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 7 years ago

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Santiago Rodriguez

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled Add a flexible book module with flexible page sizes and custom layouts to the nex....

Adobe should admit that it was a mistake to continue offering a book module that can only be used with Blurb. This is like restricting printing to a single print service.
It would be very simple to add basic flexibility for defining book page sizes and custom layouts, at least as already offered in the print module.
Is Abobe's relationship with Blurb more important than Abobe's customers?
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Santiago Rodriguez

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Adobe should issue an update to the book module in Lightroom 6.1.
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Michael Ungar

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They may not have an option to get rid of Blurb. I honestly don't really mind Blurb, but I do want a workable layout. We will just have to hope they take care of this.
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Eric Goodwin

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I'm pretty sure that they have some sort of a deal with blurb. I now think of it as the "Blurb Module" and it helps me. As a blurb module it does do extra stuff that makes it helpful. But as a book model it is very disappointing and does not serve much if any real purpose. As a new user who reads what is in Lightroom, like I did when I started this thread, it is frustrating, as I had expectations of being able to design a book or album in Lightroom.

Maybe instead they could just change the name and stop advertising it as if it is something that a pro could use for a client, and make it more of an extra that someone might use if they happen to want to make their own little book, or to make a quick on screen demo for a client of what their book might look like, then it would be pretty cool.
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Matthew O Brien

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I agree with most of the points here.

1. I use InDesign but would prefer to do books in Lightroom for lots of workflow efficiency reasons.
2. I am not overly concerned re Blurb, but I agree ... it should be called the Blurb module.
3. My personal nickname for Adobe is Adobe 80%. Adobe do a good job doing the first 80% and then get lost and take another 10 years to do the next 10% and so on. So, so many examples across the entire creative suite.
4. I am depressed as usual that the Book module has been left literally "on the shelf".
5. It is clear that a lot of effort went into the initial book module, a pity its overall template design was so badly flawed and misconceived.
6. A lot of good stuff under the hood in Lr6 / CC. The only new feature I see useful is the panorama merge, clever to hold the details in a dng file. As this was already in Photoshop, most of the new features are badly needed improvements in the core architecture of Lr. Having waited patiently so long for a new release, I have to say I am disappointed.
7. I do not use the Book module. Lots of people I know avoid this module also.
8. I can create really good pdf's. word docs, html pages using Microsoft MailMerge with Word or Publisher. It is really simple to create a page template and merge with a file created by John Beardsworth Lightroom plug-in called ListView. This does a good job for me of placing images on a page with professionally formatted Title, Caption, Date,Time, Copyright info relative to the image. To me this is a sad workaround. Adobe could so easily do the right thing here.
9. I still do not understand why the mobile version does not allow me enter metadata and lock an image if I am happy with its current status from further developments. This is real usable stuff.

I suspect many people who are serious about books already have InDesign. I would be happy to pay for a pro version of Lightroom which had a functional book module. Also, I would happy to purchase a dedicated Book app.

So, I will set the alarm clock for another 2 years or so and see what the next version will bring.
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Santiago Rodriguez

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Good summary. I will look into ListView as a work around for the lack of a working book module. I have been using the book module just to organize pictures and pages. Then I use the print module with custom templates for each page type to create one jpeg for each page. Once I get all the pages in jpg format, I go to the software from the book printing service, and I manually sort the pages using the book module as a guide. This is a tedious process similar to what one would have to do without a computer.
I wonder what would be a good forum to exchange ideas for a better workflow.
It would be great if one could get a collection with the pictures in a Lightroom book module sorted as in the book and with tags noting which page template was used.
I wonder if a working book module could be created as a plug-in. If someone where to do that, I would be ready to buy it.
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Matthew O Brien

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Listiew provides the Metadata of your choice from Lightroom in an Excel or text file which you can then use to merge with a Photoshop, InDesign, Word or Publisher mailmerge style document. I have used all of these options. The disadvantage is that you can only use a single template, so not good for books. The disadvantage of Photoshop and InDesign is that the workflow is tedious (I have written JavaScript to automate this in InDesign and Photoshop, but still tedious) and you can only work with a single template page layout at a time. The advantage of Word is that I can run a script to get rid of the soft page breaks, so I end up with a document which has a flow of photographs, with professionally constructed Titles, Captions, Location, Date/Time, Copyright, etc. This is perfect for creating PDF documents or web pages, where I can use the full editing power of Word or Publisher to adjust the layout to my needs with the perfect marriage of image and metadata, perfectly formatted.

What is really aggravating is that Adobe provide us with the tools to manage metadata with an image, but seriously constrain our ability to use the metadata with our images. The annoying thing is that the feature is in the Slideshow module (which I do not use) but not in the Print module, which I use all the time. The Book module is crippled, so do not use that. I use JavaScript + Mailmerge + Photoshop to produce high quality PSD's for printing of images, but the techniques I use are beyond the scope of most Creative Suite users. Shame on Adobe for making it so difficult for us to work with our images and metadata.

A tip re Listview. There is a setting which allows you replace a space by another character (eg underscore) in column titles, to make mail merges less painful.

I would love to spend a month with the Adobe Lightroom and Creative team to show them what really needs improvement to streamline workflow for the serious user.

Sorry for the long post... but I thought this info might be useful to you. You can email me directly if you want to ask any specific questions. I
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Santiago Rodriguez

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Thank you very much for for explaining
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Matthew O Brien

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Following the release of Lr6, I am just reviewing my personal wish list relative to the top requests in this forum. I notice this is in the top 10 requested by users to Adobe, but has been ignored completely in LR6.

This request was originally posted more than 3 years ago.
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Santiago Rodriguez

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Searching the web about this topic I found some information about the possibility of creating custom page sizes and templates for the book module by editing template LUA files that can be found in the Program files\Adobe\Lightroom folder.

I have not tried it yet, but if it works, it would help in cases when when the user needs just a few custom templates and book sizes, and it is willing to go through the trouble of creating these templates.

You can find some information at:
https://forums.adobe.com/thread/1254145
http://www.lightroomforums.net/showth...
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Todd Smith

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How ugly. I transitioned from Aperture this year, and, while LR has some good tools - it is pretty poor at the traditional creative/publishing side of things. Books are a glaring example.
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Matthew O Brien

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When the Book module was launched initially and this issue arose, Adobe promised publically on one of their forums that they would publish a means by which templates could be adjusted. As far as I am aware (and I am eagerly open to correction) that has never happed.

For me, modifying templates is just a poor workaround. It will cause an iterative approach to dealing with small adjustments needed on individual pages, depending on the nature and size of images and text. It would be worse than the "padding" solution. Real world needs the ability to tweak templates on the fly on a page by page basis, and if the need applies tweak and save the relevant template as well.

As there was not an official Adobe means to deal with this I can use InDesign. As this is too labour intensive for me most of the time, I only produce books under extreme duress. If the Book module was more usable, I would create a book for every project I do, trip I take, etc. Bottom line, if Adobe are getting a percentage of revenue from Blurb for books created from the Book module then they are losing at least 95% of the potential.

Thanks for the links, I will explore later in the week, when I will have some breathing space.
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Santiago Rodriguez

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I agree that this would be a very poor workaround, only practical for computer savvy users that need few additional templates that are not changed for individual pages.
If anybody from Adobe is reading this, I hope they realize that they still need to offer a flexible book module.
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Andrei I. Gere

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Based on the methods Santiago linked to above, a while back, I started working on a web based tool that would allow at least for the creation of custom templates.

The idea was to use this tool to create custom layouts, download the template file that you would add to Lightroom's templates folder, and then use them as needed inside Lightroom's Book Module.

I went as far as having a working user interface prototype, but then stopped working on it because I was sure Adobe would include it in the new Lightroom version.

This wasn't the case, so now I am thinking maybe I could resume working on it. You may view a preview here: http://pagebuilder.27shutterclicks.com

The struggle I was having with it was finding a way to convert jquery into Lua, maybe via some kind of parser that would allow for the generation of the needed file.

Since I am not that familiar with Lua, I was wondering if anyone else had any suggestions on how to go about it. I know there are some skilled people around here that are more familiar with Lua tools and Lightroom development.
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Santiago Rodriguez

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It may be possible to do a custom template editor as a Lightroom plug-in. This would be the best option, but it would take a significant amount of work to make it general, and Adobe can make that work useless anytime by offering an updated book module. It would be nice to know what Adobe's plans are.
I am not familiar with LUA. However, modifying the template files seems relatively simple once you know the numerical values defining the page size and position of the photo cells within the page. Calculating the position is easy, if based on number of rows, columns, margins and space between cells as in the print module. I will try this at some point. Having your GUI would be helpful, it could also create the jpeg files in the template folder.
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kevinashaw

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled Lightroom photo book module: editable page layouts.

I am building several large photobooks (200+ pages) from RAW images in Lightroom. I love direct integration of the book capability into LR because color corrections made in LR are directly applied to the photobook. I am also impressed with the stability of the module; my last book exported to a 1.2GB PDF with 1000+ images and never crashed.
However, I am unendingly infuriated by the inability to modify the page layout. The template collection is helpful but is never sufficient to meet the needs of a given page -- there are always tweaks needed.

When can we have the ability to modify photobook page layouts in LR?
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Santiago Rodriguez

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It is possible to modify templates and create new templates by modifying files with extension .lua that can be found in the Lightroom installation folders. As far as I know, this is not documented. It is not user friendly either because you have to type the coordinates and frame dimensions in a text file without the ability to do interactive changes. However, I successfully use this to create books with different sizes as required by suppliers other than Blurb.
I would be very easy for Adobe to implement custom templates. I don't understand what they are waiting for. The book module without custom templates is not very useful.
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Todd Smith

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I agree
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Kent Messamore

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I agree with you. Until Adobe gives us variable Slideshows, Books, and Webs, I will go elsewhere.
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Christopher Eleazer

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I gave up hope of Adobe making improvements to the book module and have taken the painstaking steps of building my book pages in Photoshop and incorporating them into Lightroom.
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Aurie

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I just downloaded LR6 hoping to use the Book module for the photobooks for my clients. I am glad i just downloaded the trial version cause the options are so constrained and very few options with sizes. It is disappointing and i certainly wont be paying for the full version.
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Michael Ungar

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I have the exact same issue, I already use Lightroom and I'm forced to export my photos to create books for my clients.
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Matthew O Brien

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Sadly, I have reverted to using Microsoft Mail merge for 90% of my needs, which allows me to put images, titles and captions, where I want, with fonts, character sizes and alignment professionally laid out.

After a shoot, I do a quick selection, add Titles, Captions and Location info in Lr and export to jpg. I use the Lr Listview plug-in to export this info to a text file. I have a Macro in Word which then with a single click creates my document. I then save this to PDF.

I can fine tune the Word document as required. I can have this completed in draft form and emailed to the client within an hour of finishing the shoot.

I use InDesign when I want to craft a book. I would produce a lot more books if I could choose where to place images and text within Lightroom, so if Adobe are getting a percentage of Blurb sales then they are just losing more and more business.

There are huge advantages to keeping this within Lightroom, which I would prefer to do, but Adobe obviously choose to allow us suffer with the current crippled module and only provide lip service to the concept of workflow.
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Dominique Blanc

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It's been several years that this subject is on discussion... My personal opinion is that it should not be to Adobe to improve the book module. Instead, companies (such as Blurb or Cewe in Europe, or other photobook publisher) should develop plugins that enable us to create photobooks directly from Lightroom in the right format of the publisher. Does this sound possible?
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Santiago

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In my opinion you could easily have both. Adobe should give the user the option of creating and modifying the size and layout of book pages. The user should have the option of saving his/her layouts as templates. Book printing companies, could also develop and provide templates appropriate for their books. You don't have to choose one or the other.
This would be like other Lightroom features such as develop presets, print loayout templates, etc, where the user can change settings, the user is able to save them, and you can also find third part solutions.
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Dominique Blanc

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Agree with you. On a commercial point of view, I don't understand why other companies are not interested in developing such plugin. It will be new clients for them!
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Santiago

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The problem for potential developers of a book template plugin is that Adobe could release a new version with custom book page layouts, thus making their effort worthless. I thought that would be the case for versions 5 and 6, but I was wrong.
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f1oren

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this is not possible if Adobe does not provide the SDK needed for the book module. If it was we would have lots of plugins for book module since a long time
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nfahmi

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After scouring the net, the only solution I found to create custom template is to use slynn1324's Lightroom Book template editor which can be found at :
https://bitbucket.org/slynn1324/light...

and it's being discussed here: https://forums.adobe.com/thread/1254145

Quite a rough app but I managed to create quite a few custom templates for my own use.
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kevinashaw

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I have used LRBE several times over the last month and been pleased with it.
It allows me to create new templates and to edit old ones.
Is it perfect? No. It crashes with some layouts, but I've learned what they are and am able to use it well.
Also, it has a text window that shows the commands for each image-box in a given template. I've been using my own script code (Matlab) to generate more complicated template layouts. I can then copy-paste those into the text window and LRBE will then use those templates. Nice. Example:

<rect fill="#cccccc" stroke="#000000" x="36" y="36" width="1368" height="720" id="svg_0"/>
<rect fill="#cccccc" stroke="#000000" x="1422.36" y="360" width="360" height="396" id="svg_1"/>

I highly recommend it.
Many thanks to Slynn1324 for creating it!
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nfahmi

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I can't however create the template below which is a mirror image of LR's. The 3 small inline image didn't appear when used in LR CC. Any idea why?



Sorry if this is not the proper place to post this.
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Brian O'Donoghue

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled Lightroom Book Module - Custom Page Size.

Despite the many requests for this feature it appears to fall on deaf ears. Many users have the capacity and ability to print their own books using commercially available paper and covers.

The default page sizes in the Lightroom book module are very limited. Surely it would make sense to allow users to create page sizes as there are other books available. I realise that you can output to a PDF and reset the page size but it would be nice to create the entire book within Lightroom.

One of the issues is that very few, if any, paper manufacturers sell photo quality paper in 12" x 12". Most manufacturers sell paper either in regular ISO, 8x10 or rolls. There are very few other formats available.

Not everyone wants to pay Blurb to produce a book or in my case a small portfolio.
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Lisa Hardie

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled Book Module Lightroom fully customize layout.

I am needing a new photo solution moving from Apple Aperture.  I am a heavy user of the Book module.  The Aperture book module met all of my needs, and the lightroom one is sadly lacking a few key elements that will keep me from using this software.  What I would like to see, which is available in so many of the book software is this:

Fully customizable templates.   Currently in LR, I am only able to increase or decrease the padding around a picture but I can't change the actual size of a photo cell.  I need to be able to completely customize the size of a photo box and add or subtract photo boxes as needed.   I also would like to be able to put a photo box on an angle, and add a border. 

Please let me know if there are any current workarounds to these concerns, or plans to change the current software with these accommodations. 

I realize that InDesign (though far more robust than what I need) could accommodate these wishes,   it is just SO MUCH BETTER to have the book module in the same software.  That way, once you have your layout, it is far easier to make any photo adjustments within the same environment and not have to export, and mess around outside of the photo environment.  

Thanks,
lisa
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kevinashaw

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No, it just modifies existing page sizes.  I believe that one could modify the LUA scripts to do that, but it would take some experimentation.  The LUA script for each template page does encode the page size, but I can't image that LR would allow those numbers to override the current page setting.
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Santiago Rodriguez

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I have been able to change the page sizes editing the LUA scripts. I can also change frame sizes and positions. I was hoping that I could achieve the same with LBRE in a more user friendly way.
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kevinashaw

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Frame sizes can be changed, added and deleted.  I haven't seen any options for changing page sizes.  
I would imagine that once a template page script has been created with a given page size, LBRE will just read the page size parameters and allow you to edit within that page size.
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Lisa Hardie

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Thank you all for all your responses. I really appreciate you taking the time!  I checked out the LBRE and want to thank whoever put all the time and effort into doing that and making it available to fellow users.  I tried using it but fear I am going to run into the same problems:

I scan thousands of photos and then create books for my clients.  The books that I make tend to be Family History books where each page, while it may start from a common template,  evolves into it's own customized page - depending on the story being told by each picture or collection of pictures.     I feel like I would spend hours in LBRE enlarging text boxes or recreating photo box sizes depending on what is required for each page.

I REALLY REALLY want to keep my Asset Management (DAM) & photo editing & book design all together in one application to simplify the workflow.   Is there ANYTHING out there that would work?  I've spent hours searching to see if there are any other feasible options but there just doesn't seem to be.  What have you guys done for your own solutions and why?

My new options seem to be:
- Stick with Aperture for another year and hope it won't crash and burn.  Then reassess and hope something will have changed in the market.
- Switch to LR for the DAM and Editing.   Find a separate software system for book design and just deal with the awkwardness that comes with having to adjust photo edits and library work in a different application.  ARG.
- Cry.

I'm leaning towards sticking with Aperture but feel like I'm on a sinking ship.  

http://picturesonpages.com/gallery/family/ This is an example of what I create.  I'm not sure that I can streamline the workflow well enough in LR but don't know any other options.


Thanks, 
Lisa
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Lisa Hardie

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Thank you all for all your responses. I really appreciate you taking the time!  I checked out the LBRE and want to thank whoever put all the time and effort into doing that and making it available to fellow users.  I tried using it but fear I am going to run into the same problems:

I scan thousands of photos and then create books for my clients.  The books that I make tend to be Family History books where each page, while it may start from a common template,  evolves into it's own customized page - depending on the story being told by each picture or collection of pictures.     I feel like I would spend hours in LBRE enlarging text boxes or recreating photo box sizes depending on what is required for each page.

I REALLY REALLY want to keep my Asset Management (DAM) & photo editing & book design all together in one application to simplify the workflow.   Is there ANYTHING out there that would work?  I've spent hours searching to see if there are any other feasible options but there just doesn't seem to be.  What have you guys done for your own solutions and why?

My new options seem to be:
- Stick with Aperture for another year and hope it won't crash and burn.  Then reassess and hope something will have changed in the market.
- Switch to LR for the DAM and Editing.   Find a separate software system for book design and just deal with the awkwardness that comes with having to adjust photo edits and library work in a different application.  ARG.
- Cry.

I'm leaning towards sticking with Aperture but feel like I'm on a sinking ship.  

http://picturesonpages.com/gallery/family/ This is an example of what I create.  I'm not sure that I can streamline the workflow well enough in LR but don't know any other options.


Thanks, 
Lisa
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Sam

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Given they do tie in with Blurb, I can't quite fathom why a standard Blurb/Mag Cloud  magazine template  format/size is not available in Lightroom? I'd love to be able to make magazines easily using the book module.
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Jacek Rembowski

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled Lightroom: Two requests: PDF with music, custom page size in Books..

1. I dream of exporting to PDF slideshows with music.
2. I very much hope that BOOK module will have a user custom page size
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gnohz gnohz

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled LIGHTROOM - Allow the Book module to be able to design book sizes larger than 12 ....

It'd be good if we can get larger book layout sizes such as 12 x 16" and 16 x 16" as 12 x 12" as the maximum size is a little restrictive :)
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Butch_M

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled Lightroom: Where is the ability to create custom page sizes for Lr Book module?.

It's been nine months now since Kevin Tieskoetter was quoted in a blog interview about the new Book module in Lr 4.x ... in which he stated:

"Yes! All of the templates we ship with Lightroom are made using Illustrator, and I'll be documenting the process for creating those. We've also successfully made templates using InDesign and the freeware tool called Scribus, so if you need templates in different sizes, you'll have a range of options."

The full interview can be read here:

http://www.pixiq.com/article/kevin-ti...

Where is this documentation? Why are you holding back? When will this issue be addressed? Why did you design it to be a one-trick pony only supporting a single vendor in the first place? Are you choosing to intentionally force Lr users to seek other options for their book making needs?

Yes, you did offer the ability to export books to pdf or jpeg ... but ... if none of the six book vendors I do use don't use the page sizes available in the Book module ... what good is it? To this point ... the Book module, in it's current state, is just a waste of space on my hard drive and a useless feature I am expected to pay for and not implement because you (and/or the executives in charge) don't think it's important to keep your word and share how to create custom templates and page sizes.

I await your response to this matter ... of course ... if you continue to remain silent on the subject ... that too will speak volumes ...
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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In a topic merged with this one, Julie Kmoch, Senior Development Manager at Adobe, wrote on 10/9/2012:

Sorry, but we've decided that the approach we were originally pursuing to create custom page layouts was not something we were comfortable releasing to the public. The scripts we've built have worked well enough for our internal use but needed a lot of work before they were usable without a lot of guidance. We think it's more prudent for us to focus on enhancing the book module itself.
(Edited)
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Jeff

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Great -- It's now over 3 years later and we have... nothing!
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Butch_M

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Translation of Koch's comment: "We're getting a sizable kickback from Blurb so we don't want to rock the boat and have Lr users using other sources to print their books ... "

If this is not the case ... name one other module, app, plugin that Adobe has created that is locked into a single vendor.

How popular would Lightroom be if you could only print from Epson printers or only process files from a single brand of camera ... or create web galleries that only worked in one browser?

Why should we be hampered by a single vendor for books?

Sure we can export books in jpeg or PDF format ... but does anyone know of another vendor that offers top quality albums and books that will accept work created using a Blurb template?

Users should be able to set the page dimensions, margins, gutters and bleeds for whatever vendor we wish to use. 

I haven't believed Kmoch's comment/explanation from the minute she shared it. It's nothing more than pure poppycock.

(Edited)
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J Jay Ladouceur

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I share your frustration with the Book Module. It forced me to simply use Photoshop and after a short time that process became fairly effective.
Photoshop now has many new and improved tools and its Guides functionality is very helpful. You can create books by creating a new page 300dpi and whatever size a 2 page spread will be. Then position guides in the middle and the safety zones on all sides. I just use file Explorer to view thumbnails of my 'Selects' and simply drag them onto the layout where they come in as smart objects. I generally do a layer style on one and copy in a heartbeat to others. Using the move tool as one's principal tool, the images can be re-sized, re-positioned individually or in groups, similarly angled if desired ...to create the layout you want. Another image can be imported similarly to use as a background and if needed ...text layers can be added where appropriate.
As you go you can simply save that as a PSD and make a copy of it and bring that in as start of the next 2 page spread. Because the images are smart objects the 'object' can be replaced. I usually replace one to keep the layer style and then delete all the other (perhaps keeping the background image) and then slide the next batch in, copy the layer styles to them and then size and reposition using the move tool and making use of the intelligent guides to properly space them. As you make different 2 page spreads and save them as PSD's, you are effectively building a library of templates or 'starting points' for other spreads. I was surprised at how easy it is.

Once all of them are done I import them into LR, select all and make virtual copies, I crop the first as a left page and the second as a right page ...repeat for all and export as jpgs ready to send to the printer. I generally make them 0.5% wider so that on the printer's software I can slide them sideways enough to perfectly line up across two pages for a perfect 'lay flat' book (unless that supplier can take the 2 page spreads,. Some don't).

If you make a collection of those spreads they can be made into a book in book module, and screenshots of them can be used for online viewing. I'll attattach an example of a 24x12 inch spread.
Do just one book like that and you will teach yourself so much and learn so much about PS that you really won't need the book module. I've even tried Fundy and prefer the control of doing it in PS. and the satisfaction of having done it myself.

I'm not saying there's anything wrong with Fundy or with Pixellu or even the on-line album making programs, but if you enjoy sharpening your own creativity and learning to make the most of what you already have, you may get some satisfaction from doing it in PS.
(Edited)
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Gautier

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I use Lightroom to manage my photos but... Aperture to create books. The fixed templates of Lightroom are too limited. Unfortunately, it will be impossible to buy new books from Aperture in few days (and Photos uses templates). A good replacement would be an evolution of Lightroom !
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Matthew O Brien

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Dream on......

Adobe appear to have forgotten about or abandoned the Book module.  I have started making handmade books, which suits my volume and demand for quality,  avoiding the Adobe / Blurb connection completely.

If Adobe every do make this a proper book module I will use the module for paper based archives of certain projects, where I can automate the process .... until then I have abandoned Adobe's flawed Book module.

My high quality books are now handmade.  Interesting to learn the craft of bookbinding with traditional materials, but producing the pages / leafs on fine art media of  my choice. Thanks to Adobe for pushing me in this direction.
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Kent Messamore

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Lightroom needs badly to revamp the Book Module.  Walk away from Blurp and give us a Book Module that is more versitile.