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Old 08-07-2020, 08:02 AM   #1
KayDav
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An artist's sourcebook

My current project is an artist's sourcebook, so it has a lot of images and relatively much less text to it. (Example)

I've been doing the drawing in a vector design program called Xara Designer Pro, which is pretty good at doing layout for print and exporting to PDF. However, the greater the number of pages (160 so far!) the more resources it takes up to do the drawing, so I have resorted to splitting the book into individual two-page spreads while I work with it. Eventually I want to make it as accessible as possible by offering PDF and ebook formats (probably EPUB and MOBI at least). With the images being the primary focus, I want the DPI to be quite high so that users can zoom in to an image if they want to.

At the moment I'm at a point where I'm considering how best to do this. I've experimented with conversions from PDF to EPUB but find that the markup gets messy and the layout ends up, well, not as intended. I'm testing my output on a Kindle 3, Kindle-for-Android, and other e-reader software on Android. Considering getting a secondhand Kobo device from eBay to test what it looks like there.

Building an EPUB from scratch I can get along well enough using Sigil if I export all my images from Xara (it can do PNG, JPG, SVG etc), but I'm also weighing up whether a comic format (CBR?) or LaTeX might suit it better. The example book I linked above uses a text-and-plates layout, which I could do in Sigil. I came across praise for Scrivener on this forum and am tempted to buy it if it will suit my needs.

Am I on the right track in terms of what software I'm using? Is there anything else that would give me good results?
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Old 08-07-2020, 12:30 PM   #2
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I remember that series, they sold well (Yes, the Ducks sold books until 2000)
One of the thing the folk who bought (paper) books like that wanted, was the ability to make scaled copies (usually, bigger, but maintaining Aspect).
You might consider using a Word processor (for the text) and use Sigil / Calibre to place the images ( Put a place holder Tag into the text. Image 43 here)
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Old 08-07-2020, 04:25 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by theducks View Post
I remember that series, they sold well (Yes, the Ducks sold books until 2000)
One of the thing the folk who bought (paper) books like that wanted, was the ability to make scaled copies (usually, bigger, but maintaining Aspect).
You might consider using a Word processor (for the text) and use Sigil / Calibre to place the images ( Put a place holder Tag into the text. Image 43 here)
Yes! I found George Bain's book in the library back in 1988ish and borrowed it a lot until I found and bought a copy for myself. Then when it came out on Kindle I snapped that up too. It's good enough to own in all available formats Old school methods were to draw it out yourself, or use tracing paper or a photocopier to manipulate the image to the size you wanted. Later similar books like the Dover Pictorial Art series had CD-ROMs and clipart in them. My book is intended similarly, a set of images for artists to use to make art. Which means the DPI needs to be high enough not to degrade when blown up.

Word processing and placeholders (anchors in HTML?) sound a good way to go. I'm thinking to keep it simple by not expecting wrapping around images - a block of text would be text only (no in-line images in text), and a block (page-width) of images would simply take a new line, so to speak. Not certain how to treat captions yet. My Kindle has a screen of only 600x800 so I'm thinking I should try to fit smaller images into blocks that size. With bigger images, I'll look at how the zoom works, whether it does it itself or if you have to specify a larger image for zoomed-size. Probably should keep to the same aspect ratio (multiples of 600x800) so that any scaling doesn't end up stretched or cropped.
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Old 08-07-2020, 07:14 PM   #4
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Look at SVG coding (calibre's cover uses it to maintain Aspect)

Code:
 <svg xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2000/svg" xmlns:xlink="http://www.w3.org/1999/xlink" version="1.1" width="100%" height="100%" viewBox="0 0 463 700" preserveAspectRatio="xMidYMid meet">
      <image width="463" height="700" xlink:href="cover.jpeg"/>
    </svg>
Mine is smaller than the screen but renders full (I don't care if I have fine details except for maps with writing )
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Old 08-09-2020, 09:02 AM   #5
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@theducks Thank you I'll definitely have a look at SVG. I'd just assumed that vector images would have to be flattened into PNG/JPG to take up less space. But SVG would be closer to what I'm actually drawing, so if it doesn't make the book impossibly large it'd be my preference.
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Old 08-09-2020, 07:45 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by KayDav View Post
@theducks Thank you I'll definitely have a look at SVG. I'd just assumed that vector images would have to be flattened into PNG/JPG to take up less space. But SVG would be closer to what I'm actually drawing, so if it doesn't make the book impossibly large it'd be my preference.
theducks was suggesting an SVG wrapper around a JPEG or PNG image. You don't need to use an SVG image.

But depending on how complex the vector SVG image is, it will be somewhere between much smaller and much larger than the same image rasterized to PNG ot JPEG.

So, if the SVG image is smaller, you can consider using the SVG image in the ebook, except that I think most reading software won't work for cover images that are SVG and quite a few don't have good support for SVG images.
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Old 08-09-2020, 11:39 PM   #7
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To reinforce what j.p.s. posted, see this post (at the bottom is a comment about SVG) from another recent thread.

I am currently assuming that your target devices must be tablets or desktops, since ereaders don't really see suitable for this purpose (zooming etc. is cumbersome). The look-inside from your example link makes it look like poor photo copies from the original - yes, we have that book here too - and I'd hate to have that fixed layout on an ereader - although epub v3 does support fixed layout if you want it. So I wonder if epub and mobi formats are actually necessary or appropriate. Just guessing, I have no experience with this sort of publication.
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Old 08-12-2020, 02:12 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by j.p.s View Post
So, if the SVG image is smaller, you can consider using the SVG image in the ebook, except that I think most reading software won't work for cover images that are SVG and quite a few don't have good support for SVG images.
Ah, I see. I reckon some of my images might work out smaller as SVG, others perhaps not. I can always try a sampling of them and find out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gmw View Post
To reinforce what j.p.s. posted, see this post (at the bottom is a comment about SVG) from another recent thread.

I am currently assuming that your target devices must be tablets or desktops, since ereaders don't really see suitable for this purpose (zooming etc. is cumbersome). The look-inside from your example link makes it look like poor photo copies from the original - yes, we have that book here too - and I'd hate to have that fixed layout on an ereader - although epub v3 does support fixed layout if you want it. So I wonder if epub and mobi formats are actually necessary or appropriate. Just guessing, I have no experience with this sort of publication.
Yeah it may well turn out not to be good on an ereader. It's something I -want- to have it available on if I can, but only if the appearance and ease-of-use is good enough. I could well end up only doing a PDF format.

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