Author Topic: Initial document feedback  (Read 1128 times)

ruperty

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Initial document feedback
« on: May 12, 2017, 04:15:22 pm »
Hi,

I'd welcome some feedback of my initial attempt at laying out a document, attached.

I had a few technical questions

  • How do I make the first letter of the paragraph be much bigger than the rest?
  • How do I extend the text box over more than one page, so that I don't have to split up the text? Currently I have two text boxes with separate text. I would like one text box to extend over both the current pages and further pages.
  • When I export to pdf I get the error  "Image resolution below 144 DPI", how do I avoid this?

Now, I am picking up the technical aspects of layout. But what I won't be able to pick up is a good eye for design. So, I would welcome any suggestions for making it look good, which it doesn't at the moment :)





GarryP

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Re: Initial document feedback
« Reply #1 on: May 12, 2017, 05:43:55 pm »
It's a good start Rupert.

To answer your questions:

* You can make the first letter of a paragraph bigger by using Drop Caps. You can only use these if you create a paragraph style (for long documents, styles are the way to go rather than direct formatting). Menu "Edit -> Styles" will get you the style tools. Then you can apply styles using the Style Settings part of the Text tab of the Properties Palette.

* Don't extend text boxes across pages, link them instead. Select the first frame, then menu "Item -> Link Text Frames" (there's an icon on the toolbar too) then select the second frame. Text will flow from the first to the second. You can link as many as you want but don't link too many frames together. Only create links between frames for individual articles/chapters.

* The message tells you that one of your images has a lower DPI than the minimum recommended DPI. You can change the minimum value via "File -> Document Setup / Preflight Verifier". Change the "Lowest allowed Resolution" to whatever you want. 300 is normal for print work and 72 is fine for most stuff that will be read on-screen-only. You can disable this feature altogether but it's not recommended. If you need the output DPI to be a certain value then you will have to get a higher-resolution image.

Some extra bits of advice:

* If the robot in the image is the main part of the image, don't put it near the crease (between pages). If people are reading it in a single-page PDF reader layout they won't see it properly, and if it's in a magazine you'll have a similar problem. Try a different layout.

* Don't put the text so close to the image. It's usually good to have a gap of at least the same height as a line of text.

* It might be better to have a larger gap between columns. They seems a little too close for me.

I would mention justifying the text but I think that's probably something for later on.

I hope some of that helps.

CGood

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Re: Initial document feedback
« Reply #2 on: May 12, 2017, 06:17:50 pm »
GarryP posted while I wrote, so pardon some repetition.

A couple of ideas to look up and learn about. I'm too slow a typist to attempt any more than a few pointers here. Justification and hyphenation of text can add a sense of form and neatness.

Perhaps add a sans serif for headline for interest. Consider one possibility, a headline in small caps and a subhead in a gray, giving variation within a headline typeface.

Give the various pieces space.

Be wary of the color changes within the head. A good idea but to me it feels like it is not working here. The text below is crowded up against the bottom of the photographs.

Having parentheses hang into a new line is awkward.

Out of the scope of Scribus but consider reshooting the image, it is not helping the sense of design you are reaching for. Background tonal mergers and clutter impede the photograph.

It looks like you may have used the return to force new lines - if so I don't believe you need to do that.

See my quick example pdf.
« Last Edit: May 12, 2017, 06:23:03 pm by CGood »

CGood

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Re: Initial document feedback
« Reply #3 on: May 12, 2017, 06:23:54 pm »
One additional idea - perhaps to consider later - is the use of a grid concept to help with over all page organization.

GarryP

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Re: Initial document feedback
« Reply #4 on: May 13, 2017, 10:30:19 am »
Just to refine something that CGood said above, you can use a "grid concept" to help you define your page layout but please don't use the GRID itself, use GUIDES instead. The GRID can be used to help with drawing shapes but GUIDES should be used for page layout.

ruperty

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Re: Initial document feedback
« Reply #5 on: May 13, 2017, 01:57:38 pm »
It looks like you may have used the return to force new lines - if so I don't believe you need to do that.

Thanks, all, for the good suggestions, that I will work through. On this point, though, how do you set a new paragraph; so that it is indented and without drop caps (which I only want in the first paragraph)?

GarryP

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Re: Initial document feedback
« Reply #6 on: May 13, 2017, 02:25:05 pm »
* First set-up a character style for your body text as you want the text to look.
* Then set-up a paragraph style based on the character style while also setting how you want your paragraphs to look (indents, spacing, etc.).
* Then set-up another paragraph style based on the first paragraph style but also add the drop caps formatting.

Apply the first paragraph style (not drop caps) to the whole frame, then apply the second paragraph style (with drop caps) to just the first paragraph.

Once you have set-up your styles you can make changes very quickly by just changing the underlying character style or either paragraph style. (Always make changes to the "base" style first so that the change ripples up the chain.)

See the very simple attached example with a Body Text character style which is used by the Body Text paragraph style which in turn is used by the Body Text Drop Cap paragraph style. Any changes to the character style will automatically be applied to any text formatted using either paragraph style.

ruperty

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Re: Initial document feedback
« Reply #7 on: May 13, 2017, 03:40:32 pm »

I'm slightly confused, how do you denote a new paragraph without a carriage return?

* First set-up a character style for your body text as you want the text to look.
* Then set-up a paragraph style based on the character style while also setting how you want your paragraphs to look (indents, spacing, etc.).
* Then set-up another paragraph style based on the first paragraph style but also add the drop caps formatting.

Thanks, very useful, it worked well (apart from above query).

CGood

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Re: Initial document feedback
« Reply #8 on: May 14, 2017, 07:13:07 am »
Ruperty - my error - it seems like copying text from a pdf loses the flow of a line of text and imposes a new line. I tried copying your text from his pdf back to the sample I posted. It retained new lines even when given plenty of space to flow the text. I didn't realize but it appears to be a property of pdfs, not your particular text.

Nermander

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Re: Initial document feedback
« Reply #9 on: May 14, 2017, 03:25:16 pm »
I'm slightly confused, how do you denote a new paragraph without a carriage return?

"Carriage return" is really not a concept when using Scribus, when you hit Enter you are inserting a "paragraph break", which means you are ending the current paragraph and starting a new.

Paragraph styles are applied paragraph by paragraph. This is not unique to Scribus, every Word processing application will work like this.

ruperty

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Re: Initial document feedback
« Reply #10 on: June 17, 2017, 02:09:22 pm »
Hi,

I've made some cracking progress with my first document. I really like the Scribus software (thanks) and have enjoyed formatting the document and appreciate how much more powerful it is compared to a word processor.

Would people be able to give me some more feedback on this "final" draft? Any suggestions for improvement?

https://www.dropbox.com/s/xctk4vdivcxyymi/NSofR%20v1.1.pdf?dl=0

I did have one question of something I couldn't work out how to do. Is there a way of dynamically referencing figure panels, such "top left p2" or "see Robotics panel"? Currently my references are just static text.

Regards,
Rupert

GarryP

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Re: Initial document feedback
« Reply #11 on: June 17, 2017, 02:56:59 pm »
Nice work Rupert. A big improvement from the last version that I saw.

I have some suggestions, some of which might sound a little bit petty, but I think they're worth mentioning:
1. Pages 3-6 are missing the headers and footers.
2. The (C) Rupert Young text sometimes comes a bit near the body text, e.g. page 2. As does the June 2017 text, e.g. page 8.
3. The diagram on page 6 (Levels of Perception) is a bit pixelated (I assume it's an import). Scribus can easily do this sort of thing so a little bit more work will make it look better.
4. The graphs on pages 7&8 are not up to the same quality as the rest of the images. Are better ones available?
5. The "Damned Statistics" heading on page 7 looks lost with no text near it (see next comment).
6. Sometimes there are large areas of white space. White space isn't a bad thing in itself but it can be managed a bit better. For example, on page 3, try moving the text into the vertical centre of the image and moving the text closer (see attached Capture1.png). The same goes for other pages. Also, don't be afraid of having text and images in "the same row" as that can make a page more interesting to look at. Have a look here https://wiki.scribus.net/canvas/Page_Layout_-_The_Basics for some examples.
7. On page 3 you start a bullet list but it's very difficult to see where the list goes next. Can things be re-arranged so that the list is wholly on the same page?
8. The graph on page 8 has no title. Don't know if this is on purpose.
9. I think the block quotes on pages 1 & 10 - "Nothing in biology..." and "Nothing in behaviour..." - should be either black or a different colour to the figure titles. It's just a bit confusing. Also, could you add the authors of the quotes?
10. If the images on page 10 are related to those on page 9 (under the same title?) then I think you could use some graphic device to group/join them. This could be something as simple as a line but the reader should know that they're "together".
11. Have you tried a bit of simple typesetting yet? I think this document would benefit from having fully-justified text but you might have to do some practising first to get it looking right.

Anyway, feel free to ignore anything I've said. A lot of it is just my opinion. It's a great document which I think could be "finished off" by putting a teeny bit extra time into some of the small details.

P.S. At present - 1.4.6 - there is no way to dynamically reference things in the way you want.

ruperty

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Re: Initial document feedback
« Reply #12 on: June 18, 2017, 06:51:17 pm »
Nice work Rupert. A big improvement from the last version that I saw.

11. Have you tried a bit of simple typesetting yet? I think this document would benefit from having fully-justified text but you might have to do some practising first to get it looking right.

Thanks, looks very useful. I'll work through these points during the week.

Just on the last point. As my main style guide I am using New Scientist articles which don't full-justify. I did try full-justify but that left absurdly large space between some words, where only three or four fit on a line.

GarryP

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Re: Initial document feedback
« Reply #13 on: June 19, 2017, 03:06:23 pm »
You're welcome Rupert. I look forward to seeing the next version. If it's used for something other than just your own experimentation/practice then maybe it could be added to the Success Stories on the Wiki.

As for the text justification, if you're replicating an existing format then, by all means, just do what they do. There is no right or wrong way but I thought it might look more fitting to the subject matter if it was justified.

Justification generally shouldn't be used by itself; as you have seen it usually makes quite a mess. (And I can't see any good reason for using forced justification which looks even worse.) You should only use justification in conjunction with hyphenation - manual or otherwise - and probably some manual typesetting which is the thing that takes some practice to get looking good. Good typesetting is, after all, an art.

ruperty

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Re: Initial document feedback
« Reply #14 on: June 21, 2017, 01:06:46 pm »
3. The diagram on page 6 (Levels of Perception) is a bit pixelated (I assume it's an import). Scribus can easily do this sort of thing so a little bit more work will make it look better.

Do you mean it can be tidied up in Scribus by applying image effects? I did try sharpen but didn't seem to have any effect. I can probably redraw the diagram at a better resolution if need be.