Book Design and Imaging

At what size will text (as jpeg) become fuzzy?

hi,

 

I’m currently designing a book using photoshop i.e none of blurbs templates. I will later import each page as a jpeg. Each page has minimal text (page numbers and a few words – 8 at the most!) but being a typical designer I like my text nice and small. i’m aware that there currently aren’t any options to upload as PDFs to keep the text crisp, so jpegs and pngs are the only option.

 

1) which is the best option of these two?

2) what is the difference between them with regards to the final output?

3) What ’s the lowest size of text can i get away with?

 Thanks!

Dave 

Replytopic_b_normal
Posted by
Acushla
May 13, 2008 8:54am PDT
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Acushla
 

Upload your layouts as jpegs at 300dpi – your text will be fine. I’m a BlurbNation designer with 18 books under my belt and this system has worked excellently for me with all of them.

I have gone as low as 8 point  text.

Posted by
CWN
May 13, 2008 9:08am PDT
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CWN
 

Thanks for that! Can anybody tell me the difference between Jpegs and PNGs at all?

Posted by
Acushla
May 13, 2008 9:20am PDT
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Acushla
 

Dave, my experience is a little different from that of CWN, but just from the printing of one book, I haven’t got her depth of experience over many books (yet!).

I did a test book at the beginning of this year that tried all sorts of different approaches on text, use of BookSmart templates versus Adobe Photoshop designed pages, Soft-Proofed Images versus ones that I simply inserted unchecked, different font types, etc, etc. 

If you take one of my test pages with a selection of text at different sizes and with different fonts I created in Photoshop. I imported that page via .JPG and again via .PNG. If you looked at each page in isolation they both looked fine, but look at them side by side and you can see that there is a difference between .PNG and .JPG at smaller text sizes and especially smaller text sizes that have serifs. Use of a jeweller’s loupe re-enforced that. The page imported via PNG had sharper text. Just!

As to why, I suspect that it is the difference in intent of each format. JPEG was designed by the Joint Photographic Expert Group for the exchange of photograps, it is what is called a "lossy" standard, it achieves its high compression by losing some detail in the photograph. If you choose a high compression that is a lot, with a low compression (as recommended when inporting into BookSmart) it is a little. In most photographs (which it was designed for after all) the effect is minimal unless you enlarge them a lot. One example of this is what people call the "jaggies" associated with higher JPEG compression where straight lines and smooth curves start to have, if you look closely, a jagged edge. This can become apparant with small fonts, expecially serif fonts.

.PNG was designed as a "lossless" standard, that was designed to provide a compression technique that did not lose such detail. With normal photographs you would be hard pushed to tell the difference unless you enlarged them a lot (or use a magnifying glass). With images that contain text, straight lines, smooth curves, thin lines it is more likely that you would spot a difference.

But as my trials showed look at a typical page created in PS and imported into BookSmart via JPG in isolation and it’ll look fine. Compare it closely with one imported via PNG and I could see the difference. This only applies to small text (less than 9) and showed more with texts with serifs.

If you do go for JHPEGs ensure that you choose highest quality (least compression) when you export them, that will make a difference to both complete pages created in PS and to individual pages you insert into a BookSmart page template.

.........Tony

 

 

Posted by
tfrankland
May 13, 2008 10:47am PDT
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tfrankland
 

Tony – i couldn’t ask for a more in depth answer! Perfect! Thank you very much indeed! As I’m going for a small point size (7pt for my page numbers, 8.5pt for my body text) the higher the quality the better, no matter how minimal the difference. PNG it is then!

 Thanks to both of you :) 

Posted by
Acushla
May 13, 2008 3:17pm PDT
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Acushla
 

OK, I have gone the InDesign-PDF-PNG route, but when I look at the screen to my Booksmart pages, I see jagged edges everywhere. Actually the letters look like they are from an old typewriter at the end of its ink. (just a bit exaggerated).

 

How will it be in print? Anyone can tell me that. I use 14 pt Times New Roman, but it goes for 12 pt Trebuchet as well. 

 who could help me?

 

thanks a lot.

 

Carlo

Posted by
Quintsys
Oct 19, 2008 12:28pm PDT
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Quintsys
 

Carlo – why are you going via PDF?  Indesign CS3 offers export directly to jpeg.  Are you using an earlier version?

Posted by
aop27
Oct 19, 2008 1:18pm PDT
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aop27
 

Hi Aop,

I do use CS3, but as I have understood from earlier discussions, and from the blog of Bryan Burkhart (May 2007), it would be better to convert to pdf to jpeg, because of the text. An immediate conversion to jpeg and then tot Booksmart would give ugly results. 

Well, if I compare both, I think the differences are rather small, but of course I want to be sure it just looks good in the book. No matter what.

 Best,

Carlo

 

Posted by
Quintsys
Oct 19, 2008 3:27pm PDT
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Quintsys
 

Carlo, another thing to keep in mind is that the images used in Booksmart and the preview or low resolution.  The low res versions are used to allow Booksmart to function faster.  The full res version will be uploaded.  That can also be contributing to why you’re seeing jaggies. I have done text – prepared in Quark, pulled into photoshop, saved as PNG – with very good results.

Hope that helps,

Regi

Posted by
rbgool
Oct 19, 2008 5:01pm PDT
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rbgool
 

Hi Regi,

 I guess that’s the answer I was looking for. Seems plausible to me, and gives me some confidence. 

 

Thanx.

Carlo

Posted by
Quintsys
Oct 20, 2008 12:30am PDT
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Quintsys
 

Carlo,

I’ve a test book on order created from InDesign exported as jpeg.  I used 300 dpi and its fairly text intensive with photos.  The jpeg images themselves were very sharp so any error will be down to the booksmart process rather than InDesign or jpeg.

When I get the book I’ll report back with feeback on how it looks.

Posted by
aop27
Oct 20, 2008 2:04am PDT
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aop27
 

OK – book received so time for the promised feedback.

 

The book was a test book with different ideas thrown into it to see how well they worked out.

 First of all I used a loose cover.  Looks fine although a tendency to curl back at the edges.  The book itself is bound in a black fibourous card finish.  I know that sounds odd but it was my best description of a "normal" hardback cover that most hardbacks on my bookshelf seem to have.

Binding looked rubust with stiching visible when I pulled the pages apart but not otherwise.  Seemed professional and bookshop quality.

Internal pages were written in Indesign, exported as 300dpi jpegs and inserted into Booksmart using blank pages. Jpeg quality was examined before exporting and was A1 based on looking at text zoomed in massively.

Photo reproduction was A1 with no difference discenable between the 600dpi test page and the 300dpi.

I included an RGB colour chart for future reference – came out professionally and crisp.

Large sized font in back using a Vera Cruz font size 60 came out crisp and no jaggies.

Adobe garamond Pro size 12 in gray (RGB 128/128/128) was undeniably jaggied.  I’ve tried to pretend it isn’t but I’m afraid it is.  Its got a definite draft font/ bubblejet printer look to it and is not a professionally usable finish.

Adobe garamond Pro size 16 in bold black was better but also showed definite jaggies. 

Conclusion: InDesign exported to 300dpi jpeg and inserted into BookSmart does not meet professional finish standards in my sample of one test book.

Is there  a better way of using InDesign with BookSmart or am I back to Lulu with pdf export?

Posted by
aop27
Nov 23, 2008 9:08am PDT
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aop27