not 100% white and the images printed on it are not crystal clear. This means that all user uploaded images will appear too clear and the ones that contain white parts in them will have those parts standing out from the rest of the page.

Web-to-print white balance

We need is to add some noise to the image placeholder and darken its white parts. We can do both those things in one go with some help from Photoshop or another image editing application.

Open the background image of the newspaper in Photoshop and draw a shape that covers the image just like we did in CorelDRAW earlier. Fill the shape with a solid Gray color and rasterize it (Right click on the layer / Rasterize Layer).

Photoshop image shape

Delete the background layer leaving only the gray image shape. The result should be similar to this.
Photoshop add noise

Add noise to the shape (Filter/Noise/Add Noise…) we used these noise settings.

Save the image in a format that retains transparency (PNG, TIFF etc.) since we only need the shape that covers the image.

Transparency

Now that you have the gray noise image, you can import it in your CorelDRAW template document and place it on top of all objects (Press P on the keyboard to center it on the page and ensure it is aligned with the image placeholder under it).

Web-to-print noise overlay

With the image selected, activate CorelDRAW’s Transparency Tool and assign a 50% uniform transparency to it with the Subtract transparency operation.

CorelDRAW transparency settings

Web-to-print transparent overlay

The result should be similar to this.

All done!

Our web-to-print software can handle this effect easily! Upload the template into your catalog and test it.

Download the FREE CorelDRAW template file.

See also: