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Designing albums with KrukBook Album Maker

KrukBook Album Maker

Please download our free software and start creating your album. You can use our built-in templates, create your own templates and design photo albums with ease and efficiency thanks to the object approach to designing albums.

An overview of basic features:

  • you can use this software off-line
  • you can import hi-res files
  • Windows and OSX versions
  • portable Flash preview of your book
  • you can create and save your own templates
  • you can add backgrounds and frames
  • auto fill the entire album with images
  • create text
  • Grid Tool for precise designs

To download our free software just register and log in to the client panel.

A short video presentation (English subtitles available)
We have prepared a short presentation showing a few excerpts from the design process of a FlatBook Classic 22×22:

KrukBook Album Maker Instruction Manual

Our software will help you design albums with ease and efficiency. However, we realise that there are certain trade offs inherent in the software, but we feel it is balanced with respect to ease of use and advanced features. Obviously, it will not replace any fully fledged DTP applications or the Adobe Suite, especially for advanced users, but if you are new to album design it will be a very good starting point and it will probably be powerful enough even for more advanced image layouts. After you get used to the interface and take full advantage of custom templates, it shouldn’t be long before you’re able to design a 120 page album in about 15 minutes.

Prints screens show the Windows version. The OSX version is slightly different in terms of layout but it has very similar functionality. Sometimes, the OSX version uses modules built into the operating system itself.

Yes, we know that most people hate instruction manuals so we did our best to make it as short as possible and we focused on the most important and time saving features, which should speed up you workflow.

Ładowanie

Installation

Download the software from the client panel and run the installer package. During installation, you will be asked to specify a location for the album folder. This folder will take up more and more of your disk space as you design new albums. This is because all images you work with during the design process are copied to this folder (each album is given its own sub-folder). So, if you do not have a lot of free space or you want to keep your system drive separate, please specify a folder on another drive.
The Album Maker software will check for updates every time you run the application, which might trigger a firewall alert. Please allow the app to connect as it will need this connection anyway for uploading images and the design files to our servers so we can print it

Creating Books.

1. Choose the kind of your book and the type of paper.

We start by choosing the kind of album we want to order. This choice cannot be changes later on, so please choose exactly what you want.
Descriptions of particular kinds of books can be found here
Each kind of book is available with various papers. You can read about the available types of paper here

2. Adding images

All images added to the app will be copied to the folder you specified during installation, so it is best practice to pre-select the images you want to use (for albums covering one-time events it might be easier to just copy all photos from that event so that you have all images you might want to use at hand)
The images will be sorted by name – just remember to use multi digit names i.e. photo_001, photo_002, photo_003 …. photo_010, photo_011 ….  and so on, instead of just 1, 2, 3 … 10, 11, 12 .. as the software will not recognise consecutive numbers if they have a different number of digits.

3. Choose your template, auto fill and number of pages.

During this step, you will be able to choose the default template for your album – all pages in your album will use this template, but you will be able to change it later on, obviously. You can also set the image behaviour upon inserting into frames, there are two options:

  • adjust pictures to design” – which will fill the entire frame with cropped image content
  • show whole pictures” – which, as one might suspect, fit the entire image within the frame.

Later on, you will be able to change this option for each individual frame, you will also be able to re-crop the images when required.

The “auto fill images in pages” feature can be a real time-saver. It works best with one image per page designs as they give predictable results. If you’ve selected images with such design in mind, the designed book could be ready to upload for print within minutes.

You can also specify the number of pages at this step. It might be a good idea to choose the desired number of pages right now, as later on you will be able to add (or delete) only two pages at a time.

4. Choosing background

The last step is all about choosing background. The most common choice would be to leave it white (or actually, the colour of the chosen paper). Remember that solid grey backgrounds might look a bit grainy with this type of print, so we would not recommend using them.

Uncoated papers look best with “white” backgrounds. Dark (black) solid backgrounds might show noticeable paper texture, which makes them less attractive. If you want a solid dark background, we highly recommend using coated papers, which are best for reproduction of solid blacks.

Designing

program

the app’s main window

If it’s your first attempt at album design, we would recommend taking a look at what others have already come up with. Observe their choice of images, their page layout, texts, and the overall style.

Each (published) book has an intro consisting of a few basic elements. They may vary across different cultures, just as their naming conventions, but it is probably safe to say that most professionally published books have: a half title, blank page, title page and colophon. The half title is a short version of the title, usually a single line in capital letters. The blank page is there for aesthetic reasons. Then the title page, obviously, and the colophon, which may contain some technical info about the publication, copyrights, typefaces and the like. This might be viewed as a publishing standard, but there are a lot of variants, one of which is a simplified two page intro: the title page and the “info” page. We strongly encourage you to design books this way. We know for a fact that books designed in such professional manner are recognised by viewers as serious publications which elevates the whole viewer experience to a higher level. It also solves the issue of explaining who the author/designer of the book is, or perhaps who printed it or who took the photographs published in it. As such, it really is a great way of signing your works and reinforcing your brand in a professional yet unobtrusive and subtle manner.

copyrights_zkrukAn example of a basic imprint on the info page.

marcinbala_main-2An example of an advanced design of the info page. It is consistent in it style with the rest of the book and refers to the author’s logotype.

Most informational pages are designed with fonts sized 8 – 12 but it all depends on the desired effect.

 projektowanieA template page, to be filled with photos, containing 7 objects

Our software utilises objects, which allow for embedding images inside them. This is somewhat similar to the concept used within InDesign: we put a photograph into a “frame” or a “place holder” and then we crop the photo inside the frame, by double clicking the frame and re-positioning the photo. Each frame can be set to FILL or FIT options, and you can change them by using simple keyboard shortcuts:

SHIFT+CTRL+T to show full image in frame (fit)
CTRL+T – to crop the image to frame (fill)

you can also change that by right clicking the selected frame and then browsing the “image size” menu, or selecting the image and then clicking in the menu bar “format > image size > … ”

Templates can be selected from the left window under ‘Page/Cover layout’ tab. At the bottom, you will find a drop down menu, from which you can select template categories, grouped by the number of images per page.

Bleed lines are marked with dashed lines. You should NEVER align any content with these dashed lines. Aligning an image with the dashed line may cause the appearance of a 2 or 3 mm wide space between the image and the edge of the frame in the final product. If you want your image to reach the edge of the page in print, simply align it with the edge of the page in the app. If you want to leave some space between the image and the edge of the printed page, move the image away from the dashed line by at least 10 mm.

Purely theoretically, it might be possible to achieve an ideally even or symmetrical small frame of say, 3 mm, along the edge of a printed page. However, in practice, tolerances of 1 mm to 2 mm when trimming paper are normal in the book binding process. When the intended frame around the page is 3 mm wide – a change of 1 mm will certainly be visible. When the intended frame is more than 10 mm wide, 1 mm differences will be hardly noticeable.

Bleed areas for covers are much wider. This is directly connected with the manufacturing process of book covers. Still, the design guidelines are the same: do not align anything with the dashed lines. If you want to leave some space between the image and the edge of the cover, move the image away from the dashed line by at least 10 mm. If you want the image to reach the edge of the cover – align the image with the edge of the cover page design in the app, (but remember not to put any important parts of the image in the bleed area, as this area will be used to wrap the image around the core of the cover). Remember that the process of printing and making a book cover requires greater tolerances than trimming normal pages.

DOBRZE!

ŹLE!

It is also worth noting that for standard KrukBooks, you should not place important objects near the spine (where the edges of the left and right page meet). Whatever crosses inside bleed line will not be clearly visible because of the binding. (this does not apply to FlatBook Classic)

The app warns the user with flags whenever the selected image is low resolution. there are two kinds of flags, yellow and red. They appear in he bottom right corner of affected frames. The red warning means that the resolution of the image file is insufficient (below 100 dpi) for high quality print – using this file will result in poor quality print. The yellow warning means that the resolution of the file is not optimal for the frame size (below 200 dpi), and it is recommended to make the frame smaller for better results.

Features

Editing pages

The available controls are:

  • Add a page – adds a spread after the currently selected spread
  • delete selected page – deletes the currently selected spread
  • duplicate page – creates a copy of the selected spread
  • move page forward/backward – moves the spread

The Grid

This is one of the most important features of this software

It makes it possible to compose and align objects along the grid lines and it uses a convenient “snap to” option. Use the grid to maintain your layout from one page to another (to avoid the “floating” effect of your layout, which is particularly visible when yo manually place images of the same size on consecutive pages). You can also use it for precise layout editing and creating your templates. The default grid size is set 0,5 cm, but you can change it (both the width and height).

Turing the grid on is simple: just go to menu > view > grid > show grid. (you can also turn the snap to option on or off, and change the properties of the grid)

Creating your own templates

After selecting an object, you can freely change its size and rotation by holding and dragging blue points around its edge. When you change the size of rotation of an object, a pup up window appear providing you with info about the object (its size, position, rotation, etc). You can also change these properties by entering the exact value for each parameter – just right click on the selected object and choose “properties”.

You can add new objects to a page by clicking: menu > images > add image place holder, or simply by pressing SHIFT + INS on your keyboard.

You can create a template out of every page (spread) by clicking: menu > pages > save as template.

Adding text

The Album Maker features a very simple text editor. You can open it by clicking: menu > design > texts > add text, or by clicking the text icon in the menu at the bottom right corner of the main window with the album view..


ATTENTION!
The Album Maker can process only default system fonts. Although it will display them correctly on your system, it is unable to transfer them to our servers so we are unable to print them.

This is where Album Maker works best in conjunction with applications such as Photoshop. We recommend using your favourite software to create more advanced designs containing text (this will usually be the title page and the info page), and then export them as jpeg files which you later add to the book in Album Maker. When designing such pages, it is best practice to use the page dimensions exactly matching the specs of the book, as specified in our guide, and then adding them  in Album Maker as full bleed images, without re-scaling or re-sizing

tekst_oknoThe image above presents the text editing window. The button marked red turns off the auto-size option, which re-seizes the text automatically to fit window size. With this option off, you can change the size of your text by selecting the desired value from the drop down menu next to the font name.

We recommend turning the auto-size option OFF – especially when entering text in the spine area of the cover, as in this particular case the text might be re-sized to match the width of the spine, which does not look very good in the final product.

Image editing tool

The Album Maker contains a basic colour correction tool, which enables the change of brightness, contrast, saturation, etc. of images. You could also use its auto adjust features – such as auto-levels or auto-contrast.

Page background

Each page can have its own background. This could be a solid colour, default background, or an image of your choice (note that this does not have to be a photograph, it could be an advanced custom graphic design you prepared in Photoshop – to be repeated on every page!)

To create a background from image, click and drag the chosen image over the page you want – a grey frame will appear around the page – then drag the image over the grey frame and drop the image to place it in the background.

You can select solid backgrounds from the left window – just click the backgrounds tab and select the background.

Flash preview

If you want to show the album design to your client for approval before sending it to the print house, you can generate a portable flash preview of your album, which is automatically embedded within a html page which you can upload to the client area of your website.

To create the flash preview – go to menu > view > create flash preview

When you click the “create flash preview” a self-extracting zip file will be created. The software will prompt you for a folder in which you want the zip file to be saved. Clicking the file will automatically un-zip it and run the preview in your default web browser (this may bring up a firewall message asking you to allow for this to happen). You can either send zipped file directly to your client, or upload the preview to your website.

Please note that pages within the flash preview are numbered starting from the cover, which slightly differs from the page numbering convention in the software, which starts the numbering from the first page of the album (and does not count the cover as pages). This, unfortunately, is a software bug. So please be careful when consulting page edits with your client – it is best to just refer to the preview numeration.

Placing orders

To order your album simply click the order button (you can also select it from the menu > order > order album). The software will guide you through the process:

  1. Order preview – you will be able to view thumbnails of your pages
  2. Choose the number of copies – you will also be able to view the price and basic album info
  3. Choose the way you want to send us the design and image files:
    • I will bring the order myself – the software will create a file you can burn on a dvd and send it to us via mail or simply upload it to our FTP server (details are given in the client panel)
    • I will upload the order via internet – the software will send the design and image files automatically to our servers.
  4. Choose shipping method and provide shipping address
  5.  Log in to our client panel – we need this step to assign the order number to your account. This step is necessary for us to fulfil your order.
  6. The software will create the necessary design files and the upload will begin.

If you have chosen to upload the files automatically, a small upload status window will appear near your systems menu bar/task bar.

After the upload has finished, you will receive a pop-up message informing you about that fact. The automatic uploader is immune to lost internet connections. The software will automatically resume the upload when your internet connection is available again. When we receive your album design files and the album will be loaded to our print queue, you will be notified via e-mail. Please read the e-mail and follow the included instructions.