Brunswick, MarylandRoute15-12

    Photography in Life; Life in Photography

This blog is about my photographic work and projects.  I stay away from artspeak and address the practical concerns of someone who loves the medium but works for a living and has a family

 

My Blurb Book Arrives

July 17, 2009  •  Leave a Comment
It showed up today. I am very pleased with the image quality which was my first concern. Blurb's system did a fine job with the embedded SRGB profiles in the JPEG image files. I chose the premium paper and am very pleased with its look and feel. The dust jacket is also excellent, very high quality and substantial in fit and finish. The one area that could be somewhat better is the binding. It is fine, but not as robust as a top-flight photography book. This is to be expected with one-at-time printing at these prices.

All-in-All, the quality of the book's construction could hold its own in a bookstore. A very impressive feat indeed given the ease and low startup costs involved.

I chose the 10x8 landscape format. It is a little small for my liking. Many of the images would be better at larger sizes. The issue is unit cost and price. The blurb price for the 10x8 book is $40.00; with a small markup, I can sell the book for $49.95 and have the price be reasonable. Blurb's 13X11 landscape book cost is $74.95. The same $10.00 markup makes the per copy price $85.00. The price feels too high.

I have spoken with a couple of other commercial printers and I can produce 25 copies of the book at a 12x9 size for $42.00 each. the only problem is that I have to commit up front......It is amazing the number of options we have today that were unavailable only a few years ago....


Sofobomo Project Now Available on Blurb

July 11, 2009  •  Leave a Comment
I took the final step for this year's sofobomo and made the book available on Blurb. You can check out the listing here:


I used Blurb's PDF to book process which involved setting up a new template in InDesign and re-assembling the book. A couple of important changes from the online sofobomo version included: The layout size was slightly smaller (I will see what impact it has when I receive the printed copy) to fit Blurb's standard landscape size. I also regenerated the JPEG files from Lightroom with different sharpening settings for print vs. screen output. Finally, I used Blurb's pre-set export options for PDF generation which expanded the output resolution to 300dpi.

According to Blurb's literature, their printing system automatically converts SRGB files into the CMYK profile for their HP Indigo printer. Because Lightroom does not handle CMYK profiles directly, I stayed with my standard workflow and exported the JPEG files in SRGB for use in InDesign. I will see how good the color and tone reproduction is with this workflow. If I am unsatisfied with the color, I may run a small test book by exporting the raw image files from from Photoshop as TIFF's using the HP Indigo CMYK output profile on Blurb's site. This may provide better image quality; it all depends how how good Blurb's SRGB to CMYK conversion is. I'll keep you posted on the image quality results.

Another variable that I want to get a handle on is InDesign vs. Booksmart. While they are vastly different layout environments, I do not know if there is an image or typeface quality difference in using them. As my current book is done with InDesign, I'll try a small test with booksmart to see if there is a meaningful difference.

Revised Book Posted

July 05, 2009  •  Leave a Comment
After a few days away from my project, I went through and edited yet again.

I removed several images, re-arranged some sequences, and cleaned up the text. I also was able to improve the image quality of the finished PDF while still keeping under the 15mb limit. After several tests, I found that having the maximum quality setting on JPEG export from LR and the maximum quality setting and 100dpi on the PDF generate setting in InDesign gave me the best tradeoff of tonality and resolution in the finished PDF.

The link is here for ISSUU reading:

http://issuu.com/georgecpappas/docs/route15

It is Done.

June 30, 2009  •  Leave a Comment
My first edition book is complete. The PDF is uploaded on the Sofobomo site, or you can see it on issuu at

issuu.com/georgecpappas/docs/route15


I feel great about the book. I'm sure I'll start finding things to improve once I look at it in a few days...let the revision process begin.


Thanks to everyone who gave me advice yesterday with InDesign..it was very helpful down the stretch....

A Late Night Learning InDesign

June 29, 2009  •  Leave a Comment
OK. I am not a book designer.....yet. But I am off to a decent start. I stopped working last night at around 1am and a have a first version of all of my images pasted with text and layout more or less to my liking. I feel that I have a very basic understanding of how to use InDesign - the online video tutorials and help were very good. I can't help but realize that I am a beginner in a vast, complex program - but I know enough to get the book done at the quality level I want. I am sure that it takes me 10 times longer to do something with it than an experienced user would take for the same task; that will have to be good enough for now.

I am impressed with InDesign; it has an elegant interface and seems to be extremely capable. I plan to do more publishing so will save up and buy a copy when the 30 day trial runs out. Good sales technique Adobe!

I am still struggling with a couple of issues:
- JPEG quality. I tried to shrink the JPEG's from LR before I pasted them into ID and tried a variety of settings. So far, 100 dpi at an expected image size and 50% compression seems OK. The images still do not look as good as they do in Lightroom. Natt responsed to my post last night and suggested that I paste full rez/quality JPEG's into ID and let ID do the downsampling when the PDF is exported. I'll give this a quick test tonight to see if it merits re-pasting my 50 images (I know to do this now so it will be fast).

- Picture captions. I don't yet know if there is a function to do this other than having to manually insert a text frame with caption under each image. Any ideas or suggestions here?

The best part is looking at my book in full pasteboard view and scrolling through it. I can see the story and sequence emerge - it is exciting. I will finish tonight and upload to Issuu and the SFB website. After today, I will revise the book layout using Blurb's new InDesign template and test print a physical book.
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