Episode 115: Someone Tell Me Please

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The Topic:

We are talking about industry standards, the future of our industry, fast photo books, and more. Peppermint and Steph are heading to CES, so be sure to watch The Daily Digi Instagram feed for updates and later in the week, the Capturing Magic Instagram feed ( ).

The panel finishes up the year with a mail show.

Joining the Discussion:

Peppermint Granberg
Katie Nelson

Show Notes:


Daily Digi Digest Interview


instagram book

      using her daughter’s instagram

Adorama photo books Shutterfly iPad app

      for creating photo books

Picks of the Week:

Peppermint: Obaby (for iPhone)
Katie: Duplicate Finder



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27 Responses to Episode 115: Someone Tell Me Please

  1. carrie a. says:

    On the topic of Facebook to real book, I saw a lot of advertisement on my newsfeed last week from a service that would do just that: https://www.mysocialbook.com/ It looks like it pulls from your timeline as a whole (statuses and photos). It’s a neat concept.

  2. StudioWendy says:

    I’ll start the discussion with the preface that these comments are my own and may not reflect the opinions of Steph or The Daily Digi. :) And a warning… I will probably have a lot to say. ;)

    As many know, I come to this industry from a print background. As printing technology advanced, 300ppi became the minimum standard resolution for all color printed work, when sized at 100%. That would be the quality that prints best on the majority of CMYK printing presses. (There are actually presses that print in higher resolutions now and those may actually require higher resolution for best printing. But these will be in very high-end print shops). (Another aside, if you are printing in newspapers, they actually require only 170ppi because the presses they use are much lower quality. Providing higher resolutions will actually muddy up the image.)

    In practice, although we always encouraged our print customers to provide photos and artwork that was 300ppi, we would advise them that photographs (not line art or anything with a harsh edge, but photos) could be enlarged up to 200% (for a resolution of 150ppi) and still not be overly jaggy in most cases. That really depended upon the photograph, though. If you have a photo of a white lighthouse that has a harsh angled edge against a dark sky, enlarging that very well could show jaggy edges. In addition, in traditional print, most people work in CMYK, not RGB and saved as TIF, not JPG. So, JPG introduces lossy compressions that can radically degrade the quality of an image, especially as it is saved over and over in that format. Since digi is heavily based on papers that arrive in JPG format (for massive file size savings), having a higher resolution image can really make a difference when saving, resizing and resaving layouts. If you have a png element that has been extracted or digitally created, printing that object at 150ppi on a printer that is designed for 300ppi can cause it to show up jaggy, especially around the extracted edge. But, it’s all based on the final output and printer used. If all you ever do is print at home, on an inket printer, you would want to print at the resolution of your printer. Inkjet printers vary considerably, with some rivaling actual commerical press quality. Small inexpensive printers may only be able to output 150ppi. The higher end ones may be able to handle 288ppi or even higher. If you send a higher resolution image to your printer than it can handle, it will discard the extra info, and perhaps just take longer to process. However, if you send it less data than it needs, it will add in data based on the pixels around it and you end up with blurry image, blurry text and jaggies. If you are printing photographically or in photobooks, those are most certainly being printed on high quality printers that will give best results using 300ppi. Because you can always downsize an image, but generally not upsize it, graphics are provided at 300ppi. If you always print on lower resolution printers, you can always downgrade the resolution later. But, if you were to purchase graphics at 150ppi and want to print a photobook, they are just not going to print very well. So, that is where the 300ppi default comes from.

    Your other question Steph, is a different one entirely, and something I often tell new designers. You should be designing elements at the size they are intended to be used at. This is a different type of quality issue than resolution, in reality. If you make buttons that are 3″ big, then when they are placed on the page, they will need to be reduced in size. So in that case, could the designer have supplied a button that was 3″ and 100ppi? Yes, in theory, because that will pull into a 300ppi layout as a 1″ button at 300ppi. But, if that designer supplies the button at 1″/300ppi to begin with, then maybe the customer doesn’t have to resize it at all. In addition, a button that is rendered at the intended size that it’s needed will not be as blurry due to resizing, and will have more realistic effects than one that has been sized down. Remember, textures and patterns used at 3″ will look different on the page when sized down to 1″. A bevel that looks great on a button at 3″, when sized down to 1″ will almost disappear. I think this type of quality issue is one that designers tend to learn over time, and especially if they try to scrap with their own products. It’s a mistake I made in my early design days and something I look for when I’m scrapping myself. I would rather have to adjust an element by 20% in size larger or smaller and know it will probably still look okay, then resize something down by 75%, or get something too small and have it look bad if I have to enlarge it. I think making clusters and QPs and other add-ons with products are another way to help a designer get a good feel for how large things should be from the get go.

    So, in reality, I think the rule still stands… 300ppi, at 100%, assuming that the designer is supplying items to be used at the size they are without resizing. I don’t think it’s fair to say, well since I reduce the element by 50% on my page, I really only need 150ppi. They are completely different issues. In the same way, I print 8×8. I could say, since I only print 8×8, that is the same thing as having a 12×12 layout at 200ppi so I only need graphics at 200ppi. But, not everyone prints 8×8. There are tons of people out there who actually do print 12×12 books using professional book printers. Their graphics need to be 300ppi.

    So, what do I do? I conform to the standard of 300ppi. Then, after everything is all said and done, I make a copy of my pages, resize them to 8×8, sharpen them due to the large size reduction and they look beautiful.

    Now, here comes the so what. If you print at 200ppi, and you are happy with it, does anyone care that I would not be happy with the same print quality? Heck no. Your book, with your layouts, makes you happy. That’s what’s important. I tell this to print customers all the time who email me saying, my photobook software is telling me that my photos are too low in quality and won’t print well. What can I do? The answer is either get a higher quality copy of those photos by getting a better scan or the original digital file at higher resolution. Make the photos smaller on the page. Or, ignore the warning and live with it. In many cases, these photos may be the only photos the person has to work with, and having a copy of them in a printed book, even in a poor quality, is more important than the quality itself.

    So, where is the right and wrong? What makes it good and bad? Why 300 and not 150? My take on it is that we have a standard that is based on print resolutions of printing presses. While not everyone is going to take advantage of all those pixels, enough will that the standard should remain. The rest who want to print smaller or use items on a page smaller than provided are not losing quality by resizing (outside of some possible sharpening required). However, a customer who is forced to enlarge their layouts to 12×12 will most likely see a difference. But I think a designer should be providing the best graphics they can, and that’s going to be at 300ppi. But, customers are welcome to do their own testing as well. Print a page at 200ppi and 300ppi and see if it looks any different to you, with your printer (home or professional) and your graphics. You can even get a different result printing from one program to another. For example, if you create a layout in Photoshop, flatten it to render all type as raster and then print that at 200ppi. That will give you a different result than scrapping a layout at 200ppi, enlarging the PSD to 300ppi before flattening and then printing. In the second option, Photoshop is able to at least render the text at full quality, and even when graphics are at a lesser quality, having crisp clean text in the journaling can make a big difference.

    So test, see what you think and do what makes you happy. I can tell you that 300ppi makes me happy. LOL No stray pixels make me happy. Colors that are in gamut (are able to be printed CMYK without changing in hue) make me happy. Kits that are pretty make my happy, but if they fail on a number of quality standards, my heart won’t be singing.

    Every designer makes mistakes. Every kit probably has at least one or two things that make it through. It is very rare for me to see a kit that doesn’t have at least 1-2 issues. It happens. Like you guys mentioned, that doesn’t make for poor overall quality. But, if a kit is filled throughout with quality issues, and if the issues persist from one kit to another, then I’m going to avoid that designer, and possibly that store’s products. I have a lot of respect for designers who are able to put out good quality product. It’s not easy. There’s a lot that goes into making sure a kit is scrap-ready, and when a designer takes the time to ensure their kit is top-notch in those areas, it is a job well done.

    • Courtney says:

      Thanks for the info! It may be long, but it was worth reading.

      As a note, my child is adopted, so the first few photos we have are all cell phone. And not the high resolution Galaxy S or iPhone, but lower quality 2 megapixel photos. It doesn’t matter that they are blurry when printed, they are still his first photos. I told the printer to go ahead, let them print and they make my heart smile to see them.

    • Joyce Wans says:

      I agree Wendy, the quality should be judged at the size one uses. I expect high quality, 300 dpi products because I want to be able to use the pages I have made in as many formats as possible: 6×6 photographic prints in Project Life pockets, 8×8 pages in an album, and 12×12 in a photobook. Thanks for articulating it so clearly.

  3. NanaAnna says:

    When I read Katie’s announcement on her blog, thank goodness she stated right there that she would continue on The Digi Show! I would so miss it if any of the three of you stepped back…so don’t go anywhere.

    Katie, two of my daughters have high functioning autism. That description varies so widely. I’m fortunate in that one of these daughters is employed as a teacher (actually teaching special ed and with an incredibly interesting take on her work), married, and has kiddos. It sounds so sweet to say this, but my daughter had many challenges on the way to getting to the life she leads now. As a mama of a kiddo with autism, I commend you to do what you need to do with your son! Not the easiest of being the mama, but so worth it.

    The second daughter is in college and doing well as she just started. I’m hopeful about her future, but still now there could be special bumps in the road for her.

    Best wishes, Katie! And thank goodness you three are staying with the show!

  4. Jennifer says:

    I just listened to the show and wanted to leave a quick comment in response to what Steph about getting car sick while scrapping in the car. My family and I drive 10 hours in each direction every year for our annual family vacation. I hated the idea that that big chunk of time — so perfect for scrapping or reading — was being “wasted.” After using Dramamine and Sea Bands while at Disney (and it working beautifully), I decided to try it out in the car and lo and behold…Gold, Jerry! Now every long drive we take is time well-spent scrapping!

  5. Jennifer Kellogg says:

    I’m new to digi. Re: “good” kits. I’ve gotten a couple of templates where the text layer is very difficult to edit. It’s almost impossible to select the text, change font, move, etc. Maybe it’s my lack of experience with PSE 12. Any suggestions on what I might be doing wrong? I really don’t think it’s me. Because I don’t have any issues with text layers in other kits/templates. Or is the text layer just not setup correctly? Is there a way for me to fix it? What is the “proper” way to setup a text layer (when I do my own)? Thanks!!

    • Courtney says:

      I hope someone has an answer. What I have found in my first year, is that some template designers don’t make it editable. I end up creating my own text layer on top of theirs. I’m not sure why it’s not editable, but it drives me nuts as well.

    • Lahni says:

      I’m guessing that the designer has rasterized the layer making it just an image of the text and not actually text anymore.

    • StudioWendy says:

      There is also a situation that can occur where a text layer in certain versions of PS is flattened when opened in PSE. It’s like there an incompatibility between some versions of PSE and PSCS. I wish I could remember the circumstances, but I cannot. I do know that in some of my actions that render text layers, PSE users cannot edit them and must redraw them. One other time text layers can be “uneditable” in PSE is if they are put into a group or folder. PSE cannot recognize the group and thinks of it as a flattened layer.

      There are two ways to make a text layer. One is to click and type. You won’t get any line breaks this way, unless you press return on the keyboard. Or, you can make paragraph text by clicking and holding the mouse in and drawing a text box. When you release the mouse, start typing. Text done in this way will automatically wrap from line to line. Hope this helps!

    • Leslie says:

      IME, some designers consciously decide to make the text layer flat. When I convert designers’ templates to *.page files for SBC/Artisan users, I try to always make the text “live” unless the designer has specifically asked otherwise. I know the SBC/Artisan users appreciate having one less step for using their templates!

  6. Carol says:

    Love that Obaby app Peppermint, THANK YOU! We found out on Christmas Eve that we will be grandparents for the first time next June. Trying to think of a way my stepdaughter will get her phone out at least and take pics and send them to me. So I sent her the link and she loved it, so I was able to gift the app to her. She’s excited. That means lots of photos of her pregnancy for this sweet baby for me to scrap! Particularly when I don’t see her all the time and will only be able to get my own photos on odd occasions.

  7. Lahni says:

    I just wanted to comment on quality control. At the store where I sell my products every single item that goes into the store has to pass a quality check before it can be sold. I always check my designs before putting them through the QC process but almost always there is something I’ve missed. I find a huge benefit to having someone else check over my products.

    • StudioWendy says:

      Absolutely! In my 20 years of graphic design, I’ve learned that I am too close to my own work to proof it myself. That why have such a fabulous group of ladies testing and review my products. ;)

  8. Mary Moseley says:

    So jealous that Steph and Peppermint are going to CES. Have fun geeking out. I can’t wait to hear all about it! Safe travels too.

  9. Ronnie Crowley says:

    Just thought I’d drop in and say there is a really cool photo book creator that takes your facebook feed and creates a book using the pictures and status updates – its called My Social Book – https://www.mysocialbook.com/
    I haven’t printed so I don’t know what the quality is like but I have considered trying it just see. If you use facebook a lot this would create a really cool document of the year for you – easy way of doing a project 365.

  10. Ronnie Crowley says:

    I just created one for 2013 – it will be 228 pages for $76
    •My Social Book
    •8×10″ (20x25cm), Paperback

    •Ronnie Crowley
    •1st of January, 2013 – 31st of December, 2013
    •228 page(s) : 861 posts (including 287 pictures, 1519 comments)
    •Comment limit: : 5

    I’m going to order one and will let you know what I think of quality

    • Ronnie Crowley says:

      So it took me less than 15 minutes to create an account, create the book and order it. Free shipping as well.

  11. Stacey Fowler says:

    Peppermint, I have never used any photo apps for my phone to draw on the pictures and I almost hit buy on the Obaby app (I have a 17 month old and one on the way in February) when I remembered that I’m getting my Android phone this weekend. Darn! That’s one I’d love to have!!!

  12. Nancy Hyland says:

    Hi Gals!

    I have been meaning to comment on one of the other listener’s questions regarding a book of your social media. I just did mysocialbook.com and it slurped all my content from my facebook – I am talking pictures, status updates, comments to those – everything from the time I started facebook back in 2008 through today. And I have to tell you I LOVE it!! for a nearly 400 page book it was relatively inexpensive (I think, at least) – about $70. It is really well designed clean and modern and I got so many compliments on it over the holidays as it was on my coffee table.

    I have to say, I feel like a big weight has been lifted of all that memory keeping that is finally in a hard copy format that is done. It took me literally 15 minutes to do. And its been really fun to read through it. One caution is that I do have several pages from when the Spam posts happened but all in all a great option.

    Love you gals! Keep up the great work!

  13. Ronnie Crowley says:

    Just got my social book back in the mail – so I made it on the 8th and received it on the 15th. I love it!!!!!!!!!! So cool. I may have to go back and make them for the previous years. Its not photo quality paper but it feels like a normal piece of paper. The quality of the printing is great. Some of the formatting is a little strange over pages but I think I could of fixed that if I’d of wanted to go through all 288 pages. I will be highly recommending it to friends.

  14. AmberMcB says:

    Hey Katie THANKS for the duplicate picture finder pick!!! Once upon a time I used a folder system where ALL pictures were in year/month folders. Then, special ones were copied to folders like Birthdays or Events or Firsts. Then, I had a hard drive crash & used a great program to recover all pictures – but it lumped everything into 1 folder with new filenames. I worked for hours & hours to separate them out then had a mishap when I *thought* I had backed it all up then wiped my drive & lost & recovered them all AGAIN.

    I now know how to use tags instead of creating photo copies, but I have a real mess of duplicate pictures. So, thanks so much for telling us about this program!!

  15. AmberMcB says:

    Yes, I’m back already. In less than 10 minutes it scanned a folder of 2,100 pictures and found 140 potential duplicates. I **love** that it tells me the % similarity. Since I’m looking for exact dupes right now I quickly went through all that were 100% similar (size, color profile, date, etc.) and deleted about 100 of the 140 found. The best thing of all is in that 10 minutes it means I freed up over 1.5G of hard drive space. Right now my computer really needs that!!

    Lastly, thanks to all of the listeners who posted feedback about SocialBook! I know now what I’ll be asking my husband to get me for every Christmas from now on. FaceBook is such a constant in my life where I record the everyday snippets that I never want to forget. I’ve always had a fear it would wipe out.

    Okay, that wasn’t last… Because of ProjectDigiFiles I logged into Flickr. Guess I don’t have to fear an internet wipeout so much. I last logged on to Flickr January 2012 and before that it was sometime in 2010. There isn’t a lot there – but it was fun to see what I thought was important to upload in 2007/2008 ;)

    I listen to the show while I scrap (and now while I type this) but I’m forever ‘rewinding’ because my brain stops processing what is being said. Thanks y’all!!

    • Courtney M says:

      I don’t remember if Katie mentioned it or not, but be sure you check “Custom install” so you can uncheck the conduit search when you install the free program. Otherwise, it will change your internet home page, and search settings and is a general nuisance.

      • Leslie says:

        Thanks for the recommendation. I’ve been using ACDSee for duplicates, but it’s clunky at best. Will give this a whirl.