Join Michael Ninness for an in-depth discussion in this video Print plus digital: Magazines, part of InDesign CS4: Interactive Documents and Presentations.
Here is another trend that I think is pretty interesting and kind of cool. It's a way that print publishers are using the Internet to compliment your print subscription with digital versions. This is a website called Coverleaf. And it's got a small number of participating titles here. I think this is a little bit of an experiment by the industry. We'll see where this goes if it becomes popular. But the idea here is if you are a print subscriber to any of the participating titles in this service, you get free access as part of your print subscription to all the digital versions of that particular magazine.
The other advantage of this particular website is it let's you browse and seek out other magazines that you might be interested in. And of course, if you are not a subscriber then they are going to try to get you subscribe by giving you a preview of the print magazine, by showing you a print replica on screen. So here is an example, here is I.D. Magazine, a popular industrial designer design magazine here. And I don't have an active print subscription here but I can preview the current issues. So I'll click the look inside button, and this will launch a digital viewer, if you will, of the current issue here. And you can scroll from page to page to get an idea of what some of the content looks like, see the table of contents.
At some point, they will let you know that this is just a preview and they will get you to try to subscribe or purchase this individual issue here. I will go ahead and close this box here though, but this gives you a thumbnail view of the current issue, and you can scroll through there and get an idea of what the content is about. So they are kind of doing two things here, they are promoting the current issue and giving you a preview of that and then getting you to buy it. But also promoting the service that if you are already a print subscriber, you can do all sorts of interesting things with the digital version. You can search them. You can create clippings of articles. You can share those articles by E-mailing them to other people.
So a nice way to augment your current print subscription. Another website that I find pretty interesting, it's Maghound. This is actually a site that's powered by Time Inc. So a pretty popular high volume publisher of many titles. But they are working with a lot of other publishers as well to create a subscription, subscription service, kind of a double word there. It's like a Netflix type of thing where for a flat monthly rate you choose any magazine you want, a certain number of magazines of the available titles that are participating here.
So you can see some of the issues scrolling by there. Let's go to How It Works for a flat fee. I think their early entry model or their lowest entry tier here is Tier 1. It's three magazines titles for $4.95 a month. You pick any three participating magazines that are part of this program, and these are not digital versions. These are actually print versions that are mailed to you as part of your subscription. So you can actually see that you can go up to five magazines or seven magazines a month, and your cost goes up a little bit each level. And you can add even more and pay a per-magazine title fee there.
This is a monthly service so any time you can cancel or you can even swap out magazines. So if you have a magazine for a couple of months and decide that you don't want that one anymore, you want to swap it out with a different title. They let you manage your account online. You can just choose a different title and start getting that magazine So for those of you who actually do like print and like receiving your magazines in your mailbox and you'd like to archive them and actually flip through the physical paper there, this is kind of an interesting hybrid here of using an Internet based service to manage your magazine subscriptions.
Pretty affordable as well, I mean this is a lot cheaper than actually buying individual cover issues off the newsstand or even individual subscriptions to individual magazines. So again, we'll see does this grow or does this become a popular trend. And more magazines will participate or will this be a fad and be gone in a year or two. Don't really know but just an example of some of the experimentation happening in digital or hybrid publishing, kind of combining the benefits of the web with the beauty in convenience of print.
- Configuring a custom InDesign workspace for designing digital documents
- Building slide navigation buttons for interactive presentations
- Adding reflection effects to images within a presentation
- Using InDesign to build an interactive mood board
- Creating an interactive digital spiral-bound portfolio
- Using InDesign and Flash Professional to build and animate a digital magazine
- Adding a video file to an interactive document
Skill Level Intermediate
Q: After exporting a portfolio in InDesign, as instructed in the tutorials, the portfolio items appear fuzzy. The letters typed into the InDesign document look fine, and the PDFs placed into InDesign look as they should, but once the items are exported, the type is fuzzy. What could be causing this?
A: The problem described occurs when a PDF is placed into an InDesign document and then scaled on the page. When the final SWF file is then exported from InDesign, the PDF graphics end up looking “soft and fuzzy” because they are being downsampled to a lower resolution.
First, be sure to update InDesign to the latest CS4 dot-release from Adobe. There was a bug in the shipping version of InDesign CS4 that caused images in SWFs to always go out as low-quality JPEGs regardless of the settings chosen in the SWF Export dialog. This issue was addressed in a subsequent release. To initiate the update from within InDesign, choose Help > Updates.
When images, including PDFs, are placed into an InDesign document and then exported to SWF, the images will all be downsampled to 72dpi and saved in one of two file formats, JPEG or PNG. The JPEG file format is a "lossy" file format, and depending on the image quality setting chosen, the final images quality could vary wildly. The PNG file format is "lossless", in that it does not add distracting and ugly artifacts to images.
In the SWF Export dialog, the default setting for Image Compression is set to Auto. Change this setting to "Lossless (Do Nothing)". It is unfortunate that this option is named this way. The three choices should be listed as Auto, JPEG and PNG. Adobe has changed in this in InDesign CS5, but for CS4, one has to know that "Lossless (Do Nothing)" really means “save the images as PNGs.”
The plus to using PNGs is that the images will end up looking great. The minus to using PNGs is that the file size of the SWFs will be larger because the images are not being compressed.
2. Choose High or Maximum JPEGs
If file size is a concern, then switch the Image Compression option to JPEG, but choose a higher quality setting from the JPEG Quality pop-up. The default is set to Medium. Choose High or Maximum instead. The higher the quality setting, the better the images will look, but their file sizes will be larger. That said, the file size of a maximum quality JPEG is usually smaller than a PNG.
3. Resample in Photoshop and Import JPEGs
The method that gives the user the most control over image quality and file size is to downsample the images in Photoshop to the exact pixel dimensions desired before placing them into InDesign. Open the PDFs (or any other image file formats) in Photoshop and size them to the desired pixel dimensions. If opening a PDF, Photoshop will display an Import PDF dialog first where the pixel dimensions can be set. If other file formats are used, resize them in Photoshop by choosing Image > Image Size. Then make sure the Resample Image checkbox is turned on, choose Bicubic Sharper from the pop-up menu at the bottom, and enter the pixel dimensions in the Pixel Dimensions section of the dialog box (not the Document Size section).
Once the images are the correct size, save them as JPEGs, and set the quality desired level.
After the final JPEGs are placed in the InDesign document, do NOT scale them. Place them at actual size (100%). If a JPEG goes into InDesign at 100% and nothing else is done to them, they will "pass through" to the final SWF untouched. Meaning, they'll go out exactly as they came in. This also means the JPEGs cannot be altered in any way that would cause them to be resampled during SWF Export. Examples are applying transparency effects, drop shadows, etc., to the JPEGs in InDesign.
See the examples below, where a PDF was placed into InDesign, scaled to 50% of its original size, and then various SWFs were exported, changing the Image Compression and JPEG Quality options as described in items 1 and 2 above.