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Design a Trifold Brochure in InDesign and Photoshop, Part 3
Martin Perhiniak on Wed, May 29th 0 comments
Continuing from Part 2 in this 3-part InDesign and Photoshop tutorial, Martin Perhiniak shows you how to create a beautiful trifold brochure and hone your design ninja skills.

In this three part tutorial, we are going to design a trifold brochure for a fictional travel agency  specialized in tours to the beautiful island of Bali. In the first part of the tutorial, we concentrated on the title design, which was created in Photoshop using one of my photos I took of a Balinese monastery. In the second part, we incorporated this title design into our brochure design in InDesign. In this third and final part we are going to create a 3d looking mockup of the final brochure design in Photoshop. The final design will look like this:

Bali brochure


Step 1 - Exporting JPEGs from InDesign

First of all, we need to get the folds of the brochure saved out from InDesign so we can work with them in Photoshop. The plan is to show the inside folds and the front of the brochure in the mockup so we will only need to export these pages. If you followed the previous two parts of this tutorial then you can open up the InDesign file and go to File > Export. Choose JPEG as the file format and use the following options:

Pic 1


You can specify the pages in the Range section that you want to save out. It is important to set Pages instead of Spreads in the Export dialog.


Step 2 - Load files into Photoshop Layers

Now that we have the folds exported, we can go to the folder where the files are in Bridge. Once you selected all four folds (front and three inside folds) you can choose Tools > Photoshop > Load files into Photoshop Layers, which will create a Photoshop document with the 4 files as 4 separate layers and the filenames are going to be used as the layers’ names.

Pic 2


Step 3 - Extending the canvas for the mockup

Now that we are in Photoshop, we have to prepare the canvas to be able to fit everything properly. At the moment, the canvas is the same size as one fold. We have to choose Image > Canvas Size and set the following settings:

Pic 3


This is how the document will look like with these changes:

Pic 4


Step 4 - Creating the background layer

To make the mockup look realistic, we need a nice gradient background. First of all, we need to create an empty layer and place it at the bottom of the layer structure. Next we need to double-click on it and add a Gradient Overlay layer style with the following settings:

Pic 5


Step 5 - Organizing the folds

Before we start working with the folds, we have to make sure they are organized. The best is to keep the 3 inside folds together in order and move the front fold separately on the side for now.

Pic 6


Step 6 - Creating Smart Objects

Before we start resizing any of the folds, it would be wise to turn each layer separately into Smart Objects. The advantage of doing this is that we won’t lose quality of the images while resizing them. To do this, you simply need to right-click on the layer and choose Convert to Smart Object. Repeat this step for all fold layers.

Pic 7


Step 7 - Adding perspective to folds

This is probably the most difficult part of the tutorial as it needs some practice and understanding of perspective. What you need to do first of all is to select the layers with the inside folds and choose Edit > Free Transform. With the control points you rotate and resize the folds but by holding down Command/Control while dragging the points around you can also distort the folds in perspective. Try to achieve something similar to this:

Pic 8


When you are ready just press Enter to accept the changes.


Step 8 - Turning the folds

Using the same technique, we can add more depth to the folds by distorting them slightly upwards. Make sure that in this case you use Free Transform separately on the inside fold on the left and right. Also try to align any elements that overlap between folds (like the blue rectangle on my design).

Pic 9


Pic 10


Step 9 - Adding cast shadows

To make the mockup more realistic we also need to create cast shadows. The easiest way to do this is to add a Drop Shadow layer style to the layers. You can use the following settings:

Pic 11


You can either add the effect to one fold and then Alt/Option drag the ‘fx’ icon to the right of the layer’s name onto the other two layers to copy the effects or you can do it the easier way by putting the layers into a group and adding the effect onto the group. You can only do this if you have Photoshop CS6 or later.

What you have to do is to select all three layers and press Command/Control-G to combine them into a Layer Group and then double-click on the group’s icon to add the effect. You can use the same settings as above, but in this case your layer structure will look like this:

Pic 12


Step 10 - Adding shading onto the folds

It is not enough to have cast shadows for a realistic mockup, we also need shading on the folds themselves. For this the best technique is to add Gradient Overlay layer style on the folds. In this case it might be easier to control the effect if you apply separately to each fold layer. I used the following settings for the fold on the left:

Pic 13


You can repeat this step for the other folds.


Step 11 - Positioning and applying effects for the front fold

Last but not least, you can add the front fold and apply the same effects to it (distortion, cast shadow and shading).

Pic 14


The big advantage of this mockup is that you can easily update it if you save it as a PSD file. Next time when you create a brochure with the same or very similar size you can just double-click on the Smart Object layers’ thumbnails in the Layers panel and replace the images with the new design. Once you save these embedded documents (sources of the Smart Objects) you will see that your mockup will update with the new folds.

Hopefully you enjoyed this tutorial series and you learned some new techniques from it. Good luck with your future brochure projects!


Design a Trifold Brochure in InDesign and Photoshop, Part 1

Design a Trifold Brochure in InDesign and Photoshop, Part 2

Design a Trifold Brochure in InDesign and Photoshop, Part 3 (You're reading it)

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