During this weekend’s retreat, I took some time to download Lightroom 4 Beta. I was most interested in the new book module, so that’s where I focused my attention.
Thinking back, I participated in 2 of the 4 SOFOBOMOs and I enjoyed my participation; however, I most say that sometimes, making a book was quite annoying. I had to deal with Scribus, the open source book making software, learn of its idiosyncrasies, of which it had many. Further, there was the choosing of the files, exporting them to the right sizes, making adjusts, etc. If I wanted to change photo layout, or perhaps make adjustments to the photos, that was an ordeal, for me. After I finished the book, if I ever wanted to reproduce it again, or change it, I’d have to make sure to put it somewhere, the Scribus files as well as the photos, that I could find them again. Sometimes, I’m not the most organized fellow. I wished, during those times, that there was a way to do all of that together.
When I opened LR4 and clicked over to the book module, it was pretty intuitive. I played with it for a bit, then when I thought I understood it, I began to make a book. I decided to make my 2004 photos book. Adobe has partnered with Blurb and you can make your Blurb book right there in LR4 and it will price it for you as you add or remove photos. A very nice feature. Or, if you want to make a PDF, you can export your book as PDF and print it yourself.
Click image to view book
Everything is integrated now. You simply make a collection, click on the Book module, choose your collection, and your photos appear at the bottom in the filmstrip. Simple. You choose the type of book that you want:
Then, you can click Auto Flow and LR4 will distribute your pictures throughout the book, based on the particular style book that you have picked, or you can add pages manually, drag and drop your photos wherever you want. You can mix and match from the different page styles as well. There seems to be quite a few choices. Easy. There are predefined templates like: Clean, Wedding, Portfolio, etc, each having multiple layouts such as single photo, double, triple, with or without text, etc.
The best part, for me at least, is that now that your photos are in place, you can go back to your collection at any time and make adjustments to the photos and those adjustments will appear in the book. Further, when you have the book, it saves it in the collection, right next to the photos! Yes!
There are also built in warnings that let you know if a photo doesn’t have enough pixels to print well. I got one such warning: This photo will not print well. At the current size, it will print at 188 PPI, minimum suggested is 200 PPI.
I was able to assemble my book in about 30 minutes. Though it is not finished yet, it was an easy task.
One complaint that I’ve seen online was that you cannot export the book as a collection of JPEG files. This would allow you to send them to any printer; however, from what the folks were saying, most printers will not accept PDFs; therefore, you are stuck with Blurb is you want to make a book or find someone to print your PDF, or print it yourself.
It’s not a perfect solution, but it is certainly a fantastic step forward in making your own book a lot easier. No, it doesn’t have all of the bells and whistles that Scribus or InDesign has; however, it has enough to make a nice book.
For the PDF export, I would love if it would allow me to select the default opening mode, two up continuous, for the book, but I’ve not found a place. Also, the cover gets saved to a separate file.