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This chapter is from the book

Project: Create Paperback or Hardbound Albums

So far, our projects have all resulted in purely digital output. This time the goal is a paperback or hardbound photo album made using your digital snaps. Digital albums are wonderful and they have their place. But the good old tangible album you can hold in your hands is far from obsolete in most families. In this exercise you’ll learn how to use one of the many online album-making services to create a composition on your PC and upload it to a photo album web service for production.

Materials

To complete this project you’ll need

  • Personal computer connected to the Internet (high speed DSL or cable link strongly recommended).

  • Digital photos on your PC’s hard disk.

  • Album-making software provided from one of the online photo album-making services. For this exercise we’ll use MyPublisher.

  • A wallet with at least $9.95 to spend for a paperback album from MyPublisher, plus a small shipping fee.

Time

About two to three hours to download and install the MyPublisher album-making software, set up an account with the service, insert your photos, arrange your page layouts, provide text captions, and upload your final project via the Internet.

Step 1: Get the MyPublisher Software

As with most of the projects so far, you need to first download and install the necessary album-making software from MyPublisher.

  1. With your PC turned on and connected to the Internet, point your browser to http://www.mypublisher.com. Look for the Get Started tab which brings up an initial introductory page describing and illustrating the MyPublisher BookMaker program you’ll download and use to make your album.

  2. Look to the upper right and click the Next button to start the download process. Look for the large Download Now button. Click it and the standard Windows XP File Download dialog box appears. Click the Save button and then use the Save As menu to locate and open your downloads folder under My Documents. When you are ready, click Save. It’s a very small program that should download quickly.

  3. Use Windows Explorer again to find and open your downloads folder. Double-click the bmsetup.exe file. Accept the license agreement and click OK when a polite message appears thanking you for downloading the program. When the installation is complete, the program automatically opens.

Before we jump to the next step, I want to call your attention to the online help guide MyPublisher provides. When you first start up the BookMaker program, a Quick Start Guide page should appear. Read through the outline of steps and tips this page provides. You can always get to the program’s help resources by clicking on the Help button on the far right at the top of the program interface.

Although the Quick Start Guide is good, I want to personally walk you through the essential steps needed to make and order your first album.

Step 2: Create an Album and Load Photos

  1. Go to the top of the program and click File, New Book. The screen now displays a Windows Explorer-like tree listing of your hard disk’s folders in a vertical box on the left.

  2. Return to the File menu and click Save As. Type in a meaningful name for your album in the small pop-up menu and click OK.

  3. Use the folder tree display on the far left to navigate to the folder containing the photos you want to insert into your album. When you open a folder containing digital photos the images are displayed as thumbnails on the right side of the screen.

  4. To select photos from any folder, and in any order you like, simply highlight and drag the photo you select down to the lower horizontal area at the bottom of the screen, as shown in Figure 3.19. Another option for adding photos is to highlight the photo you want and then click the Add Photos button at the bottom. You may also highlight more than one photo at a time (by holding down the Ctrl key when clicking each photo) and then click the Add Photos button.

Step 3: Get Organized and Enhance Images

After you have your photos selected, it’s time to get organized.

  1. Look at the bottom horizontal toolbar with these choices: Get Photos, Organize, Enhance, Book, Purchase, and Help. Click Organize and the screen changes to a display of all the photos you have selected in a box with a scroll bar on the far left. Not happy with the order of the photos? No problemo! Just drag and drop each image into the order you want.

  2. Next click the Enhance button and a new screen appears with your selected photos now displayed in a scrolling vertical zone to the far left.

  3. In the main work screen area, the photo you selected is displayed. Check out all the editing tools at the bottom, as shown in Figure 3.20. Play around with each. You can always undo any applied effect using the Undo tool on the far right.

Figure 3.19

Figure 3.19 Finding and selecting images for an album is easy with BookMaker Add Photos screen.

Figure 3.20

Figure 3.20 The BookMaker program offers a solid set of basic editing tools, including one to transform your snaps into black-and-white images for an old-time look.

Step 4: Design the Layout

BookMaker gives you complete control over the layout of the album you’re creating. From the number of pictures to put on a page to the use of double-sided printing, the choice is yours.

  1. With all your photos now edited, click the Book button on the bottom toolbar to begin the page layout and text caption entry process.

  2. Explore the various page layout options, including one image or multiple photos per page and single- or double-sided printing. Note that in the lower-right corner of the screen, two tools are displayed—Theme and Template. Click the down arrow button associated with Template and a listing of options appears, from a single photo per page to mixtures of multiple images per page. Select the setting you want.

  3. To determine the number of images per page, use your mouse to drag layout templates from the far left and drop it on the photo displayed in the main work area. The template is applied with the photo now inserted, as shown in Figure 3.21. Repeat this process for all the pages of your album.

Figure 3.21

Figure 3.21 Scroll through the page layout options displayed on the far right vertical box and use your mouse to drag and drop the desired template on the page displayed in the center area.

Step 5: Add Text

Now it’s time to add some text captions so that you can give the pictures in your album some context. (This is an option I really like.)

  1. Return to the lower-right area of the screen and click the down-arrow button associated with the Theme box. I suggest selecting the Traditional theme. This theme provides a compact text box area for each photo.

  2. Next, let’s set up your cover page and enter text. In the bottom horizontal area showing the photos in your album, the left-most image is labeled as the cover page. Highlight this page to bring it to the center work area. The program takes the first photo in your group and automatically places it as the cover image. To change the image, drag and drop an alternative from the lower horizontal lineup of the photos in your album.

  3. Note the three horizontal empty boxes below the cover image. Clicking on any of these boxes brings up a large horizontal work area into which you may type a title or caption, as shown in Figure 3.22. You may also use the tools provided to change the font size and style.

  4. Figure 3.22

    Figure 3.22 Adding a text caption to a photo is a breeze. Click an outline box below or next to a photo and a work area opens, ready for you to key in text.

  5. When you are finished with the cover page, add text using the same steps for all the pages of your album.

Step 6: Test Drive Before You Buy

Drum roll please; it’s time for a test drive. Notice the 1 Page, 2 Pages, All Pages, and Preview buttons above the main photo displayed in the central area of the screen. The 2 Pages button displays two pages of your album at once. And don’t miss the buttons in the upper-right area where you decide if you want double- or single-side printing.

When you are finished with your design, click the Preview button to dry run the layout before you plunk down your hard-earned cash to order the production and shipping of a paperback or hardbound album.

Step 7: Upload Your Album

If you’re happy with what you saw in the preview, the next phase is to register with MyPublisher, place your order, and upload the album.

  1. Move from the Book screen by clicking the Purchase button. From the general greeting page, move to the lower-right corner and click Continue. As a new customer, you’ll be directed to enter your email address. Once that’s entered, click the I’m a New Customer button.

  2. Click the Sign in Using Our Secure Server button and the Create or Edit a Customer Account screen displays. Fill in the information boxes and click Continue. Fill in the billing information address screen and click Continue.

  3. From here wizard pages guide you through the process of ordering a paperbound or hardbound album and the steps to upload your album to the MyPublisher service.

  4. Congratulations! In about two weeks your album will arrive in the mail, just like the one I made of our summer vacation photos, shown in Figure 3.23.

Figure 3.23

Figure 3.23 The photos I took of our vacation using a standard 3.2 megapixel digital camera looked great in my first MyPublisher album.

What’s next? Now that you have your sea legs when it comes to digital photo restoration, preservation, online sharing, and album making in various forms it’s time to explore the world of digital video. Chapter 4 will give you the tools and skills to digitize and preserve your home video tape movies. You’ll even learn how to make DVDs you can play on the big screen TV!

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