Wednesday, March 12, 2008

My China Photobook

After almost five months after my trip to Jiuzhaigou, I finally completed my photo album!

This time I decided to try out another company called Photobook. They have more choices in terms of sizes, but not sizes have hardcopy version.

Since I wanted to make a hardcopy album, I took the A4 landscape, which I think is ideal as most of the photographs are scenery. The software can be downloaded from their website.

Behold the final product!

The cover

The hardcover comes in default black, however red is also available as an option. The cover art is also based on the first page of the album.

I find that the Photobook software provides much more flexibility as compared to Pixart's . Inside the software I can put as many or as little photos I like, move them around the grid, add whichever text I wanted to etc etc. Basically, the software gives you all the flexibility you need to make your own album. However, if this is too daunting a task, they also have templates available to suit your needs. I personally took a lot of time planning the layout of my album as each layout is for two pages. Any changes will mean I 'almost' have to re-do my album which actually happened once...sigh...

My obsession with Chongqing - inspired by 'Chungking Express'

One thing I like about the software was that it keeps track of which photos have been used, and which ones haven't. Should there be a photo that is below the 'minimum standard' of Photobook, the software will prompt a warning message and requesting the user not to put the photo into the album.

In terms of format, it's all up to you. The software allows for each photo to be further edited, be it to change the lighting or contrast, crop or masking, or even changing to greyscale or watercolour effects. The page below is a combination of four photographs of Pearl Shoal over a photo background, with masking effect. I'm very happy how the effect turned out to be as it didn't look that nice in the software.

Pearl Shoal

The software allows for Chinese characters to be put in as text (yippie!) but do watch out of one thing - The text printed out is much bigger as compared to the one shown in the software. I had font size 18 for my header and 14 for the text. On the software screen 100%, it still looked very small. However, i was caught by surprise to see how big the font size is. Also, what bothers me is the lack of justify alignment, which makes the book look a bit messy and unprofessional (unless one do not plan to put in text at all).

Photobook allows users to change colours of their background, or even insert another photograph as the background. I did quite a number of those in this album, but the best effect is surprisingly black with white fonts for those night shots.

Chengdu Nightlife

Photobook claims that it uses the following :
  • All our papers are imported from the Italian paper manufacturer Fedrigoni
  • Commercial quality printing with Indigo 5000 Digital Offset Press
  • Prints are color managed. We adopt the European ISO Fogra 27 color space. Our presses are calibrated daily to that standard.
I'm happy that the colours for most pictures turned out to be great, and the quality of the paper provides the scenery some form of texture. However, there were some that came out a little dark, even though it looked very bright on the screen. Lucky for me, these full page photos of the autumn leaves just looked very good :)

Autumn Beauty

Probably the drawing point why I chose Photobook this time around is that I can put in panorama shots into the album. According to the website, one can drag the entire photo across two pages. What I did for Nuorilang Waterfalls was into incorporate two photos together for a complete panaromic view of the waterfall. The effect? Simply stunning.

Here are some pros and cons that I summarised while using the Photobook software :

  • Flexible
  • Allows for Chinese characters to be inputed.
  • Warning if text exceed text box or photo quality nor suitable for album
  • More photo editing choices
  • Preview tool too small
  • Fonts seemed smaller than they really are in real life
  • Lagging in response
  • Limited frame choices

Overall I'm very pleased with my book, and looking forward to making my next album, which I don't know what for yet :)


lilium said...

Looks very nice. Can't wait to see the real photobook.

Kenneth said...

lovely! i have to redo my whole aussie experience book now LOL

Mchilly said...

Wonderful :-)