Tips and Tricks

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Pictures are too dark when printed on the book.

Blurb does not address the problem and give excuses.

Posted by
ericyhk
Sep 19, 2008 9:14am PDT
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ericyhk
 

Hi Eric

Please don’t cross-post in the forums. You’re welcome to post your comments (positive or negative) in the relevant section but cross posting (ie, posting the same thing in multiple places) is not allowed and any duplicate posts may be deleted. "Tips and Tricks" is not a relevant forum thread for a quality complaint.

Regards,

Michael

Posted by
mikewhy
Sep 19, 2008 1:39pm PDT
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mikewhy Icon_staff
 

Eric, I have to disagree with you I’m affraid.   The success of a Blurb book, and its ultimate pleasure in having one in your bookcase, is down to the taking and processing of the images by the photographer and giving the project a large amount of care and attention in doing so, not Blurb’s printing methods.  I certainly have no complaints about my images being too dark.  In short, it’s down to your skills as a photographer and processor.

Posted by
islander1
Oct 10, 2008 12:56pm PDT
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islander1
 

I’ve got the same problem.

My prints look much darker printed than on screen.

I think it’s the type of camera i use. (1D mark III) since this problem doesn’t occur with my 350D.

Wich camera do you use?

Posted by
nonkelmil
Oct 12, 2008 6:51am PDT
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nonkelmil
 

nonkelmil,

When you say you think whether if it has a lot to do with camera you use, well, actually, it doesn’t matter with any camera. The bottom line is the image file in itself.

What format did you use with your image? Since you left out details what exactly went wrong with your images. Try to give us a little more thorough details, the better.

As for darker image occurred with your book, actually, if you conduct a search query on the related topic about dark image problems. It has been discussed fairly often all over the forum.

There are possible factors contributed to darker images, but I do not know if you have Adobe Photoshop, or if you have correct color profile set up as in sRGB color profile set up, soft proofed, etc. Most importantly, as it has been discussed often related to calibrated monitor all over forums. It is MOST important step to have your monitor calibrated. If it is not properly done with monitor calibration, the whole process with image could result badly.

Anyway, tell us what went wrong with your darker images, you need to tell us what steps did you do with your images.

Hope that helps.
Brian {a passionate Blurbarian}

Posted by
brianbonitz
Oct 12, 2008 10:00pm PDT
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brianbonitz
 

Brian,

Can you please tell me how to do monitor calibration? This sounds like a very important pointer.

 Thanks!

Kristina

Posted by
robinsongpro
Nov 12, 2008 9:05am PDT
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robinsongpro
 

Hi Kristina;

If you run a forum search for "calibrate" or "calibration" you will find a stack of entries…

Or; just do a Google search for "monitor calibration"... Look  for Spyder or pantone’s Huey. Those are the two most used software / tools around…

It’s not a dificult thing to do, and is ESSENTIAL in the print process to ensure good reliable product…

Good luck;

Lee

Posted by
lkb-28
Nov 12, 2008 9:30am PDT
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lkb-28
 

Thanks Lee

Posted by
robinsongpro
Nov 12, 2008 11:26am PDT
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robinsongpro
 

Lee, you’re so helpful and I’m so needing help—may I ask you about this issue I’ve been reading about image size and optimization? I edit my photos using Picassa by Google. Then I upload them here. I saw there’s a place where you can "export" files and maximize the pixels and quality. If I’ve already modified the image, is it then of reduced quality because of when I saved it? How do I "optimize" and make sure it’s the right size? I know this is a lot. Do you have any pointers?

Thanks so much!

Posted by
robinsongpro
Nov 12, 2008 11:44am PDT
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robinsongpro
 

Hi Kristina;

I think I should point you first here… Hopefuly that will answer a lot of your questions…

I’m sorry – but I don’t know what you are referring to when you say "...there’s a place where you can "export" files and maximize the pixels and quality…" That seems to be referring to a whole bunch of different things! If you can either point me in the direction of where you saw this, or, expand a little, I’ll try & provide some help…

Just because you have modified an image does not mean the quality is degraded; but there are things you can do to maximise retention of image quality… The "benefit" of going through those hoops will depend largely on the quality of the original image… If, for example, the image is from a "Point & Shoot" compact, then little needs to be done to those in post-processing, and little can be done to preserve quality… On the other hand, if the image is from a decent D-SLR then there is MUCH benefit in taking as much care as possible… Again, a little more info would be helpful to point you in the right direction…

Anyhow, take a look at the link above, and then come back if you have more questions… but… a request… PLEASE don’t just append them to this thread. It helps when searching the forums for answers to keep posts "on-topic"... so… best to append to either a related topic, or, start a new thread…

Cheers;

Lee

Posted by
lkb-28
Nov 13, 2008 2:58am PDT
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lkb-28
 

Clearly, Eric and others don’t understand enough about digital photography to reproduce good photographs using this system.
I worked with Ansel Adams for several years, produce high-resolution black and white photographs and have produced 2 black and white art books here—both very good reproductions, but you have to understand how to render your digital photograph in Photoshop and assign the proper profiles. Without that knowledge, you will be disappointed—you also have to calibrate your monitor and system and run some small books with test images. But PLEASE, don’t criticize Blurb because of your own ignorance here!!

Posted by
chdant
Nov 25, 2008 4:52pm PDT
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chdant
 

Fercryinoutloud… No offense to anyone in particular but no wonder I read so many whiny, bitchy comments about quality here and always from people who "are processing HIGH quality prints" only to read that people are preplexed with bad results after having edited their images using a free ONLINE system via company known for its search engine technology.  The folks at Blurb must just want to curl up and die when they read that stuff.

Posted by
brock
Dec 9, 2008 9:30pm PDT
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brock
 

I’m new to blurb but old to photoshop, that being said people please realize that this company is not your rush to make a book without editig book company.  I have rushed to make a book and saw some of my own mistakes.  one of the best things to do is like someone else said, have a test book made a small 7’’ book will let you know where you stand with your equipment and your own skills as a photographer/editor/creator/book maker.  take you time what is the rush,  Please don’t discourage others and scare them away.  I have only ordered books from two places and by far this one is the best.  Start small then grow to something bigger.

Posted by
JamesT
Dec 12, 2008 10:17am PDT
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JamesT
 

Is it possible to just send in a CD with the book contents and get it printed?

Thanks

jatco

Posted by
jatco
Dec 18, 2008 1:16pm PDT
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jatco
 

I’ve posted on the subject previously but as I’m now in the process of putting together a book that I care a great deal about I’ve decided  to make sure my images are NOT going to appear darker than I’d like.  THEREFORE – I’ve started a folder where I drop the images that I’ve lightened – just for the book.  This is useful, as it is true, if an original image is dark it will be darker in the Blurb book.  I, personally, work relatively dark – but Blurb prints already  dark images much darker than is acceptable – SO, my  advice is to simply lighten up your images that are questionable and they’ll print fine in your book.

Posted by
jpreider
Dec 20, 2008 1:32pm PDT
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jpreider
 

jpreider,

that is assuming they will prrint dark. I have dome 5 books now, I think 12 copies in all and not one dark photo. If I had lightened them before importing into BookSmart I would have had 5 books, 12 copies that I would be complaining about how light the images are.

Based on that experience I just cannot agree that Blurb books have dark images.

I have calibrated my monitor, I work in controlled light conditions and for 4 of the books I soft-proofed using the Indigo ICC Profile. For the last book (two copies received last week for Christmas presents) I purposely did not soft-proof just trusted my calibrated monitor/working conditions,. they turened out fine. Not a dark photo in the books.

Not so say other people haven’t had dark photos, but it is not a guaranteed condition!

......Tony

Posted by
tfrankland
Dec 20, 2008 1:55pm PDT
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tfrankland
 

Right again Tony. I’ve had 7 copies, two books, over 100 photos in each of the seven, and not a single one "dark". Incidently, no sticky bar codes either.

Have a good Xmas,

P

 

Posted by
peteshep
Dec 20, 2008 2:25pm PDT
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peteshep
 

I’m beginning to panic about dark images, after uploading and ordering my first book – 160 pages full color! 

Fran

Posted by
fdwight
Dec 30, 2008 4:09pm PDT
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fdwight
 

My book had also dark printed pictures, inspite the calibration and the softproofing. I contacted Blubs excelent costumerservice, and they gave me a reprint without any charge.

Today I received the reprinted book…........ and it’s perfect. There are more posts on this forum from people with the same problem. In many cases their book was printed in the Netherlands, just like mine.  So it looks like the Dutch printer had a problem in the recent past.

I’m very happy with the new book. It’s just like I see it on my screen. Thank you Blurb!

Happy New Year Bluberians and staff.

 

Posted by
YvonneSmits
Dec 31, 2008 9:22am PDT
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YvonneSmits
 

If a calibrated monitor and expertise in photoshop and color profiling is the condition for good results on blurb most people will not be able to use it. 

Blaming consumers for their lack of such expertise is ridiculous.  Not everybody could work with Anselm Adam.

I suggest Blurb provides a tool with the software that would help users to see whether they are way off the correct brightness or darkness instead of sending them via hours of forum research off to some external websites.On those websites you learn that you have to buy software and a tool to measure your screen in order to get  your monitor properly calibrated. 

 

Posted by
editionh
Jan 11, 2009 3:28am PDT
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editionh
 

Let me add my 2 cents here….

The issue of proper monitor calibration and printer profiling is not something demanded by the Blurb printing process ONLY. Whoever is serious about his/ her photography will tell you that a properly calibrated monitor and a proper ICC profiling for printer AND paper, is the only way that could give you accurate results for photos even when printing at home.

If by pure chance, and only by pure chance, your home printer provides some "satisfactory" (but not "exactly accurate") results for photography printing without profiling or monitor calibration then you should just feel lucky.

But you cannot expect that you will be able to print photos across labs, higher volume printing machines, more professional printers and papers or whatever other combination (irrespectively of using Blurb or not) without any calibration whatsoever, just based on your "home-luck"!

So the issue is twofold:

IF you are willing to just give it a try with your photography then go ahead and make your book "blindly" (Blurb or not!). Sometimes, you may get some satisfactory results but that’s not for sure.

But IF you are serious about your photography, you have to learn what monitor calibration is and what printer profiling is. There are not intermediate paths. Period.

Posted by
larios
Jan 11, 2009 8:50am PDT
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larios
 

I just want to add a comment about my own experience.  My very first book was created using an uncalibrated monitor, and no softproofing or profiling (all foreign concepts to me at the time).  The resulting book I received was great.  As I started to work on additional books, I did more reading of the forums and saw mention of calibration.  Since I also work on photos that I’m using to make personal DVDs and submit to a stock photography site, I saw a benefit to calibrating my monitor that I had not considered before.  As a result, I purchased a calibration kit (hueypro) and have calibrated my monitor ever since.  I know the ‘standard’ approach is to calibrate regularly, but I usually only calibrate my monitor right before I begin working on pictures for my DVDs or books.  Have I noticed a difference in subsequent books?  Not really.  Do I have more confidence in the result of my books?  Yes, because the calibration of my monitor will help ensure consistent results. 

Regi

Posted by
rbgool
Jan 11, 2009 5:48pm PDT
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rbgool
 

My comment was with intention a bit polemic because I fear that the high tech requirements do not suit all users of BLURB. I would guess the majority is not able to provide "serious" equipment.

It starts with your camera,goes on with your computer,your graphic card,your monitor,your software and finally the calibration tool and then it continues with the light conditions in your working space. I would guess you need at least an investment of  $ 15000 .-for a semi professional environment. But even then you will have to proof print and adjust and correct after ocular judgement.

When I want a perfect result I take my artwork to a professional pre-press service. But I would not apply that service to start a publication on BLURB

 Therefore my call: Hang it a bit lower !

I recently received my color testing book that contained materials which were professionally drum scanned and material that I had shot with my camera for comparison. No reason to complain whatsoever even though I see the difference.

 

Posted by
editionh
Jan 12, 2009 3:45am PDT
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editionh
 

Hi

I am a photographer and designer and as such know that all we do is work with image balance as to brightness, contrast and color balance.  And here is a bottom line regardless of monior calibration if the histagram is balanced and the prints as viewed on the screen match an look as bright as all the other pages there is no reason that all the pages should not print correct or at least match the way the book pages look in the preview in the software.  I came to blurb in the hopes of finding a printer  so I can deliever quality books, albums to my clients that are 100s of dollars less expensive than other designer album companies.  I realize the old saying you get what you pay for but I think that blurb has a very good product but needs a way for the book maker to know before the printing that all is well and will print correctly.  The other side of the coin is this perhapes when blurb previews (if that happons) the book before printing they see on their monitors just what we see when we upload and all looks OK but when the book is printed it is packaged, shipped and only when the book is looked at by the book maker is the problem seen.  Had my latest book been reviewed before shipment I think or I woould hope that that book would have been reprinted with the correct brightness, balance on the dark pages.  I have sent 3 books to blurb and for the most part am very pleased with the results for the price and the software but with inconsistant issues between what the software show me and how the pages are coming out  there needs to be better communication as to quality issues before the printing takes place.

 

Posted by
ndickson
Jan 15, 2009 12:31pm PDT
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ndickson
 

I think that if Blurb were to offer the type of service that some preofessional print shops offer of reviewing and adjusting each page (photo) for you the price would just skyrocket and none of us could afford Blurb books.

.......Tony

Posted by
tfrankland
Jan 15, 2009 1:56pm PDT
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tfrankland
 

My book turned out beautifully.  Every photo popped, and met or exceeded expectations, even though some of them were less than the recommended  size.  I couldn’t be more pleased,

I agree with Tony that Blurb probably can’t dumb it down or spice it up and still deliver an economical product.  From my perspective the quality is right on the money.

Fran

Posted by
fdwight
Jan 17, 2009 2:35pm PDT
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fdwight
 

Six posts above, I made a reference that using a properly calibrated monitor and printer profiles is the only to way to be secure from the very first moment. I understand that not all people would like to use this process.

Let me add then, that this is the reason the Blurb warns you to print a single first copy as a proof. If you don’t want to hassle with monitor calibrations etc. do pick up a proof-copy of your OWN book and then browse it carefully page-by-page. Note the photos that need amendement and correct them JUST for the book. Then create and upload a NEW book with the corrected photos and that’s it!

I have just completed and received my monitor calibrated-ICC profiled Blurb book ("Syros the jewel" – browse it fully and freely online) which includes very difficult scenes (sunsets, some HDR etc., see examples here…. ) and I have to admit that it’s absolutely spot-on.

There are no alternatives to the above solutions. And certainly we cannot expect that they can correct it by themselves! How on earth would they know what’s the right tone anyway ??!!!

Regards,

Yannis (http://www.larios.gr)

 

Posted by
larios
Jan 18, 2009 4:45pm PDT
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larios
 

Eric – this sort of nasty little post is not particularly helpful. If your book didn’t turn out exactly the way you thought it might, you would probaby be better served to investigate the problem, which might have been yours, or, as some mention, the printer’s. I believe the Dutch printer had a problem recently. If your book was too dark and printed in Holland perhaps that is the solution. It might have been more useful to try to find out before you cross posted a bunch of nasty messages designed to criticize without reason. It makes you look a little like a petulant adolescent. Are you one?

Posted by
sekhmet2
Feb 2, 2009 10:17am PDT
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sekhmet2
 

Hi Guys, no problem here and it will not be your camera as it is post production a calibrated monitor knowledge of colur workflow etc

Cheers Doug

Posted by
dougpittman
Feb 2, 2009 2:27pm PDT
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dougpittman
 

Yannis…. Your photos are really beautiful and so are the way you did your books. You have to start with the best photos first and then follow the steps that others recommend and you others may find that your books look better. Check out Yannis’ page and you will see.

Posted by
needlepoint
Feb 11, 2009 9:49pm PDT
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needlepoint
 

I calibrated my monitor used the printer profile you  can find on this forum, sent it to the Dutch printer.
there were no problems the photo’s were printed fine almost 1 on 1 with my monitor,  here is the link to our book http://www.blurb.com/books/547912 i love the softcover versions from blurb.

 rgrds

 

peter

Posted by
plvkat
Feb 14, 2009 9:22am PDT
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plvkat
 

I’ve looked at a couple of the threads about finished print quality and shipping on this forum and while it has to be said that Tony does an admirable job of trying to offer up a more balanced positive vibe I just find it impossible to fathom if there are more satisfied customers on these forums compared to the unhappy customers using Blurb.

I work in marketing and must say that if this was my forum for a product my company provided the general public I’d be investing more time responding directly to customers, certainly for a company that invested $12 Million into making this a reality.

The best form of marketing you cannot buy and is word of mouth, one poster who shall remain nameless said that Blurb do not make it a point to read these posts which, quite frankly is stoneage mentality, any company worth its salt in the digital age MUST put better resources into improving the customer relationship management (CRM) and the companies that stand out are the ones directly conversing with their customers on forums.

For example: An email from blurb responding directly to a customers woes in the forums for all to see and read about print quality or delivery issues and offering to rectify the issue has ten times the positive power than a continous stream of bad posts from unhappy customers can do for Blurb.

Just listening to customer feedback is the only way Blurb can turn the balance to favour themselves.

Ive yet to use their services but my first book is an important one to me and my prospective customers so I’m hoping to see far more positive posts by then.

Posted by
CHACK
Feb 15, 2009 12:09pm PDT
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CHACK
 

I recently did my first book and the photos came out great.  I used the premium paper and used all 160 pages.  In total 339 photos.

 My cameras that were used:

Canon point and shoot

Canon 20D, 40D and 1DMKII

 

All 4 cameras came out great.  For the point and shoot, I was indoors and the ISO was jacked up and brought a bunch of noise into the photo.  I used NEAT to knock the noise out and after printing i nthe book, I can’t tell the difference.  If I didn’t know what I had done, from looking at the photo you wouldn’t know.

 I am happy with the quality of the photos….

Posted by
firstgear
Mar 5, 2009 11:06pm PDT
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firstgear
 

Hi Eric

There are photobook publishers which produce books of a higher quality.  Bob books turned out nicer and doesn’t have the bleed problems, because they have great bindings, but they cost literally twice as much.  They don’t have a bookstore facility, which is so handy, or the ability to download from web-based photo sites like Picasa for sharing contributions easily.

For the price point, Blurb is great.  It just depends on what you want and what you want to pay.  I will continue to use both, depending on the circumstance.

 

Posted by
Jaybird456
Mar 10, 2009 2:29pm PDT
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Jaybird456
 

I’ve made several blurb books and I haven’t had any problems with any of them.  Yeah there are some limitations but overall i think blurb is GREAT!

Posted by
ryanmccoy
Mar 11, 2009 5:56am PDT
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ryanmccoy
 

Hi,

Because this thread is getting dangerously close to running over to a second page, as per our policy I am locking it.

And what a positive way to end this thread. Feel free to start up a new one!

– Kathy

Posted by
kathybad
Mar 11, 2009 5:19pm PDT
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kathybad