Common Mistakes We Find in Photobooks

As we see Photobooks come in, we are always checking through them for any defects or production issues before we send them out. We want you to get the best Photobook possible. While doing that, we sometimes notice layout problems or mistakes in a few.

I figured a great post would be to let everyone know what these mistakes are and some suggestions for fixing or preventing them. There are 3 common ones I’d like to share.

 

1. Putting a face or important image right in the gutter area.

As you see here, sometimes a layout will call for an image to spread from one page to another. This puts an image into the gutter where the book is bound together. In the example below, you can see the face is going right down the middle and you might loose some of it when the book is put together.

This is not what you want…

 

To fix this, try using an image that doesn’t have a face or important right in the middle. The images still look great going from one page to another, but by using an image that has the subject off to the side, it will turn out much better.

There. That’s better.

 

2. Having text or logo in the gutter area.

Much like the problem above, having text or a logo in the gutter is not a good idea. It is ever worse than having an image there because the words just won’t read properly. Loosing a bit affects the text a lot.

This will read “Baly’s firt Chrismas 200″ after being bound. Not what we want.

Now, unlike above, we can’t just swap another image in there. The best option is to just avoid the issue entirely. Move the layout around so you never have text running through the middle like that.

Layout is different, but the problem is gone.

 

3. Images and text too close to the edge.

This is really common. When a book or design is trimmed down after printing, we cut away what is called the “bleed” area. This is an extra 1/8″ area around the design where the artwork and colour continues past the final dimensions of the book. Objects right against the edge of the design fall into this “bleed” area.

The top of this type might be cut off in the finished product. Notice the warning.

To fix this, simply leave a gap between anything important that you don’t want cut off and the edge of the design.

Ha! Take that “bleed” area. No text getting cut off now!

 

Hopefully these tips help you when you create your books. As long as you keep an eye out fro these common mistakes, you can be sure your book will look great!

 

Desinger Tips: Fake Your Way to a Blank Canvas

A blank canvas can be used with the Photobooks. It basically allows you to create a book from scratch with nothing else on the page. As it stands right now, you can’t do that as a “theme” with the other products yet. We are working on adding blank templates to each product, but we are not there at the moment.

So, to get a blank canvas, you will need Fake Your Way as the post title says. Remember, this is all photo products except Photobooks.

1. The first step is to choose your item. Whichever photo product you want to work with.

2. Choose any “theme”.

3. Once you get to step 3, click the customize button.

4. Select each object on the design and click delete. This will clear everything off of your canvas.

Once all the objects are gone,you have your blank canvas. From here, you are free to do whatever you want! Sorry there isn’t an easier way yet, but this is the temporary work around for those of you who don’t want to use a pre-designed theme for your project.

 

Hope this helps!

Designer Tips: Opacity and Brightness

A really cool effect you can use in your designs is changing the opacity or brightness of an object. It works great for faded backgrounds, or if you are using a photo to show a memory. It adds a softness to the image or object or fades it out enough so you can write on top of it (think Guest Books or Greeting Cards).

To change this setting, first make sure you have clicked the “customize” button or are in “designer” mode. Then, just click on an object and find the opacity (brightness for background images) option. Slide your mouse left or right and see what kind of effect works for you.

 

The word of this setting changes based on the type of object you select. Background images say Brightness, as there is nothing behind them to show through. Opacity is the option when selecting any other object since objects below it can be seen through it.

It’s a neat tool that can add a really nice effect. You can also do this with text blocks. This is a great trick to use when you want text on an image that it is tough to read. Add a coloured box behind the text with a low opacity. It gives you just enough of a base to make text readable but also lets the image behind it show through.

Understanding DPI and Resolution for Poster Printing

It isn’t always easy figuring out what kind of file you need to print an image and once you get into large format, it becomes even more difficult. Hopefully, this article will help you figure out what is needed when printing large format posters and displays. We should start with some clarifications of the terms we will use.

Large Format is the term we use for prints that are larger than what typical digital presses can handle or something that will be printed on our large format printer. In our case, large format would apply to any of the poster items.

Resolution is the measurement of the pixel count a camera can output or that a image file was created at. Pixels are the number of dots horizontally across an image multiplied by the number of pixels vertically of the image. When you see that an image is 2000 x 3000, that number is the resolution. This number is often used when measuring a camera’s picture quality. High resolutions usually only help when blowing up a picture for large format. You can tell what an image’s resolution is (on a PC) by right clicking it and selecting properties, then clicking details. On a MAC you can find this by right clicking and going to “Get Info”.

DPI stands for Dots per Inch. This is the measurement of clarity or quality of an image. The number of pixels in a square inch of the image is how DPI is determined.

Alright, with those terms out of the way, let’s get back to how to figure out what resolution and DPI you need to print. It is a sliding scale depending on a few factors: distance of the viewer from image, size and intended use of the print. Resolution determines the size you should print and DPI determines distance it should be view from.

 

If you are viewing an image from close up you should have somewhere between 250-300 DPI. If you are a few steps back you can probably get away with between 150 and 250 DPI. The farther back you go, the lower the DPI can be. The eye tends to clump details together as distance increases. If this is an outdoor display and the viewer is going to be even farther away, you could go as low as 70 DPI. If you ever get the chance, go look at a billboard up close. Chances are it is really bad quality, but looks great when driving by.

There is a simple formula you can use to figure out how large you can go or how large you should go based on intended use. The goal here is to not resort to re-sampling the photo using software. Ready for some math?

 

Resolution/dpi = print size (use known resolution divided by desired DPI for each dimension).

Ie. 2000 x 1500 image at 200 dpi means I can print an image at: 10”x7.5”

2000/200 = 10  and  1500/200 = 7.5   which means  10×7.5.

 

Dpi x print size = resolution (use desired DPI times desired print size for each dimension).

Ie. I want to print a 16×20 at 250 DPI. My image would have to be: 4000×5000.

250 * 16 = 4000  and  250 * 20 = 5000  so…. Resolution = 4000×5000

 

So now that the math part is done, you know roughly how to figure out what you need to print what you want when it comes to large format. There is usually no point going higher than 300 DPI as the human eye has trouble picking up anything higher than that anyway. Here is a chart you can use as a sort of large format cheat sheet.

Size

100 DPI  Resolution

200 DPI Resolution

300 DPI Resolution

12 x 16

1200 x 1600

2400 x 3200

3600 x 4800

16 x 20

1600 x 2000

3200 x 4000

4800 x 6000

20 x 24

2000 x 2400

4000 x 4800

6000 x 7200

20 x 30*

2000 x 3000

4000 x 6000

6000 x 9000

24 x 36*

2400 x 3600

4800 x 7200

7200 x 10800

30 x 40*

3000 x 4000

6000 x 8000

9000 x 12000

36 x 48*

3600 x 4800

7200 x 9600

10800 x 14400

*We currently don’t offer all of these sizes online, but this just gives an idea of how it scales.

How To: Manage Your Images

It is always easier to design things with Photos when you are organized. That is why we have a Photo Management tool for you. You can sort your uploaded images into albums for easy access and find what you need quickly. Organize it by project, person, event or whatever else makes sense to you.

The get started, click on the “My Images” tab on the menu. That will bring you to the tool. Make sure you login when you get there. You will see a screen with all of the images you’ve uploaded into your projects, along with some tools down at the bottom.

From here, you need to create an album and give it a name. That will place it along the left side of the window. Now, you can drag your photos 1 by 1 into that album and they will move from the main “My Photos” page to the album you made. Just a note about moving images.. if your images are large it may take a while to “move”. Just keep dropping the next one in line into your album even if the first one doesn’t seem to move yet. It is processing and will disappear when finished.

You can also delete unwanted images here. Do that by dragging an image onto the trash can and clicking delete when prompted.

Now you know how to sort and organize your photos to make it even easier to create your awesome projects. Hope this helps and happy GroupBooking!

How To: Import Photos From Facebook

Facebook is by far the largest social network out there and it also has the most photos. Most of us who have accounts also have several albums up on there too. Same goes for our friends. The Groupbook software, lets you get those photos from Facebook and put them into your Photobook.

To start, begin a new project or load an old one. Then, at the photo uploading stage, select Facebook instead of upload from computer. This will prompt you to login using you Facebook account. You will need to allow our software to access your account and then you can start grabbing your images. All of your own images will be available, and those of your friends which have been made public can be uploaded too. This is a great tool for making a surprise Photobook for your friends or family too.

Something to remember though… Early on, Facebook didn’t allow large, high quality photos to be uploaded. So be careful when placing them in your book. Some might be low quality (look for the “!” on you photo to see if it is low quality). Newer pictures, roughly October 2010 or newer (don’t quote me on this though, it is a rough date based the date of the news about allowing Hi Res images), can be high quality if that is what you uploaded to Facebook in the first place.

Hope that helps you out and makes creating your Photobook even more fun!

 

Here is a video showing how to get those Facebook photos.