BookSmart

Too many layouts w/ full bleed into the gutter, + I want mirrored layouts!

Pardon me in advance for sounding snarky, but your "experienced graphic designers" insist on creating more and more layouts with full bleed areas going into the gutter. This is crazy, but it’s especially frustrating when said layouts would be just fine, or at least much better, if they were mirrored.

Why can’t we mirror a layout? 

There’s also a dearth of layouts with large enough bordered areas. The bordered layouts with multiple image areas generally have gobs of white space between the areas. This is, again, crazy. You can always make a photo smaller within its area, but you can’t make its area bigger.

Your designers and developers are failing to make available the features that BookSmart has, which is both a waste of your resources and frustrating to your users.

Can you address this soon?

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Posted by
remid0d0s0
May 27, 2008 9:54am PDT
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remid0d0s0
 

Hi remid0d0s0,

Our layouts are mirrored (at least in the newest version of BookSmart, that is), and full-bleed templates already take into account the gutter. The portion of the page that is lost to the gutter is simply not displayed in BookSmart. You can fill those image containers to the binding edge for best results.

Of course if your book is relatively long, the amount of the page lost in the gutter due to "creep" will vary ever-so-slightly. Even then, however, I recommend filling the image containers all the way to the binding edge, as binding can vary slightly book-to-book and you probably don’t want any white space showing in the gutter.  

As for the other issue you raise, that is duly noted. Our designers will see your comment and take your feedback into account. Our designs will never cover all the bases, so we encourage folks to make custom designs using Photoshop when a particular layout is desired. 

I hope this helps a bit. I know BookSmart isn’t perfect, but working around some of these issues is recommended while we labor behind the scenes to engineer improvements. Thank you for your feedback and patience in the meantime.

best regards,
Jeremy

Posted by
jbates
May 27, 2008 10:31am PDT
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jbates
 

Thanks, Jeremy – I didn’t know that the layouts take gutters into account. Is that tidbit actually documented somewhere?

By "mirrored" I mean that, say, I am working on a right hand page, and the layouts I see for a right hand page would be more useful if reversed left to right. However, not all of the layouts have reversed equivalents. In fact relatively few of them do. If I use the left hand page with its reversed layout, well, that doesn’t help, does it, when I want a feature that is on the gutter side to be on the edge side.  The selection of  available layouts would be greatly improved if you could arbitrarily flip layouts.

I’d go hack the layout XML myself except the last time I looked at it, it was a little involved. And of course the back end might barf during the publishing/printing process. :-)

Posted by
remid0d0s0
May 27, 2008 12:03pm PDT
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remid0d0s0
 

I think you’ll find that most layouts that have an image up to the gutter will automatically mirror themselves as you pick them for a left or right page.

Give the ones you are wanting to use a try.

..........Tony

Posted by
tfrankland
May 27, 2008 12:32pm PDT
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tfrankland
 

What I’m saying is that I want them the way that BookSmart does not put them. What BookSmart does: A. What I want: Reverse of A.

Posted by
remid0d0s0
May 27, 2008 2:19pm PDT
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remid0d0s0
 

Backing up a bit, it’s particularly annoying that the ordinary 2-up, 3-up, 4-up, 6-up, etc., bordered photo layouts have so much forced white space, and oddly large amounts of caption. What I would really, really like to have is mundane versions of those layouts. Basically, for each of: 2-up horizontal, 2-up vertical, 3-up horizontal, 3-up vertical, 4-up, 6-up horizontal, 6-up vertical, 8, 9, and so on, all balanced with respect to the gutter:

Bare bones bordered grid w/ no header/footer and minimal (1/4-1/2") margin/white space.

Bordered grid w/ header/footer but no captions and minimal margin/white space.

Bordered grid w/ header/footer and room beneath each bordered area for a 1-line caption, maybe 2 thin lines in the case of 2/3/4-up. 

I know, it’s boring as all heck, but sometimes boring is what you want. It seems to me that if all you want is a boring grid, you shouldn’t have to use InDesign or something similarly complex.

Posted by
remid0d0s0
May 27, 2008 2:36pm PDT
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remid0d0s0
 

Sorry, I misunderstood what you meant by mirroring :-(

 As an aside you do not need InDesign or something similarly complex, you can equally well use Photoshop Elements or similar products from the likes of Corel to do your page layouts. When I cannot find a template that meets my needs I simply use Photoshop.

Blurb staff will welome constructive suggestions as to what additional templates should be considered for the next release of BookSmart (currently slated for the summer).

..........Tony

 

Posted by
tfrankland
May 27, 2008 2:46pm PDT
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tfrankland
 

I don’t really dig using Photoshop for page layout, because you don’t have the ability to separate template elements like borders from included resources like photographs. :-/

Does fixing/modifying/creating new layouts in the template XML files cause 1) not working, 2) BookSmart refusing to run/publish, 3) massive EULA violations, and/or 4) other undesirable side effects? 

Posted by
remid0d0s0
May 27, 2008 3:07pm PDT
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remid0d0s0
 

No idea!

Posted by
tfrankland
May 27, 2008 3:11pm PDT
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tfrankland
 

Well I guess I can always try, and see whether a) BookSmart gags, b) Publish gags, c) Book can’t be ordered, d) Book shows up in PDF or at doorstep with mutilated layout, e) Lawyer calls, or f) It Works like a Charm.

Posted by
remid0d0s0
May 27, 2008 3:20pm PDT
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remid0d0s0
 

Hopefully f)

Good luck!

......Tony

Posted by
tfrankland
May 27, 2008 3:29pm PDT
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tfrankland
 

Wellllp … BookSmart will happily accept additional layouts. Apparently, anyway.

What has to be done with the XML file isn’t really rocket science, but it’s pretty exacting. I haven’t hit the publish button on a test yet, but hope to do that within a couple of days. So there is hope yet!

Posted by
remid0d0s0
May 28, 2008 7:55pm PDT
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remid0d0s0
 

Howdy,

Regarding XML, changing it essentially "voids your warrenty" on book printing–meaning that if anything unexpected goes wrong as a result, we cannot compensate you for your book.

I recommend simply creating a custom page in an third-party layout program and bringing the page into BookSmart as a PNG. That will spare you the trouble of altering the XML and provide you  with a proven workflow.

Best regards,
Jeremy

Posted by
jbates
May 29, 2008 9:58am PDT
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jbates