In a previous post, I pointed to the MagCloud blog that presented a nice workflow to publish PDF files from Lightroom 4. In this post, I will elaborate a little more on using the existing square templates and try to provide a few fine points of publishing on MagCloud that I have discovered through trial and error. I will later present a method by which you will be able to create regular size, 8.5″ x 11″ documents from Lightroom although there is no direct method of doing that. Stay tuned.
The presentation below is not in any order of importance.
- When choosing font sizes for a block of text two things need to be kept in mind. Generally, even in InDesign, the screen fonts give the impression that they are too small. If you use 12 point Times New Roman, for instance, it will look very large when printed.
- Different typefaces have different size appearance which is generally affected by their x-height, which is the height of the lowercase letter x. Some typefaces, even at the same point size will look larger than others. Here is a screen capture from a document that I created for my students. You may want to download and read the whole document which has other useful information. In the following example, all the typefaces are set at 12 points yet they look smaller or larger than others.
- Keep in mind that the small square format layout you create will be slightly enlarged to fit the MagCloud square format, along with the fonts in it. I found that setting the font size to 8-9 points works for my sensibilities. Take a look at the PDF documents available.
- Leading is the adjustment that controls line spacing. Good typesetting needs sufficient leading between lines, generally 1.5 times the font size. So, 8 point type will breathe comfortably with 12 points leading. You can increase the leading, up to a point, of course, to have a more open feeling of the page text.
- If you are trying to fit a line of text, say for a title, to a given width you may change the font size or select the entire line and increase “Tracking”. It will add a controlled amount of spaces between the letters to give them a more comfortable look. Do this only of your line of text is all caps or small caps. When normal text is spaced with lower case letters they look strange.
- Full justification of text which gives straight right and left sides to the block of text requires proper line length, font size, and kerning. If you can comfortably see the unusually wide spaces between words full justification is not working, switch to left justified and let the right edge of the text block go ragged. It is better than seeing rivers running through your text (you’ll know what I’m talking about).
- If you want the full-size images to bleed to the edges of the printed document you should consider using the full square page layout. This will assure the vertical or horizontal images will go from edge to edge. Since MagCloud will trim the sides, you will lose some of the edges. I had good luck with setting the Cell Padding to 6 points on all sides. This seems to minimize the edge loss. Take a look at the Kirlangic eMag and note how vertical and horizontal photographs nicely go edge-to-edge. The white border you see on the inside gutter is totally invisible after perfect binding in the hard copy.
- Choosing the full-page image and inside padding, you can position the image anywhere you like on the page. Yes, this will limit the number of images you can use on the page. But, you can pick other layouts and do the same padding adjustment if you like.
- There are two text blocks available on any page whether the layout you choose includes a text block or not. These are the Photo Caption and Page Caption. Both text blocks can be moved up and down and the text in it can be squeezed to the right or left by using inner padding adjustments. To have maximum flexibility of text positioning with Photo Caption, change its positioning setting to “Over” and do not put a check mark next to “Align with Photo”. Now, you can position these blocks of text practically anywhere on the page.
- Click on the checkmark box next to “Show Guides” and “Text Safe Area” to have a rough idea of the usable page area. If you put your text all the way to those borders, it will be quite close to the edges when printed. Try to leave a little more breathing room.
- Don’t try to fill every single page with content. Generally speaking, every “book” has an inner title page and that falls on a right side page. The actual content, page number 1 also falls on the right side page. These you should try to observe even if that means not using some pages. Blank pages can be a part of the book design. I also do not mind leaving the insides of the front and the back covers, bar a short plug to get the reader to my Website.
- Remember that these are supplements to the settings described in the MagCloud post to produce square format publications. Read those instructions and follow them carefully.
- Lightroom book module cannot add page numbers. But if you have Adobe Acrobat (not Acrobat Reader) you can add page numbers after you create the PDF file from Lightroom. When you do that, remember to start numbering the pages where your content begins and do not number covers or inside covers. Again, take a look at the PDF documents I have made available for download.