BookSmart

Lightroom Plugin: Exactly what export settings does it use??

This question can most likely only be answered by Blurb staff, unless anyone else knows the inner workings of the plugin or has done some testing…

As there are no user definable export settings available in the LR booksmart plugin, what settings does the plugin apply to the images when published?

—What output sharpening settings?
—What re-sizing, if any?
—What jpg compression and quality?
—What colorspace?

Even if we are not told all the specifics above, the underlying question is does the LR/Plugin/Booksmart truly optimize images for Blurb books, or do we just have random settings that we will never be able to determine?

Hopefully blurb staff will provide some basic info.

Thanks

Replytopic_b_normal
Posted by
ccclapp
Nov 5, 2011 1:05pm PDT
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ccclapp
 

Can I suggest you contact Blurb staff directly with these questions? The forums are primarily aimed at at users, such as you and I, helping each other rather than a means of contacting Blurb. If you do so it would be great if you posted their response back here, I’m a Lightroom user as well but haven’t yet upgaded to version 3.

If you are not sure how to contact them go to the Help menu at the top or bottom of this page and select Customer Support, from there select the Contact Support tab.

…..Tony.

Posted by
tfrankland
Nov 6, 2011 1:18am PDT
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tfrankland
 

Mine is a general question applicable to all users. The forum is perfectly appropriate for that.
Naturally I did contact blurb support when posted. I have received no reply.
Blurb staff periodical replies to forum posts. For a general interest question like this, they should reply here (in addition to my support ticket).
Actually, this info should be published in Blurbs help directory, but isn’t. The forum is the next most public place for questions and answers.

Posted by
ccclapp
Nov 7, 2011 7:24am PDT
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ccclapp
 

I’ll add one to your list:

Are there any provisions for soft-proofing or must we still go to Photoshop to do it?

Thanks

Posted by
fastcat
Nov 9, 2011 8:06am PDT
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fastcat
 

I am also very interested in this.

I was able to locate where the plugin deposited the images in the ‘Library’ and do a bit of inspection.  They appear to be the same pixel dimension as the original … so there is no down-sizing going on.  But the question of compression and colour space is relevant.  I bet the colour space conversion is sRGB … that’s the most reasonable.

But the big ticket item is output sharpening…whcih I used extensively in my ‘old’ workflow.  I would know the container size, output to the exact pixel dimensions and output sharpen for MATTE-high pretty much for all the paper types.

I would not like to lose this ability in the workflow.  I tried a convoluted setup where I collected my images into a collection, made my edits and exported with output sharpening and then pulled them back in to LR to hook into the Publish template for LR.  Not worth the effort as it was very convulted and that essentially this breaks the ability to make an edit and have it reflected in the book.

So, please post any reponse you get to your ticket

Posted by
jimcamel
Nov 10, 2011 4:27pm PDT
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jimcamel
 

I had a frustrating back and forth with Blurb support about this and finally got a response with someone who understood the issues and gave me this response:

“The final exported size of the image is either original size, or 3900 pixels at it’s widest (for our 13” book size) for images that exceed this amount. I’ve seen the grainy problem you describe for small image containers but it mostly depends on the image content, e.g., a high iso image will appear very grainy in a small image container. You usually won’t see any degradation in the image until it’s quite a lot larger than the container (4+ times the size). So if you are concerned with this I would recommend not using the plugin and exporting your images the old way from Lightroom. Or, you may also consider using our PDF to Book workflow if you use InDesign."

This obviously leaves a lot to be desired in terms of control and says nothing about the sharpening settings. I had been concerned about the grainy quality of downsized images when they didn’t fit the container size using export method.

Posted by
thill1111
Dec 12, 2011 8:27pm PDT
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thill1111
 

The fact that the LR pug in doesn’t allow to set the size of the picture it makes it useless for me. I’ve learnt from test books I made that it is essentially important to set the pixel size exactly to the size of the picture box in the book. Every picture which was bigger looked worse downsized, no matter whether it was downsized 200 % or just 30 %. Funnywise upsizing is not needed, a picture upsized 50 percent in the book doesn’t look different from the one with the perfect pixel count.

Luckiliy chosing the pixel count by exporting from LR is very easy.

Nik

Posted by
nik_nik
Dec 14, 2011 8:38am PDT
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nik_nik
 

LR doesn’t know how you will use the images. BookSmart users might also change the magnification to get a better composition once it’s in the final image frame. If you set the image size manually on export using the BookSmart plugin you would have to be prepared to republish every image you adjusted the size / shape of.

If the communication worked two ways. BookSmart could tell the LR plugin that an image needed republishing at whatever size in which case there could be a BookSmart export plugin that could control sharpening etc … I don’t know whatBookSmart does about resizing but if I had to trust one, I would rather LR did it.

Posted by
magicbean
Dec 16, 2011 1:43am PDT
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magicbean
 

Are you saying that if BookSmart has to scale down an image from 3000×2000 to say 1800×1200 that it will do a poor job and introduce artifacts in the printed version?

This would make the LR plugin worse than worthless as it would be easier to manually export each photo and scale it yourself. The plugin has no settings to scale or resample. Surely down-scaling algorithms are far more simple to do well than up-scaling.

I use LR3 on Mac. I am almost ready to upload my first book to Blurb. But I have done no photo scaling to match the dimensions of picture boxes in the book and all of my photos are 240 DPI.

Are you telling me I have to manually rescale every photo before I upload the book or risk a bad printed result?

This is hard to believe. Please let me know so I dont waste $90 on a junky book.

Posted by
bradcwatson
Feb 19, 2012 2:19pm PDT
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bradcwatson