Designing with XMPie: How to Create a uImage Template in Photoshop | Taylor

Designing with XMPie: How to Create a uImage Template in Photoshop

Well it’s that time of year again – time to fix your broken string of lights and show your holiday spirit with your big inflatable snowman. And while you’re still in the holiday spirit why don’t you launch Photoshop and InDesign and make a sweet Holiday Card using XMPie?

What we’ll be focusing on in this tutorial will be using Photoshop to create a uImage Document Package using the ‘regular font’ approach and then we will create the final output using the uImage package in InDesign to dynamically insert the reader’s first name into a nice, delicious, cookie-stylized type.

What you’ll need

  • To get started, find a nice photo to work with as a background – use your own or find one on a stock photography website.
  • The final image uses resources taken from a tutorial on which can be found herePlease note: You can complete this tutorial in it’s entirety without applying layer styles – please follow along and you can add the layer styles into your document template to fit your needs later.
  • A nice rounded, heavy font – something like Arial Rounded Bold. For demonstration purposes only, I am using a font called Sniglet, courtesy of Google Web Fonts.

Step 1 – Getting Started

Now that you have everything you need, it’s time to create a new document in Photoshop. Name the file and choose whatever size you’d like the cover of your card to be – in my case I have chosen a 6″ x 4″ – and if you intend to use this for print, please be sure to set your resolution to 300dpi.

Step 2

Open your background image and place it into your New Document, adjust the size of the image if necessary.


Step 3 – Creating a path for our type

Our next step is to create the path for our dynamic type. We will create this path using the Pen Tool.


Please note: Once you create your path, DO NOT EDIT IT. This means do not change or move any anchor points, transform the path, or even move it. There is a small bug when creating the uImage template where the path will jump down a step each time a new record is processed through it. If you create your path and make no changes to it, you will avoid this problem.

Step 4 – Inserting the text

For this template, we will want to make sure our type is center aligned. Choose your Type tool and make sure your paragraph alignment is set to ‘Centered’. Because the length of the recipient’s first names can all be different, it will look best centered.

Once you have the text tool selected and paragraph set to centered, scroll over somewhere in the middle of the path – you should notice your cursor change when you are on the path (the ‘Type on a Path’ cursor) – and click once on the path.

You will then be able to type on the path – again, do not edit your path.

Choose your font family and size to fit your template.

You can insert any name for now – I typically like to use a longer first name to test with. Enter some text and we’ll get back to the ‘name’ in a moment.

Step 5 – Styling our type

Using the tutorial from, I’ve applied my ‘cookie-style’ type using a number of different layer styles.

Again, you can choose to style your type here if you’d like, but you may also complete this tutorial without this step to walk through functionality of the uImage Document Package

Adding some extras

Now that we have our image nearly complete, we’ll add some crumbs around the name to enhance the cookie visual, and we’ll also add a nice little ‘Happy Holidays’ message above the name.

We are now ready to add the ADOR tag and create our uImage Document

Step 6 – Adding the Database Variable

The first thing you’ll need to do with your document is to insert the name of the ADOR into the text layer that we currently have ‘Christopher’ in.

Using the type tool, select the type and replace it with your ADOR name – again we are using the recipient’s first name – my data shows the First Name field being titled ‘Fname’. We will need to surround the tag with brackets (< >) so that XMPie can populate it with the database element by the same name. It should look something like this:

At this point you could proceed with exporting here and choose your Copy Fitting settings in the dialogue box, but I prefer to do it manually. To do it manually, enter the database field tag just as you normally would, only you add periods in front of the ‘Fname’ text as shown below. There are a few different methods to accomplish the appropriate copy-fitting settings, you can refer to your XMPie uImage documentation for more information.

Step 7 – Exporting the uImage Document Package

Our next step will wrap up the Photoshop portion of this tutorial where we will be exporting the uImage Document Package so we can use it in InDesign.

To do so, go to File –> Automate –> Export XMPie DPKG.

  • You will be asked to name your Document Package – do this and then your dialogue box will open with additional options.
  • Here you can choose your Template Type – we are using the ‘Regular’ uImage method.
  • This is also where you apply any Copy Fitting settings if necessary. You can determine what suits your needs best – in this case we are using the ‘Manual’ method as shown in the steps above.
  • You also have the ability to pack Actions, Scripts or Assets for your template – we are not using any Actions or Assets in our document, so we can proceed to our uImage Tags.

In the Additional Information section, you should see the name of the ADOR that you tagged within your Text layer. If you do not see any tags here please be sure that you’ve entered a correct ADOR name and that the opening and closing brackets are surrounding it (and the period placeholders).

Next to the uImage tags, you will also see any fonts to be packaged with the document.

Finally click Export and save your Document Package.

Step 8 – Using the uImage Document Package in InDesign

Now that you have your uImage package ready to go you can launch InDesign, create your document and link to your datasource.

Once you have your datasource successfully linked, right click anywhere on your XMPie uCreate palette and select ‘New Content Object.’

With the New Content Object dialogue open, you will need to adjust some of the settings.

  • First, we’ll apply a Name to the new object – we’ll call this uImage
  • Second, you’ll need to change the Type to ‘Graphic’ – and don’t forget to Check off ‘Extended Functions’ (This enables us to then choose ‘uImagePhoto’ in the Rule area.)

You should then see the ‘Package…’ and ‘Template…’ options appear.

We’ve created an XMPie Document Package, so we’ll choose the ‘Package…’ option.

When you select ‘Package…’ the uImage Settings dialogue box will appear where you can Browse to your Document Package you exported from Photoshop. When you select your .dpkg file, the ‘uImage Tags’ box should populate your ADOR name that you specified when exporting the uImage package.

Here, you can also set appropriate output options including file format, output folder and filename format. Leave all of the fields to their defaults, with the exception of the Output Filename Format, which should be set to Custom and select the ‘Fname’ variable for the names of each image.

What I’ve also done here is capitalized the FNAME variable by choosing the ‘Customize’ button under ‘uImage Tags’ and choosing ‘UPPERCASE’ to help the Cookie visual.

Click ‘OK’ and continue on to complete your uImage Content Object.

Once you hit ‘OK’ you will notice that Photoshop will automatically open a new document in the background. InDesign is using Photoshop to generate an image for each record.

Placing the uImage into the Document

We are almost there – all we need to do now is use the Rectangle Frame tool to create an insertion point for our uImage.

Create a box and while it is still selected, double-click your uImage content object – this will then populate the image into your Document with the current records first name in the image.

If your image needs to be resized to fit the document, be sure to use the ‘Dynamic Graphic Properties’ instead of the ‘Fitting’ options.

You can now scroll through records on the uCreate palette and have each record’s First name populate into the image! Please note that it may take a couple of seconds for each image to be generated before you see it in your InDesign document.

We’re done!

Not so bad, right? Now that you’re beaming with holiday cheer, why not take your Holiday Card idea to the next level with a nice personalized communication with XMPie?

By Kyle Wilmarth (NEPS, December 3, 2012)