Thursday, 3 April 2008

What a waste of time...

Darn the PhotoBox photobook creation software! I use PhotoBox for all my on-line photo-based fulfilment but not for their photobooks after tonight!

After uploading the best 40 images from my Urban Ugly photo essay (which took a good couple of hours over broadband! - It was 220 MB or so, though...) I then proceeded to create a photobook.

First I chose the design and template, then I chose to arrange all the images in the sequence I wanted to place them. So far so good. Then I changed the layout of all the pages to a single "aperture" (i.e. one photo per page). I then saved, logged off and had a cuppa.

When I logged back on and selected to edit my new photobook, the photos ready for placement were no longer in the order I spent so long deciding on before saving!!

Ok, so I persevered. I put them back into about the same order (another 30 mins or so!) and then placed them all. I didn't care that all the pages were laid out in landscape format and some photos were portrait orientation - I'd sort that out later.

Ok, did that and as I dropped them into place I kept getting an image in place of mine as an error message that said mine was not available I ignored these messages and assumed all was working behind the scenes, and pressed on.

Once I'd placed them all (error message or not) I saved my work, logged off, logged back on again and then into editing the book again.

Sure enough, all images were placed where I'd put them, the "unavailable" ones were actually ok. So I then proceeded to edit the pages for the portrait images so they used a portrait-orientation "aperture".

Then I noticed the killer... The "apertures" in which you drop your pictures are a fixed aspect ratio. And if your images' aspect ratios are different (as mine are - they're pretty much all 6 x 4) then it behaves inconsistently in how it fits them within the aperture.

This is mostly ok for landscape orientation - the full width is displayed in most cases, and then the image height doesn't quite reach the top of the aperture. For some though, and this I haven't figured out, the full height is displayed and you get to choose whether to to have the left or the right (or both) cropped by dragging the image horizontally.

It's far worse in portrait though. It always displays the full width and, with 6 x 4 aspect ratio you're forced to crop huge amounts off the top or bottom.

I'll phone them tomorrow to see if there is any way of changing the aspect ratios of the apertures or some other way of shrinking the image so that the long edge is always fully displayed ...but I'm not getting my hopes up!

I'll still use PhotoBox for standard prints and canvases but it looks like I need an alternative for the photobook.

PhotoBox currently have a great deal on at the moment - they have 25% off their canvas prints and a 2-for-1 offer on mugs...
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