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Author Topic: Using Lightroom Book module for "desktop publishing"  (Read 3552 times)
hjulenissen
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« on: June 04, 2013, 03:13:51 AM »
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I am a fan of Lightroom for what I do: manage a library of raw files, edit them and print them one at a time for framing on the wall. I am by no means a power-user, I have learned how to do things that I do commonly with some routine.

Occasionally, I try to use Lightroom for positioning images and text onto pages for printing. "Wait", you say, "there are other Adobe products for doing that". Perhaps so. But why, then, is there a "Book" module in Lightroom?

Today I tried to make a greeting card. Simple stuff. Two images and some text. I want to be able to freely position/resize those two images and a text-box over one or two pages. I believe that Microsoft Word and even Paint will allow me to do so (but without color management and the other photo-centric stuff that I am interested in). I found nothing like that. What I did find was a large list of presets that sort of does what I want, but not quite.

After grumpily accepting the compromises that selecting a preset in the "Book" module lead to, I was confused at the output options. To the right there is a "export to JPEG" button. To the left there is a "export to PDF" button. I want neither, I want to print it. So I go to the print module, Select "Collections->My Greetingcard Book". Guess what, I am redirected to the "Book" module. Grudingly, I export the two book pages as JPEG, then reimport them into Lightroom.

Finally positioning the two images onto a A3+ sheet in the print module is effortless, and I have the print.


Questions:
1. Im I trying to do something that Lightroom was never supposed to do (or even actively limited from doing)?
2. Am I just too UI-challenged to grasp what is a simple thing for the initiated? (I tend to like compact, recyclable concepts, and hate bloated use-once concepts)
3. Am I supposed to RTFM or go watch a Julieanne Kost video, even for such a seemingly basic thing?
4. Am I the only one feeling limited by the Lightroom dependency on templates instead of exposing the parameters directly?

regards
-h
« Last Edit: June 04, 2013, 03:36:54 AM by hjulenissen » Logged
john beardsworth
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« Reply #1 on: June 04, 2013, 03:56:22 AM »
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I think your question 4 is the closest to the truth. Adobe made a serious mistake by making the book module template-driven, when it should have followed the perfectly-good example of Print's custom package. Repositioning images by screwing around with cell padding?

Fiddly though it is, Book is OK for sending books to Blurb providing you don't want InDesign-style freedom over layout. Book isn't really intended for printing yourself, and you were redirected to be book module because that's what these output collections do - take you directly to Slideshow, Book, Print, Web. So in your case, outputting the JPEGs and printing was the right thing to do - although I wouldn't have thought of creating a greeting card in Book.

John
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kevk
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« Reply #2 on: June 04, 2013, 04:13:46 AM »
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#1 - You are trying to use a spanner instead of a hammer.
Book module is for creating a book layout to send to Blurb for printing - you are twisting its arm very hard to do what you describe.  Smiley

Kevin
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hjulenissen
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« Reply #3 on: June 04, 2013, 05:20:06 AM »
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#1 - You are trying to use a spanner instead of a hammer.
Book module is for creating a book layout to send to Blurb for printing - you are twisting its arm very hard to do what you describe.  Smiley

Kevin
Would not the limitations I describe be annoying when making books as well?

Imagine having a develop module where you are not allowed to drag the "whitebalance" slider nor adjust sharpness, only select between 100 presets called something like "bluecast, little sharpening", "reddish, lots of sharpening", "this one looks good for goats in the sunset"?

-h
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john beardsworth
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« Reply #4 on: June 04, 2013, 05:33:09 AM »
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Sure, there are limitations, it's too template-driven and it's horribly fiddly, but I've made dozens of books with it.
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jrsforums
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« Reply #5 on: June 04, 2013, 09:00:24 AM »
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I am a fan of Lightroom for what I do: manage a library of raw files, edit them and print them one at a time for framing on the wall. I am by no means a power-user, I have learned how to do things that I do commonly with some routine.

Occasionally, I try to use Lightroom for positioning images and text onto pages for printing. "Wait", you say, "there are other Adobe products for doing that". Perhaps so. But why, then, is there a "Book" module in Lightroom?

Today I tried to make a greeting card. Simple stuff. Two images and some text. I want to be able to freely position/resize those two images and a text-box over one or two pages. I believe that Microsoft Word and even Paint will allow me to do so (but without color management and the other photo-centric stuff that I am interested in). I found nothing like that. What I did find was a large list of presets that sort of does what I want, but not quite.

After grumpily accepting the compromises that selecting a preset in the "Book" module lead to, I was confused at the output options. To the right there is a "export to JPEG" button. To the left there is a "export to PDF" button. I want neither, I want to print it. So I go to the print module, Select "Collections->My Greetingcard Book". Guess what, I am redirected to the "Book" module. Grudingly, I export the two book pages as JPEG, then reimport them into Lightroom.

Finally positioning the two images onto a A3+ sheet in the print module is effortless, and I have the print.


Questions:
1. Im I trying to do something that Lightroom was never supposed to do (or even actively limited from doing)?
2. Am I just too UI-challenged to grasp what is a simple thing for the initiated? (I tend to like compact, recyclable concepts, and hate bloated use-once concepts)
3. Am I supposed to RTFM or go watch a Julieanne Kost video, even for such a seemingly basic thing?
4. Am I the only one feeling limited by the Lightroom dependency on templates instead of exposing the parameters directly?

regards
-h

I have the same frustration.  I would love nothing better than to print greeting cards (or similar items) directy from LR Print.

The print module, unfortunately does not have sufficient text and/or image border function to even pull off that simple task....if you want anything more that one block of text and one colored border.

The book module has more function but no ability to print.

Basically, we are forced to go outside of LR.

John
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John
NikoJorj
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« Reply #6 on: June 04, 2013, 09:19:17 AM »
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Adobe made a serious mistake by making the book module template-driven, when it should have followed the perfectly-good example of Print's custom package. Repositioning images by screwing around with cell padding?
Ditto for me - I went through two books so far, with each time a fair amount of frustration not to be able to reposition images comfortably (something I did with ease with the Picture Package Hack in LR2).
LR5beta does not address the issue at all, alas.

Edit : to print cards, it seems however that the Custom Package of the Print Wink module is really more adapted.
The Book module could have been called Blurb module, as it is somehow tied to this publisher.
« Last Edit: June 04, 2013, 09:21:51 AM by NikoJorj » Logged

Nicolas from Grenoble
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« Reply #7 on: June 04, 2013, 11:30:24 AM »
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The Book module could have been called Blurb module, as it is somehow tied to this publisher.

That and the template driven limitations John speaks of is what makes this module less than useful to most. That and the hit or miss QC of the books I've had printed from Blurb forces me ignore the module. I think Apple implemented a better approach although it needs work too. At least the print quality has been consistently very good. Considering how long it took Adobe to produce a book module compared to it's existence in Aperture, kind of disappointing to say the least.

I'd prefer to see Adobe beef up Print.
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Andrew Rodney
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« Reply #8 on: June 04, 2013, 02:12:23 PM »
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The Custom part of the Print module is the best way to go here, rather than the book module.  Arguing about how Lightroom doesn't work will only be useful if the arguments can be used to improve a future version of LR.  The print module does have its limitations, for sure, but for cards one could use a template created in another package as a background image and then overlay one's photograph(s) on top of it.  Yes, it's fiddly... personally I'd probably export the images from Lightroom and use CorelDraw, but there you go...  Smiley

Mike.
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« Reply #9 on: June 05, 2013, 03:44:28 AM »
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4. Am I the only one feeling limited by the Lightroom dependency on templates instead of exposing the parameters directly?
No, it's poor and few people would argue against that some dramatic improvements in the module are needed. As other have pointed out it would be better to call it a photo book option, but then I wouldn't have thought many folk would be gullible enough to assume LR would offer full DTP options anyway.

I think it's useful to realise that it was probably only added as a "Me too" feature to match the photo book options in Aperture and iPhoto. Unfortunately when Blurb offer such a good free and well featured  program as Booksmart it rather shows up the poor feature set of the book module in LR.
In it's defence; If the templates are suitable for the photo book project you want and you're happy with Blurb as the publisher, it does work very well. The exact resizing and sharpening gets almost all the quality Blurb can deliver and, despite Andrew's comment, Blurb are one of the best on demand book publishers with, at least in Europe, good quality control.

If you want a DTP program, use one. InDesign is outstanding, if very expensive, but there are many other options at much lower cost like the open source project Scribus.
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hjulenissen
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« Reply #10 on: June 05, 2013, 04:22:15 AM »
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If you want a DTP program, use one. InDesign is outstanding, if very expensive, but there are many other options at much lower cost like the open source project Scribus.
I get that. I won't spend 100s of dollars on something I do for friends and family one or two times a year. It is more likely that I will use MS Paint or Powerpoint for its superior (!) flexibility in moving and resizing 2 images + some text on a surface to be printed, and rather live with poor rescaling, no color management and having to do photostuff outside of Lightroom.

I still think that being able to do simple (but better than today) text+image prints from within Lightroom would be within a reasonable scope for Lightroom/Book module (more than e.g. video editing). They could probably make the interface a lot cleaner/intuitive by simply having one or more "canvases" where you could drag&drop, position and stretch images and text than that horrible template system. I am sure that there are many other features that Adobe could leave out to ensure that the serious guys would still purchase InDesign.

-h
« Last Edit: June 05, 2013, 04:25:05 AM by hjulenissen » Logged
hjulenissen
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« Reply #11 on: June 05, 2013, 04:31:06 AM »
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I think it's useful to realise that it was probably only added as a "Me too" feature to match the photo book options in Aperture and iPhoto.
I really dislike "me too" features if you mean "tick in a box, who cares if anyone will use it".

-h
« Last Edit: June 05, 2013, 04:33:14 AM by hjulenissen » Logged
john beardsworth
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« Reply #12 on: June 05, 2013, 04:40:27 AM »
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It might be fairer to say that if they had really intended it as "me too" they would have just cloned the custom page stuff from Print. Instead they put a lot of effort into the inflexible and fiddly template-driven cell structure and into adding typographical features.
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Josh-H
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« Reply #13 on: June 05, 2013, 04:52:36 AM »
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That and the template driven limitations John speaks of is what makes this module less than useful to most. That and the hit or miss QC of the books I've had printed from Blurb forces me ignore the module. I think Apple implemented a better approach although it needs work too. At least the print quality has been consistently very good. Considering how long it took Adobe to produce a book module compared to it's existence in Aperture, kind of disappointing to say the least.

I'd prefer to see Adobe beef up Print.

+1

And Slideshow could get a serious upgrade as well.....
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Rhossydd
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« Reply #14 on: June 05, 2013, 05:20:15 AM »
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It might be fairer to say that if they had really intended it as "me too" they would have just cloned the custom page stuff from Print. Instead they put a lot of effort into the inflexible and fiddly template-driven cell structure
I can only assume they think they're making an offering similar to the other album making software kicking around (often supplied by the publisher and badge engineered) much of which is template driven and seemingly aimed at the amateur market.
Quote
adding typographical features.
Which aren't much use if you can't do anything as simple as just put some text anywhere on the page.
I guess a lot of the type controls are easily ported from application to application, so are a no brainer to add.
Frankly Adobe have a poor track record of printing functionality. LR is the best of the bunch, but still has a few gaping holes in it's options.
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john beardsworth
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« Reply #15 on: June 05, 2013, 05:50:42 AM »
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It's a "curate's egg" and the template-driven page layouts are good if you seek consistency. Once you identify a few favourite templates, set up your own Auto Layout presets, and you have a powerful and time-effective way to try out a number of alternative layouts for an entire book. Spend the time reviewing and fine tuning. In an individual text box you've a lot of control over typography, even down to the character level, and you can see the hand of an InDesign developer in those features, perhaps too much. Other features are nicely done too - eg background images and colour

But for the consistency that I like, there is also a lack of flexibility and an awkwardness about many aspects. There are too many templates, and we would have been better served by cloning custom pages from Print, freely-positioned text boxes from Slideshow, and killing off the "Blurb module" theory by allowing custom page dimensions*. And screwing around cell padding just drives me nuts.

John

*Shortly after LR4 was released, Adobe said they planned to publish a method to do this. Knowing what that method was, I think they were right to change their mind - though I am disappointed that custom dimensions aren't in Lr5 Beta.
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Rhossydd
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« Reply #16 on: June 05, 2013, 06:04:17 AM »
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In an individual text box
The absolute frustration for me is that you simply can't create an independent text box.
It can't be that hard to implement, PagePlus 1 had this in a free version back in 1993!
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john beardsworth
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« Reply #17 on: June 05, 2013, 06:19:59 AM »
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Have you tried the Page Text? It's not independent but you can move it almost anywhere with a combination of the Offset and the Cell Padding sliders.
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Rhossydd
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« Reply #18 on: June 05, 2013, 07:01:18 AM »
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Yes I've tried Page Text, it's clunky to set up, but what if you want more than one text box on a page ?

All I want is a simple, draw out a box, fill it with text, as often as is required function. It's available in lots and lots of other packages, so it can't be that hard to implement.

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john beardsworth
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« Reply #19 on: June 05, 2013, 08:11:05 AM »
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Yes I've tried Page Text, it's clunky to set up, but what if you want more than one text box on a page ?
All I want is a simple, draw out a box, fill it with text, as often as is required function. It's available in lots and lots of other packages, so it can't be that hard to implement.
I don't disagree. It's available in other parts of Lightroom....
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