cjmichael's Posts

Problem with black levels in pdfs - InDesign bug, Blurb preset issue or ...
PDF to Book

Hey folks,

I’m stuck in the last stage of a two-week book project.  I’m now using the latest InDesign CS5 (7.0.3) under XP Pro SP3.  I’ve spent several days troubleshooting this problem.  I’ve tried hundreds of things, watched tutorial videos, read many posts…apparently I’m missing something.  I just need my blacks to print black to match the black levels on my JPGs (RGB=0,0,0).  When I export with "Output All Blacks Accurately" the blacks in the pdf still look quite gray.

My workflow involves exporting my JPGs and TIFFs from Lightroom as JPGs (RGB only).  Using the Blurb PDF presets, books print with my JPG blacks as RGB=0,0,0 yet my backgrounds (filled rectangle objects) are gray – nowhere near black.  Suffice to say, my nightime photos clash against a gray background.  If I print a book with such a pdf, will the RGB blacks in my JPGs (0,0,0) actually look identical to the CMYK "rich blacks"?  Or lighter?  Despite looking the darker in the pdf and color proof display mode?  Do I want to spend $150 to find out?

So why CMYK?  People claim CMYK prints blacker blacks than RGB.  Others claim CMYK doesn’t, with the work-around being to use "rich blacks", (CMYK= 60,40,40,100). I fail to see the logic in mixing two different colorspaces on the same page.  Especially if the goal is to make the RGB photos visually match the rest of the graphics (page background, frames, type, etc).  As I struggle to fix what I thought was a simple problem, I’m feeling increasingly frustrated with so many conflicting reports.

With InDesign I use the latest Blurb ICC profile, the Blurb .indd templates and the Blurb PDF config file.  I’ve tried hundreds of combinations of parameters including overprint, no overprint, rich black, "accurate black", proofing colors, overprint preview, various Proof Setup profiles, the Output Overprint Fill Attribute on objects to name a few.  My black background just won’t print black.  In fact, it typically prints RGB=32,28,25 with no overprint and 35,31,32 with overprint.  "Rich black" and "accurate black" print identically (the blacks in pdf have same RGB values).  So it’s as if "accurate black" has no effect.  I’m no longer using my colorimeter (political problems with X-Rite).  It should be irrelevant anysay since I’m basing my assessment of gray vs black (relative) on what I see on a high-end CRT and LCD plus the actual RGB values in the pdf (absolute).

I realize that gray CMYK "rich black" may indeed print quite "black" on an HP Indigo.  But based on my experiences with my first two Blurb books and forum posts, I’m skeptical.  The printed books had a dark gray spine and inside flaps using BookSmart’s supposedly black "black".  Yet my front cover (a black JPG) was indeed printed black, black black – beautiful.  The point is moot anyway since my backgrounds must match the black of my JPGs 100%.  If my JPG blacks do print gray then the background must be gray too.  I’m betting the JPGs will look as black as my last Blurb books which printed so nicely.  So why can’t I get InDesign to reliably produce true black with the Blurb settings?

One theory is that I’m up against a bug in InDesign.  People have reported similar sorts of bugs on the Adobe forums.  Here’s why I’m thinking this.  The rectangles I fill with 0,0,0 black look black on the screen but print gray.  With one exception.  The very first rectangle I made in InDesign which I filled with 0,0,0 black DOES retain it’s true 0,0,0 black in the pdf but only if overprinted (it’s gray otherwise).  I’ve spent days unsuccessfully trying to replicate it.  Any time I alter it, move it or copy it, it changes to gray.  Any new rectangles I fill with 0,0,0 black also get changed to gray during printing.  I’ve checked the overprinting attritutes, the RGB/CMYK values, etc but I can’t find any differences between my old rectangle and new ones!  Am I overlooking something?

I did upgrade InDesign at least once since the start of the project. So perhaps the 7.0.3 update introduced a new bug?  One work-around would be to make a huge black JPG and use that as a background in all my master pages.  This should do the job, though it won’t address text color.  But I’d prefer to figure out what’s going on and do it right.  At this point the book is on hold and I’m looking for other options.  Any help or ideas greatly appreciated.  And hopefully this will benefit others down the road as black issues keep popping up.  Thanks!

Posted by
cjmichael
Nov 9, 2010 1:08pm PDT
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cjmichael
 
13X11 > 10X8 Scale Factor
PDF to Book

Correction – 13×10= 1.18

Posted by
cjmichael
Oct 15, 2010 4:05pm PDT
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cjmichael
 
13X11 > 10X8 Scale Factor
PDF to Book

Has anyone found a more efficient way to do this?  Like automatically, using a script?  Also, are there any downsides to scaling?  What I’m thinking is that 13×10 = 1:1.3 and 10×8= 1:1.25.  So the top and/or bottom would have to get truncated by a few percent.  I’m still learning InDesign so I’m not sure yet how to accomplish this.

Posted by
cjmichael
Oct 14, 2010 2:50pm PDT
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cjmichael
 
Converting layouts from BookSmart to InDesign
Book Design and Imaging

Does anyone know of any automated tools or tricks to convert layouts from BookSmart to InDesign?  I don’t mean the standard Blurb layouts but rather custom layouts made for BookSmart books.  I’m making my next book using InDesign but I’ve already painstakingly created dozens of custom layouts in BookSmart.  It would save a lot of time if there was a conversion utility.  Thanks.

Posted by
cjmichael
May 14, 2010 1:06pm PDT
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cjmichael
 
Can some search engines find private books?
Web Features

Thanks, Tony!

Posted by
cjmichael
Apr 22, 2010 2:38pm PDT
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cjmichael
 
Can some search engines find private books?
Web Features

The screen where you specifiy whether a book is public or private seems a little vague to me.  The second section says "Enabling Book Preview means that you agree to our Terms and Conditions and understand your Book Preview content will be accessible to search engines.".  It doesn’t say explicitly that this doesn’t apply to "private" content.  I know that Google’s search engines are quite sophisticated and do get around many security walls.  And Google does offer copyrighted books and other content, despite ongoing legal threats from publishers.

 So I’m wondering whether anyone has tried searching for a "private" book (on Google or other site).  And any guesses as to whether this could change in the future as search engines get more sophisticated and bolder?

- Chris

 

Posted by
cjmichael
Apr 22, 2010 11:01am PDT
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cjmichael
 
Problems moving photo and text boxes in Layout Editor?
BookSmart

ps. I’m using Booksmart ver 2.5.1.30022

 

Posted by
cjmichael
Apr 10, 2010 1:01pm PDT
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cjmichael
 
Problems moving photo and text boxes in Layout Editor?
BookSmart

Thanks, Lori, that did the trick!  It appeared to be a bug in the snap-to-grid feature.  I could see that it had been attempting to snap to some sort of grid but the movements were totally random and not on any particular grid.  Another symptom I didn’t mention is that the cursor would "slip" when moving an object.  This caused it move off the object and up to several inches away from it.  Fortunately, turning off the snap to grid fixed it.  I discovered another work-around, though, which is to use the cursors to fine-tune the location (up, down, left,right).  That’s more time consuming but at least it works.  Thanks again!

 

Posted by
cjmichael
Apr 10, 2010 1:00pm PDT
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cjmichael
 
How to put page numbers in corners?
BookSmart

Hi, thanks for the reply.  What I’m seeing is quite a bit different than what you’re seeing, apparently.  My book is the 13"x11" size.  Is that the size of the books you checked?  The lower left-most area of the footer is 1.65" from the left edge of the page and 0.30" from the bottom.  This is well over an inch away from the worst-case edge, safely exceeding Blurb’s Trim Guidelines.  Most of the books I’ve seen have the numbers in the lower-left corner of the leftmost page and lower-right of the right page.  I measured some of my large photo books.  A typical book has the page numbers 0.25" from the bottom and 0.40" from the left or right edge.  The edges of the photos are also 0.40" from the outside edges of the pages so the numbers line up properly. 

Booksmart is putting the page numbers 1.25" further from the left/right edges than I require.  I don’t care that certain books may put the numbers in the center or in random places along the bottom.  In my opinion, it looks unacceptable to put page numbers significantly further from the edge of the page than the edges of the photos themselves. And it’s not just my opinion as my little field study at Border’s showed.

- Chris

 

Posted by
cjmichael
Apr 10, 2010 12:18pm PDT
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cjmichael
 
Problems moving photo and text boxes in Layout Editor?
BookSmart

Does anyone have the same problems as me with the Layout Editor?  I’m new to Blurb, just starting a 440pg book (1300+ pics), all custom layouts.  So far I’m not making significant progress because I can’t get the cursor to move properly.  For example, when dragging/moving an image or text box.  When I click and drag, nothing happens until the mouse is moved a few inches, then the box suddenly jumps around a half inch on the screen.  It’s therefore impossible to put a photo or text box where it needs to go since granularity of movement is effectively several tenths of an inch.  So nothing lines up properly.  I don’t have $700 to buy Adobe InDesign, unfortunately, so I’m forced to do this project using BookSmart.

System: XP Pro SP2, 3.4GHz P4, nVidia GeForce 6600, Asus P5WD2-E motherboard, Intel 975x Northbridge, ICH7R Southbridge, 4GB PC800 SDRAM, 1.5TB Seagate SATA.

Also, does anyone know of a site where one can download custom layouts?  Surely there must be thousands of them out there but I can’t find any.  The few that are included with Blurb haven’t proven useful.  

Any help appreciated, thanks.

 

 

 

Posted by
cjmichael
Apr 9, 2010 8:31pm PDT
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cjmichael
 
How to put page numbers in corners?
BookSmart

I’m just starting my first book in Blurb and I’ve run into a problem.  How does one place page numbers in the corners?  This is a requirement for my book and it’s how it’s done in the majority of photo books I studied at Borders.  The issue is that the footer is stuck in the center of the page and apparently can’t be moved.  In my layouts, the edge of the footer is a whopping 1.75" from the outside edge of the page.  It needs to be 0.25" to 0.5" from the edge to look right and meet my requirements.

I’ve tried working around the problem by placing a text box in the corner.  This won’t work because even the smallest sized text box creates an error message saying it’s too close to the edge of the page.  Even if this worked, it would take a lot of work to manually add page numbers.  And repagination wouldn’t be practical.

One work-around would to painstakingly create a library of images with numbers from 1 to 440 and manually place each number on each page.  That could take days of work.  Surely there’s a better solution?  So how do other people do it (besides paying $700 for Adobe InDesign)?

- Chris

 

Posted by
cjmichael
Apr 9, 2010 5:32pm PDT
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cjmichael