Book Design and Imaging

How Long Does It Take YOU to design a book?

Just curious here … Just finished, uploaded and ordered my first book last weekend, and it took a lot more time than I imagined … of course choosing to do a 106 page, 260+ image book right out of the box may not have been the wisest choice (ask me next when the book arrives!).  All told, I probably have over 100 hours into the project, took me nearly a month with at least an hour or two every day and about 4 or 5 days of 6-8 or more hours.  I’d guess I spent 40% of the time designing the book (choosing page layouts, selecting photos, and figuring out where to place them), 50% post-processing the images, and 10% writing the text.  The amount of post-processing time needed to prep the photos and size them to fit the limited layout choices Blurb provided was what really caught me by surprise.  Having been through it once now there are clearly some things I can do to make my workflow more efficient, though.

 

 

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Posted by
djherman
Dec 1, 2008 2:29pm PDT
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djherman
 

DJ:

It’s hard to answer your question with any sort of accuracy. I’ve put out four (five if you count a hard cover version of one of them) books so far, and it’s becoming easier each time. As you mentioned, I would like more options in regard photo (and text) layouts. None the less, the one book I’ve shown to folks so far has been received with  positive responses. I’ve used one other book publisher (MyPublisher) and have found Blurb to offer more versitility in their formatting and options then the other company. Also, I’ve found Blurb customer service (responding to a question) very good.

Hope this helps,

 Rich

Posted by
RichCapeCod
Dec 2, 2008 4:53pm PDT
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RichCapeCod
 

I do my books entirely in photoshop now.  I wrote a Visual Basic program that interfaces with photoshop and generates templates for single page, double page, double page with gutter (panorama) and covers based upon the Blurb recommendations.  It also batch splits the double pages and saves everything as jpeg.  Then I just drop everything into full bleed templates.  I find this to be about the same speed as using booksmart, but, it is infinitly more flexible.  The only negative is that it took about 80GB of hard drive .  In today’s market, thats about $8 of disk, which I think is worth it.

Not counting the time it took me to scan old photos, It took roughly 80 hours to do a 200 page book of all photos.  Had I not been up against a hard deadline, I would have put another 10 hours or so into it to add more captions and change the order of some of the pages. 

The organization of 400 to 500 photos was very difficult.  To deal with so many, Adobe Bridge helped a lot.  I’ve now aquired Lightroom, and I have better control of the metadata and filtering.  I plan on doing two more books like this one, and Lightroom can sort and track the photos much better than Bridge.

Posted by
Charybdis
Dec 5, 2008 10:24am PDT
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Charybdis
 

It is hard to answer. I have at least 1300 images from my trip. I culled that down to about 350 that I worked in Photoshop over several days. Now that I am putting the book together in the Blurb software what should be a fairly quick process feels like it is taking forever due to the balky nature of the software. Just getting it to scroll takes forever. And using the tool to move an image around in its little box is extraordinarily frustrating because it doesn’t move fluidly, stops moving altogether for no apparent reason from time to time, etc. I have images that don’t fit the templates very well so I am chosing the 4 or 9 image layout and placing multiple copies of the same image next to each other and then trying to line them up. It is working but it takes way too long because of the crappy software issues.

I made a book using MyPublisher last year and I do not recall their software being nearly this frustrating to use. While they do have slightly fewer page layout choices I believe my book came together more quickly. I am hoping Blurb’s quality of the finished product will measure up.

Posted by
glennaa11
Dec 6, 2008 2:22pm PDT
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glennaa11
 

How long is a piece of string?!

My first book, of poems and photos, took a few days to put together, but I had a lot of material which was just begging to go in a book and didn’t need much tweaking. I did no post-processing on the pictures and was very happy with them.

Others have taken longer, except my MA which took a couple of hours because it was text, althrough I threw in a few pix for interest. Did have to rejig the formatting quite a bit, but still quick. Actually I just got that yesterday and am really chuffed! Looks very professional!

I found the software easy to learn and use although somewhat restricting and frustrating. I have been quite happy to use Booksmart to resize my pix generally, unless they need a more accurate or dramatic crop. I never really understood why some people feel the need to resize pix to the exact spec as I have been very happy with the results from just throwing in pix of all sizes, from my old 2mp camera or my new 10mp one. For my first book I never even found the zoom tool! But that was all with my old camera and I could frame my pix with that – the new camera is wide-angle so I have to crop to frame pix far more now.

Glennaa – I agree that moving pix within the frame using the mouse is horribly annoying, but they can also be moved with the cursors – far more accurate.

Posted by
AnnetteJones
Dec 16, 2008 1:48pm PDT
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AnnetteJones
 

Charbdis,

 

Can you send me a link to preview your book ?

 

Joe Sisco

joe_sisco@sympatico.ca

 

Posted by
joe_sisco
Dec 17, 2008 6:59pm PDT
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joe_sisco
 

I just made the two books I did this way public.  The preview on the Hawaii book is a better example.  The book of my daughter was a bit of a rush job.

Posted by
Charybdis
Dec 18, 2008 11:47am PDT
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Charybdis
 

Man, mine seem to take FOREVER.  It’s not so much the photographs that take the time, but figuring out a (somewhat) logical format to follow so the pictures make sense, plus the captions.  I process all of my pictures as soon as I get them home because I sell prints online, so that part is already done by the time I want to create a book.

 It’s also very difficult for me to decide which pictures to use and which ones to cut.  I just like them all! haha

Posted by
Fight2Fly
Dec 31, 2008 2:22pm PDT
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Fight2Fly
 

Hey, folks. I am working on my first book, but it’s taking my time.

The main problem is that  I did my work in word originally. I then did copy and paste into the Blurb software. But I notice that almost all of the first lines of all paragraphs are disfugured—a word or a few cross the margin. And fixing it is a real headache.

Could anyone help me with some advice? pyharry@yahoo.com

Posted by
pyh2008
Jan 2, 2009 9:19am PDT
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pyh2008
 

pyh2008,

First of all, please try NOT to do multiple posting! Please kindly refer to Forum Guideline.

If you conduct search query related to your problem with cut and paste from Word to Blurb Booksmart, you will find some solution, workaround and many pretty good discussion on some forum discussions for quite some time.

Hope that helps and good luck,
Brian {a passionate Blurbarian}

Posted by
brianbonitz
Jan 2, 2009 12:06pm PDT
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brianbonitz
 

Thanks for for informing about the multile posting. I didn’t know, and I am sorry for that.

 Now, you could be more specific with the kind of help I need?

Posted by
pyh2008
Jan 2, 2009 12:44pm PDT
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pyh2008
 

The two big books i’ve done were 160-190 pages in 13×11 format and they took about 120 hours each.  For each a pool of 1,500-1,800 photos were the starting point.  Last book was 1/3 done in photoshop and I wish I had done them in photoshop from the start.  Much easier, and you have a good chance of dropping the same jpgs into a different size format without a lot of changes.  I keep my photos well organzied and since they were trips it was easy enough to select a chronological or geographical organization.  Selecting right photos took time, but editing the photos and avoiding dupes took a lot of time up. 

One of  books I reformatted from 13×11 to 10×8.  It took about 20 hours to reformat, including converting some pages to photoshop.  The 10×8 templates simply wouldn’t allow all the things I had done in 13×11, so I had to go the Photoshop route for several more pages. 

I found text formatting such a disaster in Booksmart that I will no longer do a text-heavy page in the software.  I’m leaning strongly towards 100% Photoshop for future books.  It will take up a lot more diskspace, but it also means I would be able to have the book printed elsewhere in the future without a lot of new work.

Posted by
royalef
Jan 2, 2009 2:06pm PDT
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royalef