Places Amongst Us by Douglas Stockdale
Yesterday afternoon I received my “printing proof” of my SoFoBoMo book Places Amongst Us, my softbound printed by Blurb.
And of course, its one of those good news, bad news things. First the bad news. I am a goof.
Okay, the very first thought as I open the Burb mailer; these guys can’t even trim a softbound book correctly! So as I was working my way up for a full frontal assault with Burb, I thought I had better double check my BookSmart template file. I had been working for a while on the cover to get the reverse (white) printing to lay over some specific dark areas of the full bleed cover. Yep, I am a goof.
I was so caught up trying to get the cover copy alignment correct, that I had moved the photograph up in the template window so that the bottom edge was no longer covered. The issue for me is that the non-photographic area is a light gray, thus visually I did not see that as white non-print area. But I also was so sure that I had the cover right, I did not double check the cover while in the review mode, which would have shown the bottom 1/8″ as a white strip. Did I mention that I was a goof?
Part of my rationalization for while this occured is the SoFoBoMo deadline, sort of a rush to judgement as I completed this hours before the deadline. I make mistakes all of the time, I am a poor editor and probably even a worse proof-reader. Thus my normal way of making a book is to keep it private, and print myself a print proof, like I did with my other Blurb book which is still waiting in the wings, In Passing. Then I can look at the resulting printing and make some adjustments before I committ it to the world. And then to have to let everyone know that I am a goof. grrrrr
The good news; the softcover book looks pretty good!
I also have the advantage of having one of the photographs for comparison printed in my other book, Sharpening Photographs for Blurb Printing (shamless plug). The two images look very close, which is an indication of printing consistency. Although I am a charter member of Blurb’s B3 group, I did not use their B3 color managed printing workflow. It does add a little cost to use that printing process, but the purpose of a softcover book is to keep the costs at a minimum to make it easy to purchase. So I do plan to use the B3 color manged workflow later with a hardbound version that will be in a Limited Edition.
Since I did not add titles to the images, almost the entire page is the photograph with the BookSmart template I used. But that does push the inside edge of the photogaph closer to the gutter (middle binding area) and thus “cramps” the photograph a little. Due to the small format (7″ x 7″), the softcover book does not naturaly open as wide on its own and the adjacent page/photographs get very close together. Maybe because the book is so new and bit inflexible.
I also quickly noticed that the digital camera photograph look a little nicer and less constrasty than the film/scan photographs. Some of the digital images look a little “off’ from what I remember, thus I need to go back and review the book with the BookSmart template file. But other images are just about right on.
The difference maybe a skill or workflow issue with me as I make the transition from the Photoshop file (.psd, AdobeRGB, 16 bit, layered, full size) to the Blurb file (.jpg, sRGB, 8 bit, one layer, at size) with the biggie issue of converting to and using the Blurb color profile. At the moment, I make the color adjustments for the sRGB with my curves adjustment before I flatten the Photoshop (.psd) file. Maybe I need to make the color/contrast adjustments directly on the final JPEG Blurb file as I ajust to the color space differences between Photoshop (AdobeRGB) and the standard Blurb color managed worflow in sRGB?
I know that Anita has been asking about the paper used by Blurb, but I think the issue really might be the color management of the phtotograph. To get really in sync with the Blurb halftone printing process with their HP Indigo 5000 printers I think makes a big difference. I hit it correctly most of the time, but I also missed it with some slightly odd greens and some slightly washed out skies.
Another reason that I prefer to privately publish the book and keep making some tweaks before going public. Much like I do with my printer here in my studio. But to keep buying copies of the book with each tweak is also nonsence. So the better I get the workflow nailed down, the better chance I have of getting this right the first time, eh?
And so I continue my learning curve and hopefully this can be of help for you too,
Best regards, Doug
Oh, and for a square formatt book, it would be nice that Blurb offered a larger size than 7″ x 7”