Book Design and Imaging

More control over templates

In the future is it planned for the user to have more control over templates? Such as being able to move around photo boxes and texts boxes within a page and be able to resize them? The only problem I find with BookSmart is for the work I do I seem limited to my choices with templates and in my head I have lots of template ideas I’d like to use to make my books much better. Thanks. Dave

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Posted by
socalrailfan
Nov 27, 2007 12:59pm PDT
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socalrailfan
 

I agree!  I wish there was more leeway for custom pages—I’d rather not use someone else’s templates.

Posted by
lisau
Nov 28, 2007 1:25pm PDT
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lisau
 

i just discovered booksmart and am thinking about using it rather than mpix. i like the software and many of the design options, but i am frustrated that i can’t resize photo boxes and text boxes, like i can in mpix.

i came on the forum to see if there was anything i was missing in terms of making this possible, but i guess not. it might be back to mpix for me…

Posted by
mariamoller
Nov 28, 2007 6:10pm PDT
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mariamoller
 

Well it would be even nicer if there was some response from the Blurl people here. I might have to look into mpix myself.

Posted by
socalrailfan
Dec 2, 2007 4:33pm PDT
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socalrailfan
 

Hey

I’d like to be able to link two pages together so if I added a page it wouldn’t separate them. (I know booksmart would have to add a page to make it even—but the tech can would on that part)

Keep Smiling

Posted by
pictureme
Dec 2, 2007 9:51pm PDT
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pictureme
 

Hey all –
We understand that BookSmart’s predesigned layouts while simplifying the experience can be limiting to advanced customers. We are exploring ways as you suggest to provide more control and flexibility over the layouts and creating layouts from scratch. I can’t promise a time line at this point. A good handful of people do use Photoshop and InDesign to create their own layouts as well, but we also recognize that isn’t the best solution for all.

pictureme – thanks, another good suggestion on “locking spreads” together. Maybe a preference to add two pages instead of one at a time?

Thanks – Chad, VP Design

Posted by
CapnScrappy
Dec 4, 2007 10:49am PDT
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CapnScrappy
 

I also would like to create my own pages. We used Image Station last year and it was great. You could put a photo and text anywhere and any size on the page. But they have closed down their site. I know it can be done in Photoshop or other software but being able to edit on the fly was wonderful. And we could share the book amongst family and friends and if they wanted a copy could order it.

Posted by
feja
Dec 4, 2007 2:36pm PDT
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feja
 

I too have used mpix and the templates and upload time are great! But the book covers are not attractive and they don’t offer book jackets. It would be great to add the functionality of mpix with the book jackets offered by Blurb.

Posted by
ljack84606
Dec 5, 2007 3:26pm PDT
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ljack84606
 

Hi Feja –

Just a note – You can easily share your completed books with friends and family using Blurb as well. Once your book is complete you can keep it private simply hit the Announce button or go ahead and make it public in the bookstore.

Cheers, Chad 

Posted by
CapnScrappy
Dec 5, 2007 3:46pm PDT
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CapnScrappy
 

i have a question about margins here. it is not possible to to do a page without margins ?
why didnt you left the blank layout for skillful users ? i think its a really big problem.

Posted by
natarius
Dec 9, 2007 4:59pm PDT
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natarius
 

I am glad to hear that other people have experienced the same frustrations about limitations with the layouts. 

For me, it was the 4 picture per page layout on Booksmart that I wasn’t satisfied with.  For my pictures, the pictures that bleed together look messy.  I wanted a 4 picture layout with a narrow (1/8") gutter (space in between the photos) and a margin around the photos.  But I still wanted the photos to be relatively large on the page. 

I started to do my own layouts in Photoshop, but after a few pages, realized that it wasn’t necessarily the best program to use.  I recently discovered the program InDesign which is definitely the more appropriate way to crop your photos exactly how you want to. 

It would be great if BookSmart allowed users more flexibility with cropping/designing an entire page, like what InDesign allows you to do.

Posted by
sharonpeng
Dec 10, 2007 8:47am PDT
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sharonpeng
 

Yeah, I need far more flexibility. I shoot a lot of my photos vertically and I am limited here by the the tyranny of the pre-conceived notion of the landscape orientation. I’d like to be able to turn them to the vertical or landscape aspect. I like the service very much and the promise of the great product. I would also like to see transparencies of an overlayed photo which would need the ability to drag 2 photos into the frames. Thanks for your good work and I will continue to try to use Booksmart in the future. John

Posted by
john3
Dec 12, 2007 9:36pm PDT
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john3
 

If you need more flexablitity…go into photoshop, create a new document that is the size of your b ook (8×10 for instance) at 300 or higher dpi, and lay everything out yourself. then import it into blurb as a full bleed page. it works much much better that way, now you have all the freedom int he world for your lay out designs. hey, its not like we are paying for the program blurb supplies anyways…use your imagination and come up with something.

Posted by
JRPassions
Dec 12, 2007 10:19pm PDT
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JRPassions
 

Here is a quick and dirty way to size your images in Booksmart.

(1) Select your background on a full bleed photo page

(2) Drag and drop the photo onto the page

(3) Select one of the "do not crop" options for the image

(4) Increase, decrease and move the image in the full page layout.

 This works in all the layout windows.  If there is a frame on the layout, the border will shrink to fit the photo when you size it smaller than the frame.

This is not the best option because you can not crop the image inside the boundaries of the frame but it is one step closer to a controlled image layout.

 Hope this helps

Posted by
samdobrow
Dec 19, 2007 2:21pm PDT
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samdobrow
 

I was just starting to make my first photo/poem book and noticed I couldn’t change the size or move them around. Pity, because I can’t use Blurb then. I’m very particular as it comes to lay outs and none of them really satisfy me.

The other day I made two books on Photo Tools and they have a beautiful program with free use of the lay outs, you can ajust anything per page and the print is beautiful, but you can’t sell your book through them, it’s just for personal use.

Oh well, seems I just have to wait till Blurb’s loosen up it’s templates.

Posted by
Titia
Dec 20, 2007 12:35pm PDT
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Titia
 

Titia, what is Photo Tools? What is the URL. I like blurb but I am also frustrated with the lack of flexibility with the program.

Posted by
manya2000
Jan 5, 2008 8:10pm PDT
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manya2000
 

Does anyone know what is that program Photo tools that Titia mentioned?

Posted by
manya2000
Jan 10, 2008 8:01pm PDT
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manya2000
 

Some other interesting sites

www.picaboo.com/photobooks/index.html

www.photoinpress.ca

Jack

Posted by
Jackc
Jan 10, 2008 9:49pm PDT
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Jackc
 

Sorry, only half of the response came through:

I believe the url for the Photo Tools site Titia was referring to is -

www.ononesoftware.com/detail.php?prodLine_id=29

Jack

Posted by
Jackc
Jan 10, 2008 9:51pm PDT
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Jackc
 

Sorry, I haven’t been around for a long time and didn’t see all the replies.

The site I’m referring to is http://www.phototools.nl/ but it is only in Dutch, alas and they have no sales facility. One can only order a book if I send them the link, but then you pay directly to Phototools and I won’t get paid. So it merely is for one’s own use.

But for you, to take a peek at it, here’s the link to my books The program they use (you have to download it too, just like here) looks very much the same as the one on Blurb, but you can move every thing around to your own liking. Like I said before, I can’t do anything with the templates on this site, because I use poetry along with my photos as you can see.

Titia

Posted by
Titia
Jun 27, 2008 4:10am PDT
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Titia
 

Well it seems the link to my books isn’t working. One can only see them, when they have an account of their own (which is free). Sorry.

Posted by
Titia
Jun 27, 2008 4:13am PDT
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Titia
 

Even if you cannot make it easy for an average user to make Templates, at least make it possible for an advanced user to do so. Then create a community where advanced users can sell or give away Templates. This would be similar to the way you can buy or share blog themes.

Posted by
kickstand
Feb 18, 2009 8:12pm PDT
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kickstand
 

What frustrates me most is the pathetically small sizes of many text boxes which is quite unnecessary as they are surrounded by vast areas of blank space! Why can’t they be bigger please? I’d love greater control over them but in the meantime could some of those layouts be changed so the text box is bigger please? People who want a small amount of text there can still have it just by not putting so much in and using tab, space and return to move it to the desired location within the larger box. Also, I’d like more picture on picture layouts or ideally the ability to use my own picture as a background.

Posted by
AnnetteJones
Mar 2, 2009 7:57am PDT
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AnnetteJones
 

I notice this query was originally raised in Nov 2007 has there been any developments since then to enable you to move the text and picture boxes on the page?

Posted by
lee_wil
Mar 12, 2009 4:00am PDT
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lee_wil
 

to be able to move and resize would be nice

Posted by
ramdisk
Mar 27, 2009 10:08am PDT
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ramdisk
 

I have found the existing blank template to be very satisfactory as far as photos go. The template will fit ANY ratio photo – the excess area (gray) drops out when previewed. Laying out photos requires design discrimination: Does this photo merit a full bleed page? Which photos suit smaller sizes, and how can I compose a group of 4 or 6 in a pleasing combination? In this way, I think the plain and somewhat ridgid template makes me focus on photo quality, selection and page composition, however, the text tools are archaic and frustrating and have forced me to abandon all but the most brief commentary.  

One thing I would like to do is to add a text block to a photo, or to overprint / drop out a caption. 

 

Posted by
bomoore
Mar 28, 2009 8:43am PDT
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bomoore
 

Why aren’t there similar layouts in each book. I’d like to make an 11×13 book but am hesitant because 2 of my favorite layouts from the original 8×10 are missing. I’d really like to see the layouts with one large photo and 3-5 small photos in a row above. There are two options in the 8×10 format. Would it be that difficult to put the same basic template in the larger format book? I started my book 2 months ago and can’t seem to dedicate myself any further because I can’t decide if I want to do the smaller size again in order to have those layouts.

Blurb, please help!!

Posted by
kenzierose
Mar 28, 2009 6:21pm PDT
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kenzierose
 

I’m creating a b/w 5×8 textbook and want to add a landscape/horizontal image on a page. Is there a template I can use to do that?

Posted by
cmoore16
Mar 29, 2009 2:14pm PDT
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cmoore16
 

As I read through these comments regarding more control of templates I saw myself a few years ago when I became a member of Blurb. My first book was created using the templates provided with this "free" software and it was easy to use and provided for a nice book for my mother-in-law.  It was easy and fund – drag and drop. After my third book I wanted something a little different and desired more flexibility in the page layouts. That is when I found Photoshop Elements 3.0.  I ordered the book and began reading and trying things with the photos I had collected over the years. Now a few years later I’m using PS Elements 7.0 and have read all the books versions I could from my public library and just completed book number nine.  Ninety percent of all the pages are layouts I’ve created beginning with blank pages in PSE.  I’ve even created a couple of pages using PowerPoint – saved the page as a JPEG – pulled it up in PSE – changed the page size plus the resolution to 300 dpi (or is psi – I forget).  Anyway, what I trying to say is that if you really want control – go and get it. It’s out there for the taking but you have to go and apply yourself.  It seems to me that many times when a person is given everything a lot of creativity is lost because you become content or complain about being given more.. People have commented that my books are really unique because of my page layouts and they don’t look like other photo books.  I’m no expert but like many of you who wanted more but was afraid to go out and take the time to get it – I decided to do something about it and not wait on Blurb.  Today I’m rewarded with creating more satisfying books and having new editing skills under my belt that promotes more creativity.  Sometime I can’t go to sleep or wake up early thinking about new page layouts because of the skills I’ve obtained from reading books and other pieces about photo editing. I can’t wait to see if I can create what I’ve visualized.Lastly, I thank Blurb for providing this outlet and from what I’ve seen from the number of books published a lot of others have jumped in and let their creativity energy flow as well.  Again, don’t wait on Blurb – they have given you the BLANK canvas – go fill it the way you want by learning new skills – once you’ve got them they’re ours to use and keep. CJAYJR

Posted by
CJAYJR
Apr 28, 2009 12:19pm PDT
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CJAYJR
 

Well… I JUST finished my first photoshop-created book… and BOY did that take a long time.  I’ve created 7 books before using just the Blurb software, and I was usually happy.  Like everyone else, I felt my books started to look all the same.  So, since I was semi-decent with photoshop, I decided to go for it. 

My feeling about it?  It was the most time-consuming yet smallest book I’ve ever created since using Blurb (55 pages).  Usually, when I do a Blurb book, I would layout the pictures, then write out the text.  Using photoshop, I laid out the pictures, and merely placed captions here-and-there cuz I really wanted to get to my next book.  Don’t get me wrong, I did things that was way cooler with Photoshop (i.e. faded backgrounds!!!), but Blurb could’ve done it for me if it supported two things: 1) custom layers (including rotation), 2) transparency control.  You do that, and Blurb is perfect.  Until then, I’ll debate with myself whether or not I use the photoshop approach for my next book. 

 

Posted by
rad91
Apr 28, 2009 1:32pm PDT
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rad91
 

I’m a Mac user and new to Blurb. I am creating whole pages in iWork’s Keynote, then exporting them to iPhoto as images. This way I can create the layouts I want, tilt photos and even shade them so they seem to be lifted off the page like a scrapbook. Then in Book Smart I choose the text and picture option, within the project I select full page photo, and then drag and drop the full page image from iPhoto.

Posted by
GreyKitty
May 10, 2009 8:04am PDT
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GreyKitty
 

Hi all

I completely agree with everybody here – there should be more ways to customise your templates and make the book look like you wnt without opting for a third party piece of software.

 

Prior to Blurb, I used www.tastephotobook.co.uk – and they have the best software out there – fully customisable – so developers here should download their software and work out how its done

 

The quality at tastephotoboob is ok but not brilliant and were it not for the bookshop angle here I would be sticking with them – so come on developers here – pull you fingers out and give us what others are and what should be a simple solution to let us have complete control over our books

 

If we are meant to use thid party software (photoshop, indesign etc) then why bother with the software at all

 

fingers crossed

tony

Posted by
tonyharley
May 11, 2009 1:34am PDT
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tonyharley