remid0d0s0's Posts

Too many layouts w/ full bleed into the gutter, + I want mirrored layouts!
BookSmart

Wellllp … BookSmart will happily accept additional layouts. Apparently, anyway.

What has to be done with the XML file isn’t really rocket science, but it’s pretty exacting. I haven’t hit the publish button on a test yet, but hope to do that within a couple of days. So there is hope yet!

Posted by
remid0d0s0
May 28, 2008 7:55pm PDT
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remid0d0s0
 
Next Release of BookSmart: Some Suggestions Part I
BookSmart

Separate background colors on a cover ..?

Posted by
remid0d0s0
May 27, 2008 5:46pm PDT
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remid0d0s0
 
Too many layouts w/ full bleed into the gutter, + I want mirrored layouts!
BookSmart

Well I guess I can always try, and see whether a) BookSmart gags, b) Publish gags, c) Book can’t be ordered, d) Book shows up in PDF or at doorstep with mutilated layout, e) Lawyer calls, or f) It Works like a Charm.

Posted by
remid0d0s0
May 27, 2008 3:20pm PDT
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remid0d0s0
 
Too many layouts w/ full bleed into the gutter, + I want mirrored layouts!
BookSmart

I don’t really dig using Photoshop for page layout, because you don’t have the ability to separate template elements like borders from included resources like photographs. :-/

Does fixing/modifying/creating new layouts in the template XML files cause 1) not working, 2) BookSmart refusing to run/publish, 3) massive EULA violations, and/or 4) other undesirable side effects? 

Posted by
remid0d0s0
May 27, 2008 3:07pm PDT
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remid0d0s0
 
Too many layouts w/ full bleed into the gutter, + I want mirrored layouts!
BookSmart

Backing up a bit, it’s particularly annoying that the ordinary 2-up, 3-up, 4-up, 6-up, etc., bordered photo layouts have so much forced white space, and oddly large amounts of caption. What I would really, really like to have is mundane versions of those layouts. Basically, for each of: 2-up horizontal, 2-up vertical, 3-up horizontal, 3-up vertical, 4-up, 6-up horizontal, 6-up vertical, 8, 9, and so on, all balanced with respect to the gutter:

Bare bones bordered grid w/ no header/footer and minimal (1/4-1/2") margin/white space.

Bordered grid w/ header/footer but no captions and minimal margin/white space.

Bordered grid w/ header/footer and room beneath each bordered area for a 1-line caption, maybe 2 thin lines in the case of 2/3/4-up. 

I know, it’s boring as all heck, but sometimes boring is what you want. It seems to me that if all you want is a boring grid, you shouldn’t have to use InDesign or something similarly complex.

Posted by
remid0d0s0
May 27, 2008 2:36pm PDT
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remid0d0s0
 
Too many layouts w/ full bleed into the gutter, + I want mirrored layouts!
BookSmart

What I’m saying is that I want them the way that BookSmart does not put them. What BookSmart does: A. What I want: Reverse of A.

Posted by
remid0d0s0
May 27, 2008 2:19pm PDT
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remid0d0s0
 
Too many layouts w/ full bleed into the gutter, + I want mirrored layouts!
BookSmart

Thanks, Jeremy – I didn’t know that the layouts take gutters into account. Is that tidbit actually documented somewhere?

By "mirrored" I mean that, say, I am working on a right hand page, and the layouts I see for a right hand page would be more useful if reversed left to right. However, not all of the layouts have reversed equivalents. In fact relatively few of them do. If I use the left hand page with its reversed layout, well, that doesn’t help, does it, when I want a feature that is on the gutter side to be on the edge side.  The selection of  available layouts would be greatly improved if you could arbitrarily flip layouts.

I’d go hack the layout XML myself except the last time I looked at it, it was a little involved. And of course the back end might barf during the publishing/printing process. :-)

Posted by
remid0d0s0
May 27, 2008 12:03pm PDT
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remid0d0s0
 
Too many layouts w/ full bleed into the gutter, + I want mirrored layouts!
BookSmart

Pardon me in advance for sounding snarky, but your "experienced graphic designers" insist on creating more and more layouts with full bleed areas going into the gutter. This is crazy, but it’s especially frustrating when said layouts would be just fine, or at least much better, if they were mirrored.

Why can’t we mirror a layout? 

There’s also a dearth of layouts with large enough bordered areas. The bordered layouts with multiple image areas generally have gobs of white space between the areas. This is, again, crazy. You can always make a photo smaller within its area, but you can’t make its area bigger.

Your designers and developers are failing to make available the features that BookSmart has, which is both a waste of your resources and frustrating to your users.

Can you address this soon?

Posted by
remid0d0s0
May 27, 2008 9:54am PDT
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remid0d0s0
 
Blurb now requires your customers to register an account before they can...
Web Features

To be fair, although every commerce site requires some means of contacting a customer placing an order, many do not require creating accounts. Personally I find creating accounts just to buy stuff off-putting. Among other reasons, it’s just one more place to put a password that I use for other sites (and another place that such a password may be stored in clear text by some web site programmer idiot, just waiting to be hacked), or another place to come up with another new password for that will have to go into some incredibly awkward file.

You can order from many sites that do huge amounts of business without "accounts." For example, I ordered shirts from LL Bean last night with no account, and B&H Photo hasn’t required accounts, ever. It may be convenient for you, Blurb, but it’s just not necessary.

Posted by
remid0d0s0
Oct 26, 2007 5:54pm PDT
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remid0d0s0
 
Is preview mode true to what will print?
Tips and Tricks

Honestly, if you want the kind of precision that comes from a professional press, you should be using a professional press. It will however cost you more than $30 for a single copy of a book and it will take you more than a couple of weeks from the time you start dropping pictures into frames on the computer till you receive a copy of the printed book.

Just allow for some slop with Blurb, and be realistic in your expectations, and you should be happy enough. They’re bookstore quality books, sure, but not all books in the bookstore have the same quality. Meanwhile, as long as the preview is in the ballpark, and the only significant errors are in trimming, I personally don’t care.

Posted by
remid0d0s0
Oct 26, 2007 4:22pm PDT
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remid0d0s0
 
Is preview mode true to what will print?
Tips and Tricks

Oddly, the PDF preview online seems to trim less than the preview in BookSmart.

I think the BookSmart preview is perfectly adequate, but you have to have faith in the quality of your images. If you’ve seen them printed at the appropriate resolution and size before, or know what to expect, it shouldn’t be a problem. 

Posted by
remid0d0s0
Oct 26, 2007 3:46pm PDT
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remid0d0s0
 
I am "THRILLED!!!"
Book Printing

Kind of showy to have all that Canon hardware dangling from your neck though. Maybe I need to put my 200/1.8 and 85/1.2 inside my dust jacket. .... :)

Posted by
remid0d0s0
Oct 26, 2007 1:10pm PDT
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remid0d0s0
 
Anyone Know A Free Downloadable Photoshop Graphic/Design Maker?
Tips and Tricks

Oh, and many Adobe products (InDesign for example) are free for a 30-day trial. I suppose you could keep borrowing computers for a few months if you were broke and desperate.

Posted by
remid0d0s0
Oct 24, 2007 4:00pm PDT
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remid0d0s0
 
Anyone Know A Free Downloadable Photoshop Graphic/Design Maker?
Tips and Tricks

PS Elements can do 99% of what a photographer needs to do with photographs, if there’s no need for a high volume workflow, et cetera. I wholeheartedly recommend it. There are lots of tricks that will allow you to work around what at first might appear to be limitations, and there are free plug-ins that restore some other missing features also.

Posted by
remid0d0s0
Oct 24, 2007 2:05pm PDT
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remid0d0s0
 
soft-proofing and levels
Book Design and Imaging

sRGB is an "Internet" / display color space that can be accomodated by display devices, and that has a relatively small gamut. If you have a purely sRGB color space chain set up, you shouldn’t be seeing washed out or flat images at any point. You get that when you are editing using a color space with a larger gamut, like Adobe RGB, where the display can’t represent the printer gamut, so it "scales" it to a lower saturation.

Blurb’s printers are not limited to the sRGB color space (not physically anyway) but I have no idea what actually happens there between the receipt of an sRGB image and the pages coming out of the printer. I assume that Blurb actually expands the saturation a little.

Meanwhile, personally, I’ve never found soft proofing to be all that valuable. I doubt that anyone using software like BookSmart and a non-professional press like Blurb would ever have a process sufficiently controlled to make it really work. After years of doing 7-color art prints, I use intuition and test prints.

Posted by
remid0d0s0
Oct 24, 2007 2:00pm PDT
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remid0d0s0
 
Booksmart 1.9 still saves Books on C:\ by default!!!!
BookSmart

Couldn’t you just work on one book at a time? And export the rest to a different location?

Posted by
remid0d0s0
Oct 23, 2007 11:14am PDT
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remid0d0s0
 
.psd -how to convert to jpeg
Book Design and Imaging

Actually it could be a pretty simple reply. But to give it, I would have to know what the final compression applied to pages and images by Booksmart is before transmission back to Blurb, and also whether there is a threshold size beneath which they aren’t re-encoded.

Posted by
remid0d0s0
Oct 23, 2007 6:48am PDT
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remid0d0s0
 
.psd -how to convert to jpeg
Book Design and Imaging

BTW, If you have a budget of zero, and you have some .PSD files lying around that you need to do something with and/or need a fairly powerful image editing program, you should check out The GIMP (Gnu Image Manipulation Program). It’s free, it opens PSDs, and does a bunch of cool stuff. It also saves PSDs, I think, although I don’t know what restrictions on formats it may have.

Posted by
remid0d0s0
Oct 22, 2007 9:43pm PDT
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remid0d0s0
 
Need a 'Feature Request' forum
General Interest

Every time someone sets up a new copy of phpbb, a puppy dies.

That said, I can’t imagine why anyone would use Ruby for anything. But as a semi well known Perl author and trainer, I’m probably biased.

Posted by
remid0d0s0
Oct 22, 2007 9:28pm PDT
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remid0d0s0
 
1.9.0-1.9.1 Just Plain Dies when adding a photo from computer
BookSmart

Okay … maybe this one will help the developers.  I’m a software alpha geek myself and if it were my software, this behavior is odd enough that it would would definitely do it for me.

The symptom is that the "import a file" dialog stays open after the file is imported successfully. I noticed that it is the dialog is longer modal after the import and you can go right back to using Booksmart. Just push the dialog to the side and ignore it. You can drag and drop, edit, save, open, all that. But close the file dialog, bam, Booksmart dies. Apparently Booksmart thinks the file dialog is already closed and can’t quite conceive of it closing a second time.

So somewhere, a bit of code that is supposed to be handling that window correctly after the conclusion of the local file import, isn’t. 

Meanwhile, deleting some and/or all of the files I had imported from Flickr as well as saving and loading a time or three in the process had no effect.

Posted by
remid0d0s0
Oct 22, 2007 9:23pm PDT
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remid0d0s0
 
1.9.0-1.9.1 Just Plain Dies when adding a photo from computer
BookSmart

To Barry – it isn’t/wasn’t a large file, because this was just a proof of concept that I was using to check out some layout ideas, with low res images.

To adrilon – that could explain my behavior but only if I had already imported a troublesome image from elsewhere, in this case, Flickr, which is where all the other images came from. Booksmart crashes on the very first image I attempt to import from my computer into this file. I had figured that the file was already hosed (and that it wasn’t the attempt to import causing the problem) but I hadn’t tried anything to fix it.

Curious. I’ll play around with it some more. Thanks. Any of you have more suggestions, please post away.

Posted by
remid0d0s0
Oct 22, 2007 9:14pm PDT
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remid0d0s0
 
1.9.0-1.9.1 Just Plain Dies when adding a photo from computer
BookSmart

I was working on a book – beginning to work on a book, fortunately – and BookSmart got into a state where when I tried to add a photo file from my computer, BookSmart would either:

  • crash immediately upon entering the file dialog
  • crash upon adding a file (double click / enter / whatever) from the file dialog, regardless of whether it was a JPG/PNG/GIF or what size or whatever
  • leave the file dialog open after adding a file and then crash when it was closed
  • leave the file dialog open, survive closing it, and then crash when I attempted to drag the newly-added file

Sometimes it died instantly with no message. Sometimes it died with a dialog saying it was dying.

Uninstalling and reinstaling 1.9.0-whatever didn’t help. Saving the book as an archive and reimporting it didn’t help. Installing 1.9.1 this morning didn’t help. Basically the book appear{s,ed} to be uneditable and unrecoverable.

I was also experiencing long periods of 99% CPU (minutes at a time) with the interface frozen. I haven’t had 1.9.1 installed long enough to know if that’s fixed or not.

This was all working just fine earlier under 1.9.0 so I wonder what precipitated this. I also wonder, is there any way to recover a book that has been damaged this way? Would be nice if there were, because it would be a big bummer to have 200 pages blown away.

I’m running XP on a laptop that has been fairly stable for some time. 

Posted by
remid0d0s0
Oct 22, 2007 2:05pm PDT
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remid0d0s0