Category Archives: ProofSheet/PhotoMag

MagCloud 20% off

Just got an email saying that MagCloud has a 20% off sale until August 30, so you might want to print your PhotoMag magazines sooner rather than later. The promo code you need is SAVE20. (See this post and this post.)

(I’m not connected with MagCloud and don’t get paid when you use the service. The only way I benefit is in helping them stay in business so they’re around when I need them. I have a vacation coming up.)

PhotoMag for Mac now, too!

Well, the whole point of using Electron is that it’s portable, so I decided to test that out by firing up the Mac, moving the code over, and seeing if it would run. There were a few very minor glitches, but I got it running perfectly, near as I can tell, in less than an hour. So, you can now download it for the Mac, too.

PhotoMag: a new app for creating photo magazines

PhotoMag1

When I return from a vacation I like to create a photo magazine containing a few dozen photos. Nothing as prestigious or expensive as a photo book, but much handier to pass around to family and friends than a phone or having them gather in front of a computer screen. The equivalent of one of those photo albums that could hold 12 or 24 4×6 prints. It’s not a book you design, with custom page layouts, but rather a book that you stuff with prints as quickly as you can. (If you want a fancy book, there are many ways to create one.)

With MagCloud, the magazines are cheap. For example, I just made one with 60 photos for $6.40. (Twenty cents a page, with two photos on a page. Add two pages for the covers.) Doing a book with Blurb would cost about $25. (MagCloud is owned by Blurb, who bought it from HP, manufacturer of the printers that MagCloud uses.)

You can easily create a suitable PDF with Lightroom’s Print module, but I don’t like the way it positions captions. For one thing, you have to reserve a fixed amount of space below each photo for the largest caption. It’s better to vary the size of the photo, so the photos are bigger if the captions are short. Also, Lightroom has no provision for front and back covers, which are full-page-size photos. You have to add them to the PDF with another program, such as PDFsam Basic (free) or Acrobat (expensive). And, of course, not everyone has Lightroom.

I developed a great app for producing these magazines called ProofSheet, but it’s Mac only, and I have no interest in programming a similar app for Windows. For a while I used a PHP program that I wrote that formats the pages as HTML, and then uses the browser’s print facility to create the PDF. That worked fine, but it was impractical for anyone other than me to use, because it has to run locally, not on a server. Uploading the photos to a server is too cumbersome and too slow. Installing a local server is too much to ask of most people.

Recently, I wrote PhotoMag, using the portable technologies offered by Electron. It does as good a job as ProofSheet, but has fewer formatting features. (No page titles or information above the photos, only below.) It’s fine for my purposes, and it might work for you, too.

If you want to use PhotoMag, it’s free, and you can download it here. It’s for Windows 64-bit only. I’ve only tested it on Windows 10, but it might run on earlier versions as well. It’s implementation is entirely portable, and I expect I’ll have a Mac version in a few weeks, but don’t hold me to it. (Meanwhile, you can use ProofSheet on a Mac.)

Still supporting Mac apps

After reading my posts about ways in which I’m moving away from Apple, a few people asked about continuing support for my Mac apps.

I’ll still be supporting them. What I’m not supporting is:

  • Some of my iOS apps, which can be only distributed via the App Store.
  • The Mac App Store versions of my OS X apps.

For the latter, anyone who buys the Mac App Store version and asks gets a free unlock code for the direct-download version, which is much newer. I’d send the unlock code automatically, but Apple won’t tell me who my customers are, which is just one of the problems with the App Stores.

Those Mac App Store apps that I’m talking about are mostly Ingestamatic, ExifChanger, and ProofSheet. The others account for a tiny fraction of my sales.

ProofSheet Version 1.71

One more nifty new feature: I’m creating a book (Dorothea Lange: 500 FSA Photographs) with captions that vary widely in length, and if I allow enough footer space for the longest, the photos are smaller than they could be:

NewImage

Some captions are much longer than the one shown here, so the problem is even worse than it appears here. But with a new {Expand} variable, anywhere in the footer text, captions that don’t fill the footer space are moved down, and the image is expanded, like this:

NewImage

Note that {Expand} only works in cell footers.

ProofSheet Version 1.70

Adds a new {Indent} variable which indents the text by about 7% of the width on the left and right. Also, centers the block of text (not the individual lines) in the cell. Generally results in a more pleasing appearance when the text is a title or caption.

Instead of this:

NewImage

With {indent} anywhere in the text, you get this:

NewImage

The footer that produced this was:

NewImage

ProofSheet Version 1.52

The version I uploaded last week, 1.51. had a change that reposition footers to be directly under images, wrapped to a width no wider than the image. This version, 1.52, puts things back to the way they were.

If you liked the 1.51 behavior, let me know and I’ll consider making this an option.