Celebrating Dads and Grads

With Father’s Day this Sunday and the school year coming to a close, today we’re going to highlight some ways to use MagCloud to do some last minute shopping for Dad, and also how recent graduates can use MagCloud as they commemorate the past and look toward their future.

MagCloud Gifts for Dad

18 Month Photo Calendar

DadCalendarThe mid-year timing of Father’s Day is a perfect opportunity to create a custom photo calendar that your dad can enjoy through the end of 2014. We’ve modified our 2013 calendar templates to go from July 2013 to December 2014 in our Standard (8.25″ x 10.75″) and Small Square (8″ x 8″) formats for InDesign CS4 and newer, and Apple Pages. Just download the template for the size of calendar you want to create in your software of choice, add your photos and use the included instructions to export a PDF for uploading to the MagCloud website. With MagCloud you can order just a single print copy for your dad, or order additional copies for other family members.

InDesign CS4 and newer: Standard template  |  Small Square template

Apple Pages: Standard template  |  Small Square template

If creating your own calendar file in InDesign or Pages isn’t for you, check out our partner PoyomiPoyomi lets you create a calendar just by uploading your photos from your computer, SmugMug, Picasa, or Facebook, and then you can have it uploaded automatically to your MagCloud account.

Custom BBQ Recipe Book

If your dad loves to grill, pull together his go-to recipes into a custom recipe book. Click here to check out our recent post on National Barbecue Month for templates and tips.

Print and Digital MagCloud Publications

No matter what your dad is into, from cars or technology, to sports, cooking, or travel, chances are good you can find a MagCloud publication about it. Print copies always make a great gift for reading on the beach this summer, or if he has an iPad, get Dad an iTunes gift card that he can use to purchase digital versions of the publications he likes right inside the latest version of the MagCloud iPad app.

CarHeader

MagCloud Uses for Grads

Photobooks for Friends

PhotobookBefore you and your friends head off in various directions after graduation, commemorate the fun times you had together in a photobook. MagCloud’s 8.25″ x 5.25″ Digest product is a great size for displaying full color photographs in a nice compact format, and only costs $0.16 per page to print. Check out our blog posts about creating photobooks with Adobe Photoshop or Apple Aperture, or see our Getting Started page for instructions in a variety of other programs. You can also use our partner Poyomi to quickly turn your photos from Facebook or Instagram into a photobook without having to lay them out yourself.

Custom Thank You Notes

ThankYouNow that you’ve received all those generous graduation gifts, show your appreciation with customized thank you notes. MagCloud’s single sheet Flyers in our smaller Digest size are printed on a heavier cover stock that make them ideal for using as flat notecards, and the size fits perfectly into A9 envelopes. All you have to do is use the program of your choice to create a PDF that is either 8.5″ x 5.5″ for portrait notecards or 5.5″ x 8.5″ for landscape notecards, and upload that PDF to MagCloud. Then you can order as few or as many thank you cards as you need, for just $0.32 each (or $0.24 each if you order 20 or more). For instructions to create your PDF, check out the Software-Specific Instruction Packages on our Getting Started page.

Print and Digital Portfolio

Children's Sports Photography PortfolioFor those of you heading into the work world as artists, photographers, designers, architects, or writers, MagCloud is a great option for publishing your portfolio. MagCloud’s print-on-demand features allow you to order commercial-quality printed portfolios at an affordable price, across a range of sizes and binding options, in as few or as many copies as you need. You can even have copies of your portfolio shipped directly to an address list of potential employers using our Ship to Group feature. In addition to having high quality print versions of your portfolio available on demand, you can also make your portfolio available digitally for viewing in the MagCloud Web Viewer, iPad app, and as a downloadable PDF, using the same PDF you upload for printing.

MagCloud wishes a hearty congratulations to all the graduates out there, and a happy Father’s Day to all the dads!

Hot Reads for Car Enthusiasts

In honor of this weekend’s Indianapolis 500, we’re highlighting a few of the publications on MagCloud dedicated to cars of all shapes, sizes and speeds. Whether your interest is electric vehicles or race cars, vintage collectibles or kit cars, you’re sure to find a publication in the Autos & Cycles category that fits your interest. And if you don’t, you can always create one yourself!

Speed News May 2013NASA Speed News Magazine

Speed News is the official publication of the National Auto Sport Association. The May 2013 issue presents a primer on racing driver fitness, with exercises designed specifically for racers, as well as tips for eating right on and before race day. The issue also details the ins and outs of aerodynamic devices and what they do on a racecar, highlights the art and science of passing, and describes a step-by-step installation of a halon fire system.


FJC Magazine April 2013FJC Magazine

FJC Magazine is dedicated to Toyota FJ Cruisers. Their quarterly issues cover performance, modifications, product reviews, trip reports, and FJ Cruiser related events. In the April 2013 issue, they test drive their new Manley Explore Off Road Trailer, Paul from Last Great Road Trip tells his Baja Story, a Maya Rally FJ Cruiser, and a few new installs.


Performance TunerPerformance Tuner Magazine

Performance Tuner Magazine is a magazine written by import enthusiasts for import enthusiasts. They cover all makes and models of import cars, import shops, import culture and import events.


True Grip March 2013True Grip

True Grip is the quarterly magazine of the Subaru Impreza Drivers Club (SIDC). Each issue is packed with the latest club news, members articles, event features, product reviews, reader’s rides, technical advice & reports on all things Subaru – particularly the Impreza! The March 2013 issue looks at Subaru UK’s announcement in December that they had imported their final Impreza. The internet has been abuzz with rumors and speculation ever since so in this issue True Grip asks, is this the result of market pressures or has the death chime tolled – is now the time to say ‘sayonara’ to Subaru in the UK?


Muscle Car MilestonesMuscle Car Milestones

AutoTrader Classics continues the MileStones tradition with a focus on the most American of automotive traditions…the muscle car! This publication celebrates a time when automakers were busy finding new ways to shoehorn big horsepower into normal cars, all while keeping ahead of each other. These were the machines that powered a generation of gearheads and launched the horsepower wars!


Custom Vanner Issue 6Custom Vanner Magazine

Custom Vanner Magazine is a magazine about custom vans, published by a member of the Bluegrass Vanners Of Louisville. The most recent issue features DIY builds, including two in-depth how to articles on fiberglass and collision repair, an article on Deez crew van shop in Japan, and more.


Tacoma Magazine March 2013Tacoma Magazine

From the publishers of FJC Magazine, Tacoma Magazine is dedicated to all things related to the Toyota Tacoma. In the March 2013 issue Kurt Williams from Cruiser Outfitters begins his retrospective on his first gen Taco build, Jim installed an iPad Mini in his truck, the long-awaited hidden winch mount article is here, Bob finished his snorkel install, Wyatt concludes his 2WD to 4WD Tacoma Conversion. In addition, there’s something new from Stay the Trail, a couple of great New & Noteworthy items and Jim has an update on his Discount Tire wheels & tires.


Rallycross WorldRallycross World

Rallycross World is a monthly publication that reviews the news and events of the month past and offers in-depth reporting and analysis as well as top class photography covering current issues in the sport of Rallycross. Their most recent issue covers the launch of the 2013 FIA Rallycross Championship and has the first part of their unrivaled review of the 2012 European season.


Chevrolet DriverChevrolet Driver

Chevrolet Driver is a new enthusiast publication for Chevy lovers. Their premiere issue features a cover story on the return of the Chevy Stingray, and has a retrospective of 95 years of Chevy trucks.


Automotive TravelerAutomotive Traveler

Automotive Traveler includes anthologies of automotive and travel features. Their most recent issue focused on the 2013 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance.


KustomKustom & Hot Rod Models

Kustom & Hot Rod Models magazine has been called the best model car magazine by some in the scale model industry and Kustom Kulture world. In the most recent issue, they cover of some of the world’s best scale model car builders.


Prieta Post May 2013Prieta Post

Prieta Post is the monthly newsletter for the Loma Prieta Region of the Porsche Club of America, highlighting upcoming events and member stories.

What’s your favorite automotive publication on MagCloud? Share it with us in the comments!

MagCloud’s Favorite SMB Pinterest Boards

Pinterest

In addition to being a great tool to market your publication, Pinterest can be a great source of inspiration for your business. From infographics to marketing tips, the following are some of our favorite SMB focused Pinterest boards to follow:

Do you follow any SMB focused boards on Pinterest? Let us know in the comments below!

Ask MagCloud: Can I Write on a MagCloud Publication with Pen or Pencil?

We receive a lot of great questions from our MagCloud community, but this particular one really sparked our curiosity—so we decided to investigate! A new MagClouder, Patricia, submitted the following question on our Facebook Page:

“I just discovered you guys and want to know if the paper you publish in would be suitable to write on with either pen or pencil. I’m interested in uploading a student planner, much like a ‘day minder’ so I want to make sure the paper is not coated in any way. Some such paper can make it hard to write with pencil or makes some ink smudge. Thanks for your help!!!”

MagCloud publications are printed on an uncoated satin paper stock that is both FSC-certified and acid-free (for more information on our paper, check out this FAQ ). To answer Patricia’s question, we decided to test it out first-hand. Check out the video to see what we found out.

Passing the smudge-proof test is especially great for those of you who use MagCloud to create personal planners, calendars, to-do lists and beyond!

Do you have a question for MagCloud? Check out magcloud.com/help, or ask us directly via Facebook or Twitter.  We’d love to hear from you.

MagCloud Project: Framed Poster

Last month, we introduced a handful of new product types, including a new Poster format. Posters are available in 18″ x 12″ landscape and 12″ x 18″ portrait sizes, and use the same high quality print output as all of MagCloud’s products, for only $2 per printed Poster. In addition to being a great way to advertise an event or new product for your business, these new Posters are also a great opportunity to get large format prints of your photos at an affordable price. With that in mind, today I am going to show you how easy it is to make framed art for your home using MagCloud’s new Poster format, and a photo taken with the popular photo app Instagram.

http://vimeo.com/48024577

The first step is to create a PDF file that you can upload to the MagCloud website. You’ll want to export your square Instagram photo from your phone’s Camera Roll/Gallery and put it on your computer for editing. Using the photo that Instagram saves to your iPhone or Android device will be of higher quality than using the photo that gets posted to your Instagram account. Once you have your photo on your computer, you have a few options for creating your PDF. I’ve listed some steps specific to this project below, but check out the Getting Started page on the MagCloud website for more general instructions in other software programs.

Create Your PDF in Adobe Photoshop:

  1. Open your original image
  2. Go to Image > Image Size and set size to 3675 pixels by 3675 pixels at 300 pixels/inch resolution. Select “Bicubic Smoother (best for enlargement)” from the Resample Image drop down menu and click OK.
  3. Go to Image > Canvas size and set width to 18.25 inches, leaving height at 12.25 inches, and click OK.
  4. Go to File > Save As and select “Photoshop PDF” from the Format drop down menu. Make sure the box to embed color profile is checked and click Save. In the PDF Export window, select “Press Quality” from the Adobe PDF Preset dropdown menu, and uncheck the box for “Preserve Photoshop Editing Capabilities.”
  5. Upload your PDF to MagCloud as usual*

Create Your PDF in Adobe Lightroom:

  1. Import your original image
  2. Go to the Print module and select “Single Image/Contact Sheet” as the Layout Style.
  3. Click the Page Setup button and choose “Manage Custom Sizes” from the Paper Size dropdown menu. Create a new custom page that is 18.25 inches wide and 12.25 inches tall, with a User-Defined Non-Printable Area that equals 0.00 inches on all sides. Click OK twice to return to Lightroom.
  4. Make sure all the boxes under Image Settings are unchecked. Under Layout, set all of your Margins to 0.00 inches and set the cell size: Height = 12.25 inches | Width = 18.25 inches. Under Print Job, select “Printer” next to Print to and make sure the Print resolution is 300 ppi.
  5. Click Print, then select “Save as PDF” from the PDF dropdown menu. Pick a name for your PDF and click Save.
  6. Upload your PDF to MagCloud as usual.*

Create Your PDF in Apple Aperture:

  1. Import your original image
  2. Go to File > Print Image and select Custom from the Paper Size dropdown menu. Enter 18.25 inches x 12.25 inches as the Paper Size, with a Landscape Orientation, and select Maximum to Fit from the Image Size dropdown menu. Make sure the box next to Crop Image to Fill is NOT checked so the whole image appears on the page.
  3. Click Print, then select “Save as PDF” from the PDF dropdown menu. Pick a name for your PDF and click Save.
  4. Upload your PDF to MagCloud as usual.*

*After uploading, you will be told that your PDF is not long enough. Select “Proceed with this PDF” to have an extra page added automatically.

After you’ve uploaded your PDF to MagCloud, simply order a print copy and select your desired shipping method. When your print arrives, trim off the 3” white edges on either side so that you have a 12” x 12” copy of your photo, which can then be placed into the frame of your choice. The square VIRSERUM frame from IKEA is a great option – it’s available in both white and dark brown to match a variety of décor, and includes a mat with an 11 ½ inch square opening for only $19.99. Using the VIRSERUM frame, you can get your photos off your phone and turn them into a framed piece of custom art to display in your home for less than $25.

Using Photoshop to Create a Vacation Photobook

Following up on last week’s blog post about using the new Book Module in Adobe Lightroom 4 to create Square MagCloud publications, today we are looking at an easy way you can use Adobe Photoshop to create a vacation photobook with MagCloud’s landscape-oriented Standard and Digest products. We’ve also added new Software-Specific Instruction Packets for Photoshop to our Getting Started page for all of our product sizes. These downloadable folders contain MagCloud-specific templates and instructions for Photoshop CS4 and newer, as well as step-by-step instructions to help you create your publication from scratch using any version of Photoshop.

1. Pick Your Photos

To get started with your photobook, the first thing you need are photos. For the photobook we’ll be creating today, all the images will be full-bleed and extend to the edge of the landscape-oriented pages. As a result, landscape-oriented images will work best for this type of book. If you wanted to use both portrait and landscape-oriented photos, then one of our Square products might be a better fit. You can find instructions for using Photoshop to create an 8″ x 8″ or 12″ x 12″ Square publication on the Getting Started page on the MagCloud website.

In addition to the orientation of your photos, the resolution is also important. We recommend using images that are 300 pixels per inch. Therefore, if you want to create a small Digest size photobook, you should use images that are at least 2550 pixels wide by 1650 pixels tall, or roughly the largest image size available from a 4 megapixel digital camera. If you want to create a larger Standard size photobook, your images will need to be higher resolution – at least 3300 pixels wide by 2550 pixels tall, or roughly the largest image size available from an 8 megapixel digital camera. If you are using high quality images from at least an 8 megapixel digital camera then your images should be fine for either size, however you can check the manual for your camera to be sure, or check the dimensions of your images in the file information on your computer.

2. Create Pages in Photoshop

To create each page in your photobook, including the front and back covers, open the image you want to use in Photoshop and go to Image > Image Size. Make sure that the boxes are checked next to “Constrain Proportions” and “Resample Image”, select “Bicubic Sharper” from the dropdown menu, and set the Resolution to 300 pixels/inch. If you are creating a Digest size publication, set the width to 8.5 inches. If this causes the height to drop to less than 5.5 inches, then set the height to be 5.5 inches. Note that this will cause the width to be greater than 8.5 inches, but the image will be cropped to compensate for this in the next step. Similarly, if you are creating a Standard size publication, set the width to 11 inches. If doing so causes the height to drop to less than 8.5 inches, then set the height to 8.5 inches and allow the width to go above 11 inches. When you are finished, click OK.

Next, go to Image > Canvas Size. Select “inches” from the dropdown menu, if it’s not selected already. If you are creating a Digest size publication, set the Width to 8.5 inches and the Height to 5.5 inches. If you are creating a Standard size publication, set the Width to 11 inches and the Height to 8.5 inches. Click OK, and when you are warned that some clipping will occur, click the button to Proceed.

If you would like to add any text over your full-page image, like a title on the cover page, you can do so now using the text tool. Keep in mind that Digest publications will have 0.125″ trimmed off the top and bottom edges, and 0.25″ trimmed off the outside edge (the right, in the case of the cover), and since the trim can vary slightly in either direction, it’s best to keep any text at least 0.25″ inside of this trim line. Similarly, landscape-oriented Standard publications are trimmed 0.125″ on all sides, and also have holes punched on the inside edge for the Wire-O binding (the left, in the case of the cover). Therefore, if you are creating a Standard size photobook, it’s a good idea to keep text 0.25″ inside the trim line on the top, bottom and outside edge and 0.5″ inside the trim line on the inside edge for this size of publication. If you will be adding a lot of content, it may be helpful to add guides to remind yourself where the trim will occur.

When you are happy with the look of your page, go to File > Save As. Select “JPEG” from the Format dropdown menu and make sure that the box next to “Embed Color Profile” is checked. Your color profile may be something other than the sRGB profile shown in the screenshot at right, but embedding your color profile will help ensure that our Indigo presses are able to reproduce your images with the best color possible no matter what color profile they use. Select a name for your file and choose where you want it to be saved on your computer, then click Save. I recommend saving all your page files to a new folder and naming your files numerically, with the cover as Page001.jpg, the inside front cover Page002.jpg, and so on, as this will make it easier to create your final PDF. In the JPEG Options window that appears next, select “Maximum” from the Quality dropdown menu and select the radio button next to “Baseline (Standard)” under Format Options, then click OK.

Repeat these steps for each of the pages in your photobook, resizing and cropping one image for each page. If you want to include pages in your book that don’t include an image, as I did on the inside front and back covers in my publications, take a look at the templates and instructions in the downloadable Instruction Packets on the our Getting Started page. These instructions and templates start with a blank document in Photoshop, rather than modifying an existing image file.

3. Combine Pages into a MagCloud-Ready PDF

Once you’ve created all of the pages for your photobook, it’s time to combine these pages into a single multipage PDF using Adobe Acrobat Pro. Open Acrobat and go to File > Create File > Merge Files into a Single PDF. Click the button to Add Files and select all the page JPEGs you just created. Sort the files alphabetically by name to put the pages in numerical order, or use the Move Up/Move Down buttons to rearrange the order of the files. When you are happy with the order, select the largest file icon on the far right where it says File Size and click Combine Files. When prompted, choose a name for your final PDF and click Save. Your PDF is now ready to upload to MagCloud!

If you don’t have Adobe Acrobat Pro, an alternative method is to use Adobe’s subscription-based CreatePDF service either online or within Adobe Reader to convert your JPEG files to PDFs and combine them. The other option is to save your pages as PDF files out of Photoshop instead of JPEGs, and then combine these single page PDFs into one multipage PDF using a PDF viewer like Apple’s Preview. You can find instructions to do this in the Instruction Packets on the Getting Started page. The downside to this method is that it will result in a PDF that is much larger than the method using JPEG files, and you may be in danger of going over MagCloud’s 300MB file upload limit.

[UPDATE 1: Adobe Bridge is also another good option for combining your Photoshop files into a single multipage PDF. After you’ve created your pages, open Bridge and select all the page files. Click on the Adobe Bridge “Output” workspace and choose the PDF output option and the relevant page size for the product you are creating. Set the Layout to 1 column and 1 row, and make all margins 0″, then click Save. This will export a PDF that is ready to upload to MagCloud. Thanks to our reader Chane for this tip!]

[UPDATE 2: CreatePDF converts JPEG files to 72 dpi PDF files, which results in PDFs that are roughly 4x the dimensions they should be. Therefore, if you will be using CreatePDF to create your multipage PDF, it would be best to export your page files from Photoshop as PDF files. Note that CreatePDF only allows you to combine 10 files at a time, so you will need to combine your PDFs in groups of 10 and then recombine those. Thanks to our reader Jeffrey for these tips!]

You can see the photobooks I created in Photoshop and Acrobat Pro using these instructions on the MagCloud website: Digest and Standard

How to Create a MagCloud-Ready PDF in Lightroom 4

Adobe’s recent update to Lightroom added a Book module. Currently, the module is limited to a set selection of sizes, however it does allow users to export the books they create as a PDF. Until Lightroom allows you to create books in custom sizes, books created with the Small Square and Large Square sizes can be exported as PDFs and used to create 8″ x 8″ Square, 8″ x 8″ Pamphlet, 8″ x 8″ Flyer, and the new 12″ x 12″ Square MagCloud publications. In today’s post we’ll be sharing the settings you can use to do this along with some design tips, and we’re also launching Information Packets for Lightroom 4 that can be downloaded on our Getting Started page for all of our 8″ x 8″ and 12″x 12″ products.

Creating Your Book

To get started, the first thing we suggest is that you create a collection in Lightroom of the photos you will want to include in your book. Once you’ve created your collection, select the “Book” module from the menu in the top right-hand corner of your screen.

For an 8″ x 8″ MagCloud publication, select your Book Settings to match those shown to the right. Specifically:

  • Select “PDF” next to Book
  • Select “Small Square” as the Size
  • Select “Softcover” as the Cover
  • Set the JPEG Quality to 80
  • Select “sRGB” as the Color Profile
  • Set the File Resolution to 360 ppi
  • Check the box next to Sharpening and set to “Standard”
  • Select “Glossy” as the Media Type

For a 12″ x 12″ MagCloud publication, select your settings to match those shown to the right. Specifically:

  • Select “PDF” next to Book
  • Select “Large Square” as the Size
  • Select “Hardcover Image Wrap” as the Cover
  • Set the JPEG Quality to 80
  • Select “sRGB” as the Color Profile
  • Set the File Resolution to 310 ppi
  • Check the box next to Sharpening and set to “Standard”
  • Select “Glossy” as the Media Type

Once your settings are taken care of, the next step is to lay out the pages of your book. When designing for MagCloud, you can disregard the Front and Back Covers in the Lightroom layout. Instead, treat page 1 as the cover of your publication, page 2 as the inside front cover, and so on. Keep in mind that if you are creating an 8″ x 8″ Flyer, your publication will only be 2 pages long: page 1 will be the front of your Flyer and page 2 will be the back of your Flyer. If you are creating an 8″ x 8″ Pamphlet, your publication will only be 4 pages long: page 1 will be the front of your Pamphlet, page 2 will be your left inside page, page 3 will be your right inside page, and page 4 will be the back of your Pamphlet.

One option for adding pages is to choose a Preset under the Auto Layout section, and click the Auto Layout button. This will automatically add pages to your book and layout all the photos from the collection you have selected based on the Preset you specified. This is a great way to get a book laid out very quickly, but all of your page layouts will be the same. If you want to change any of your page layouts after using the Auto Layout function, you can always do so by selecting the page and choosing a different layout from the Page section.

Your other option is to add pages one at a time, specifying unique layouts and picking photos as you go. To do this, pick a layout in the Page section, then click the Add Page button. Once the page has been added, you can drag images from the Filmstrip at the bottom of the window and drop them on the gray image placeholders to add them to the layout. If the layout you selected includes text, you can also click on the text box and start typing. This is convenient if you want a more custom book, but it will take longer than using the Auto Layout option.

When you have finished laying out your content, click the Export Book to PDF button in the bottom right-hand corner of your screen. Select a name for your PDF, and choose where you want it to be saved on your computer. After you click the Save button, you can track the progress of your PDF in the upper left-hand corner of the screen. Lightroom will export two PDFs: one that is a single page and has “Cover” added to the filename and another that is a multi-page PDF. For creating a MagCloud publication, you can disregard the cover PDF, and just upload the multi-page PDF to the MagCloud website.

After your file finishes uploading, you’ll see a message that the PDF is the wrong size. This is because Lightroom exports files that are 6.875″ x 6.875″ and 11.875″ x 12″, while MagCloud uses PDFs that are 8.25″ x 8.25″ and 12.25″ x 12.25″, respectively. By clicking “Proceed with this PDF” MagCloud will automatically resize the PDF to fit our specifications, resulting in a PDF where all the images are the MagCloud-recommended resolution of 300 dpi. From there, you can continue with the rest of the MagCloud Publish process as usual, previewing your publication and setting your binding, pricing and distribution options.

Picking Layouts for MagCloud Publications

When selecting your layouts and choosing images, it’s good to keep in mind how your PDF will be trimmed by MagCloud. The Lightroom layouts all have a pretty good margin around them, so there shouldn’t be an issue with keeping content inside the MagCloud-recommended safe zone. 12″ x 12″ Square publications and 8″ x 8″ Flyers are trimmed equally on all sides by MagCloud, so the only thing you need to consider is that the outside 1/8 inch or so of any full-page images will be trimmed off. On the other hand, 8″ x 8″ Square and 8″ x 8″ Pamphlet publications are trimmed more on the outside than the inside, so layouts with centered content may appear off-center in your final MagCloud publication. In print, perfect bound publications won’t be as noticeable, because the binding will take up some of the extra space on the inside edge, but saddle stitch bound publications and Pamphlets will be more obvious. For these publications, asymmetrical layouts and layouts with full-page images will generally look better.

Cover Design Tricks in Lightroom

Since the first and last numerical pages of your publication will be the covers, rather than the Front and Back Covers specified by Lightroom, you won’t be able to use the specific cover layouts that Lightroom provides. One of the benefits of this is that you can mix and match your front and back covers, as compared with the Lightroom options where the front and back cover layouts are paired together. Many of the cover templates are also available as page templates, but one layout that is used frequently in the cover templates and is not available in the page templates is text on top of a full-page image. Even though there isn’t a specific page template for this layout, you can get the same effect by using the full page text layout, and then adding a background image to the page.

If you are searching for a layout to use on your cover that includes both text and images, don’t limit your searching just to the “Text Pages” layout menu. There are a number of layouts hidden within the photo-centric layout menus that also include text. Many of these will likely be better for creating an interesting cover, since the images are given at least equal, if not more, focus than the text. Another way to expand your options for both your cover and interior pages is to use a different program to design a layout, and then import it as an image into Lightroom and place it on a page using one of the preset layouts. For example, you could design your cover and place it in the 1 photo full-page image layout on page 1. Doing so offers you more creative freedom in designing your layout than Lightroom allows.

Overall, Lightroom is a great option if you want to create a simple, photo-centric 8″ x 8″ or 12″ x 12″ MagCloud publication. Whether you are creating a proof book, portfolio, or even a catalog, the preset layouts and easy interface help simplify the process of creating your PDF. We hope to be able to provide instructions in the future for creating our other product sizes through the Lightroom Book Module, but in the meantime, check back here on the blog over the next few weeks as we highlight other photo tools you can use to create your MagCloud product, no matter what size you want it to be.

For more general information about using Lightroom 4, please see the Adobe website.