Lightroom: Ability to create custom book templates/sizes from scratch

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Provide a way to create new pages completely from scratch by laying out the position of the picture frames and text frames instead of using just the provided templates. I like to do my own layouts that match the text.

Also can we have double page layouts where they are linked and cannot be broken apart.
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Sravan Nerella

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Posted 8 years ago

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Markus Schlegel

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Custom Page Size is really required. Blurb's printing service is a joke, no good quality at all.
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Richard Olpin

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I don't have an issue with Blurb, their quality is ok, though they are a bit behind the times as they don't do a lie-flat page option.

The only issue I have is that we don't have any sensible control over page layouts and I simply can't do the designs I want to in the book module compared to the stand-alone book creator, which makes it worthless to me.

The really annoying thing is that level of control is there in the print module already!
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Kent Messamore

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I agree. We need flexible layouts. In addition we need layouts on various size papers. I wanted to do a layout on 8.5 x 11 paper and Blurb doesn't allow it, just 8 x 10. We should be able to do layouts like the Print module.
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ioana bolohan

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I haven't used Book in Lighroom for a while and imagine my surprise when trying the new version and discovering that it's become much more restrictive with the latest updates.

Doesn't Adobe care about the users outside of the US? I don't know what Blurb is and don't care...and everyone needs more size options to choose from.

Maybe I missed on something, but now when I exported a page from Book as jpg I couldn't choose a size for it, and I got a jpg size 693 × 594 which is way too small for my needs.

Anyone have some tips for this? Where did I go wrong?
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Victoria Bampton - Lightroom Queen, Champion

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Exactly what functionality do you think has been removed? While I would agree that the page sizes are limited, I'm not aware of anything being removed.

If you want to change the book size, you'll need the settings in the Book Settings panel, top right.
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Jason Coffelt

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled
Lightroom 5: Custom book and page sizes for folks that don't use Blurb..


Book module desperately needs, at the very least, user defined custom page sizes (forget the book cover) when printing to JPEG and not to Blurb. Let users define the page size or spread the safe guides for bleed. The automation included in the book module is fantastic and would save untold amounts of time manually doing book layout for printing to professional labs and bookbinders. At the moment there's no way to create anything other than Blurb's standard book sizes even if you're not using Blurb. Nuts.
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Elizabeth Covington

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled
Lightroom 4: Book publisher variety, Please!.


I'd like to point out that, in Lightroom 4 beta, allowing a book to be exported as a PDF is probably worthless. As most book publishers manage to have unique book sizes, only Blurb has the sizes in the current book module. This wouldn't be worth diddly as a PDF sent to another publisher. Please consider either incorporating proper templates for more book publishers or allowing plugins from those publishers that will let the user determine where they want their book produced. Did you notice that Blurb uses CMYK?????? Not nice when coming from ProPhoto RGB.
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Matthew O Brien

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I have given up on Adobe on this one. They have all the tools to make this very slick.

We have all the metadata in the Lightroom catelog, but cannot place it properly on the printed page in the Print Module.

We get tiny incremental improvements to the book module, but Adobe do not seem to be prepared to address the elephant in the room, which is.... allow text boxes and image boxes to be placed as the user wishes on a book page and allow these book pages to be used as a template. Ok... the intial design of the book module may have been flawed from this perspective to get a sub optimal (I am been gentle) product to market, but there has been ample opportunity to correct this by now.
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Dan Hartford Photo

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Obviously Adobe has had bigger fish to fry, such as creating and launching the Creative Cloud (no small undertaking) - then weathering the outrage from photographers related to the price of the Cloud (now re-mediated by the Photographers subscription plan).

I have no insights into Adobe (although I worked for them for 4 years in the 90's) but my speculation goes like this.

1) Adobe decided to compete with other consumer image SW products in the non standard output arena and decided to do books and web.

2) As Adobe is not a "printing" lab, they needed a partner to do the actual printing.

3) They did some research and were able to cut the best deal with Blurb. Perhaps with constraints and restrictions (exclusivity for a number of years?). But certainly with estimates of the new business Blurb would get (what's in it for Blurb)

4) To meet the next release date for LR, they slammed together what they could in the short amount of time available as most of the time had slipped away negotiating with Blurb and probably other vendors. Anyone who's worked on projects for big corporations know what I'm talking about on this one.

5) Uptake by users was not as vigorous as anticipated (perhaps due in part to the weak implementation).

6) Some Harvard MBA was brought in and did an analysis that determined in this day and age of everything "Cloud" and "Kindle", the market for physical books was not likely to grow very much and that this was not the place for continued investment, especially as it may take resources away from the development and launch of the CC and other projects centered around electronic delivery of media

7) CC launched and as with all such things has taken the best part of a year for the dust to settle

8) Now, (several years after Book Module first appeared), usage has not increased (self fulfilling prophecy from consultant?) and Blurb is pissed that the work they put into the book module implementation has not resulted in the expected new revenue. So, even if Adobe approached them with Part B, they may not be interested in throwing good money after bad. And, Adobe may be thinking the same thing.

9) Result: Don't expect much (if anything)

Anyway - That's the screen play as I image it played out.
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Matthew O Brien

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Thanks for the detailed response. I have got past the point where I have any expectations in this area.

It is fairly sad that the Blurb standalone software is better than the Adobe book module in most respects. I suspect a lot more money has been spent on the Adobe Book module, but in my view their application architect got it wrong, so a lot of money wasted.

I also think a service provider should do a job properly or not do it at all. Half baked software is worse than half baked food.

I do not know who was looking for Maps module, but possible the same MBA was in on this. If the effort to produce the map modudule was invested in the book module then maybe we would have a book module which drives throughput. As far as I am concerned, these modules just bloat the basic app.

I know it is early days for the ipad module, but why have all the Develop features in a machine which is hardware constrained and ignore the very basic Library features, especially ranking, which the ipad has the potential to do a good job. So, the iPad module is also a non runner for me. I am not overly upset about this, I can bring a MacAir when I need to. I assume it will evolve with time, as solid state devices become the norm. Right now I only use the Library, Develop and occasionally the Print Module.

The best present I could hope for in LR 6 would be add real world usability to the Print Module, Book Module and the Library component of the iPad module. Version 7 can explore new modules again if the marketing people need to tick a few more boxes.
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Dan Hartford Photo

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Actually I do make use the MAP module and am satisfied with it's implementation. I geo-encode all my images. I was doing this way prior the introduction of the Map Module using external software (I capture tracklog data with a WBT202 device and use GeoSetter SW to add coordinates and location keywords to image files). The map module can do pretty much the same thing although it doesn't have quite as many bells and whistles. Out of habit I continue using my old workflow but have replicated it with the Map Module to see if it worked. Even though I don't use the Map Module to do the actual encoding, I do use it for finding my images and tweaking locations.

I 100% agree about the need for Metadata management capability in the LR Mobile, but before that they need to expand to the Android OS (I think this first release is Apple only). I do find it quite puzzling that the main usage of LR (as an image management tool) was not included in V1. But, this certainly now answers the question of "why did they bother with smart previews" a release ago. Obviously LR Mobile was on the drawing board and this was a critical component to make it work. They already had "Export from catalog" and "Import from Catalog" so I'm not sure what the road block was in including Library module functionality (or at least keywords, rating and ranking) in V1.
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Matthew O Brien

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I was very excited about the ability to add gps data to images a long time before Lightroom existed and had this embedded in my workflow. I purchased various tools based on their ability to handle gps data. Now, if I need a gps tag I simply take a photo with my iPhone. I set my cameras to UTC, irrespective of what part of the world I may be in, so it is always easy to reverse geo tag any image. I have a bunch of gps devices, some quite expensive, collecting dust in a dark corner somewhere.

I think Smart PreViews are a smart move for lots of reasons. Maybe some day they may provide the basis for an enterprise and properly networked version of Lightroom with a real database back end.

I am very critical of the incompleteness of the Print and Book module because these are basic workflow needs. Kudos to Adobe for releasing the iPad module in Ver 5 (even though in my view it is incomplete and really a beta test drive for hopefully more mature functionality in LR 6). If the rating flags were included I could use this app, as it stands LR mobile is just a pretty a icon on my iPad. How
frustrating.
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JonathanPaul

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled
Feature request: custom photo book layouts in lightroom like Aperature has..


I've been an avid Lightroom user since the first beta. And I recently took a class that helped me see the importance of making photo books for my clients. However, when I tried to make a photo book in Lightroom, I discovered that most online clients gave me much more ability to customize my layout that Lightroom. And I'm currently considering a switch to Aperture since finding that it handles this need to fully customize photo pages and spreads with ease.
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Aleksander Hońca

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled
LR5 book module - custom book size.


Lightroom is a fantastic tool in my workflow, and it would be great if there would be an easy way to create custom sized books. I'm printing most of the photos with an epson 4800 in different formats, or using other services than blurb (as probably most of lightroom users). So now - it is extremely inconvenient trying to modify the .lua profiles or exporting the photos to other applications like acdsee fotoslate.

Adding this simple 'custom size book' feature would improve lightroom as a tool for many photographers and book designers.

The integration with blurb is fantastic, but you are limiting your great book module to a blurb book module, which for most users doesn't make sense.

Is it possible to include 'custom sized books' option in the near update to lightroom?
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Josh Bennett

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I would love to have a better book module in lightroom. I offer wedding albums to clients and like to completely stay within lightroom to edit the album. I wish there was a way to build your own templates and put photos anywhere. I also would like the option to export as a spread instead of individual pages.
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Mark Tassoni

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What I don't get is why Adobe and Blurb went half-$!@$%.

1. You've limited book options. Not all sizes are in there.
2. You sort of allow custom layouts, but not really. You can make the layout smaller only and you can only adjust it from the center.
3. Yeah, the PDF option???? Who's that for?

Besides that, it's such a convenience to make a book in LR.

But why limit it? Why?
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Matthew O Brien

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I can only assume a proper Book Module will limit sales of InDesign. I use InDesign, but can see massive advantages to having a proper Book module inside of Lightroom. Alternatively, I would gladly pay for a new module or application which did a proper job of providing book generating features, where I do not have to generate intermediate jpgs and sharpen them correctly for the final output size.

I sense Adobe got the design wrong at the start, but there has been multiple opportunities to correct this by now, therefore I feel Adobe are happy to leave the book module crippled.

A statement from Adobe on their plans for the Book module might be helpful.

The only new feature I see myself using with CC 2014, despite the fanfare, is the rating option in Lightroom mobile and then only occasionally. Adobe's implementation of the Book Module has been a lost opportunity. With 90% of the effort invested! why Adobe do you not finish it properly.
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Mark Tassoni

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Yeah, good thoughts.
If you're gonna do it, do it right. Otherwise don't offer it at all.

If you're worried about InDesign, then just scrap the book module.

Bigger issue is that Adobe really has no competition right now.

I wish Aperture kept it going and offered a comprehensive system for Pro photographers with the ability to design books for all the major vendors built in as well as fully functioning plug ins for all the online gallery site.

Adobe is now just trying to sell to everyone and is losing sight of the larger picture for pros. That's just my opinion and I am very frustrated.
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Matthew O Brien

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I have deep skills in application development for small medium and global enterprises. It saddens me to the core that Adobe give lip service to the principle of efficient workflow, but mostly they talk the talk, not walk the walk. I can outline so many examples. They go to the 95% in so many areas and then jump on the next fashion wave before they finish a job properly.

I will await the next release of Lightroom before commenting any further.

Frustrated and depressed.
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Mark Tassoni

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HI Matt,

Exactly!

Hey, want to get even more frustrated? Check out Zenfolio, Smugmug, Photoshelter, etal...

If you ever want to develop something, let me know. I have ideas. Seriously.

My rants...
https://vimeo.com/channels/768091
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Matthew Turley

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Dear Adobe,

How good is Blurb in bed? Just curious. (I mean, I suppose they must be pretty exciting, since they're definitely not much to look at..)

Anyway, looking forward to a professional book publishing feature whenever you guys finish.

-MT
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Butch_M

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I agree Matthew ... why the Book module had to be tied to ANY vendor is beyond comprehension?

Repeating the same sentiments I shared earlier in this thread ... over two years ago! ...

How successful would Lr have been if it could only process RAW images from a single camera maker? Print only to a single brand of printer? Export from the Web module to code that could only be utilized by one brand of browser? ...

Yet, Adobe, and the Lightroom Team seem to believe they did no wrong with their development of the Book module and we should all rejoice, accept and embrace a Blurb only option.

And there are those folks who consider Apple a "walled garden" ... In Aperture, I ALWAYS had the option and capability to create custom page sizes. Custom templates and export pages to jpeg, tiff or PDF ... That's freedom for the end user to choose whatever firm they wish to print their book.

It's time Adobe remove the unwise, self-imposed limitations they have placed on the Book module and Lightroom users.

I find it utterly amazing and disappointing that a company that can do so many things extremely well ... fail so miserably in other instances. Why they don't place the same level of direction, purpose and expectations on all their projects is purely perplexing and extremely disappointing.
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Dan Hartford Photo

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Butch - There are really only 3 options for Adobe short of them opening their own printing lab. One is to create an output file for each "blessed" lab that is in a proprietary structure of that lab's specifications (the approach taken by Adobe for only Blurb, so far). The second option is to out put pages in an open format such as PDF, TIFF, JPG or some other universally understood file type for the industry. And, third is to create their own format (like they did for PDF and PSD), publish it and let any print lab that desires business from LR users to figure out how to make books from that format.

Now, Commercial SW development is a costly endeavor and before any company invests in major development efforts they must convince themselves they will get a positive return on that investment. In addition, if they can get another company to foot part of the cost, so much the better. So, I imagine, the Adobe folks said "do we really think that we'll sell enough Lightroom licenses that would not otherwise have been purchased to offset the cost of developing our own file type in addition to the cost of developing the Book Module itself?" No.

OK then what about recouping the cost of the Module if we output to PDF or TIFF or JPG? Well, that's a better proposition but probably still not a profitable one considering the cost of developing the Book Module itself..

So, what about getting a third party to foot a bunch of the development cost? Well that sounds good but how do we convince them to do that? Well, we'll have to cut a contract with them that we won't do the same thing with any of their competitors for a certain number of years. Maybe then their potential new business would be attractive enough to chip in a significant amount of development dollars.

So, boys and girls, that's probably what they did, and is why we're stuck with ONLY blurb + PDF in the book module. BTW PDF can be used as an input file for some other publishers.

What will it take to get custom page capability at this point? I assume we'll have to wait for the exclusion clause of the Blurb contract to expire then see if another company steps up to the plate with enough development dollars to fund the implementation of custom pages - Again, for another exclusivity period.

Does what I'm saying make sense? I'm saying this not from any direct knowledge but as an IT executive of over 40 yeas - Including 5 years at Adobe itself (Mid 90's) and a good sense of how these things play out.
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Butch_M

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Sorry ... your analogy is pure poppycock. Did Adobe have to open a printing lab for their other apps? Seriously? You expect me to accept that as the situation?

Did they have to invent their own line of inkjet printers so they could develop the Print Module? See how ridiculous that sounds?

The only "proprietary" constraints of individual print houses are page , margin and bleed dimensions ... all other apps ever developed by Adobe in the print publication industry offer this capability. It is nothing new or extremely costly to create. If it were ... there would be considerably less available in many of their current offerings.

Adobe can create documents with text and graphics in other apps .... like say InDesign, Acrobat, etc. ... and export files from those very apps that then can be utilized by a near infinite number of print houses? It's done every day for millions of customers by thousands of print houses. Yet, you expect me to believe it far to costly and difficult to do so in Lightroom?

I don't know for a fact, but I would wager the the very document that Lightroom exports to Blurb for printing is exactly an industry standard PDF. Additionally any PDF page can be converted to a high quality jpeg ... which either file type is what is used by EVERY high end photo album and book print house in the industry that serves wedding and portrait photographers.

I'm sorry ... but the solution is definitely not super expensive, intricate and near impossible rocket science.

The Book module should have NEVER been constrained to a single vendor. There was no legitimate reason to do so. Period.

Any difficulty Adobe is experiencing in this instance is self-imposed by choice ... not by circumstance of incredible difficulty.

I totally agree with you that the only reason I can come up with for the absurd decision is either Adobe is receiving a kickback from Blurb for every book printed .... or that Blurb underwrote the development of the module.

Either way ... as long as we can not set our own document page sizes, margins and bleeds ... the Book module is of little to no use to a great many Lightroom users that wish to offer their clients products other than Blurb. Hence, those users are being cheated for they pay the same rate for the software as other customers.

If my concept of the situation is off the mark ... Please explain how Apple was able to offer both in-app ordering and custom exporting for ordering from the vendor choice in Aperture more than 5 years ago ... Is Apple really that much better at software development than Adobe? (The last question is of course rhetorical to prove a point.)
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Dan Hartford Photo

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I see we agree that there is probably a monetary "Arrangement" between Adobe and Blurb involved in the issue. I extend that thought to include some sort of exclusivity agreement for a period of time.

LR does allow PDF output of books which, as you correctly point out opens the door to other companies.

I don't particularly concur with your opening paragraphs though. A print lab is a somewhat different animal than a home printer. Not that the printing is inherently different but the interface between the author and publisher is. With a home printer, they've pretty much standardized the data stream format (post script?) across all platforms and vendors and this works pretty well for printers connected directly or through LAN's to the computer.

However, I'm not sure the situation is as uniform in the commercial publishing business - I'm not saying it isn't, I just don't know.

But however you slice it, there must be a fundamental underlying reason that Adobe has not chosen to improve their first version of the book module by allowing additional output formats, dynamic book sizing, custom layouts, or even multiple print lab vendors. In my experience, whenever a corporation makes decisions to either do something or, as in this case, not do something it is either based on contractual requirements (e.g., agreement with Blurb) or they just don't see a positive return on investment - or not "as positive" as something else they want to do like implementing the CC.
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Butch_M

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Getting the document data to the printer is no different for a commercial printer than it is for someone printing to their own LAN connected printer ... Actually, a commercial printer will in all likelihood have tighter integration than most casual Lr users ...

The ability to export PDF and/or Jpeg files from the Book module is a cruel joke ... of as long as the user can not stipulate page dimensions ... it is an exercise in futility to prepare files for a non Blurb process.

I'm just surprised that ... 1) Adobe won't publicly admit they struck a deal with Blurb. 2) They actually think we are so stupid not to realize it is indeed the situation.

Either way. Blurb isn't receiving a direct profit from me ... and I'm growing more reluctant to trust Adobe to offer tools I can actually depend upon.

In fact, the only modules I have turned on in Lr are Library, Develop and Print ... not because I wouldn't be inclined to use the others ... but in their current sate, they are utterly useless for my needs.
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Santiago Rodriguez

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You are making very good points. Adobe does not seem to care. Lightroom 6 did not add anything to the book module.
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Michael Ungar

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I understand that Lightroom doesn't want to give custom page sizes because then Blurb would lose their exclusivity. However, once we are using Blurb why cant we have all the design options that the real Blurb has? Why go only halfway and leave the a great idea unfinished?
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Santiago Rodriguez

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I don't understand.
Adobe should put customers first. If they have an exclusive agreement with Blurb, they should renegotiate a different arrangement.
I don't mind the option of sending files directly to blurb, however, Lightrrom customers should have the option of selecting custom book pages in case they want to print the book in a different way.
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Liz Finnie

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled We are still waiting for a completely flexible Book Module!.

Adobe, why oh why haven't you introduced a flexible Book module? The forums are full of this complaint. I don't use LR book module as it doesn't allow for flexible text and photo layouts. One should be able to create a page layout to suit the purpose. I have to rely on outside sources for my books. If your Book Module stats are down, that's why.
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Santiago Rodriguez

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A more flexible book module would have been much more useful than other features in version 6 like face recognition.
Why is Adobe giving priority to promoting Blurb instead of giving customers the ability to create book pages with custom page sizes and custom layouts that can be printed with other suppliers?
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Michael Ungar

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled Flexible book layout.

Could we have the ability to take Lightroom's page layouts and be able to move around the photo cells? I love the layouts that we are given but sometimes I need to move a picture over to make the book balance. I know that Blurb's software gives you this ability, so I would love if we could have it too.
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Matthew O Brien

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This is the fundamental flaw with the book module and has been since its inception. The padding option is just that ...padding. The option to move cells should be there for text and images, on individual book pages and also the ability to apply same editing options to template pages.

The native Blurb app is better than the Adobe book module, but we are then forced to create massive amounts of intermediate work files. If we then need to adjust the size of an image we have to re-create the image again, if you want to be careful re your sharpening settings. Nightmare stuff.