Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Creating a Coffee Table Masterpiece 03

east africa by Six weeks in Tanzania, Kenya and Rwanda by Robin Nichols | Make Your Own Book
Well, one month after returning from East Africa I've finally finished my blurb book. I am sure I'm the last in the group to have done this!

Actually, I raced through this a little bit just so I could post it online so that you folks can have a look at what you can achieve. This is by no means my best effort, I could have spent a lot more time working on HD are and panoramic images are example, and photo shopping the bejesus out of all the images. I chose just to correct my mistakes, and inaccuracies made on the laptop, along with some final sharpening, before putting the book together.
As you can see in the BLURB preview above, one of the most important things is to break up the 'full page, full page, two images, full-page, full-page, two images' repetition I see in all the books posted in the Blurb online bookshop. This is because users simply choose a familiar template and run that again and again, through 100 or so pages. It gets boring after about 12 or 15, so:

Tip One: Break up your book with double-page spreads, stitched panoramas, and even by creating a different visual by flipping images from the left page to the right page. To do this, choose your shot, add it to a full left-hand page, then copy and paste it to the right-hand page. Select it (click on it once), then use the photo tools at the top of the Blurb page to flip the photo horizontally. You'll find some pictures look fantastic while others don't. You might have to fiddle around until you get the right combination. Doing this in between each section is a great way to put strong visual breaks into the book design. In the example here, I Cloned in extra trees and removed a few other things just to make the two identical but flipped pages look a bit less symmetrical. But not by much...

Tip Two: If you choose an image wrap book (this means the photo chosen for the cover is bonded onto the outside of the book with the edges wrapped round the) be careful not to have text/images too close to the edges. You need to keep important stuff at least one inch (2.5cms) off the edge as some cropping occurs when the cover is wrapped. I only discovered this AFTER I uploaded the darn book so had to redo the art then upload again. Another 600Mb upload.
Tip Three: Another technique I used was to choose a suitable picture for a wide spread and duplicated it (here labelled 'AmboseliLeft.jpg' and 'AmboseliRight.jpg'. I extended the Canvas Size of Amboseli left by 50% using black, then used Photoshop's Gradient tool (set to a black-to-transparent gradient) to fade the newly-added black pixels on the left of the picture into the left-hand edge of the photo. It does not matter if the image ends up too wide because only the bit in the template window shows through. Load both into Blurb and drag both the LH and RH versions into the pages. Depending on the nature of the image, you then enlarge both using the Magnify tool at the top of the page, move the RH image as far left as possible and the LH image as far right as possible to reveal the graduated edge. If it is not fitting, enlarge the images more and try to re-align.

Tip Four: You can create a similar effect, but without the complexity of a gradation, by simply enlarging the images and moving them left and right so they bleed over the page. Only try this with photos that don't have essential details along the picture edges because some of the image will be lost.

Clickonprint books - More on working with Blend Modes later...

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