RE: if you can recommend any good books on CS and creating templates, that'd be great!
I don't quite get that request. I have several ps books and I don't think any of them discuss "creating templates". I think the reason is simply that to create a "template" all you have to do is create something you like and save it....and use it again...But for most composites, it's an original every time. There are web sites where people/companies sell templates for things like baseball cards and sports cards where you insert the picture of the kid. there are similar templates for wedding photography (don't have any links) and probably other types. Some googling should turn up some of this stuff. I don't think it is addressed in most books because there is nothing in particular that is used for templates other than to create an image that might work well with another image. that might be any background or scene, or you might create something in a specific size with a hole for a portrait head so you can batch process a series of portraits with a template or group of them. If you are good with Photoshop, you can make any file you want into some type of template. It could be as simple as a line of text that you use with a variety of pictures. One of my favorite PS authors is Eismann kartrina or something like that...and Scott Kelby. I have books by both of them and they are both good authors. Here are a few of my composites http://www.pbase.com/santa/collages
but obviously I don't use any template for this kind of thing.