Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Made on a Mac...

Long ago I started printing pictures in photobooks 'made on a Mac'. I composed such books within iPhoto, based on a number of standard templates that Apple kept improving from one iPhoto version to the next. Although results were reasonably acceptable, there was still much missing in the quality of the final print in terms of picture detail, depth, dynamic range and saturation. Same shots looked a lot better on prints done by any given 'photographic quality' inkjet printer that you could go buy today for under 100 bucks. Layout has of course always been Apple-like stylish, so, at least that was still cool.

In the meantime, I had 'discovered' Blurb via Flickr and Lulu via my 'pro' typographer sibling! I quickly adopted Blurb though, as I felt Lulu was far more sophisticated for the likes of me (ie. made for real professionals). Anyways, with Blurb, I was blown away in a heartbeat. Far less expensive than Apple, quite versatile, better print quality for sure, faster delivery times and more attractive range of dimensions (from smallest to largest). You could also send preview links of your 'creations' to friends and enemies, and in case you were a famous dude, your aficionados might also be tempted to sign up for copies online, by which way you might earn a buck or two (as for me, I haven't sold no shit yet, but who cares? Nobody's perfect!). Also, Blurb recently launched a brand new gig enabling total creative freedom by requiring designers to only send-in industry standard PDF versions of their books (something that pro's in Lulu did all along, btw). That, of course, presumed designers could master tools such as Adobe InDesign or equivalent... in order to prepare their books and export them in PDF.

Long story short, I recently ended-up reusing iPhoto for books once more. I've put my fingers on a beta Snow Leo seed, you see, and as expected, half of my apps refuse to work but crash instead. The Blurb book design facility is one of them. I'm too lazy to reverse back to Leo 1.5.whatever, so I had no other choice than using iPhoto again. Don't like Aperture much, so I prefer iPhoto for trivialities and Lightroom for descent work...

So, I was in Valencia recently where I shot some breathtaking buildings by Master Architect Santiago Calatrava, and I wanted to print a book with them pictures. I love architectural photography, especially of good looking modern buildings, ever since I shot towers downtown Houston on a Sunday back in July 1989, visiting my assistant and her family on a weekend. So what else to do then? Wait for the official Snowed Leo next September and Blurbians to realize they have a problem that needs fixing? No way, too late and I'd have lost my 'inspiration and drive' by then. So I went to use iPhoto instead!

Wow! What a quality print! Also there's a novelty vis-à-vis Blurb and the rest. Apple nowadays prints their hard covers on both, dust jackets and the hard covers themselves. Cover printing is brilliant, deep, dynamic, saturated, orgasmic! Book is relatively still (too) expensive for the number of pages involved, but probably worth every penny. Highly recommended. Free market is good. I'm sure the Apple folks have been watching Blurb and Lulu quite carefully all this time. And they haven't sat on their lazy ass but moved forward. That's pretty cool. That's the way it's gotta be. I love capitalism and free markets, dudes!

Would I go back to Blurb? You bet your b*tt! How about Apple then? Bet your partner's b*tt on this too! I love them both to my heart (Blurb and Apple, I mean, not your b*tts).

Click the shot shown above to view a short slide show of more of that Valencia book. Don't mind the show quality though. Those slides were done quick and dirty with my 2G unlocked and jailbroken iPhone... that figures... anyways, it's been all about the "proof of concept", so that's still fine.


Anonymous said...

How can you not like Aperture as a true Apple-fanboy. Shame on you.

VJK said...

You know, some dudes like Canon, others swear by Nikon... and some still prefer Hasselblad above all the rest. Same here. Goûts et couleurs sort of thing.

BTW, LR is way more workflow-able than Aperture. Apple has been stuck in this for ever... they fired the entire product team once. They silently recognized the issue.