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!

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.

Product Spotlight: Tabloid, Large Square, Standard Landscape, and Posters

Introducing a batch of additional products on the MagCloud website. Our 11″ x 14″ and 14″ x 11″ Small Tabloid size, 17″ x 11″ Large Tabloid size, 12″ x 12″ Square size and 10.75″ x 8.25″ landscape-oriented Standard size all use our Wire-O Binding type. This binding method consists of a double-loop wire binding and pages that are all printed on our thicker 80# cover stock. Not only does the heavier paper stock offer a more substantial feel to these publications, but the wire binding allows them to lay flat and makes it so the pages of the publication can be rotated 360 degrees around the binding and is more durable.

Our Poster format is available in 12″ x 18″ and 18″ x 12″ sizes, and printed on the same 80# cover stock used for Flyers and Pamphlets. MagCloud Posters can be printed on both sides with the same high quality, full color digital printing used with all MagCloud products, and are made more durable with a UV coating on both sides at no extra cost. The best part is that all of this costs just $2.00 per printed Poster, or $1.50 per piece if you order 20 or more.

For inspiration, here are a few ideas for how these products can be used:

Calendars

The Wire-O Binding on the 12″ x 12″ Square and 11″ x 14″ Tabloid make these products great for calendars. Just rotate your content 90 degrees prior to uploading your PDF so that the binding will be on the top edge of your calendar. If you want to use fewer pages in your publication, the larger page size of the 17″ x 11″ Tabloid allows enough space for all the content for a single month to fit on a single page, making a tall and narrow calendar. A 12 month calendar with one page per month, plus two extra pages for the front and back covers will cost you just $7.04.

Catalogs

The larger format of all of these products offer an even greater opportunity to show off your products and services in a catalog format. Furthermore, both the unique shape of the 12″ x 12″ Square and the oversize dimensions of our 17″ x 11″ Large Tabloid will let your catalog stand out from the competition. In all cases, the thicker paper these products are printed on has a more substantial and expensive feel to help you leave a lasting impression on potential customers.

Portfolios

The landscape orientation of the 10.75″ x 8.35″ Standard, 14″ x 11″ Small Tabloid and 17″ x 11″ Large Tabloid offer a great canvas for displaying architectural renderings, fashion designs and large format photography as part of a portfolio. And with the same high quality digital printing you expect from MagCloud, you know you’ll be able to put your best foot forward when displaying your work.

Training Manuals

The ability for the pages of the Tabloid publications to rotate completely around the binding and lay flat makes them great for training manuals. As the trainee moves through their training, the wire binding will allow them to flip to the section they want to view and keep it displayed as the top page in the publication. This eliminates the need to hold open a book with one hand and also alleviates any concerns of losing one’s place.

Proof Books

We’ve discussed a number of ways wedding photographers can use MagCloud for their business, and our larger formats open up even more opportunities. What better way to encourage your clients to order larger format prints then to display their proofs in a large format book? Also, if you offer the option for professionally designed and hardbound photobooks to your clients, these larger formats offer an affordable way to show off how the book might look in print before investing in the expensive final copy.

Cookbooks

Similar to training manuals, the lay flat feature of the Tabloid products is also a benefit for cookbooks. It allows the cook to open the book to the recipe they want to make, so they won’t need to be flipping pages to find their place when they are in the midst of a recipe. The heavier paper stock is also a benefit for the durability of cookbooks, as the thicker pages aren’t as likely to rip if they should get stuck together over the years.

Brand Identity Guidelines

We’ve seen a number of brand identity guides published through MagCloud, detailing the appropriate colors, fonts and imagery that should be used for a particular brand. These guides are generally kept close by as a quick reference for designers, and as such can benefit greatly from the lay flat capabilities of these products. In addition, the larger page sizes of the Tabloid products offers twice as much space on a single page as our Standard products, allowing for more examples and detailed information within a given page of the publication. For example, instead of having fonts spread over multiple pages, they can be consolidated into a single page, making it easier for a designer to see all their options at once rather than having to flip through pages.

Media Kits

Show off the best of your business to the media in a large format they won’t soon forget. The professional feel of the heavier paper, combined with the high quality of MagCloud’s digital printing will make you look like a multimillion dollar company, without requiring a multimillion dollar budget.

Event Posters

Even with options like email newsletters, online ads, and direct mail, sometimes posters are the best way to get the word out about an event to a local audience. Whether you are advertising a concert, fundraising event, theater production or sports league sign ups, you can be sure to make a good impression with MagCloud’s full-color posters, printed in quantities of as few or as many as you need. And since no minimum order is required, you can order copies of your poster as you need them, and come back to order more when you run out.

Large Format Photography Prints

Similarly, the lack of a minimum order makes it possible to order just a single printed Poster if you’d like. This offers a great opportunity for professional and amateur photographers alike to order large prints of their photos for framing.

In-House Advertising Posters

In addition to advertising events out in the community, our Poster format can also be used in-house to highlight products and features in a high quality printed format. You can order a single copy if you only have one location, or if you have multiple locations, use our Ship to Group feature to ship one poster to each of your physical storefronts for a consistent display at an affordable cost.

Art Prints

Combining the Poster format with the MagCloud storefront offers a great opportunity for graphic designers and artists to sell their work. Content producers can add a markup beyond the $2 print cost, and for every print they sell, MagCloud will print and ship a copy to the customer directly and pay back the markup to the publisher at the start of each month.

We’re sure that there are many more ideas for how to use these products beyond what we’ve highlighted here, whether it’s using the Poster product to display the seating chart for your wedding or creating motivational posters for your classroom. If you have an idea that wasn’t mentioned, let us know in the comments below!

Go Big With Our Large Form Factor Products

MagCloud users deserve larger form factor products and we are happy to offer not just one but seven large product types.

Tabloid Product Family

At 11″ x 14″ trim size Small Tabloid is smaller than a standard newspaper but larger than our Standard letter-size product.  Our Large Tabloid product has a 17″ x 11″ trim size offering more room for images and content. All Tabloid products are published on premium cover stock, have Wire-O Binding, and are ideal for large format portfolios, custom calendars, manuals and more.

  • Small Tabloid: 11″ x 14″ and 14″ x 11″ trim size options
  • Large Tabloid: 17″ x 11″ trim size
  • $0.36 per page with full color printing
  • 8 to 90 pages in length in multiples of 2
  • $2.00 per copy for durable Wire-O Binding

Poster Product Family

Our full-color, double-sided Poster are printed on premium cover stock and come standard with UV coating giving them an extra sheen and making them more durable. Posters are ideal for promotions and special event keepsakes such as gallery exhibits, music festivals and fundraisers.

  • Available in 12″ x 18″ or 18″ x 12″ trim sizes
  • Full-color professional printing on 80# premium cover stock paper
  • Standard UV Coating front and back for increased durability
  • Each individual Poster is only $2 to print ($1.50 for orders of 20 or more).

Large Square

MagCloud is adding to its Square product family by offering a new large form factor Square product. At 12″ x 12″ trim size, this new product is great for one-of-a-kind portfolios, photo books or training material.

  • Available in 12″ x 12″ trim size
  • Durable Wire-O Binding
  • 80# premium cover stock
  • 8 to 90 pages in multiples of 2
  • $0.36 per page with full color printing
  • $2.00 per copy for Wire-O binding

Standard Landscape

Finally we are also expanding our Standard product line, with the addition of a landscape option. Measuring 11” x 8.5” and also using Wire-O Binding and premium #80 cover stock paper, this new product option is useful for portfolios, magazines, booklets, catalogs and more.

  • Available in 10.75″ x 8.25″ trim size
  • Durable Wire-O Binding standard
  • 80# premium cover stock
  • 8 to 90 pages in multiples of 2
  • $0.20 per page with full color printing
  • $2.00 per copy for Wire-O Binding

Note: Standard Landscape page and trim size will also be available as a Flyer option.

What do you think of these new products and how do you plan to use them?  Let us know in the comments section below.

Summer Fun with MagCloud

Over the next six weeks we’ll be sharing blog posts that discuss how to use MagCloud to plan vacations, create excitement for family reunions, capture all your summer memories and more.

First up is creating MagCloud published photo books directly from your iPad with the Poyomi Photo Book application. This iPad application makes it easy to create photo books while on the go–select photos, design your book, order, and have MagCloud print and deliver them before you even get home from your vacation.

Step 1: Select your Photos

Poyomi’s app makes it easy to choose photos for your book from your iPad albums including your camera roll and iCloud PhotoStream, or import them from third party websites such as Flickr, Facebook, Picasa, SmugMug and Dropbox.  Simply upload your photos to the Poyomi Book Editor by selecting the specific photos you want to include in your book.

 

Step 2: Organize Your Photos

The Book Editor lets you organize the photos in your book by date taken, alphabetically or you can drag and drop them to create a custom arrangement.

You can also add captions, rotate images and ensure your photos print as large as possible by favoriting them.

 

Step 3: Design Your Book

Poyomi allows you to select from four of the MagCloud product types–Letter (aka MagCloud Standard), Digest, Digest Landscape and Small Square. You can also choose your binding type either Saddle Stitch Binding or Perfect Binding for books over 20 pages.

Poyomi’s design features include four color schemes for the inside of the book, as well as multiple type face colors for the cover title of the book.  Title your book and choose a wrap around cover photo or individual photos for the front and back of your book.

The Book Editor also allows you to crop and select portions of the cover and back photos for the perfect look.

 

Step 4: Preview Your Book

All that’s left is previewing and making final adjustments to your book.  You can write a brief intro to your book including using one of your travel photos as a background image, as well as creating a brief closing note to go at the end of the book.

Once you’ve previewed your entire book simply tap “Finish”.

 

Finished!

That’s it in a few easy steps you’ve created a travel photo book on your iPad without ever leaving your beach chair.

Poyomi gives you the option to save your book to your Poyomi account for editing when you get home or you can create a personal home page where friends and family can preview and order copies of your book. Finally you can purchase it directly from your iPad with a credit card or via a PayPal account.

 

How can you imagine using Poyomi’s Photo Book iPad app this summer?  Let us know in the comments section below.

Be Square and Standout

We are excited to introduce a new form factor that will help your publications standout from the crowd. At 8” x 8”, Square product is compact, portable, eye-catching; and available in sleek saddle stitch or professional perfect binding.

Ideal for portfolios, look books, small catalogs, handbooks and more, Square publications can be anywhere from 4 to 384 pages. The new Square product will be available for the same $.20 per page ($.15 per page for orders of 20 copies or more).

MagCloud Square Design Specifications:

  • PDF Size with Bleed:         8.25 x 8.25″
  • Trim Size (Final Size):       8 x 8″
  • Bleed Settings:                   0” inside edge, 0.25″ outside edge; 0.125″ top and bottom
  • Half-Fold Binding:             4 Pages
  • Saddle-Stitch Binding:      8 – 100 Pages
  • Perfect Binding:                  20 – 384 Pages

Start publishing with Square today and let us know how you envision using this new product in the comments below.