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Creating Photo Books with Blurb presents three separate workflows for creating and publishing books that showcase photographs using the Blurb self-publishing service. The course starts with an exploration of photo bookmaking in BookSmart, Blurb's free desktop software, then shows how to make a simple photo book in Bookify, Blurb's online bookmaking service. The course also covers Blurb's PDF to Book plug-in for use with custom books created in Adobe InDesign, as well as information on ordering copies of photo books and selling them in the Blurb online bookstore.
Many photographers, particularly pros, use Adobe Lightroom to organize their photos. Lightroom is a useful alternative to bridge in Photoshop for most of the tasks you would do to choose and prepare photos for use in BookSmart. In earlier movies I showed you how to do some of those tasks using Bridge in Photoshop and mentioned that you could do some of those things in Lightroom. Let's take a closer look now at preparing and exporting photos from Lightroom for import into BookSmart. I am working in Lightroom 3 where I imported all of the photos that you see here into this catalog or database.
I will select all photographs and then I can see thumbnails of all of the photographs in this catalog, regardless of where they're located in my folder structures. That will help me select the photos that I want to use in my BookSmart book. I can move pretty quickly through lots of photos by just looking at them here in the content area, clicking on a photo that I want to include in my book, and then holding the Command key on the Mac, the Ctrl key on the PC, as I click on some other photos that I want to add to my book. When I have them all selected I will go to the Collections panel where I'm going to create a virtual collection of just those photos.
I will press the plus key (+) here and I will choose Create Collection. I will type a name for this collection, valley book, and I'll leave Include selected photos checked and click Create. Now when the valley book collection is selected over here I see thumbnails of just the photos that I chose for my book. One of the reasons that I decided to put these in a virtual collection is that in a collection I can change the order of the thumbnails in this grid. As an example let's say that I want this photo to come after the one on the right.
I will click it to select it and then I will drag over to the right. And I'll take this photo over to the right as well by clicking it and dragging over this way. Since these photos are going to be brought into BookSmart they need to be in either JPEG or PNG format, but if I move my mouse over each one of these photos to see its filename and format I find out that this first photo is a TIFF and this photo here is a DNG photo, which is a raw file. These are JPEGs so they're okay as is, but these two photos won't be able to be imported into BookSmart so I need to have a copy of the photos in the JPEG format.
And the way to do that in Lightroom is to export a copy of each photo in the new format. In previous movies I have talked about other things you can do to prepare photos for BookSmart. A lot of those things can be done in Lightroom's Export dialog box all at the same time and to a whole group of photos at once. I am going to select all four of these photos by pressing Command+A on my keyboard, Ctrl+A on a PC, and then I will go to the File menu and I will choose Export. As I said, I will be exporting a copy of each photo so I need to choose a destination for those copies.
From this first menu I am going to choose Desktop as the destination. I will check Put in Subfolder and I have typed put a name for the subfolder there, valley book. If I want the copies to be added to this Lightroom catalog so that that Lightroom can keep track of them, I will check Add to Catalog, but that's optional. Then I am going to come down to the File Naming section. In an earlier movie that Bridge I explained that I like to rename files to start with sequential numbers that represent the order in which I have sequenced the photos to be used in my book.
Now this isn't a BookSmart requirement but I just find it's really helpful. I'm going to check Rename and then I will go to this menu and I am going to choose to rename with a Filename and a Sequence number. Here is an example of how the files would be renamed. I actually what the sequence number to come before the filename, so I will go back to the Rename menu and I will choose Edit to open the Filename Template Editor. I'm going to drag Filename after Sequence and then I will click Done. So now the example looks right except that I want my new file names to start with the number 28 so that they fall into place right behind the photos I have already brought into my BookSmart library.
I will go over to Start Number and I will change that to 28. Next, I will go to the File Settings area and I want to make sure that Format is set to JPEG. I can leave the photo quality of my JPEG's somewhere between 85 and 100, and then I'll go to Color Space. In an earlier advanced movie about the color management I mentioned that Blurb recommends but doesn't require that BookSmart images be in the sRGB color space for the most accurate color reproduction on Blurb's printers because that's the color space that the printers are expecting.
I am going to go to the Color Space menu and change that to sRGB. I will scroll down to the Image Sizing area here. The maximum resolution that you can have in a BookSmart file is 300 pixels per inch and many photographers like to include the maximum resolution. I can do that here by typing 300. As I have explained in an earlier movie, I don't usually resize my photos before I bring them into BookSmart. Instead, I use BookSmart's resizing and cropping tools to do that for me. But if I were going to do something like bring a lot of very small images onto one page in a BookSmart book, maybe onto a catalog page for a photo exhibition, or maybe a yearbook page, then I might resize them down to fit a specific width and height here. But I am just going to leave that for now.
I will scroll all the way down. There's nothing more for me to change so I will click Export. And Light room is exporting JPEG copies of each of these photos with the settings that I chose in the Export dialog box. Now I am going to switch over to Blurb BookSmart again and here I'm going to import the JPEGs that Lightroom created for me by going to the Get Photos button and choosing My Computer and then I will navigate to the valley book folder in which I saved those four JPEGs, as you can see, and click Choose.
And the four JPEGs are imported. You can see them here at the bottom of the My Photos library. So, as you can see, Lightroom is a useful alternative to Bridge and Photoshop for preparing images for use in BookSmart. There is one thing you can't do in Lightroom, at least so far, which is to soft proof images to see how they'll look on Blurb's printers as I explained how to do in the earlier advanced movie on color management. But that really is an advanced and optional step, so most users don't need to do that anyway and Lightroom will suit their needs just fine.
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