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- Planning a photo book
- Color managing photos for BookSmart
- Laying out pages in BookSmart
- Troubleshooting image size in BookSmart
- Importing photos to Bookify
- Adding, deleting, and moving pages in Bookify
- Downloading and installing Blurb's InDesign plug-in
- Uploading a PDF to Blurb
- Ordering and selling photo books
Skill Level Beginner
If you have chosen Blurb's PDF to Book bookmaking method, it's fair to assume you're a creative professional who expects the closest possible match between the way your photos look in your printed book and the way the photos look on your monitor as you are preparing them for your book. So, this movie sets out a color managed workflow for preparing your photos for Blurb bookmaking in InDesign. Adobe Photoshop is the best program to use to prepare your photos for this workflow because it integrates well with InDesign and it has a soft proofing feature for seeing how an RGB image will look printed on Blurb CMYK printers.
As of now, other image editing programs like Elements or iPhoto or even Lightroom don't allow for soft proofing. By the way, some of the steps in this PDF to Book workflow are similar to steps I described in the movie in Chapter 02 about color managing your photos for BookSmart. So I'm not going to repeat everything I said there in this movie. I will just refer you back to that movie for further explanation of some steps. That's true of the first thing I am going to tell you to do in the PDF to Book workflow, which is to download and install the Blurb ICC profile which you can access from this page online.
The Blurb ICC color profile describes the way that Blurb's HP Indigo CMYK printers reproduce color. You will be using the printer profile to soft proof in Photoshop later in this movie. I explained how to download and where to install the same profile back in Chapter 02 in the movie on color managing for BookSmart. So if you downloaded and installed it then, there's no need to do so again. If you didn't, go back and look at that movie for information on where to install this profile. The next step is to calibrate and profile your monitor using the calibration hardware and software and the same procedure that I explained earlier in that same movie on color managing for BookSmart.
You will use a device called a colorimeter, like this one, to measure and help you adjust the brightness and color display of your monitor so that it's accurate. The third step in the PDF to Book workflow is to set your color settings in Photoshop. These will control how Photoshop displays color in your images while you're editing and soft proofing. I am going to go to the Edit menu in Photoshop and go down to Color Settings. In this dialog box, I'll go to the RGB Working Space. And here, I'm going to choose a relatively wide gamut working space for editing photos, either ProPhoto RGB or Adobe RGB (1998). I'll choose that.
Then I'll go to the CMYK Working Space, and here I'm going to choose a flavor of CMYK that mimics what Blurb's printers will use. So I'll choose the Blurb_ICC_profile.icc. You'll only see this menu choice if you have gone ahead and installed the Blurb ICC profile as I explained a few moments ago. Then I'm going to click the More Options button, and here I'll go down to the Conversion Options and I'll leave the Conversion Engine set to Adobe (ACE). Then I'll go to the Rendering Intent menu.
Rendering Intent controls how colors that are out of the printable gamut of the printer are handled. The best choice for Blurb books is Perceptual so that's what I will choose from this menu. And I will leave these options with a checkmark and I will click OK. Later, when I use InDesign to lay out my book, I will set the color settings in that program exactly the same way. I have opened a photo here in Photoshop to explain the next step, which is about color mode. Like most photos straight out of a digital camera, this photo is in RGB color mode, as you can see here in the document tab.
I will be placing this image into a book that will ultimately be printed by Blurb's printers in a different color mode, CMYK color mode. So, at some time before that printing happens, my photos will be converted from RGB to CMYK. At this point, I have a choice about how to handle that color conversion. One option is to leave this and my other photos for the book in RGB color mode throughout the process of photo editing in Photoshop, of designing the book in InDeign, and of uploading to Blurb.
In that case, the photos would be converted to CMYK press side at Blurb's printer. I prefer the second option, and that is to convert the images to CMYK myself, using the Blurb ICC profile that I've downloaded and installed. I am going to choose this route because it gives me the control over the RGB to CMYK conversion. So, here's how that workflow goes. Leaving this photo in RGB color mode, I will make my initial edits in Photoshop. Those might be corrections to color and tone, noise reduction, sharpening, and so on.
Since this isn't a course in Photoshop, let's just assume that I've done that. Next, I want to see how the colors in the photo will look printed by Blurb's printer in the CMYK color mode. So I'm going to soft proof using the Blurb printer profile that I installed earlier. I will go up to the View menu, I will choose Proof Setup, and I will choose Custom. That opens this dialog box. I will go to Device to Simulate, and from that menu I'm going to choose the Blurb_ICC_Profile.
Again, you won't see this menu choice unless you downloaded and installed the Blurb ICC profile from the Blurb website. As I said before, the best Rendering Intent to use for Blurb books is Perceptual. So I'll choose that. I'm going to leave Black Point Compensation checked to preserve shadow detail, and I'm not going to check these display options, Simulate Paper Color or Black Ink. I'll click OK. Now if I go up to the View menu, notice that Proof Colors is checked, and that means that I'm currently looking at this photo through the Blurb printer profile, simulating how the colors will look printed by Blurb's CMYK color.
Another indication that soft proofing is on is here in the document tab where I see the label Blurb_ICC_Profile. So, with soft proofing on, I will now make any further corrections I decide are necessary in Photoshop to make the colors look accurate as they will be when printed on Blurb's printer. For example, I might increase the color saturation or image contrast using Photoshop adjustment layers. I will just quickly add a Vibrance adjustment layer here and I'll increase the Vibrance a bit. I will go back and add a Brightness Contrast adjustment layer, and I will increase the Contrast.
After I have got the image looking just the way I want it while I am soft proofing, I'm ready to convert the photo to CMYK, again using that Blurb printer profile. So, I'll go up to the Edit menu, I will choose Convert to Profile, and in the Convert to Profile dialog box I will make sure that profile is set to Blurb_ICC_Profile. In the Conversion Options area, I will use the Adobe (ACE) engine. I'll make sure that the Rendering Intent is set to Perceptual.
I will leave Black Point Compensation checked and, particularly if there's a large area of sky, I will Use Dither to avoid any banding. With Preview checked I can see how the image will look when converted to CMYK. I will click OK and that accomplishes the conversion. You can see in the document tab that this photo is now in CMYK color mode. Down at the bottom of the document window I am just going to check that the photo is large enough for the frame in which I intend to put it on a page in InDesign.
I am going to use a very small frame for this photo so this size is okay. I'm also going to check that the Resolution is set to 300 pixels per inch, which is the maximum resolution for Blurb's printers. If it's not, I will open the Image Size dialog box and change the Resolution to 300 pixels per inch, as I showed you how to do earlier in this course in the movie about prepping photos for BookSmart. Finally, I'll save the photo in a format that can place in InDesign, like TIF or PSD. I will go to the File menu, I will choose Save As, I will save this on my desktop. And I am going to save it in the TIF format, and I want to make sure to leave Embed Color Profile checked so that the Blurb ICC profile is embedded with this copy of the image, and I will click Save.
I will leave these TIFF compression options at their defaults and click OK here, and now I've prepared this copy of the image to be placed in my book layout in InDesign.