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Author Topic: Book module: tackling a big project  (Read 1483 times)
Rhossydd
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« on: December 27, 2012, 10:25:27 AM »
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Thinking I really ought to take advantage of the discount when making a first book from LR 4 with Blurb, I've just spent the last couple of days trying to work on a largish project in the book module.
Now I knew there were going to be some frustrations, like no variable layouts and the inability to put text on the page where I wanted, being the most obvious. Unfortunately using it in practice has been even more frustrating than I'd expected, but I have found a couple of workrounds I haven't seen mentioned before that others might find useful.

Image management.
Some of the more expected behaviours won't work in the book module.
There's no ability to drag out of different collections from the collections panel in the book module.
No custom order in filmstrip.

Workround;
It seems easiest to start your book by adding every image you could possibly ever think you might need. Then use the library filtering options to keep the number of images in the filmstrip manageable and relevant for the work in progress.
The sort options for the filmstrip are controlled by the sort options in the main library grid. If you apply a custom filter to the saved book's image collection in the grid in the library module only the filtered images will display in the book module filmstrip.
If you have a second monitor, you can use the filter options there to control what images appear in the book module filmstrip too and also drag and drop works from the second monitor onto the page in the book.

It is possible to add images to a saved book's image collection. The easiest way is probably by drag and drop in the library module. You can also set the book collection as a target (instead of the quick collection) for the keystroke B, but beware that this toggles images out of as well as into the book's collection, so be careful not to accidental remove any images already in the book collection or you might suddenly find some unintentionally blank pages when returning to the book.

Layout
No ability to align images in place holders
Poor previews of very large images, they look soft.
No 'show at actual size' for layout proofing.

Workround;
Print out a PDF of the book. It might not be the quickest option as it's not possible to print any individual page, but the PDF will be accurate and can be viewed in actual size from Adobe reader (assuming it's configured correctly)

Editing layout
No history. Absurd, an absolutely crazy omission, but the only tool at your disposal is Ctrl+Z for undoing a series of actions, but don't overshoot as redo doesn't work.
No 'save as' option.
Who thought that missing 'save as..' or a history was a good idea ? Sack 'em.

Workround;
The only way to create versions is to go to the collection panel, right click on the book's collection and use the 'Duplicate Book' option and then rename the new copy.

Page background colours;
By default only greyscales appear to be an option. To enable colour, click and drag on any of the RGB or S options that look greyed out on the bottom of the palette.
I suspect that the lack of soft proofing in the book module, added to the complication of use  of CMYK colours in Blurb's presses, will lead to a few disappointments when trying to get blacks to be printed as expected in the final books too.

Overall trying to work on a big project in the book module is a nightmare. The book module feels a really version 1 feature of LR4. Hopefully on LR5 Adobe will correct some of the obvious omissions and get what should be a really useful feature up to speed.


« Last Edit: December 27, 2012, 11:59:08 AM by Rhossydd » Logged
john beardsworth
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« Reply #1 on: December 28, 2012, 02:51:01 AM »
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I won't argue with the drift of your post, though for me Book means my glass is half full rather than half empty. I really don't think there's much point having editing history for book (any more than in web or slideshow) and the page background colours just default to whatever the colours are on each computer. On yours you may have had greyscale, but on mine it's colours I've previously sampled. Marginal issues though.

I would always output a PDF for review. Partly this is because it is the actual object transmitted to Blurb, and in the past I've picked up some problems (eg graphical background on double page spreads looked OK in LR but was only on the left page in the PDF). I'm pretty sure these template bugs have gone, but I'm not 100% confident. I still output the PDF though because I like to review the book separately from Lightroom, maybe on the iPad over a pint. This often helps me pick up mistakes or things I might do better. So I'd always do a PDF review.

A couple of tips might help your progress. When you're creating a book, I agree about selecting as many as possible up front. So I tend to quickly save the new book (with just one or two images) and then return and spend time in Library building the collection where I take advantage of LR4's addition of stacking in collections. Generally I'll build a number of stacks which represent the sections of the book, rearranging the stacks' order, setting the photos' order within the stack etc. And the bigger the project, the more helpful it is to organise and sequence it in Library. Finally I'll expand all the stacks and....

Use Auto Layout in Book. You can set up parameters such as "left page blank, one image on right page with title" and then hit the button. Don't like it? Then clear the layout, change the parameters and go again. You can restrict it to favourite layouts, which I find really handy for having a consistent variety of layouts. After you've done a few books, the more favourites you'll have and the more of a time saver it will become. If you then want to add more pictures at the end of the book, you can also use Auto Layout with those, instead of manually dragging into layouts.

Hope this helps

John
« Last Edit: December 28, 2012, 02:54:50 AM by johnbeardy » Logged

Rhossydd
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« Reply #2 on: December 28, 2012, 03:47:29 AM »
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I really don't think there's much point having editing history for book
You'll understand when you've bumped into some of the curious ways the module works, or how working outside the module can impact on previous work done in the book module. The inter-relatedness of the whole package is a double edged sword.
[/quote]I would always output a PDF for review. Partly this is because it is the actual object transmitted to Blurb, and in the past I've picked up some problems [/quote]Yes, doing a careful review of the final project from a PDF is always going to be worth while and something I've banged on about on Blurb's support forums in the past to users getting surprised by their final products.
The issue in LR4 is that the image previews can be quite poor, so you've no idea what the images will look like until they've been rendered. Plus as there's no view at actual size option, assessing how well things work next to each other on the page or how legible text is against a background etc. To see this you're stuck having to render out the whole project, time consuming and inconvenient.
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Generally I'll build a number of stacks which represent the sections of the book, rearranging the stacks' order, setting the photos' order within the stack etc.
I'm not convinced using stacks would work for me, I only find them of very limited use. Using the filtering power of the library module seems the way to go.
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Use Auto Layout in Book....
Not for me at all. I prefer to start with a blank canvas rather than paint by numbers.
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john beardsworth
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« Reply #3 on: December 28, 2012, 04:26:36 AM »
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I've done a lot of books through LR and have a pretty complete knowledge of its oddities, so I'll stand by not needing history. The recommendation of stacking is also based on that experience - most people find it helps.

Auto Layout may seem like "paint by numbers", and that prejudice did colour my initial reactions to it. But just like using auto features on a camera, you easily avoid the risks by then setting its parameters. So by the time someone has filled in a blank canvas (it's a big project, right?), someone with a few Auto Layout Presets will have brainstormed a number of alternative layouts, settled on one, and will have put to better use all the time that would have been spent dragging and dropping every single picture. Best not to be too snobbish about it.
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Rhossydd
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« Reply #4 on: December 28, 2012, 05:12:27 AM »
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Best not to be too snobbish about it.
It's not a question of snobbishness at all, it's all about efficiency. It usually takes longer to unpick things done 'automatically' than it does to do them as you want in the first place.


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john beardsworth
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« Reply #5 on: December 28, 2012, 11:28:40 AM »
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Well, don't use expressions like "painting by numbers" then. I've done a lot of books by both methods. Using Auto Layout as I described is much more efficient.
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stever
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« Reply #6 on: January 01, 2013, 11:38:01 AM »
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i don't have a lot of book experience (did a couple in Shutterfly and know just enough about composition to be dangerous) but it also seems to me that this is a V.1 effort.  i find the layout choices very limiting.  i've never been a big fan of auto layout, but once you become familiar with the layout choices and choose favorites appropriately it may be an okay place to start - in my first effort it's certainly taken me longer to unpick the auto layout than start from scratch.  Really glad i didn't start with a large project.
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