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Author Topic: Self publishing quality - Lulu, Blurb, or who?  (Read 17980 times)

digitaldog

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Re: Self publishing quality - Lulu, Blurb, or who?
« Reply #20 on: November 28, 2014, 09:04:48 pm »

There you go! Still on the first page and already resorting to name calling. That was quick. I was about to say "you surely know what rhetorics and hyperbole as a rhetorical tool are" but now I am not so sure you do.
What’s really telling (and quite typical of your posts) is you’ve come here, posted three times and have added absolutely nothing pertinent to the discussion, nada. Why don’t you read what’s been posted here thus far again (if you did in the first place), examine what I’ve written for the OP, then what you’ve written before you take this into uncharted, unnecessary and yes, foolish territory.
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Is it really Apple printing (I doubt) or they just outsource it? If the latter, then one can use a different program (i.e, Lightroom instead of the discontinued Aperture) and still get the "Apple" quality. That is, if we know which lab Apple uses.
A question, which as someone who knows the facts, I answered. And you’re absolutely wrong again, one can not use a different program (i.e, Lightroom instead of the discontinued Aperture) and still get the "Apple" quality, not from what you incorrectly call ‘a lab’ using the processes Apple is using. You are excellent at making assumptions based on no understanding of the process.
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agree Mark, but I am sure you were not referring to the NDA part of it, but to this drama:
A silly statement that is only useful to inflame and add’s nothing for the OP or lurkers.
And of course your last post which is an obvious attempt to start an argument.

Slobodan, do you have anything useful to say here? If so, say it or move on please. I have no plan to discuss anything else with respect to your writings at this point, it’s a huge waste of my time once again.
« Last Edit: November 28, 2014, 09:06:32 pm by digitaldog »
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digitaldog

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Re: Self publishing quality - Lulu, Blurb, or who?
« Reply #21 on: November 28, 2014, 09:14:45 pm »

Is it really Apple printing (I doubt) or they just outsource it?
You mean like their hardware? You think they don’t outsource nearly all of it? Or you assume there are some actual Apple employees in Cupertino building Mac’s and iPhone’s in some basement? Is Apple really printing books themselves? No more or less than anything else hardware wise they produce. Is Apple really making any hardware in total on their own, no. They outsource and more importantly control this process like few other companies on the planet.

That you assume you can walk into the faculty they use for printing their books, hand them a drive and get one printed indicates you don’t have a clue to how this process takes place. I on the other hand do. Intimately. And that’s the difference between the posts I’ve made in hoping to aid the OP and you, just mouthing off again.

Best thing for anyone who has an interest in this is to send the same images to two different providers and just examine the results as I’ve done many, many times over the years.
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Slobodan Blagojevic

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Re: Self publishing quality - Lulu, Blurb, or who?
« Reply #22 on: November 28, 2014, 09:29:58 pm »

Andrew, as usual, you've been silly and pompous. Silly in the sense of lacking basic logical analysis and reading comprehension skills.

You are stirring OP in one direction only: Aperture and Apple books. Rather impractical, given his time constraints, to acquire an obsolete program, learn how to use it, etc. in order to achieve a quality that is achievable otherwise. Unless, of course, you claim that nothing out there matches the supreme quality of Aperture/Apple combination. If that were true, and you were able to demonstrate it, I would be the first one to go that route. And I would apologize to you on top of that.

Rand47

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Re: Self publishing quality - Lulu, Blurb, or who?
« Reply #23 on: November 28, 2014, 10:23:20 pm »

Just when I was starting to learn something...  ::)

Rand

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Gellman

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Re: Self publishing quality - Lulu, Blurb, or who?
« Reply #24 on: November 28, 2014, 10:25:11 pm »

Well, it got snippy in here while I was away. Glad y'all aren't snipping at me. Slobodan, thanks for your input, however, my respect for Andrew is such that if he seriously leads me in the direction of Apple, that's where I will make every effort to go. I researched the Apple website and found that I can also order books printed directly by Apple's printer from within iPhoto. Don't know what printer Apple uses and don't care. Andrew's opinion is all the endorsement I need.

Andrew, do you suppose I could expect comparable quality from a book prepared in iPhoto as I would expect from Aperture, which I currently do not own? Apple's pricing seems fair, if not the lowest on the block. They quote very fast turn times and offer express shipping. My layout is exceptionally simple, and it appears the layout tools in iPhoto will suffice for this project. If this turns out well, I may have to purchase Aperture just to import finished images and assemble books. This is a choice of which I was unaware and never would have considered. Thank you so much for the advice.

John
www.jgphoto.com
« Last Edit: November 28, 2014, 10:46:23 pm by Gellman »
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digitaldog

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Re: Self publishing quality - Lulu, Blurb, or who?
« Reply #25 on: November 28, 2014, 10:57:49 pm »

Glad y'all aren't snipping at me. Slobodan, thanks for your input, however, my respect for Andrew is such that if he seriously leads me in the direction of Apple, that's where I will make every effort to go.
John, my intent isn’t to steer you exclusively to Apple but rather Apple than Blurb. Those are two providers I’ve used for a number of side by side book tests. Slobodan would love to assume I’m claiming Apple is the best of any book provider, anywhere at any price and while that may be so, I have no idea if it is. What is true is that of the three book tests I’ve done using Apple vs. Blurb, with identical images, Apple‘s books were significantly visually superior every time.
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Andrew, do you suppose I could expect comparable quality from a book prepared in iPhoto as I would expect from Aperture, which I currently do not own?
Other than options for book layout, the only other difference is that iPhoto sends out a color space that’s very similar to sRGB, Aperture sends Adobe RGB (1998) to the print provider. The presses, process, QC and I suspect turn around time are the same. I’d have to examine iPhoto’s book layout options compared to Aperture which I’ve never done. But otherwise, the process aside from the RGB working space is the same.

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Slobodan Blagojevic

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Re: Self publishing quality - Lulu, Blurb, or who?
« Reply #26 on: November 28, 2014, 11:02:04 pm »

If my memory serves me right, the last time I was looking at iPhoto vs. Aperture for books, the latter had several advanced features in addition to those available in iPhoto (and in addition to what Andrew has mentioned, color space). Mostly in advanced layouts and ease of manipulating images around.

This is what Apple itself says about the difference:

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With iPhoto, you can create fun photo books to share with family and friends. With Aperture, you can get even more creative with fully customizable book layouts. Add, move, resize, rotate, or delete photo and text boxes. Place titles exactly where you want them — on any page or even over a photo — and use any font, size, and color you like. Tell a story with multicolumn text. Create two-page, full-bleed spreads. Design wraparound covers. Include travel maps showing where your photos were taken. And add photo borders the width and color you choose. Aperture makes it easy to create photo books as unique as your photos.
« Last Edit: November 28, 2014, 11:04:44 pm by Slobodan Blagojevic »
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digitaldog

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Re: Self publishing quality - Lulu, Blurb, or who?
« Reply #27 on: November 28, 2014, 11:06:25 pm »

Hopefully, color accuracy will not be a concern as all the photos are black and white.

Black and white is going to be the hardest output assuming you are expecting dead nuts neutral images over the entire image and page.
One big issue is how the Indigo screening deals with neutrals. One fun test I did with one book was to send an entire page of neutral gray to both Apple and Blurb. The screening is such that it’s impossible to get a clean, neutral image across the entire page. You’ll see minor and regular pattern’s going from neutral to non neutral over the page. It kind of looks like someone sat on the page and their repeating butt checks altered neutrality. Seriously that’s about the best way to describe this pattern. If you ‘tone’ the prints a bit, that might help. But nothing can be done to make a page neutral evenly as you’d see in say a good quality inkjet print (Canon, Epson etc). Now while this pattern can’t be dealt with, a shop with a really good printer profile and superb process control will make all this less an issue and again, this is where Apple’s product shines. But don’t expect a B&W from these presses to look akin to say a good inkjet with a good profile but with a halftone dot.
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digitaldog

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Re: Self publishing quality - Lulu, Blurb, or who?
« Reply #28 on: November 28, 2014, 11:07:36 pm »

If my memory serves me right, the last time I was looking at iPhoto vs. Aperture for books, the latter had several advanced features in addition to those available in iPhoto (and in addition to what Andrew has mentioned, color space).
For B&W work, anything that fits inside of sRGB, the difference in what is sent to the print provider is moot.
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Benny Profane

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Re: Self publishing quality - Lulu, Blurb, or who?
« Reply #29 on: November 29, 2014, 12:35:24 am »

Well, there you go. Never question the ultimate authority from Santa Fe, book printing capital of the world.

Aperture? Really?
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Gellman

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Re: Self publishing quality - Lulu, Blurb, or who?
« Reply #30 on: November 29, 2014, 12:46:08 am »

Andrew, despite how others may interpret your statements, I never thought you were trying to steer me exclusively towards Apple. Rather you simply addressed exactly the subject of my post - Lulu, Blurb, or who? I have seen photo books produced by Blurb and I think they are nice, but I found the reproduction quality to be underwhelming. Perhaps that is due to standard entry level rather than higher level choice of paper. I just don't know, and I don't have time to order some test copies from various sources and do my own comparison. I have never seen a Lulu produced photo book, so I am clueless. Whether one worships Apple or not, it is hard to argue with the quality of almost everything they do. So, considering your involvement (whatever it may be) with Apple's printing operation, the fact that you are one of the world's foremost color management experts, and that you are apparently a made man in the Pixel Mafia, who am I to ignore such helpful advice on a tight deadline? Thank you.

I will add a slight sepia/warm tone to the images. They were all shot in the mid-1970s and should look good that way. Hopefully that will minimize the printing challenge of producing "dead nuts neutral images." Maybe toned like acorns is the way to go in the dead nuts color space.

It is unfortunate that I have not taken it upon myself to research print on demand publishers of photo books before I had an urgent need to know. I guess there is no substitute for staying abreast of new technologies in a field that changes so rapidly. My bad. At this point, my goal is to have twenty-five copies of a book printed in time for my client's event, staying near my client's modest budget, that at best I will be proud of, and at worst won't embarrass me.

Considering the lack of useful comparative information available online, all I can say is thank goodness for the Luminous Landscape forums.
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Rhossydd

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Re: Self publishing quality - Lulu, Blurb, or who?
« Reply #31 on: November 29, 2014, 04:06:33 am »

Hopefully, color accuracy will not be a concern as all the photos are black and white.
I've mentioned this before; Colour accuracy is absolutely critical for Black and White. All PoD photo books are printed on colour presses, getting complete neutrality is very difficult and the slightest colour cast can be very obvious and unacceptable.
I've read a couple of comments over the years that go as far as suggesting that attempting proper monochrome is futile and that you'll get greater satisfaction from applying toning to any images used , sepia, cyanotype, selenium etc

I have seen acceptable B&W from the European Blurb presses, but it's still not up to the standards of neutrality that you would expect from a well set up inkjet or gelatin silver prints.

The Apple books I've seen here in Europe have been no better than ones from Blurb, Lulu, My Publisher etc. It was often reported a few years back that the iPhoto books were printed by My Publisher. (I'm not subject to any Apple NDAs).
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Pic One

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Re: Self publishing quality - Lulu, Blurb, or who?
« Reply #32 on: November 29, 2014, 08:42:06 am »

Black and white is going to be the hardest output assuming you are expecting dead nuts neutral images over the entire image and page.
One big issue is how the Indigo screening deals with neutrals. ... But don’t expect a B&W from these presses to look akin to say a good inkjet with a good profile but with a halftone dot.

So, thought I'd look up the latest in HP Indigos..worth a read, if we think that many book printing operations are using equipment along llines of that outlined in the linked PDF.   The Indigos seems to now go up to 7 colors.  Options for light magenta, light cyan, AND light black (for 2-color B&W printing) can add fidelity.   Additionally, perhaps for usage in accent type in one's book, spot PMS colors could be used.   Now, whether any book printers allow these options, I don't know.
http://h20195.www2.hp.com/v2/getpdf.aspx/4aa3-6495enw.pdf
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digitaldog

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Re: Self publishing quality - Lulu, Blurb, or who?
« Reply #33 on: November 29, 2014, 08:57:45 am »

More toner (colors) are intended mostly for larger color gamut. Harder to profile (one must re-profile) and produce better neutrals. Don’t expect to necessarily find them in the operations under discussion just yet. And of course, more toner, substitutionally higher cost for print providers. Less toner colors, bigger issues with screening.
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Ernst Dinkla

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Re: Self publishing quality - Lulu, Blurb, or who?
« Reply #34 on: November 29, 2014, 09:11:23 am »

It is not the limitation of the Indigo models but the standarisation of Blurb I'm told. We have a local supplier to Blurb that has the W7200 with 7 ink ability.
See:
https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/DigitalBlackandWhiteThePrint/conversations/topics/106930


Met vriendelijke groet, Ernst

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November 2014 update, 680+ inkjet media white spectral plots

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Pic One

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Re: Self publishing quality - Lulu, Blurb, or who?
« Reply #35 on: November 29, 2014, 09:52:17 am »

More toner (colors) are intended mostly for larger color gamut. Harder to profile (one must re-profile) and produce better neutrals. Don’t expect to necessarily find them in the operations under discussion just yet. And of course, more toner, substitutionally higher cost for print providers. Less toner colors, bigger issues with screening.
Don't most of these printers only have only a few paper choices anyway..?   For a business, coming up with 3-4 profiles for Hi-fi or maybe even hexachromatic printing, shouldn't be that much of a problem.  Better neutrals, with less ink usage would be obtained using a 2-color B&W inkset rather than 4cp I would think.

More toner usage would potentially be a cost factor, but I don't think a large one (or at least that couldn't be passed of to the consumer at say a few dollars/unit increase).   This might get offset by a degree as well to the percentage of rejected work being reduced.
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digitaldog

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Re: Self publishing quality - Lulu, Blurb, or who?
« Reply #36 on: November 29, 2014, 10:13:16 am »

Don't most of these printers only have only a few paper choices anyway..?   
More toner usage would potentially be a cost factor, but I don't think a large one (or at least that couldn't be passed of to the consumer at say a few dollars/unit increase).   

First off, papers have to be OK’d (certified) by HP for use. 2nd, the HP model for toner is akin to what Epson does with their inks (make a very nice profit on that expendable). So yes, Toner costs are on the owner/operators minds at all times. Lastly, they take a good deal of maintenance and have a number of other expendable parts that have to be regularly replaced.   
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Pic One

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Re: Self publishing quality - Lulu, Blurb, or who?
« Reply #37 on: November 29, 2014, 10:40:19 am »

First off, papers have to be OK’d (certified) by HP for use. 2nd, the HP model for toner is akin to what Epson does with their inks (make a very nice profit on that expendable). So yes, Toner costs are on the owner/operators minds at all times. Lastly, they take a good deal of maintenance and have a number of other expendable parts that have to be regularly replaced.   
I realize all of the above, but we're talking about the relative cost difference between running one of these machines with just 4-colors turned on vs. eg. 5-colors (to enable 2C B&W), or 6-colors (to add LM and LC).   FYI, Pikto (who Mark referenced earlier in this thread) seems to market themselves with their 6C default print quality.
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Mark D Segal

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Re: Self publishing quality - Lulu, Blurb, or who?
« Reply #38 on: November 29, 2014, 11:13:30 am »

Black and white is going to be the hardest output assuming you are expecting dead nuts neutral images over the entire image and page.
........................ But don’t expect a B&W from these presses to look akin to say a good inkjet with a good profile but with a halftone dot.

Andrew, I think this all depends, as usual, on the quality of the work and process that goes into it. You get what you pay for in terms of time and money. As I write, I have at hand here a book we made several years ago to celebrate my late Mother's 90th birthday. A good number of the photos in that book are from my archives of black and white 35mm negatives shot as far back as the 1950s. I digitized the negatives in my Nikon 5000 scanner using SilverFast, neutralized them in SilverFast (the film always has a bit of a cast), output them to Pikto's specifications, selected their highest quality book paper offering and they then made the books. I don't know what process and machinery they used (they don't say), but the quality of the B&W rendition is outstanding in every respect. Contrast, clarity and sharpness are well-maintained and the photos are as neutral as I can judge them, uniformly across the page. I have to assume you weren't trying to suggest there is some kind of huge generic challenge to get this right in any absolute sense.
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Gellman

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Re: Self publishing quality - Lulu, Blurb, or who?
« Reply #39 on: November 29, 2014, 02:34:35 pm »

Back to basics, guys. One last workflow question about the Apple book printing service - what about sharpening? Assuming I generate images at the size they will be printed, how should I set PhotoKit Sharpener II for output sharpening? All images are 35 mm Tri-x scanned on Nikon LS-5000. Btw, would this be the same for Blurb and other printers?
« Last Edit: November 29, 2014, 02:39:27 pm by Gellman »
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