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Fine Art Books

Tips on Using the Design Tool

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Using the PreFlight feature, you can see issues that arise in your photo book in before you send it to print. Every time you open a saved book the PreFlight window will automatically open and show any issues, e.g. low resolution images, empty caption or image boxes, or empty pages. You will also see the PreFlight summary window before you agree to send the book to PhotoBook Press for printing.

PreFlight Summary Window

The color of the box at the left indicates the seriousness of the problems within the book. You can see the page number, review the problem description, identify which image is at fault, and go directly to the page to make changes (by clicking on the box/arrow icon).

You can always see the PreFlight summary window by clicking on File and selecting Preflight...

Opening the PreFlight window

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Two-Page Spreads

Any of your pictures can be used as a background for a two-page spread. Just drag a picture from the Image Browser to a page (but not onto a frame), and when asked “Would you like your picture to be used as a background for a single page, or across a two-page spread?” click the Two-Page Spread button.

Inserting a Two Page Spread

Ensure that your images have enough content for the bleed (see the note on bleeds) and that any important feature is not centered exactly in the gutter.

Two Page Spread

This image (above) is a full image. It can also be made more transparent (see the note on Transparency) for a great backgound effect with other images on top.

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One-Page Spreads

You can also place an image as a single page spread, with bleed, for use as a full page picture or as a background with other images placed on top of it.

Single Page Spread w/ bleed

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Images Placed on a Page

You can place one or more images any where on a page. Use a free-form placement or choose from the selection of layout options in the layout selection window. If you create a "custom" layout that you particularly like and which you will use again, save it as a layout to be added to your layout selection window.

Images on a Page

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Captions or Text Placed on a Page

You can add captions or text and place them any where on a page. Cut and paste your written content, or start new, and format it to suit your design. You can use any font that is resident on your computer. Note that the text does not "flow" one caption box to the next (you would need InDesign to have that functionality), so when you proof you will have to make sure you haven't accidentally cut off some text on one of the pages.

  • Insert a New Caption - Using Right Click or Insert (from Tool Bar)

  • Size and Position the Caption Box
    1. Right Click on Caption
    2. Select Position & Size
    3. Specify Width & Height
    4. Position by dragging or specifying the X & Y points.

  • Cut and Paste your text content into the Caption Box (be careful to not "cut off" text at the bottom of the box.

See the YouTube video on creating caption boxes, and custom page layouts here.

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Create a Custom Page Layout

You can simplify your design process by creating and saving a custom layout. Create a page with the caption box(es) and picture box(es) the way that you want, and then "Save Page as Layout"...

Captions on a Page

Once a Layout has been saved, you can re-use it as many times as you want. Just drag the Layout icon on to the desired page...

Save as many templates as you have ideas. This works particularly well when you want to have mirroring page, e.g. text always on the outside with images toward the gutter.

See the YouTube video on creating custom page layouts here.

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Partial-Page Spreads

Any of your pictures can be used as a background for a partial-page spread. Just drag & drop a picture from the Image Browser to a page (but not onto a frame), and when the “How to Drop?” dialog box appears, click the Add a Picture or Layout a Picture button.

Drag & Drop a PictureHow to Drop Dialog Box

Size the image to suit your design by grabbing the corners or any of the sides, and move the image around to ensure important features are not centered exactly in the gutter. Move your image out to the bleed marks if you want any part of the picture to go to the edge of the page. Ensure that your images have enough resolution for the larger size.

Partial Page Spread

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Adjusting & Positioning Images

Position images

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Any image printed right up to the edge needs to have 1/8th inch extra that extends beyond the final trimmed edge of the page. This is so that when the book block is assembled and trimmed to its final size, there are no unexpected lines or blank spaces showing. The Design Tool automatically inserts background images with the correct bleed. Any image that you add as an inserted image, and which will print to the edge, must account for the required bleed.

Allow for bleed

You can toggle the bleed view on and off by clicking on View and selecting Bleed. Keep Bleed on to lay out pages and correctly position images. Turn Bleed off to see what the trimmed pages will look like.

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Adjusting Image Transparency

Images can have more or less transparency to make interesting backgrounds or effects. To adjust transparency, click on Format and choose Fade.

Image Fade Adjustment

Transparency Filter

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Black & White, Sepia & Image Enhancement Filters

The Design Tool has several automatic effects, in addition to Fade, that are interesting and fun. Select from the icons in the tool bar at the top of the design work space to turn your color images into Black & White,

Black & White Filter

or into a old fashioned Sepia.

Sepia Filter

Choose the Perfectly Clear button and select from a number of options for automated image enhancements.

Automatic Image Enhancement

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Aligning pictures

After clicking on an image, use the photo tool bar at the top of the work space to align images within a page.

You can align a group of images by clicking on the layout tab...

Or, you can right click on the image and align it from there...

You can also assure that your pictures will be properly aligned with each other, as well as relative to the page, by using the Show Grid & Snap to Grid controls located under the View menu. To adjust grid spacing, use the Setup Grid control.

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Removing & duplicating pages, frames & pictures

Many common modifications to the book elements can be made through the Edit command. Choose Edit at the top of the work sheet, or Right Click on an item (e.g. image) to see the editing options.

Editing Options

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Photo book cover

The design process for the cover of your photo book is the same as for the interior pages. You can use one full spread or you can use separate backgrounds for each of the front & back covers. Frames captions, grids, and so on behave exactly as they do within the book.


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Designing pages in Adobe Photoshop® If you plan to design some or all of your pages in Adobe Photoshop®, there are a few more things you need to know: Bleed – when one or more sides of a printed image touch the edge of the paper. The use of bleed guarantees that the finished (cropped) page will look neat & precise. The page bleed allowance should be 1/8 inch at all four sides of the page. The bleed area (i.e. beyond the crop marks) will be trimmed off. If you use a background color or image, it should fill the entire page including the bleed area. For example, if your printed page size is 9.0 inch wide, your page design should be 9.25 inch wide with the bleed (1/8” + 9.0” + 1/8”).

2 Page Spread – this is a page design than spans both right & left-hand pages. The pages are centered at the gutter where they are bound into the spine. Although our sewn books lay very flat, some small portion of the spread may be bound into (and partially hidden within) the spine. This, in of itself, is not a problem, but it does require a bit of special attention when using an external tool, such as Adobe Photoshop to create your page designs:

Be sure to leave bleed on all 4 sides. The PhotoBook Press Designer software will automatically adjust any background used as if it has a bleed designed into it.

Keep important design details at least 1/8” from all sides of the page (1/4” is even better) so that unwelcome trimming does not occur.

Keep important design details, e.g. faces or couples standing close together, an extra 1/2″ away from the center binding (this is in addition to the bleed you leave on all 4 sides of the page). There is no need to plan for a “center bleed,” just the four outside edges. The software will adjust the spread pages for the effect of the gutter.

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Ordering Your Photo Book

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