How To Set Bleed In Photoshop
If you have experience with printing images, you may already be familiar with the concept of bleed. Despite its slightly gruesome name, bleed refers to the area surrounding a printed image that is intentionally left empty for trimming purposes. In a similar vein, crop marks, also known as stroke marks, are the indicators placed around an image to guide printers on where to make the cuts. Fortunately, adding bleed and crop marks in Photoshop is a relatively simple and efficient process.
To effortlessly bleed an image using Photoshop, follow these steps: begin by opening your desired photo within the program, then navigate to Image > Canvas Size. Next, select Inches as the unit of measurement and adjust the dimensions accordingly to introduce your desired bleed. For instance, modifying an 8×10 canvas to 9×11 would result in a 0.5″ bleed surrounding the entire image.
It’s worth noting that bleed and crop marks are typically unnecessary when sharing or utilizing images digitally. However, they become invaluable when preparing an image file for print, as neglecting to include them might lead to unexpected outcomes once your images are transferred onto paper.
Now, let’s delve deeper into the various methods available for adding bleed and crop marks in Photoshop.
Why is Bleed Important?
Bleed represents the area surrounding an image that is meant to be trimmed off after the file is printed. It refers to the white space surrounding the photo once it has been transferred onto paper.
In the realm of image printing, bleed plays a vital role since most printers cannot achieve printing all the way to the edge of the page. Even if they could, it would be a risky endeavor, as you might lose portions of your image if it doesn’t align perfectly with the paper or if the printer inadvertently prints the image at a slight angle. By specifying the bleed around an image, you gain greater control over the final appearance of your picture once it is printed.
Adding bleed to your photos is an important step that brings out the human touch in your prints. It’s not just about technicalities; it’s about ensuring your images come to life in their physical form. When you add the right amount of bleed, your photo will gracefully fit the page, preserving its size, quality, and integrity. Moreover, it safeguards your artistic vision from unexpected cropping that might occur once you hold that tangible representation of your work.
However, it’s worth mentioning that many printing services, both online and local, no longer demand bleed for their prints. They automatically adjust your image to fit the paper or canvas based on your desired print size. While adding bleed might help prevent unnecessary cropping in such situations, it’s not always mandatory in today’s run-of-the-mill printing services. Ultimately, the decision rests with you, the artist, to decide whether to embrace the added charm of bleed.
Choosing Your Canvas Size & Adding Bleed In Photoshop
Now, let’s delve into the process of choosing the perfect canvas size and incorporating bleed in your Photoshop workflow.
The canvas size plays a pivotal role in determining the bleed settings.
First, you need to establish the dimensions you desire for your final printed image. For instance, let’s imagine you wish to print an awe-inspiring 24×18-inch photograph after the printers have trimmed the bleed.
To commence, open a new document in Photoshop. You can do this by clicking the New File button on the start page or navigating to File > New.
A window will emerge, displaying the New Document settings.
On the right-hand side, you can precisely specify the document size to match your envisioned final print, including the image size and the desired bleed. If needed, you can modify the unit of measurement by selecting the appropriate option from the drop-down menu.
Next, click on the Width and Height boxes and input values that correspond to the size you want for your printed image, accounting for the bleed as well. In our example, we aim for a 24×18-inch image with a 0.5-inch bleed. Consequently, each edge will possess a bleed of 0.25 inches. Additionally, adjacent to the width and height, you can select the Orientation that suits your composition.
Once you’ve made your selections, click Create.
Now, it’s time to add your precious image to the canvas. You can accomplish this by either dragging the image from your files directly onto the canvas or by navigating to File > Open and selecting the desired image to open within the document.
Sometimes, your image might open in a new Photoshop tab. No need to worry. Simply access the Layers panel in the tab displaying the image, click on the image layer, and gently drag it over to the tab with your canvas. This action seamlessly merges the two tabs, ensuring your image finds its rightful place within the canvas, ready to be transformed into a masterpiece.
To add an image to your canvas in Photoshop, you can simply drag and drop it onto the canvas or the Layers panel. The image will appear on the canvas as a new layer in the Layers panel.
If the image doesn’t fit properly on the canvas, you can use the Move Tool (V) to adjust its position.
Click and drag the image until it fits the way you want it to. If you need to scale the image significantly to fit the canvas, it’s recommended to convert the layer into a smart object first.
Now that your image fits the desired dimensions for printing, you should ensure that there is a bleed area around it.
How To Add Bleed To An Existing Document
If you have already started working on a project and want to add bleed, follow these steps: First, make sure your image on the document is sized appropriately for printing. Then, go to the “Image” menu and select “Canvas Size.”
In the Canvas Size window, you can enter a new size for the canvas. Keep in mind that if you want a half-inch bleed on all sides, you should add one inch to both the width and height of the canvas. For example, if your image is set to print at 8×10 inches and you want a 0.5-inch bleed, you would increase the canvas size to 9×11 inches.
Click OK when you’re done.
Your image will now have a white border of 0.5 inches on each side, creating the bleed area.
How To Add Crop Marks In Photoshop
If you want to add crop marks to indicate where the image should be cut after printing, follow these steps: Start by adding guides around the image. Go to the “View” menu, select “Guides,” and then choose “New Guide Layout.”
In the Guide Layout window, make sure both columns and rows are checked, and set the values to 2 Columns and 2 Rows. Set the Gutter to 0 and click OK.
Ensure that Snap is enabled for precise guide placement. You can enable it by going to the “View” menu and selecting “Snap.” A checkmark should appear next to it when it’s enabled.
Adjust the rulers so that they align with the borders of your image by clicking and dragging them. The rulers will snap into place along the edges of your image.
Next, select the image layer in the Layers panel. Then, choose the Rectangular Marquee Tool (M) and create rectangular selections in each corner within the guides. The selections should snap to the guide edges.
To create the crop marks, go to the “Edit” menu and select “Stroke.” In the Stroke Settings window, set the stroke Width to 1px and the Fill Color to black. Click the color swatch and choose black for the fill color.
Delete or move the guides by clicking and dragging them. You will see that the crop marks appear in the corners of the image. Repeat this process for the other three corners.
Once you’re done, you can turn off the guides by going to the “View” menu, selecting “Guides,” and then choosing “Clear Guides.”
Your image will now have four crop marks around the corners. You can export the project as it is, and the crop marks will be included.
Adding Temporary Crop Marks For Direct Printing From Photoshop
If you are printing directly from Photoshop using a printer at home, you can add temporary crop marks using the following method:
First, go to the “File” menu and select “Print.”
The Photoshop Print Settings window will open. Check if the automatic layout, position, and size settings match your requirements. Ensure that your image appears correctly in the preview, just like it does on the canvas. Make sure the Layout is set with the correct orientation.
Then, go to the Position and Size area. If the image is already centered, the Center checkbox will be grayed out. Otherwise, check this option to center your image.
Next, confirm that the image is scaled correctly by selecting the “Scale To Fit Media” option.
Scroll to the bottom of the window until you see the Functions area. Click on “Bleed.”
In the Bleed window, enter the same amount of bleed you added to the canvas. This ensures that the crop marks align with the bleed area rather than the canvas edges.
Finally, in the Printing Marks area, you can select the options for Corner Crop Marks and Center Crop Marks. The preview will show the marks. Note that Center Crop Marks may not appear for all images.
Click “Print,” and the image will be printed with the crop marks. Alternatively, you can click “Done,” and the print settings with the crop marks will be saved for future use.
If you encounter any issues with image quality when scaling to a specific canvas size, you can refer to a guide on resizing images without losing quality.